Tahajjud prayers

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Salaam waliekum brother..jazakallah khair for answering my questions...but brother can you tell me how do we divide the 11 rakahs of tahajjud....do we have to recite tahiyaat after every 2 rakahs??...will wait for ur reply...Allah hafiz

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How to pray tahajjud

Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: "Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring: 'Who will call on Me so that I may respond to him? Who is asking something of Me so I may give it to him? Who is asking for My forgiveness so I may forgive him?"'

Related by Bukhari and Muslim.

Salman al-Farsi relates that the Prophet (saws) said: "Observe the night (tahajjud) prayer, it was the practice of the rightous before you and it brings you closer to your Lord and it is penance for evil deeds and erases the sins and repells disease from the body."

Al-Bukhari and Muslim who relate that al-Qasim ibn Muhammad said that he heard 'Aishah say: "The Messenger of Allah's (saws) prayer during the night (tahajjud) would be ten rak'at and then he would make witr with one rak'ah."

Samurah ibn Jundub says: "The Messenger of Allah ordered us to pray during the night (tahajjud), a little or a lot, and to make the last of the prayer the witr prayer."

Related by at-Tabarani and al-Bazzar.

Fiqh-us-Sunnah Fiqh 2.13

Nature and number of rak'at for witr

It is permissible to perform the witr by praying two rak'at [and concluding them] and then praying one rak'ah with one tashahud and taslim.  Likewise, it is allowed to pray all the rak'at with two tashahuds and one taslim.  One may pray a number of rak'at, one after another, without making any tashahud, save in the one before the last rak'ah in which case one makes the tashahud and then stands to perform the last rak'ah wherein one will make another tashahud and end the prayer with the taslim.  One may also make only one tashahud and the taslim, in the last rak'ah of witr. All of that is permissible and can be traced to the Prophet (saws).

The number of rakah for Tahajjud have not been fixed.   There is an authentic narration that the Messenger of Allah (saws) used to pray 11 rakahs including witr,  and there is also another narration that states that he (saws) prayed 13 rakahs including witr.  

The Messenger of Allah (saws) used to pray the Tahajjud in the last third part of the night,  and he would perform it in a two rakah combination and advised the believers to do the same.  There is no minimum set,  thus the minimum if one wishes to pray the superogatory night prayers would be two rakahs + 1-rakah witr.  And there is no maximum set,  thus one can pray any number of rakahs in a two rakah combination and end it with the witr prayers.   The Tahajjud or night prayers are voluntary and the more one prays, the more reward he/she will earn from Allah Subhanah.

The Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws) while praying Tahajjud was to recite the Surah Al-Fatihah and some verses of another Surah in each Rakah of his ‘tahajjud’ prayers. 

One may pray as many two-rakah combinations as is easy for them in their tahajjud or late night prayers, praying Surah Al-Fateha and some other verses of the Quran in each rakah; and conclude the tahajjud prayer with the performance of a one-rakah prayer of witr.

Times for tahajjud


It is best to delay the ‘tahajjud’ or late night prayer to the last third portion of the night. Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: "Our Lord Descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring: 'Who will call on Me so that I may respond to him? Who is asking something of Me so I may give it to him? Who is asking for My forgiveness so I may forgive him?"'

Related by Bukhari and Muslim.

Amr ibn Abasah reports that he heard the Prophet (saws) say: "The closest that a slave comes to his Lord is during the middle of the latter portion of the night. If you can be among those who remember Allah, the Exalted One, at that time, then do so."

Related by al-Hakim, at-Tirmidhi,Nasa'i and Ibn Khuzaimah.

Abu Muslim asked Hadrat Abu Dharr Ghaffari (r.a.): "Which late-night prayer is the best?" He said: "I asked the Messenger of Allah (saws) the same that you asked me and he (saws) said, 'The (one done during) middle of the latter half of the night, and very few do it.'"

Related by Ahmad.

Abdullah ibn 'Amr reports that the Prophet (saws) said: "The most beloved fast to Allah is the fast of (Prophet) Dawood (a.s.). And the most beloved prayer to Allah is the prayer of (Prophet) Dawood (a.s.). He (Prophet Dawood (a.s.)) would sleep half of the night and then pray during the next third of the night and then sleep during the last sixth of the night. And he would fast one day and not fast the next."

Related by Bukhari and Muslim.

If one could divide one’s night hours into six equal parts, then the absolute best time to offer one’s voluntary ‘tahajjud’ prayer would be the time of the fifth of the six portions. If one is unable to offer their ‘tahajjud’ prayers at this ‘best’ and most opportune time for any reason, the absolute majority of the scholars and jurists in Islam are of the opinion that if one strives to offer their ‘tahajjud’ prayers at any time between the end of the ‘isha’ prayers and before the call of the ‘fajr’ prayers, they would receive their appropriate and due reward from their Lord for their striving.


Although it would be best and closest to the Sunnah to leave a reasonable gap between the end of one’s ‘tahajjud’ prayers and the ‘adhaan’ of the ‘fajr’ prayer, if perchance one has been able to get up only five minutes before the ‘adhaan’ of ‘fajr’ and wishes to offer a couple of rakahs of the voluntary ‘tahajjud’ prayers, there is absolutely no harm.

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

Your Brother in Islam,



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