The Night Prayer (Tahajjud)

Regarding Qiyaam Al-Layl, the Prophet (PBUH) said:
"The most excellent fast after the month of Ramadhan, is fasting in the month of Allah, 'Al-Muharram'. And the most excellent prayer after the obligatory prayer is the night prayer."

1. The prefered number of Rak'aat for the night prayer is eleven or thirteen, with prolonged standing:
The Prophet (PBUH) prayed eleven Rak'aat and that was his prayer...
In another naration,
He (PBUH) prayed, in the night, thirteen, Rak'aat...

2. It is recommended that when a person gets up for Qiyaam Al-Layl, he cleans his teeth with a Siwaak and recites the last verses of Soorah Aal-Imraan, from:

"Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day there are indeed signs for men of understanding.''
(Aal-Imraan, 3:190)

3. Also from the Sunnah of Qiyaam Al-Layl, is to begin with two short Rak'aah, so that you become active for what comes after.
When one of you stands up for the night prayer, begin with two light Rak'aah (i.e. short).

4. It is recommend to begin with authentic supplicaion established from the Prophet (PBUH):

5. It is recommended to lengthen the prayer:
"The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was asked, 'which prayer is the most excellent prayer?' He said, 'That prayer in which he prolonged Qunoot'."
*The meaning of Qunoot[1] here is Qiyaam - the standing position in prayer.

6. It is recommended to:

- Seek refuge in Allah on hearing or reading Verses of Quran by saying,
I seek refuge in Allah from Allah's Punishment.

-ask for His mercy on verses of mercy,
O Allah, I ask You from Your bounties.

-Praise Him on verses of glorification,
Far removed is Allah from any imperfection.

This is from the Hadeeth:
...he (PBUH) read slowly (with reflection). If he read a Verse of glorification, he glorified Him. If he read a Verse of request, he asked from Him. If he read a Verse seeking refuge, he sought refuge in Him[2]...

Thing that help one to perform Qiyaam Al-Layl:
- Supplication.[3]
- Avoid staying up late at night.
- Rest between Adh-Dzhuhr and Asr (Qayloolah).
- Refrain from all forms of disobedience.
- Strive against one's desires.

[1] Refer to the explaination of this Hadeeth in Saheeh Muslim by Imaam An-Nawawee, in which it is mentioned that the meaning of Qunoot, in the Hadeeth, is Qiyaam.
[2] This Hadeeth states that the Prophet (PBUH) glorified Allah, requested Him and sought refuge in Him. However, no specific wording for how he (PBUH) did this was mentioned. Therefore, the Shaykh has given us some examples of what can be said.
[3]i.e. ask Allah to assist you and make it easy for you.

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