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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 13: Supererogatory Prayers [Tahajjud, Witr and Tarawih] (Hadith -- The Traditions)


Chapter 13: Supererogatory Prayers [Tahajjud, Witr and Tarawih] (Hadith -- The Traditions):

 


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(Note: The superscript-numbers [e.g., intention2] that appear in the text [in pink] refer to the numbers of the explanatory footnotes that appear at the end of each Hadith [Tradition].)


1 Abu Hurairah reported,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said,

"Our Lord, blessed and exalted is He, descends every night to the nearest heaven when the latter one-third of the night remains, (and) says, Is there any one who calls upon Me so that I may accept of him, who asks of Me so that I may grant him, who seeks forgiveness of Me so that I may forgive him?1 (B. 19 : 14.)

1 Discussing the meaning of this hadith under the word nazala, Ibn Athir says : "Descending and ascending, motion and state of rest, are the properties of matter, while Allah is supremely exalted above this and hallowed; and the meaning is the descending of Divine mercy and grace and their nearness to servants." The statement is, therefore, metaphorical, and the significance is that the man who seeks communion with the Divine Being at such a time, when the whole of nature is in a state of quiet and the mind of man himself free generally from all anxieties and worries, will find Him nearest to his heart. Such a time is, therefore, fittest for communion with the Divine Being, and that is the time of Tahajjud prayer.


2 `A'ishah reported,

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, used to say eleven rak`ahs of prayer -- this was his prayer, she meant, at night; and he used to remain in sajdah so long, before he raised his head, that one of you could recite fifty verses; and he said two rak`ahs before the morning prayer, then he lay down on his right side until the mu'adhdhin [Note: The one who calls out the 'Call to Prayer'] came to him for the (congregational) prayer.2 (B. 14 : 1.)

2 The Tahajjud prayer consists, according to this hadith of eleven rak'ahs, but this number may, as explained in the next two, be reduced to nine or seven rak`ahs, or even less, when the time at hand before the break of the dawn does not suffice to complete the total.


3 Masruq said,

I asked `A'ishah about the prayer of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, at night. She said, (Sometimes) seven (rak`ahs), (sometimes) nine and (sometimes) eleven, beside the two (sunnah) rak`ahs of the Fajr. (B. 19 : 10.)


4 Ibn `Umar said,

A man asked the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, while he was on the pulpit, What dost thou say about the night prayer? He said:

"Two (rak`ahs) at a time; and when one of you knows (that) the dawn (is near), he should add one (rak`ah)--this will make his prayer witr." (B. 8 : 84.)


5 Ibn `Umar reported,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"Let the witr be your last prayer at night." (B. 14 : 4.)


6 Abu Hurairah said,

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, commanded me to say the witr before going to sleep.3 (B. 14 : 2.)

3 This is the practice now generally followed. The Holy Prophet himself made the witr a part of the Tahajjud prayer.


7 Al-Hasan ibn `Ali said,

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, taught me sentences to be repeated in the qunut4 in witr:

"O Allah! Guide me among those whom Thou hast guided, and preserve me among those whom Thou hast preserved, and befriend me among those whom Thou hast befriended, and bless me in what Thou hast granted and save me from the evil of what Thou hast ordered, for Thou dost order, and no order overrides Thy order; surely he is not disgraced whom Thou befriendest; blessed art Thou, our Lord! and highly exalted." (AD-Msh. 4 : 35.)

4 Qunut means the being constantly obedient, and is technically applied to the prayer offered in a standing posture in the last rak`ah of any prayer, before or after the performance of the ruku`; in the congregational service it was offered by the imam after rising from the ruku' (B. 10 : 126). There are other forms of the qunut prayer--in fact, any prayer may be offered as qunut.


8 `Abd al-Rahman said,

I went out with `Umar ibn al-Khattab to the mosque on a certain night in Ramadzan, and the people had formed themselves into different groups--one man saying prayer alone and another saying prayers with a number of people following his prayer. So `Umar said, I think if I gather them together behind one reciter it would be much better. Then he made his decision and gathered them together behind Ubayy ibn Ka`b. Then I went out with him on another night and the people were following the prayer of their reciter. `Umar said, This innovation is very good; and the part (of the night) in which they sleep is better than that in which they stand saying prayers--he meant the latter part of the night; and the people stood praying in the first part.5 (B. 31 : 1.)

5 The prayer spoken of in this hadith is the Tarawih prayer said in Ramadzan. The Holy Qur'an is recited in this prayer, from the beginning, in such portions that the whole is finished by the end of the month. It is apparent from this hadith that no such prayer was said by the Holy Prophet. A reference to H. viii : 15 would show that when the Holy Prophet was in a state of i`tikaf in the month of Ramadzan, some people joined him when they saw him saying the tahajjud prayer; and thus, tahajjud was on that occasion said in congregation, though the Holy Prophet never meant it. This continued for three days, after which the Holy Prophet intentionally discontinued it.

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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 13: Supererogatory Prayers [Tahajjud, Witr and Tarawih] (Hadith -- The Traditions)

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