بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Tahajjud Salah in Saudi Arabia

During the holy month of Ramadan, Tahajjud Salah is offered in congregation after mid night in every mosque of Saudi Arabia. Twenty Rak’ahs of Travih are performed in congregation in Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah) and Al-Masjid Al-Nabvi (at Madinah) immediately after Isha Salah. At midnight, eight Rak’ahs of Tahajjud followed by three Rak’ahs of Witr are performed. In other mosques, eight Rak’ahs of Taravih are observed immediately after Isha Salah in congregation, but eight Rak’ahs of Tahajjud followed by three Rak’ahs of Witr are performed at midnight in congregation. However, the number of Rak’ahs may vary from mosque to mosque, though generally it is eight. According to the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH), Surah Al-A’la, Surah Al-Kafirun and Surah Al-Ikhlasare generally recited respectively in the first, second and third Rak’ahs.

I have, in some of my earlier articles, proved in the light of numerous evidences from the Shari’ah that the Tarawih and Tahajjud are two separate salahs. To make things shorter, I would like to present only three evidences in this article. The Tahajjud Salah began right in the beginning of the Makkan period, while the Tarawih was introduced in the second year after Hijrahto Madinah after the obligation of fast was introduced. The Tahajjud Salah was initiated by the order of Allah, while the Tarawih Salah began by the act of the Prophet (PBUH), as it has been made clear in the ahadith. The scholars have written that the Tahajjud Salah was obligatory upon Muslims before the five daily prayers were made obligatory, while it remained obligatory for the Prophet (PBUH) for his entire life. In Surah Al-Muzzammil (which was revealed in Makkan period), Allah the Exalted states that the Prophet (PBUH) offers the Tahajjud Salahsometimes for half of the night, or two third of the night or one third of the night. Imam Bukhari has made two separate chapters in his renowned collection of hadiths called Sahih Bukhari; one is related to Tahajjud Salah, while another is related to Tarawih Salah. There was obviously no need to make two different chapters in the book, if both the prayers were just one. Imam Bukhari has put the hadith of Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) under the category of Tahajjud Salah, which indicates that this hadith, according to him, is related to Tahajjud Salah. The Tahajjud Salah is offered after the Tarawih Salah in the last ten days of Ramadan in Al-Masjid Al-Haram, Al-Masjid Al-Nabawi and other mosques across Saudi Arabia, which makes it amply clear that the Arab scholars too practically consider these two salahs as two separate prayers; else there was no need to offer them separately.

It is evidently clear from the Holy Qur’an and ahadith that the Tahajjud Salah which is offered during the whole year is merely Nafl, although this salah is most emphasized in the Qur’an after the Fard(salah. This salah should be offered individually instead of congregation, because the Prophet (PBUH) and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) never held congregation for this salah. However, certain incidents are reported whenthe Prophet (PBUH) was offering the Tahajjud Salah individually, some Companions (may Allah be pleased with him) stood behind him to join him in the prayer. But they could not continue with him, as the two Rak’ahs of the Prophet (PBUH) would last nearly for two hours. It is however clear that the Prophet (PBUH) did not stop them, which proves that the Prophet (PBUH) led the Tahajjud Salah in congregation. But holding the congregation of Tahajjud Salah in every mosque at a fixed time can be differed.

In short, the actions and statements of the Prophet (PBUH) clearly prove that the Tahajjud Salah offered during the whole year is an individual salah. Although it is Nafl prayer, yetit can be offered in congregation too. But holding the congregation of Tahajjud Salah in every mosque at a fixed timing is disputed.The trend of considering the Tahajjud Salah in congregation as Bid’ah in the sub-continent of India and as Sunnah in Saudi Arabia is also not fine. Since people hold congregation of Tahajjud Salah owing to the surroundings, I opine that those who want to do have the scope, although offering the Tahajjud Salah individually at home is betterand more virtuous according to the actions of the Prophet (PBUH).

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (