A beginners Guide on how to read Duha, Tahajjud, and Witr prayers.
We live in a world that demands so much from us. We work tirelessly and fatigue our bodies in this pursuit to take care of our families. Taking care of our families is an act of worship alongside many other acts of ibadah. It is important we do not lose ourselves to the Dunya and forget our true purpose, to worship Allah SWT. This can be done in many ways. It is integral to our spiritual health that we follow in the example of the greatest human being to walk the earth, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
One of the ways we can do this is by following the sunnah and worshipping Allah SWT, the way he (SAW) did, to the best of our abilities. The sunnah acts of worship can tragically be neglected and this is depriving the heart of that which benefits it. We must strive to revive and implement the sunnah and this is the best way to ensure we live enriched lives and have empowered communities.
As Muslims, it is important to try and excel in our worship during the month of Ramadan. A good way to do this is to start establishing extra sunnah prayers. The prayers we will focus on are the Duha, Tahajjud prayer, and Witr prayer.
The Duha Prayer
The Duha prayer is classed as a supererogatory prayer that the Prophet Muhammed (SAW) would pray. This prayer is offered anytime between sunrise and Dhuhr prayer. The benefits of praying this prayer are powerful. In a hadith qudsī, Allah SWT says,
"O son of Adam! Pray four rak'ats for me at the beginning of the day, and I shall take care of you for the rest of it" (Tirmidhī)
Anyone who reads four rak’ah of this extra sunnah prayer, Allah will take care of them for the rest of the day. This is powerful as we go through so much in our day, often encountering many obstacles and issues, therefore knowing Allah SWT is with us to aid us can offer a lot of comfort to a believing heart.
For the Duha prayer, you can read either two ra’kahs, four ra’kahs, or eight ra’kahs. The Prophet (SAW) would read up to eight ra’kahs. Praying four ra’kahs is recommended but even offering two ra’kahs is good.
The Tahujjud prayer
“Our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, comes every night down on the nearest Heaven to us when the last third of the night remains, saying: “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?” [Bukhari]
The Tahujjud prayer is the prayer of the night. Ideally, it is offered during the last third of the night, the time before fajr. But it can also be offered anytime throughout the night after Isha. During the last third of the night, Allah SWT descends to the lowest heaven seeking to answer any believer who is worshipping Him.
Praying Tahajjud salah is relatively easy. The hardest part is waking up in the middle of the night but when you remember the reward and closeness in conversing with your Creator whilst most of the creation sleep it can offer comfort to the distressed soul. After you make wudu offer 2 ra’kahs of sunnah prayer. You can pray as many ra’kahs as you want in intervals of 2. You will finish your Tahajjud by ending it with Witr salah.
The last third of the night is a very blessed time. Since we are already waking up early to fast, try waking up a few minutes earlier and your Tahajjud salah.
The Witr Prayer
"The Witr prayer is offered in units of two raka'at. If you fear that dawn is near, conclude with a single rak'ah so the night prayer will be of an odd number." (Bukhari)
The Witr prayer is the last prayer of the night. It can be offered any time after Isha and before Fajr. hence why if you plan on praying Tahajjud you will wait to pray your Witr prayer after finishing your Tahajjud salah. Even though this is an extra prayer the Prophet (PBUH) would never leave it, even when he was traveling.
The Witr Salah is done by praying two rak’ahs and then praying one single ra’kah. You can pray up to eight rak’ah, and then end it with one single rak’ah. Praying 3, 5, 7, and 9 ra’kah for witr salat is permissible. Another (Hanafi) method of praying this extra prayer is by praying three rak’ahs and then in the third ra’kah after reciting the surah, raise your hands in supplication, and recite Dua Qu’noot.
Getting into the habit of praying your extra sunnah prayers can be challenging at first, but with patience and perseverance; By consistently performing these prayers, it will be ingrained within us and become the fibre of our being.
Below are a few tips to help you get into the practice of performing these extra prayers.
Tips on how to establish the prayers:
- Seek Help from Allah- Before starting any new endeavours be sure to seek the help of Allah SWT. He is the one who can guide you and help you attain closeness to Him.
- Create a Buddy System- Try finding someone who will start this journey with you. By having the support of a friend or family member it will become easier to fight your nafs and perform these extra prayers.
- Start Small:
“Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little” [Bukhari].
The most beloved deeds to Allah SWT are the small deeds that are done consistently. Try finding the prayer that is the easiest to do and perform them consistently. It is more beloved to Allah than praying all three at once and then giving up shortly after from being overwhelmed. Remember that consistency and patience praying the supererogatory prayers will develop into a habit and constantly reflecting on their virtues will enhance the experience and help solidify your intention.
May Allah SWT allow us to do that which pleases Him and make it easy for us to excel in the fardh and sunnah acts of worship. Ameen.