Encouragement to get up during the night
Hadrat Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu) narrated that the Messenger of ALLAH, said, ‘Our Lord who is blessed and exalted descends every night to the lowest heaven when two-thirds of the night have passed and says “Who supplicates Me so that I may answer him? Who asks of Me so that I may give to him? Who asks My forgiveness so that I may forgive him? [Bukhari, Muslim]
Tahajjud Salaah (Layl Salaah).
Hadrat Aishah (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha) narrated that when the Prophet stood up at night to perform Salaah he began his Salaah with two short rakahs. [Muslim]
The above tradition indicates the Prophet’s occupation with Salaah of night and gives an idea of the etiquette of the Salaah at that time.
Hadrat Aishah (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha) narrated that between the time when he finished the night Salaah (Isha Salaah) and the dawn Salaah (Fajr Salaah), the Prophet used to offer eleven rakahs, uttering the salutation (taslim) after every two and observing the Witr (Witar Salaah) with a single one, and during that he would make a prostration about as long as if you would take to recite fifty ayat before raising his head. When the muazzin finished making the call for the dawn Salaah and he saw the dawn clearly, he stood up and prayed two short rakahs (these are the sunan of Fajr Salaah, then lay down on his right side tills the muazzin came to him for the lqamah where upon he would go out. [Bukhari – Muslim]
Hadrat Ghudaif bin al – Haris (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu) is reported to have said: I asked Aishah (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha) whether she had seen ALLAH’s Messenger bathing because of sexual defilement in the early or the latter part of the night and she replied, “He often took bath in the early part of the night and often in the later part.” Thereupon I said, ALLAH is most great. Praise be to ALLAH who has given us latitude in the matter. I then asked whether he observed Witar Salaah in the early or the later part of the night and she replied, “He often observed it in the early part and often in the later part of the night.” Thereupon I said, “ALLAH is most great. Praise be to ALLAH who has given us latitude in the matter. I then asked whether he recited the QURAAN in a loud or in a low voice and she replied, “He often recited it in a loud voice and often in a low voice.” Thereupon I said, ALLAH is most great. Praise be to ALLAH who has given us latitude in the matter” [Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah]
There are varying reports regarding the number of Rakaats which the Prophet used to perform in his Tahajjud Salaah. This variation is due to the reason that the whole thing depended upon the availability of time; if there was more time, he increased the number of Rakaats, if the time was short, he offered a few Rakaats. There was no hard and fast practice with regard to the number of Rakaats. Occasionally, the Prophet would say a few Rakaats even in spite of availability of time, but then he would recite more of the QURAAN in these few Rakaats. [Khasail-e-Nabawi]
Hadrat Aishah (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anh) is narrated to have said that due to old age ALLAH’S Messenger used to recite the Holy QURAAN (in nafl Salaah) while sitting (because he used to recite
more of it) then when about thirty or forty ayat of his recitation remained he stood up and recited while standing. Then he performed ruku, then he went in sajdah (prostrated) and after he did, the same kind of thing in the second Rakaat. [Muslim, Shamail -e- Tirmizi]
In another traditon it has been reported that when the Prophet performed his nafil Salaah while standing, he would perform his ruku in the same posture, but if he said the nafil Salaah while sitting he performed the ruku and sajdah in the same posture. [Shamail-i-Tirmizi]
It has been established that during the holy month of Ramadan, the Prophet used to perform eleven Rakaats of Tahajjud Salaah as he normally did. [Salaah – tarawih being additional]. [Madarijun – Nubuwah]
Hadrat Aishah (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha) narrated in a long tradition that if the Prophet ever missed his tahajjud Salaah on account of old age or pain or illness, he would say tweleve Rakaats in the day (as qada – making up for not having perform the Salaah at the appointed time). [Shamail -i- Tirmizi]