Tahajjud (Arabic for: optional late night prayer) does not entail a specific number of rakaahs (units of prayer) that must be performed.
Nor is there any maximum limit that may be performed.
It would be fulfilled even if one prayed just one rakaah of witr after Isha.
Samurah ibn Jundub (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
The Messenger of Allah ordered us to pray during the night, a little or a lot, and to make the last of the prayer the witr prayer. (At-Tabarani and Al-Bazzar)
One way of performing Tahajjud prayer is to offer 2, 4, 6 or 8 rakaahs followed by 1 witr rakaah.
When to Perform Tahajjud
Tahajjud is often performed after sleeping for some time.
The best time to perform it is the last third portion of the night.
Yet, Tahajjud may be performed in any part of the night after performing Isha prayer.
Tahajjud is preferably offered after midnight, but before Fajr.
It is best to delay this Prayer to the last third of the night. Abu Hurairah quoted the Messenger of Allah as saying:
Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring: ‘Who will call on Me so that I may respond to him? Who is asking something of Me so I may give it to him? Who is asking for My forgiveness so I may forgive him?’ (agreed upon)
What is Qiyam Al-Layl?
The expression “Qiyam Al-Layl” is derived from the Quran for what is also known as Tahajjud prayer.
I hope this helps answer your questions.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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