Any Difference Between Tahajjud and Qiyam Prayers?

29 January, 2019
Q Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. Is there a difference between Tahajjud Prayer and Qiyam (or Qiyam al-Layl) Prayer? I heard that they are identical. Is this true? Jazakum Allah khayran.

Answer

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

Qiyam and Tahajjud Prayers are the same prayer with different names. Tahajjud is prayer after sleeping, while Qiyam refers to spending the night in worship in general, whether it is Prayer or any other form of worship.


Qiyam and Tahajjud Prayers are the same prayer with different names. Tahajjud and Qiyam are the same thing, namely optional night prayer.

However, the only difference appears when these two names are used during Ramadan. The prayer after Isha Prayer is referred to as Qiyam (or, more commonly, Tarawih), while spending the night in worship (after some sleep) is called Tahajjud.

Both names have been used in the Quran. Referring to Qiyam, the Quran uses the phrase qum al-layl when Almighty Allah says: {O you who wraps himself [in clothing], arise [to pray] the night, except for a little – half of it – or subtract from it a little or add to it, and recite the Quran with measured recitation.} (Al-Muzzammil 73:1-4)

Using the verb fatahajjad, a derivative from the root hajada (meaning to keep vigil), Allah says: {And some part of the night awake for it (fatahajjad), a largess for thee. It may be that thy Lord will raise thee to a praised estate.} (Al-Isra 17:79)

This last verse means to get up and perform Tahajjud PrayerTahajjud refers to getting up after sleeping and performing optional night prayer. Since this optional night prayer is most probably performed after sleeping for some time, it is named Tahajjud, though the original name of night prayer is Qiyam, which literally means standing.

It is also said that Tahajjud is prayer after sleeping, while Qiyam refers to spending the night in worship in general, whether it is Prayer or any other form of worship.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.