“The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Used to be, in the wee hours of the night, you'll find me snoring away. Even during my student days, I was never the 'burn the midnight oil' kind of person. I need my sleep or I'll turn into this really cranky bear.
When I learned about night prayers i.e. tahajjud, the first thing that came to mind was, impossible!
"And from [part of] the night, pray with it as additional [worship] for you; it is expected that your Lord will resurrect you to a praised station."
Surah Al-Isra', 17:79
Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him, his family, and companions) said, “The best prayer after the obligatory prayers is the night prayer.” [Muslim]
Still....wanting to be better, I tried. More often than not, I failed. I just could't get up at 3 am. Then, I read that one of the companions of the Prophet pbuh had missed his night prayer and he had said that the reason he was prevented from waking up was because of his sins. Eerrkkk! I must have mountainous of sins if I'm not able to wake up at all. Seriously? Am I that bad?
So, feeling rather upset, I spoke to the Wise Owl about my predicament. Surely I can't be all bad and surely there must be a way for me to wake up for tahajjud.
The Wise Owl said to me that everything starts with intention. I must truly wanting to wake up for Him then only it can happen. Plus, I must sleep early so that I get enough rest. If I really want to wake up so bad, then it will happen.
"Allah's Messenger said that Allah said: He who comes with a good deed, its reward will be ten like that or even more. And he who comes with vice, his reward will be only one like that, or I can forgive him. He who draws close to Me a hand's span, I will draw close to him an arm's length. And whoever draws near Me an arm's length, I will draw near him a fathom's length. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will go to him running. And whoever faces Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, I will meet him with forgiveness nearly as great as that, provided he does not worship something with me. (This Hadith is sound and reported by Muslim, Ibn Majah and Ahmad in his Musnad). Another prophetic tradition says: (He who met Allah associating anything with Him, will enter Hell)"
Night prayer is a special time between God and His creation. To some, it's like a lovers' tryst where everything else ceased to exist except you and Him.
"Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “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?”
[ Bukhari and Muslim.]
Now, in this holy month of Ramadhan is the best time to pray tahajjud. If you have never tried, try at least once. I can tell you, it's an experience that you'll unlikely forget. If you can't wake at 3 am then just wake up 30 minutes before fajr prayers. During Ramadhan it should be easier since you're waking for sahur.
I still do have my lapse days where I sleep like the dead till morning but I would like to think that it was due to pure exhaustion rather than sins. Ok...maybe some days it was sins but keep trying I must.....