|How many rakats in tahajud salah
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
Allah (SWA) in the Holy Qur’an has said, “And during the night, wake up for salah, an additional prayer for you. It is very likely that your Lord places you at a praised station.” (Surah Bani Israeel v.79)
The word “Tahajud” has been derived from Hujud. It means in this context ‘being awake with the Qur’an;” which indicates to a nightly salah called the prayer of tahajud. Speaking generally, the prayer said after waking up from a short sleep is called tahajud. But, according to Tafsir Mazhari, the sense of the verse is no more than sacrificing sleep to make salah during some part of the night. Very similarly, it is also good if one begins by postponing the sleep for tahajud and makes the salah. The condition that one has to sleep before doing the prayer of tahajud is not found in the words used by the Qur’an.
Hasan Basri (RA) says; “the prayer of tahajud holds good for every prayer that is said after Isha and, it will be applied to that which is said after some sleep. (Extracted from Maariful Qur’an p.533 –p.538 v.5)
There are narrations, which prove that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam read 10 rakats for the tahajud prayer. However, the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam’s normal habit was that he would read 8 rakats, hence, it is preferable to read 8. Similarly to pray 2 or 4 rakats is also allowed. (Fatawa Darul Uloom p.304 v.4)
If you are going to delay your witr salah until the last portion of the night you can read the 8 or 10 rakats followed by the witr.
Finally, as the nights are shorter and Fajr salah is early, it will be best to read the tahajud salah after the Isha salah before you go to sleep and read the Fajr salah with congregation in the mosque.
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham.