How the Tahajjudh (midnight) prayer---compulsory in Muhammad's time, not today---was designed to keep Muslims awake through the whole night for ensuring the safety of Muhammad!


Tahajjud prayer (midnight prayer) was imposed on us Muslims during the time of Muhammad for some important reasons. There is no fixed time to offer this mid-night prayer. This prayer can be said at any time at our home or in mosque from midnight until pre-dawn Fajr prayer.

What was the need of this prayer?

Why there is no fixed time to perform this prayer?

Who benefited from this mid-night prayer?

The answer to these critical questions is very simple. This prayer was designed to ensure Muhammad’s security throughout the night, because after saying the late-night Ishaa prayer his mosque, his followers would have waited for saying the Tahajjudh prayer, while Muhammad could go sleep happily with his wives. And even if his followers went back and said the prayer at home, that would still keep them awake at the dead of night and keep them ready to come to Muhammad’s rescue quickly if his victims attempted a revenge-attack on him at the dead of night.


Every Muslim knows about the prayer called ‘TAHAJJUD’, which is not obligatory anymore. According to today’s standards, those who want to grab enormous rewards from Allah can offer this prayer. Set at a time when every body would love to be in deep sleep, it is naturally not popular among the Muslim masses. Hence, it is not an obligatory prayer anymore, although one can offer it at midnight if he/she chooses. At present, it is practiced more by the retired elders, who need not rush to work early in the morning, and also by a few ‘lunatic’ young Muslims. The question is: What is the need of ‘tahajjud’ prayer? Why had Muhammad imposed this torturous and painful prayer upon us?

Apart from the “surprise raids” on non-Muslim settlements and caravans for looting purposes, Muhammad eliminated the eminent and poets, who understood his real motives, and tried to expose the falsity of his doctrines. Muhammad never allowed anybody to speak against him. So he appointed his thugs to assassin them secretly at the dead of night.


KILLING OF JEWISH POETESS ASMA BINT MARWAAN: Angered by Muhammad’s violent activities, Asma bint Marwan wrote a poem addressing the people of Aus and Khazraj tribes of Medina, who had invited Muhammad there: ‘You obey a stranger who encourages you to murder for booty. You are greedy men. Is there no honor among you?’

In the poem, she also wished that some could put an end to Muhammad. Upon hearing of what Asma had written, Muhammad said: ‘Will no one rid me of this woman?

Umayr, a zealous Muslim convert from Asma tribe, decided to fulfill the Prophet’s wishes.

That very night he crept into the Asma’s house while she lay sleeping surrounded by her young children. There was one sleeping on her breast. Umayr carefully removed the suckling baby and then plunged his sword through her chest. The next morning in the mosque, Muhammad, aware of the assassination, said to Umayr: ‘You have helped Allah and His apostle’.

Umayr said, ‘She had five sons; should I feel guilty?

‘No’, the Prophet answered.Killing her was as meaningless as two goats butting heads.’”

(If killing her was so meaningless, then she could not possibly have been a threat to Muhammad. He had her murdered simply because she opposed him.) (Ibn Ishaq, p. 676)


According to Ibn Ishaq,  after Muhammad’s attempt to raid and plunder a Meccan caravan under Abu Sufian’s care, which lead to the Battle of Badr, resulting in a large number of the great men of Mecca, Kaab, the Jewish poet, was devastated. He considered those Meccan leaders the kings of Arabia, and felt that it was meaningless for him to live after those great men have been killed. So, he wrote poems disparaging Muhammad and encouraged the Meccans to take revenge. So, Muhammad ordered his assassination, which was done at night as recorded by Ibn Ishaq (p. 368):

Ka'b's body was left prostrate [humbled in submission]. After his fall, all of the Nadir Jews were brought low. Sword in hand we cut him down. By Muhammad's order we were sent secretly by night. Brother killing brother. We lured him to his death with guile [cunning or deviousness]. Traveling by night, bold as lions, we went into his home. We made him taste death with our deadly swords. We sought victory for the religion of the Prophet.

OTHER KILLINGS: Elsewhere Ibn Ishaq report (p. 434):

Amr and an Ansari waited until they were asleep. Then Amr killed them, thinking that he had taken vengeance for the Muslims who had been slain. When he came to the Messenger, he told him what had happened. The Prophet said, ‘You have killed men for whom I shall have to pay blood-money.'

On Muhammad’s permission to killing his opponents at night-time surprise attack, Sahih Al-Bukhari 4:256 says:

The Prophet passed by and was asked whether it was permissible to attack infidels at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, Their women and children are from them.


According to the demand of the situation, Muhammad ‘brought down’ the revelations on night prayers. We have seen that there is not a single verse in the Quran on ‘Five Time Prayers’. Yet, the Quran contains many verses on emphasizing on midnight prayers. This reveals how badly our cowardly prophet feared for his life.

“Stand (to pray) by night but not all night.” (Quran 73:2)

Since Tahajjudh prayer has to be said individually, not in congregation, it compels the member of a family awake throughout the night as they will have to say the prayer in shifts. For example, after first member of family wake up at midnight and say the prayer, he/she will awake the next member of the family before going to sleep, and this may go on until dawn if the family is large. Since most Muslims in Medina lived in surrounding houses to that of Muhammad’s house and one or more members of each family had to stay awake throughout the night because of the Tahajjudh prayer, Muhammad’s security was guaranteed for the whole night.

“Half of it or a little less.” (Quran 73:3)

“Or a little more; and recite the Qur'an in slow measured rhythmic tones”. (Quran 73:4)

“Soon shall We send down to thee a weighty Message.” (Quran 73:5)

“Truly the rising by night is most potent for governing (the soul) and most suitable for (framing) the Word (of Prayer and Praise)”. (Quran 73:6)

“But keep in remembrance the name of the Lord and devote thyself to Him wholeheartedly.”  (Quran 73:8)

“And part of the night prostrate thyself to Him; and glorify Him a long night through.” (Quran 76:26)

The sole purpose of the above Quranic verses was to ensure Muhammad’s safety and security throughout the entire night. ‘Tahajjudh’ prayer is nothing but a ‘night watchman’ job. In Muhammad’s time, the obligatory five daily prayers were congregational that had to be performed with him at his mosque. But the Tahajjudh prayer was not congregational. Muhammad wanted to have good time with his wives or have pleasant sleeps during good part of the night. At the same time, he wanted to ensure his security. And the Tahajjudh prayer was the best ploy to ensure all of those, so he could engage in chants of ‘Bismillah’, ‘Bismillah’ with his multiple wives while his followers busied themselves saying the Tahajjudh prayer (According to Muhammad, a Muslim man should say ‘Bismillah’ before starting sexual intercourse. (Sahih Al-Bukhari 1:143)


Muhammad wanted one or more family members of his disciples and slaves to stay awake throughout the night, which would ensure his night-long security. So he made the Tahajjudh prayer non-congregational and without fixed time. This ensured that member of the family of his disciples would say the prayer in shifts, one member after another in turns during the night. This system ensured that at least one member from each family remained awake throughout the much of the whole night in every Muslim house. The following hadith makes that crystal clear:

Narrated Abu Uthman: I was a guest of Abu Huraira for seven days. Abu Huraira, his wife and his slaves used to get up and remain awake for one-third of the night by turn. Each would offer the night prayer and then awaken the other. (Sahih Al-Bukhari 7:352).


It was reported from Ikrimah, from Ibn Abbaas: In Sura Al-Muzammil (73), the verse: “Keep vigil at night but a little, a half thereof” (73:2-3) has been abrogated by the following verse which states: “He knows that you are unable to pray the whole night, so He has turned to you (in mercy!). Therefore recite what is easy for you of the Quran.” (73:20) (Abu Dawood 5:1299)

This hadith makes it clear that Muhammad, aka Allah, wanted his disciples to pray through the whole night, but that was impossible. So, Tahajjudh prayer was introduced, which would be said in turns throughout the night, serving the same purpose—i.e. keeping at least one member of each Muslim family awake throughout the night as a defense strategy in case of night-attacks by his victims by copycatting his own tactic. This hadith alone is sufficient to understand the vacuousness of spirituality of Islamic prayers.


The system of prayers that we have today was not the same during Muhammad’s time. My Muslim brethren today never have heard a midnight ‘Adhaan’ for Tahajjudh prayer. But there was a midnight Adhaan during Muhammad’s time. It is still practiced as a ceremony in Allah’s House at Mecca and at Muhammad’s Mosque in Medina. However, this system is not followed anymore anywhere else; it was thrown into trash bin centuries ago. Muslim rulers knew very well about which Sunna of Muhammad to follow and which sunna of Muhammad to throw out the window.

Narrated Abdullah bin Masood: The Prophet said, “The adhan pronounced by Bilaal should not stop you from taking Suhur, for he pronounces the Adhan at night, so that the one offering the late night prayer (Tahajjud) from among you might hurry up and the sleeping from among you might wake up. It does not mean that dawn has started.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1:594-596)

The above three hadiths are enough evidence to prove how cowardly our prophet was? Today, Tahajjud prayer, compulsory in Muhammad’s days, has become a non-obligatory ceremonial prayer offered mostly by the elderly, who has no other job to do.


After the death of Muhammad, there were constant cold as well as violent wars between his companions for snatch power from one another. They killed each other. They didn’t give importance to the system that Muhammad established, even in prayers, because they were well aware about the divinity and authenticity of Islam! The Caliphs changed certain Islamic rituals according to their taste or interest, and the common Muslim just followed. Below are two hadiths that gives clear evidence to changes in prayers after Prophet Muhammad’s death:

  • Narrated Ghailan: Anas said, "I do not find (now-a-days) things as they were (practiced) at the time of the Prophet." Somebody said "The prayer (is as it was.)" Anas said, "Have you not done in the prayer what you have done? Narrated Az-Zuhri that he visited Anas bin Malik at Damascus and found him weeping and asked him why he was weeping. He replied, "I do not know anything which I used to know during the lifetime of Allah's Apostle except this prayer which is being lost (not offered as it should be)." (Sahih Al-Bukhari 1:507)
  • Narrated Salim: I heard Um Ad-Darda' saying, "Abu Ad-Darda' entered the house in an angry mood. I said to him. 'What makes you angry?' He replied, 'By Allah! I do not find the followers of Muhammad doing those good things (which they used to do before) except the offering of congregational prayer." (This happened in the last days of Abu Ad-Darda' during the rule of 'Uthman). (Sahih Al-Bukhari 1:622, 752-754)


Narrated 'Ikrima: I prayed behind a Sheikh at Mecca and he said twenty two Takbirs (during the prayer). I told Ibn 'Abbas that he (i.e. that Sheikh) was foolish. Ibn 'Abbas admonished me and said, "This is the tradition of Abu-l-Qasim (i.e. Muhammad)." (Sahih Al-Bukhari 1:755)


Don’t be surprised by this! Yes, Allah said that in Sura Muzammil, where he emphasized on praying through the night.

We have seen already that Muhammad, as well as the Quran, gave great importance to night-time prayers. But about day-time prayers, Allah has shown confusion by ‘revealing’ contradictory verses. For example, Sura Muzammil, while emphasizing on the midnight Tahajjudh prayer also advise Muslims to busy themselves with worldly activities than praying:

“True there is for thee by day prolonged occupation with ordinary duties.” (Sura Muzammil 73:7)

During day time, when every body was awake, Muhammad knew that chances of attacks by his victims were remote. So, he didn’t felt the need for additional security around him during day hours. So, although he had revealed some verses on the noon prayer, possibly following the praying tradition of the Haniifiya sect, in Sura Muzammil, he tries to deemphasize it.

Today, it is amazing to see how we Muslims have reversed the messages of the Quran. We abrogated several verses of Sura Muzammil on mid-night prayers by not practicing it. On the other hand, we give much importance to day-time prayers, which another verse of Sura Muzammil (73:7) has abrogated or deemphasized. In other words, we are going against Allah’s command by praying during day time.


My fellow Muslim brethren, we Muslims of the 21st century, are unknowingly wasting good chunk of our valuable time by praying 5 times a day for an ‘imaginary’ afterlife, whereas Prophet Muhammad and his 7th-century Jihadi companions prayed for their worldly needs and greeds. While Muhammad prayed to attain power and ensuring his personal security, his clever followers prayed for grabbing a share of the booty obtained from Muhammad plundering venture. Is it not a shame on our part that the illiterate barbarians of the 7th century Arabia are fooling today’s highly educated and intelligent people among us?

Let us explore more about the Friday prayer (Ju’ma), the special Ramadan-month prayer (Taraavih) and the Qiyam Al-Lail prayers in the next part of this article.


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4A | Part 4B | Part 4C

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