Tahajjud and Dhikr: the two missing components

By Mufti Ahmad Khanpuri
Edited by ‘Abd Allah bin Muhammad al-Afriqui

A summary of an ‘Ulama address by Mufti Ahmad Khanpuri (Allah protect at him) of Jami’ah Islamiyyah Dabhel at Madrasah Talim al-Din, Isipingo Beach on Sunday, 1 Sha’ban 1434; 9 June 2013.

We all take pride in linking ourselves to our akabir (elders) who had laid the foundations of the various dini (religious) works that we are involved in.

However, what is required of us is to see what were the sifat (qualities) that they possessed which enabled them to achieve success and progress. There were two outstanding qualities in their lives that are decreasing in our ‘ulama presently.

The first is the performance of Tahajjud salah (voluntary night prayer). Initially it was the first fardh (obligatory) salah. Study Surat al-Muzzammil (Qur’an, 73) and see the link that it has with the dini work that we are involved in. Who could have been more occupied than Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), yet Allah instructed His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) to spend a minimum of a third (1/3) of the night in Tahajjud salah. It is through this that one will gain energy for the rest of the day.

The hadith speaks of Shaytan tying three knots on the nape of a sleeping person saying to him that he should continue sleeping. Thus, even if our eyes open early we will look at the clock and say to ourselves that there is still plenty of time left, resulting in us not getting the opportunity to perform Tahajjud salah.

It was a common feature in the lives of all the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum), tabi‘in, muhaddithin, and our akabir (rahimahumullah), whether those whom we had seen or those before them. They were punctual on this practice irrespective of whether they were travelling or not.

The second common feature was that of dhikr Allah (remembrance of Allah). This was their spiritual energy. They never left out their daily adhkar and  ma’mulat  (prescribed routine). Mawlana Habib al-Rahman (rahmatullah alayh) who was the vice principal of Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband would daily make 125,000 dhikr of ‘Allah’ despite his busy schedule of seeing to the administration of the madrasah.

In a letter to one of his khulafa’  who was a principal of a madrasah, Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya al-Kandhalawi (rahmatullah alayh) impressed upon him the need to spend at least two and a half hours daily in dhikr and inabat ilallah in order for his madrasah to prosper and progress.

Dhikr Allah will be in the form of one’s ma’mulat , the morning and evening adhkar and du’as, and tilawah (recitation) of the Qur’an. Mawlana Zakariyya al-Kandhalawi would daily recite eight to nine juz’ (parts) in spite of his busy schedule of teaching, mutala’ah and tasnif. Each one of us needs to ask ourselves, how much of the Qur’an do we recite daily.

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