Yes, start writing out what you want to ask from your Rabb. Write what you want in this dunya and aakhira. When you write you are also able to know what you want. It makes it easier for you to supplicate. As you are preparing your dua list, you can incorporate the names of Allah with your request. Nothing is too big for Allah to grant. Nothing is impossible for Him. Don’t ask for the impossible and haram too. “And your Lord said: “Invoke Me [i.e. believe in My Oneness (Islamic Monotheism) and ask Me for anything] I will respond to your (invocation)” (Qur’an 40:60)
Dua is very important in Islam, so much so that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Dua’ is worship.” [Tirmidhi, 3372; Abu Dawood, 1479]
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When you write it is easier for you to supplicate. As you look at your journal frequently it gets registered in your brain. Don’t wait for Lailatul Qadr to ask. Write what you want. You have a Lord that loves to be asked, so ASK!!! Try to make your request during the blessed period.
Ensure your list is paired with these 3 elements.
Conviction. A level of conviction that Allah ﷻ is listening. He is As Sameer (The All Hearing) Al Aleem (The All Knowing) So ask wholeheartedly. The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Make dua to Allah whilst you are certain of a response, because Allah does not accept a dua from a heedless heart’ (Tirmidhi)
Sincerity- Ikhlas. Believing that Allah ﷻ is the only one who can help and you won’t turn your hand of need to anyone but Him.
Trust. Trust that Allah ﷻ will respond to your dua’s, the way you don’t rely on your own abilities. Do not be impatient. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said ‘The dua of everyone of you is accepted as long as he does not grow impatient and says : ‘I made dua but it was not accepted’” (Muslim)
The Prophet ﷺ informs us: the best Salat after the prescribed Salat is Salat at night.” [Muslim]. (Paraphrased) so, performing Salah at night is highly meritorious!
One of the characteristics of the righteous is that “They used to sleep but little by night [invoking their Rabb (Allah) and praying, with fear and hope].” “And in the hours before dawn they would ask for forgiveness” (Qur’an 51:17-18)
Mother Aishah raḍyAllāhu ‘anha reported: The Prophet ﷺ kept standing (in prayer) so long that the skin of his feet would crack. I asked him: “Why do you do this, while you have been forgiven of your former and latter sins?” He said, “Should I not be a grateful slave of Allah?” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. From this we see that engaging in Tahajjud is a means for us to express gratitude to Allah ﷻ.
The Prophet ﷺ way of performing Tahajjud
Mother Aishah raḍyAllāhu ‘anha reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to perform eleven Rak’ah (of Tahajjud) prayers at night. He ﷺ would prostrate so long as one of you might recite fifty Ayat (of the Qur’an). Thereafter, he would perform two Rak’ah before Fajr prayers and would lie down on his right side till the Mu’adhdhin would come and inform him about the time of (Fajr) prayer. [Al-Bukhari]. Etiquette of making dua comes up here. As there is a greater possibility of acceptance of prayer which is made in a state of prostration.
A blessed time to make dua. – Abu Huraira reported رضي الله عنه said: The Messenger of Allah, ﷺ said, “Our Lord Almighty descends to the lowest heaven in the last third of every night, saying: Who is calling upon Me that I may answer him? Who is asking from Me that I may give him? Who is seeking My forgiveness that I may forgive him?” [Bukhari and Muslim] A blessed time to speak to Allah ﷻ. We are all in need. We all have something to request from Allah ﷻ. So, we should make the best of this time to ask!
Besides, setting this routine will equally prepare you to wake up for Sahur. There is benefit in eating Sahur, so don’t lose out on it. Anas رضي الله عنه reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Eat Suhur (predawn meal). Surely, there is a blessing in Suhur.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
‘Amr bin Al-‘As رضي الله عنه reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The difference between our observance of Saum (fasting) and that of the people of the Scriptures is Suhur (predawn meal in Ramadan).” [Muslim]. We learn from this Hadith that Suhur is a distinctive mark with which Allah has blessed the Muslim Ummah.
How to wake up for Tahajjud.
Be sincere on why you want to wake up.
Supplicate to Allah.
Have power naps it can be as little as 20 minutes.
Drink water before going to bed.
Don’t eat till late so your stomach is not heavy.
Perform wudu before you sleep.
Have an accountability partner: If you live with someone ask them to wake you up.
Consider delaying your Witr to Tahajjud time.
Start waking up now don’t wait till Ramadan.
Some Hadith on the excellence of Tahajjud
Salah Salim bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab رضي الله عنه reported, on the authority of his father, that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “What an excellent man ‘Abdullah is! If only he could perform optional prayers at night.” Salim said that after this, (his father) ‘Abdullah slept very little at night. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As رضي الله عنه reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said to me, “Do not be like so-and-so O ‘Abdullah! He used to pray during the night, then stopped the practice.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
A means to Jannah– ‘Abdullah bin Salam رضي الله عنه reported: The Prophet ﷺ said, “O people, promote the greetings, feed (the poor and needy) and perform Salat when others are asleep so that you will enter Jannah safely.” [At-Tirmidhi].
Commentary: This Hadith has glad tidings for those who enthusiastically do all the good works mentioned in this Hadith. “Enter Jannah in peace” here means that they will enter Jannah without suffering any punishment in Hell.
“Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship.” (Qur’an, 2:185)
Allah ﷻ has given us the gift of ease in every step of this beautiful religion. Let’s have a look at one vital example. A condition of Salah is that a person performs wudu (ablution). Now we know that Tayammum is an option in some circumstances. How did tayammum come as an alternative?
During the time of the Prophet ﷺ, He ﷺ went on an expedition with his beloved wife Aisha رضي الله عنهما realised her necklace was missing and told the Prophet ﷺ about it. The Prophet ﷺ relieved her and stopped the entire army. They all began to search for the necklace and night fell upon them still searching. They waited in that place till morning. However, the companions complained to her father, Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه, that his daughter made them stop in a water-less place and were wondering how they would perform ablution for Fajr. Side note: We see here that they were not complaining about waiting, but due to the inability to fulfil a command of Allah.
Fajr time came and the companions panicked and were worried about how they’ll fulfill their salah. Then the verses of Tayammum was revealed:
“O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favour upon you that you may be grateful.”(5:6)
The ending of the above verse emphasizes that Allah ﷻ made this religion one of ease. Abu Huraira رضي الله عنه, reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, the religion is easy, and no one burdens himself in religion but that it overwhelms him. Follow the right course, seek closeness to Allah, give glad tidings, and seek help for worship in the morning and evening and a part of the night.” (Bukhari 39)
From the ease of the religion is in obligatory worship: we pray 5 times a day, yet they are equal to 50 in reward. We fast compulsory during Ramadan with the reward for fasting an entire year (with Shawwal added.) Despite the obligation of fasting, the ills and travellers have concession to repay it later so as not to inconvenience them. Giving Zakah is only 2.5% and is only compulsory for those who are able, and Hajj for people able to have sufficient means and capability to make the journey. From this we see that the obligations in Islam are easy and achievable. Allah ﷻ does not overburden us in fulfilling His commands.
This is not to say we should not strive to do more Ibadah, but we should maintain and try to perfect the minimum before increasing our acts of Ibadah. ‘Indeed, you will not attain this matter (Islam) with exaggeration, and the best of your religion is ease.’ (Musnad Imam Ahmed) Therefore, do not thread the part of exaggeration so as not to wear yourself out, as the most beloved deeds to Allah are those done consistently even if they are little.
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Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه, reported: The Messenger of Allah, ﷺ said, “O people, beware of exaggeration in religion, for those who came before you were ruined by exaggeration in religion.” (Ibn Majah 3029)
Seek a balanced way and fulfill the obligation as the way to exerting what we do as the way to come closer to Allah ﷻ is through what He has obligated upon us. “My servant does not grow closer to me with anything more beloved to me than the duties I have imposed upon him. My servant continues to grow closer to me with extra good works until I love him…” (Bukhāri 6137)
In addition to the above verses there are various ahadith that are in line with ease in Islam.
The extraction below is adapted from the book: The Journey to Allah by Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali
“Some examples of the ease that resulted through his ﷺ blessings is that the one who prays Isha in congregation, it is as if he has prayed half the night, and the one who prays Fajr in congregation, it is as if he has prayed the whole night. Hence, the night prayer is recorded for him while he lies asleep on his bed, and more so if he goes to sleep in a state of purity and remains in the remembrance of Allah until his eyes close.
Whoever fasts three days of every month it is as if he has fasted the whole month [Bukhari 3418 and Muslim 1159/2729]. Hence he is regarded to be fasting the remaining days of the month in the record of Allah even though he is eating and the one who is eating and grateful has the reward of the one who is patiently fasting.” [Tirmidhi 2486 and Ibn Majah 1765]
Whoever has the intention of waking up to pray by night but is overcome by sleep will have the reward of the night prayer recorded for him and that sleep of his would be a charity from Allah. [Abu Dawud 1314 and ibn Majah 1344]
Abu’l-Darda’ said, ‘Excellent indeed is the sleep of the intelligent and their breaking of fast! Look how they outstrip the night vigil and the fasting of the obtuse! [Abu Nu’aym, vol. 1, p. 211.] It is for this reason that the authentic hadith mentions, “It is well possible that one who prays by night gets nothing from it save weariness and a person fasting gets nothing from it, save hunger and thirst.” Recorded by Tabarani and Ahmad.”
It is vital to always have it at the back of our minds that Allah has simplified Islam for so there’s no need to over complicate it. May Allah ﷻ enable us to be consistent in our acts of Ibadah, Amin.
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