Tahajjud: or the Night Prayer

Q638 :Could you please give clear ideas about night prayer and its timings, maximum and minimum number of rak'ahs and the method of offering them.

A638 : Night worship, or 'tahajjud', is a voluntary prayer which may be offered at any time during the night, after one has offered the obligatory prayer of Isha', and before offering dawn prayer, or Fajr. However, the latter part of the night is preferable for this prayer. It can be offered any night, and one may pray short or long rak'ahs, as one wishes. If he is praying in congregation, it is recommended to the imam to make sure that everyone in the congregation is willing to have long rak'ahs, before he starts. If one is offering night worship, or tahajjud, he is recommended to finish it with witr. The minimum number of rak'ah of tahajjud are two, excluding witer, and there is no maximum. However, it is authentically reported that the maximum number of rak'ahs the Prophet offered on any one night was eleven, including witr. It is suggested that the maximum he offered was thirteen. One may recite the Qur'an loudly or may read it privately in tahajjud. It is preferable to recite loudly if he is alone or if he is in congregation, or if there are people near him who would like to listen to, or may benefit by his recitation. On the other had, if there is someone close to him who is doing his own night worship, or someone who is asleep and may be disturbed, then it is preferable to read the Qur'an privately.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )