Tahajjud – The Night Vigil Prayer, Qiyam-ul-Layl

The writer, Alhaj Murtaza Somji (Nairobi, Kenya) is the Director of Eyestyle Opticians and and someone who has held many diverse roles in community service.

Harnessing Inner Energy

Bi-ismihi-Taa’la – The creator of the Heavens and Earth & the Quasars [the most distant Galaxies]

A gainful opportunity to tap into the boundless virtues the Almighty Lord has bestowed upon mankind; is to understand the value of The Night Vigil Prayer and to actualize its vast plethora of blessings. And what best way to do it than to optimize this power-capsule by gently snuggling into the realm of the All-powerful, appreciate HIS Majestic Grandeur and seek proximity to HIM through Munajaat.

Munajaat [derived from Najaa – To whisper] is a medium whereby one does not need to speak loudly for HIM to listen.  The Holy Qur’an clearly proclaims in Sura-e-Qaf:  50:15: “Indeed we have created Man, we know our creation, we know the whispers of his soul. And we are closer to him than his jugular vein.”

Tahajjud [Keeping Vigil] – is a voluntary prayer; usually offered for an extra virtue. It heightens the attainment of mental strength and inner peace. It is also known to grant patience in the face of adversity, avert acts of sin and bring peace to the distressed heart. Furthermore, it creates proximity with your Lord and insulates the person against evil. This unique form of worship, elevates us spiritually, empowers us to demystify the perceived challenges, detach ourselves from the world and tread on a journey of humility and contentment.

The Almighty Lord exemplifies this virtue by passionately proclaiming its significance in the Holy scripture: “And from [part of] the night, pray with it as additional [worship] for you; it is expected that your Lord will resurrect you to a praised station” (Qur’an 17:79]

The illuminating lamp of this prayer is that it is performed deep into the stillness of the night, whereby it is a conversation between the humble you and the most powerful HIM. It befits then to appreciate that it is offered in isolation, with pin-point focus and a pure and divine intention; just for the pleasure of the Exalted Allah – The Almighty.

From a scientific view-point, I would like to describe it as ‘Mindful Whispers’. Psychologists have termed this phenomenon as a doorway to spiritual elevation, a clean connection between Abd & Ma’bood and a breakaway channel from the noises in our brain, the disturbance and distractions of life’s stresses. Being at one with the Almighty assists in relaxation, decreases the heart rate and stimulates the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus [the part of the brain that handles learning, memory & emotions.] It is a beautiful opportunity to unplug ourselves from the World thus; helping us manage emotional storms by improving our ability to comprehend the challenges at hand. They recommend getting up “before you can hear the sounds of the birds – which is before dawn. The absolute silence and stillness work significantly on our systems and quieten the synapses in our brain from working and firing on a constant basis.  And yes, it is a straight booster shot to enhancing our Faith.

Islam has created this guide beacon of merits and benefits for us to be able to communicate in silence with our Lord, away from the clatter and chatter, ready to be encapsulated in the domain of Divinity. Although recommending a top treasure of 11 units, it has also made the process easier by simplifying whatever we can offer, even if it is only one last unit of Witr. The literal meaning of Witr is ‘Chord of a Circle”. This chord allows us to complete the circle and create a worship-balance. Magrib salaat, offered at sunset (beginning of the night) has an un-paired (odd) number of raka’ats. By offering the odd raka’at of Witr as the last prayer of the night, a chord is created by pairing these two unpaired raka’ats of Magrib and Witr.

The bottom line however is the quality of prayer rather than the quantity. It is imperative to be hygienically clean and in a concentrated state of meditation. Connecting with the Almighty and beseeching him through a silent prayer, standing humbly infront of HIS great power and  magnificence, glorifying HIM, offering Gratitude and pleading for forgiveness with the absolute Ma’refah of HIS Mercy, having confidence in HIS pardon and speaking the words with purity and humility will bring about meaningful results and rewards, thus making us into better human beings.

The Holy month of Mahe Ramadhan provides an opportune opportunity for us to meet our purpose in this Holy Month of Barakah and abundance. Mankind has been offered this rare and precious prospect of harnessing inner energy by indulging in deep conversations with the provider and a well-timed leeway to shed the stress levels to an unprecedented low.

It is my prayer that the Lord Almighty guide us in achieving the above focus whilst offering our prayers prayerfully. Let Peace enfold the entire world and make it easy for those who are suffering the most. Let us make a purposeful effort by not forgetting their misery and plead for their salvation in our daily supplications.

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About the author

Born in Tanga in 1959 in a humble family background, Alhaj Murtaza Somji studied at the Minto Ophthalmic Hospital in Bangalore, India to qualify as an Ophthalmic Optician. He then worked in Dubai as a senior optometrist for three years and finally settled in Kenya in 1989. He established his optical practice in Westlands –an upmarket suburb of Nairobi and has been operating as Eyestyle Opticians Limited since then.

Community service had been ingrained in his life from childhood as he regularly volunteered for Tanga Jamaat during his young age. After migrating to Nairobi and studying the Nairobi Jamaat dynamics, he assumed Governorship of the Golden Crescent Group in 1996. This led to bigger opportunities and he rose to the position of assistant Hon. Secretary of the Jamaat and then on to the post of the Hon. Secretary and finally served as the Chairman of SAAJ from 2004 to 2008. Prior to that he had taken up posts in the AF Sports Festival organizing committee, Africa Federation Education Board, Hon. Secretary - Nairobi Jaffery Education Board and more recently as a Board Member of a local NGO CHEPs. He has also had the honor of serving as the Hon. Trustee of Nairobi Jamaat, committee member of Housing Project Committee Nairobi and finally as the Chairman of the Nairobi Jaffery Education Board.

Murtaza Somji has also had the prestigious honor of serving the Ahlulbayt through his renditions of Manqabat, Naath and Merthiyas and continues to contribute to the general good of the Community at large.

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