Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of
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13: Supererogatory Prayers [Tahajjud, Witr and
Tarawih] (Summary of the
Tahajjud, from hajada meaning he remained wakeful in the night, is the prayer which is offered during the latter part of the night, before daybreak. It is a supererogatory prayer, but special stress is laid on it in the Holy Qur'an (vv. 1, 2). Witr (lit, an odd number), originally a part of the Tahajjud prayer, is a supererogatory prayer of three rak`ahs, generally said after the `Isha' prayer. Tarawih (pl. of tarwihah meaning rest) is a supererogatory prayer of eight or twenty rak`ahs said during the month of Ramadzan immediately after the `Isha' prayer.
The Tahajjud prayer is said, after one has enjoyed sleep, during the latter third of the night (h. 1). This prayer consists of eleven rak`ahs (h. 2), but may be shortened to nine or seven or even less (hh. 3, 4), there being a break after every two rak`ahs. As all people could not afford to get up in the latter part of the night, three rak`ahs of witr were added to the `Isha' prayer, being the final act of devotion before going to sleep (hh. 5, 6). The last rak`ah of witr was characterised by a special prayer offered before or after ruku`, and called the qunut (h. 7).
The Tarawih prayer really takes the place of Tahajjud, in the case of those who cannot get up for Tahajjud, in the month of Ramadzan. In its present form, it was introduced in the time of `Umar (h. 8).