A wake-up call once came to me in the dead of a night.
It’s a busy night, it’s that month of the year when Moslems around the world woke up 1 or 2 hours before sunrise to cook and eat sahoor (early breakfast) to prepare themselves for the day’s fasting.
I should be sleeping that night, but I was not, so did my friends. It’s a co-housing place where I stayed at the moment (in Indonesia we called it rumah kos). I and a bunch of my university friends were up all night doing assignment. We decided to eat sahoor together before we could get back to our tasks.
We had to. The deadline was that day’s afternoon. Sleeping was out of choice.
Upon sipping my warm sweet tea and munching my fried rice dish, one of my friends, my best friend at the moment (we don’t talk that much anymore these days), stood up from her chair and said: “Let’s continue our task around 4, I need to do the prayer first.”
You see, there are many kinds of prayer activities in Moslem’s fasting month. Tarawih, Tahajud, Witir, obligatory daily prayer, sunnah rawatib, sunnah muakkad, and many more. It’s said that every good deed, every prayer, every chant and praise for the religion in this particular time of the year, will be rewarded many many times, the chance for a wish to be granted is also said to be bigger, so it’s usual for the Moslems to do extra prayers around this time.
“Which prayer? Tarawih? Haven’t you done that yet? We did it together before, aren’t we?” I asked.
Tahajud is a type of night prayer. Moslem’s great prophet, Muhammad, was said to voluntarily wake up himself around 2 or 3 hours before the sunrise, to do the Tahajud Prayer. People in distress are usually advised to do this type of prayer, so does someone who needs help, someone who wishes for something and need it to be granted, or you can just do it to save more ‘rewards’ in order to extend your chance of going to Heaven (after your death).
But many of the people said that Tahajud can only be done after sleeping. One has to sleep first after the sun sets and wake up before the time of Subuh (one of Moslem’s morning daily prayer), in order for him/her to do the Tahajud prayer.
Many sources also said that it’s okay if you haven’t sleep yet but you just want to do the Tahajud prayer. Some said that if you haven’t sleep yet, then your Tahajud prayer will count as sunnah prayer (extra reward). Others have said that it has to be done before the Witir prayer but after the Tarawih prayer. But nobody said that it could be done in the middle of the day.
So many terms and conditions, so many interpretations, so many sources, I know. Bottom line, because I’m not quite sure about when and how exactly the Tahajud Prayer should be done (to be fair, I’m not that religious of a person) and I usually went with the most popular option in my community: do it after Tarawih, before Witir, after you sleep, before Subuh, and also because I care about my best friend (at the moment), I asked her this question:
“But you haven’t sleep yet. Or are you?”
“So how can you do the Tahajud Prayer? You have to sleep first, right?”
“I’m just going to do it anyway.”
“So we don’t have to sleep before doing it? But my school teacher said that…”
“Yes, I have also heard someone saying that we need to sleep first before Tahajud. But I’m going to do it anyway.”
“Because I believe that God is good.”
That statement silenced me and as my best friend walking towards her room to do her Tahajud prayer, my mind can’t help but wonder:
Said that I (at the time) do believe in the existence of the Moslem’s one and only God, for what purpose do I pray all this time? To get my wish granted by God or to get approval from my peer humans?
Why don’t I ask some more about it? Why don’t I admit it before that I, myself, also feel a bit weirded by the particular rule? Why don’t I follow the breadcrumbs? Why don’t I put more trust in my judgments?
The conversation didn’t take long. It’s just a mere banter between friends about sleep and prayer, but for a reason that I don’t know why (or I don’t want to know about it yet), I can’t seem to forget about it.
A wake-up call once came to me in the dead of the night. This particular wake-up call is the one that I have been sleeping on for years.
Yet, every time the memory of the call came, my sleep is getting shorter minutes after minutes.