Q: Recommended Ibadah at the time of Tahajjud
If a person, Alhamdulillah by the Grace of Allah swt, is granted the tawfiq to wake up [for Tahajjud] with the limited time there is for it – I would say that:
Sunnah of the time is:
(Praying) Tahajjud, Istighfaar, Dua
In other words, to offer some Salah, to make Istighfaar and to make dua – these three things have to be done. If a person feels that they have extra time after that then the Mashaikh say that Fajr should not dawn upon a person unless they are in a state of zikr; the moment of dawn should find a person in a state of zikr of Allah swt.
I have read some of the biographies of the Mashaikh that they would wake up offer tahajjud, make istighfaar, make duaa and then do zikr and these are the four things they did. The reason for this is that Allah swt mentions in the Holy Quran that the people who seek the forgiveness of Allah swt at the time of Tahajjud and then Allah swt mentions in Quran Al-Kareem that which has been witnessed at the time of fajar. Some of the mashaikh took from that and they would do tilawat-e-quran at the time of fajr and not prior to that. A person can mix it up that if some night they feel like praying longer and reciting more quran and that may mean that they are able to make less duaa then that is also fine and on other nights they may perhaps not pray so long and make more duaa that is fine.
[QnA Session of CII, Tazkiya talk]