Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum
Can one pray Tahajjud before going to sleep (after Isha)? Does it include the same reward of praying it after one wakes up in the night?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
It is an established sunna to pray at night.
The night vigil (tahajjud) is a specific form of night prayer (qiyam al-layl) which, linguistically, indicates some form of struggle.
Hence, your prayer is legally the night vigil prayer when performed after sleep, and merely night prayer, otherwise. Both are of great reward, but the former is the way of higher resolve, and the elect.
However, if you are unlikely to awaken at some point in the night, it is obviously far superior to pray before sleeping than to miss out on both as there is precedence in the sunna for this too.
Please also see: Tahajjud Prayer: How To Pray it, When to Pray It and Its Merits
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.