Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Asalam aleikum,
Would it be more rewarding to wake up to wake up a little earlier than the time of fajr and pray the night vigil prayer, or would it be better to just wake up for the fajr prayer and attend the congregation at the mosque?
I know it would be ideal to do both but it is difficult for me.
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
The night vigil (tahajjud) prayer is a voluntary prayer preceded by sleep. [see: Tahajjud Prayer: How To Pray it, When to Pray It and Its Merits]
The best thing to do is to pray the tahajjud prayer and pray Fajr in congregation. However, if this is not possible, praying Fajr in congregation takes precedence.
Consider either waking up somewhat earlier in the night to pray tahajjud and then returning to sleep to arise for Fajr, or having a small nap at some point after Maghrib, and then praying some cycles of night prayer after your `Isha prayer.
That which cannot be completed fully should not be entirely left. Do the best you can and remember that you will be rewarded for your intention; but the one who does is not like the one who merely intended.
And Allah alone gives success.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.