The mis-interpretation of 17:79


You shall observe the Salat from the duluk (decline from highest point) of the sun until the darkness of the night, also the Quran at dawn; the Quran at dawn is witnessed.
And during the night, 'tahajjad bihi' (meditate with it) for your own benefit and perhaps your Lord may raise you to a praiseworthy position. 17:78-79

Some interpreters have misinterpreted the word "tahajjad" in 17:79 to claim that this word speaks of a Salat which they gave the name 'Tahajjud Salat'. They add that this Salat is to be observed in the late night hours!

The first thing we notice when we try to verify this claim, is that the subject of 17:79 is not the Salat, nor is the word Salat mentioned anywhere in this verse.
The Salat is indeed the subject of the opening words in 17:78, however, the subject changes in 17:78 with the words "also the Quran at dawn; the Quran at dawn is witnessed."

The last words in 17:78 speak about the reading of the Quran and that the reading of the Quran at dawn is witnessed. The words continue in verse 79 to say that we sho
uld do tahajjud (reflect/meditate) with the Quran during the night. Here we must pay very close attention to the Arabic words "tahajjad bihi" (meditate with it). The word "it" refers to the Quran, which is the subject carried forward from the last words in 17:78. The word "it" does not refer to the Salat. The Arabic word "bihi" (with it) is masculine. This is because the word Quran is masculine. In contrast, the word Salat is feminine. If the subject was the Salat, the Arabic word to use would have been 'biha'.

It is thus incorrect to interpret these words to be speaking about a Salat when the subject is clearly the reading of the Quran and reflecting on its meaning. W
henever God speaks about the Salat, God always mentions the word Salat.
The only named Salat in the Quran are:
Salat Al-Fajr (24:58)
Salat Al-Isha (24:58)
Al-Salat Al-Wusta (2:238)
(see: Number of salat)

Another issue which requires additional analysis is found in the following words:

And during the night, meditate with it for your own benefit and perhaps your Lord may raise you to a praiseworthy position.

The traditional interpretation of Muslim scholars associate the words
"perhaps your Lord may raise you to a praiseworthy position" to Prophet Muhammad alone, thereby stating that God raised Muhammad to a rank above all others.
The exact rank which God raised Muhammad to is the knowledge of God alone; however, it is necessary to question whether these words in fact speak to Muhammad alone.

To derive the correct meaning, we should start reading from verse 17:73 where God is clearly speaking to Prophet Muhammad, this continues until verse 77 where God is still speaking to Muhammad.
However, in verse 78 God issued the command to observe the Salat at the duluk of the sun. The command to observe the Salat in the Quran is addressed to all believers and not just to Muhammad. Similarly, the invitations to read the Quran at dawn (last words in 17:78), and to meditate with the Quran at night (17:79) are addressed to all believers and not just to Muhammad. It follows that the "praiseworthy position" which is mentioned in 17:79 is the reward for all believers who observe these acts and not just Muhammad.

Besides the fact that the name of Muhammad is not mentioned in 17:78 or 17:79, a closer analysis takes us to the significant Arabic word "asa" which means
"perhaps". This word joins the commands for the Salat and reading the Quran, with the reward of the "praiseworthy position". This word, and its position, confirms that the "praiseworthy position" is a reward for the acts mentioned in these two verses, namely observing the Salat and reading the Quran.
Since these two acts are decreed upon all believers, then the reward mentioned will also be granted to all believers who observe these acts.

In contrast, what the traditional interpreters are saying is that the believers are to observe the Salat mentioned in 17:78 and also read and meditate with the Quran, especially at dawn, and if they do so, only Prophet Muhammad will receive the reward mentioned in the same verse:
"praiseworthy position"!

It has also been claimed by some scholars that the reason the words "praiseworthy position" in 17:79 address Muhammad alone is because the word "you" in the phrase "raise you to a praiseworthy position" is in the singular form.
However, when we look at the tense of all the other "you" in both 17:78 and 17:9, we find that they are all in the singular tense:

You (singular) shall observe the Salat from the duluk of the sun until the darkness of the night, also the Quran at dawn; the Quran at dawn is witnessed.
And during the night, meditate (singular) with it for your (singular) own benefit and perhaps your Lord may raise you (singular) to a praiseworthy position. 17:78-79

As a result, unless the Salat and the reading of the Quran are both decreed only upon Muhammad, we justifiably conclude that all the words in 17:78 and 17:79 apply to all believers and not just Prophet Muhammad. In these verses, similar to the phrasing of many other Quranic verses, God is addressing every single believer, and the instructions apply to all.

Conclusion
:

From the above analysis, we conclude that:

1-
Verse 17:78 starts with the command to observe the Salat from the duluk of the sun until night. This command is addressed to all believers.

2-
The subject changes after that to being the Quran and how the believers are invited to read the Quran at dawn.

3-
The subject of the Quran continues in verse 17:79. The words "meditate with it" refer
to the Quran. God instructs all believers to observe "tahajud" (meditate) with the Quran. The word "bihi" (with it) is masculine.

4-
The word Salat is not mentioned in verse 17:79 at all. God is neither vague nor ambiguous. When God is speaking about the Salat, the word Salat is always used. The subject of 17:79 is the reading and meditating with the Quran.

5-
The reward mentioned at the end of 17:79 may be granted to all who obey God's commands in 17:78 and 17:79.