By: Mufti Muhammad Nadeem uddin Qasmi
Ramadan is the month of blessings. It is time to start fixing and adjusting our schedule accordingly. During the month, special evening prayers in Ramadan are known as taraweeh.
What are benefits of it?
There are many benefits of it.
• The Prophet (may Allah peace and blessings be upon him) said whoever stood in Ramadan (in worship) with Iman and to seek reward, all his past sins are forgiven (Muslim, vol,1, p 259)
• Abu Dhar (May Allah be well pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said “whoever stands with the Imam until he finishes, it is equivalent to spend the whole night in prayer” (Tirmidhi 809)
What is place of Taraweeh in shari’ah?
Taraweeh is a emphasized Sunnah not fardh for all in Ramadan according to hadiths.
• Sayyida Aisha (May Allah be well pleased with her) related: After these nights (23, 25, and 27) the congregation grew to a very large number on the 29th night. The Masjid of prophet had filled to capacity, but the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) didn’t came out because of the fear that taraweeh would become compulsory upon you (Bukhari, vol,1 pg 269)
• Allama Shaami writes: Taraweeh is Sunnah Mua’kkadah on both men and women (Al Durrul Mukhtar, vol 1 pg 520)
How many Rak’ats?
It is an accepted fact among the authentic scholars of Islam that the Taraweeh prayer is 20 Rak’ats. The practice of 20 rak’at of Taraweeh continued throughout the era of the sahaba, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman and ‘Ali (may Allah be well pleased with them), and remained unaltered in the entire world untill today, this form of worship has been passed down from generation to generation, and safeguarded to this day. This is still practiced in the holiest masjids of Islam in Makkah, Madinah and Masjid al-Aqsa. Besides this, many evidences are proven that the number of taraweeh is 20 Rak’ats.
1. Ibn Abbas reports that the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah peace and blessings be upon him) used to perform 20 Rak’ats and 3 wire in Ramadan (Musannaf ibn Abi Shaibah, vol,2 pg 284, Mujamul kabeer lit Tibrani, vol 5 pg 433, Sunan e Kubra lil Bayhaqi, vol 2 pg 495)
2. It is reported by Hazrat Jabir bin Abdullah that the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah peace and blessings be upon him) came out in a Ramadan night and performed 24 Rakats (including ‘Isha Salah) and 3 witr (Tarikh e Jurhani lishmi, pg 317)
Practices of Khulafa Rashideen
1. Hadhrat ‘Umar (may Allah be well pleased with him) commanded a person to perform 20 Rak’ats for people. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaibah, vol 1 ,pg 483)
2. It is reported on the authority of Sa’ib ibn Yazid that in the era of Hazrat ‘Umar (may Allah be well pleased with him), people used to offer 20 Rak’ats taraweeh, and in era of ‘Uthman, they would support themselves with a staff because of the long Rak’ats (Sunan kubra lil Bayhaqi, vol 2, pg 496)
3. Ubayy ibn K’ab (may Allah be well pleased with him) reports that ‘Umar (may Allah be well pleased with him) instructed him saying that if he leads the Salah, it will be better. Thereafter, he said “perform twenty Rakats for the people” (Atharul Sunan pg 255)
4. This is reported by Hasan that ‘Umar gathered the people behind the Ubayy ibn Ka’b (may Allah be well pleased with him) in the month of Ramadan, then they used to perform twenty Rak’ats (Abu Dawood vol 1,pg 203)
5. It is reported by Hasan bin Ali that ‘Ali commanded the Qurra (Huffaz) to perform 20 Rak’ats (Musnad Al Imam Zayd 158,159)
6. Sayyidna ‘Ali would state: May Allah enlighten the grave of ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) just as he has enlightened our masjid for us (Due to the fact of establishing the 20 Rak’ats for the Ummah. (Minhajus Sunnah, vol 2,pg 224)
The Prophet Muhammad (May Allah Peace and blessings be upon him) gave advise about khulafa’s action and said: “After me, you will see much differences, in such a condition, it is compulsory upon you that you hold firmly to my Sunnah and the rightly guided path of khulafa rashideen (Mishkatul Masabih pg 30)
• On another place, the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah peace and blessings be upon him) stated: I don’t know how long I will remain amongst you, after me, follow Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (may Allah be well pleased with them). (Mishkat pg 560)
Practices of the Sahaabah
1. Abdullah ibn Mas’úd used to perform twenty Rak’ats (Tuhfatul Ahwazi, vol 2, pg 75)
2. This is reported by Yazid ibn Khusaifah from Sa’ib ibn Yazid that all the people used to perform twenty Rak’ats of taraweeh in the month of Ramadan during the era of Hazrat ‘Umar (may Allah be well pleased with him) (Sunanul Kubra lil Bayhaqi, vol 2, pg 496)
3: Ubayy ibn K’ab (may Allah be well pleased with him) used to perform in Madinah 20 Rak’ats (Musannaf ibn Abi Shaibah, vol 2, pg 224, Musnad Ahmad, vol 2, pg 424)
4. Yazid ibn Ruman reports that people used to perform 23 Rakats (Muatta Imam Malik, pg 98)
It was nature of Sahaaba that without order and permission of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) they wouldn’t create innovative practices in Deen. Ahle sunnah wal jama’at are the ones who are satisfied and content with the practices of Sahaba.
Practices of Tabí’een
1. ‘Ata (Rahimahullah) says “I found the people that they used to perform 23 Rakats consisting of witr (Musannaf ibn e abi Shaiba, vol 5, pg 224)
2 Ibraheem Nakha’i (Rahimahullah) says “that people perform five tarwiha (5 breaks) in Ramazan” (Kitabul Athaar Abi Yusuf, pg 41)
3. It is reported on the authority of Shutayr ibn Shakal (Rahimahullah) that he used to perform in Ramadan 20+3 witr (Musannaf ibn Abi Shaibah, vol 5 , pg 222)
4. Abu’l Khusaib (Rahimahullah) said that Suwa’id ibn Ghaflah used to perform 5 tarwiha in 20 Rak’ats (Al Sunanul Kubra lil Bayhaqi, vol 2 ,496)
Sayings of Ulama
1. Imam Ghazali writes: Taraweeh is twenty Rak’ats, its method is well known, and it is Sunnah Mua’kkadah (Ihya ul uloom, vol. 1 pg 139)
2. Sayyid ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani writes: Taraweeh is a Sunnah of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and it comprises of twenty Rakats (Ghunyatut Talibeen pg 464)
3. Imam Ibn Qudama Hambali states: “according to Imam Ahmad Rahimahullah, the most acceptable view is of twenty Rak’ats.” (Al-Mughni ,vol. 1,pg 802)
4. Ibn Taymiyah writes: “it has been accepted that Ubayy ibn Ka’b used to lead the Salah for the people by performing twenty Rak’ats in Ramadan and three Rakats witr. Accordingly, most of the ‘Ulama regarded twenty Rak’ats as Sunnah because Ubayy ibn Ka’b used to lead the congregation of Muhajirin and Ansar and none of them rejected his act (Fatawa ibn Taymiyah, vol. 23, pg 112)
Consensus (ijma) of the Sahaaba
1. Mulla Ali Qari states that the Sahaaba have made consensus on the practice of twenty Rak’ats of taraweeh.(Mirqat, vol.3 pg 194)
2: Ibn Qudama has stated the same in Al-Mughni (Al-Mughni, vol.1, pg 803)
3. Majority of ‘Ulama are in agreement of that narration reported by Ali and ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhum) (Tirmidhi, vol 1, pg 166)
4. Allama Kasaani also reports the consensus of Sahaba on performing 20 Rak’ats (Badaius’ Sanai vol 1, pg 644)
5. Asad bin ‘Amr related from Qadi Imam Abu Yusuf: I asked Imam Abu Hanifa about the matter of taraweeh and what ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) had done in this respect. Imam Abu Hanifa (Rahimahullah) replied: “20 Rak’ats taraweeh is Sunnah Mua’kkadah, ‘Umar didn’t establish this form from his own nor was he one to create innovation in this Deen. (Maraqiul Falaah, pg 334)
6. In the time of Ibn Taymiyah when the Rawafidh (Shia’) put the blame upon Hadhrat ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) for creating the innovated practice of 20 Rak’ats. Ibn Taymiyah responded to this allegation by writing in defense of Hadhrat ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) by establishing 20 Rak’ats of taraweeh, had it been deemed to adopt a bad practice, then Hadhrat Ali (Radhiyallahu Anhu) would have put an end to this in his khilafat, however, in his khilafat, he too would offer 20 Rak’ats taraweeh prayer in Kufah (Fatawa ibn Taymiyah)
In Short, there are many evidences to prove that 20 Rak’ats trawih are Sunnah Mu’akkadah.
The Sect of Ghayr Muqallideen
They say that the taraweeh prayer is eight Rak’ats. Usually, the narration of Hazrat Aisha (Radhiyallahu Anha) is used to support the view of 8 Rak’ats as sufficient by them:
Abu Salma related that he asked Aisha (Radhiyallahu Anha): “How was the prayer of the Prophet in Ramadan? She replied: “The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) would not pray more than 11 Rak’ats in Ramadan or outside of it.”(Sahih Bukhari, vol 1, pg 154).
Answering this narration:
In this narration, the words clearly state that the prayer of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) throughout the whole year in or out side of Ramadan would be no more than 11 Rak’ats. Therefore, this Hadith is in respect of Tahajjud and taraweeh is not prayed out of Ramadan.
Opinions of Ulama about this Narration
The scholars of the ummah answered the supporting proof the narration of Hadhrat Aisha (Radhiyallahu Anhu), it is in respect of Tahajjud prayer.
1. Allama Abu Bakr ibn Arabi writes: The 11 Rak’ats narration related by Aisha (Radhiyallahu Anha) refers to the Qiyamul Layl (Tahajjud) of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. (Arizatul Ahwadhi Sharh Tirmidhi, vol 4, pg 19)
2. Ibn Hajar Asqalani also refers to this narration as referring to Tahajjud with witr (Fathul Bari sharh Bukhari, vol. 3 pg 328)
3. Qadhi ‘Iyadh Maliki has taken all of the narrations of Hadhrat Aisha (Radhiyallahu Anha) as referring to the Tahajjud prayer of the Prophet (Sharh Muslim Nawawi, vol 1, pg 253)
4. Qadhi Muhammad Shawkani (who himself was a Ghayr Muqallid) writes: The narration of Aisha (Radhiyallahu Anha) referring to the 11 Rak’ats in and outside of Ramadan is in respect of Tahajjud. (Naylul Awtar, vol 3, pg 39)
5. Shah Abdul Aziz Muhaddith Dehlawi states: The narration of Aisha (Radhiyallahu Anha) is in regards to Tahajjud. (Fatawa Aziziyah pg 125)
If we assume that eight Rak’ats of taraweeh are correct, then it means that the entire ummah and big scholars of Islam were deviated for all these centuries by performing twenty Rak’ats without any sharí proof. It is impossible to happen.
It has been proven that the 20 Rak’ats taraweeh is Sunnah Mua’kkadah of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)
In the end, we pray for Allah to accept this, May Allah Grant them Tawfeeq. AAMEEN.