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Taraweeh Prayer

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

Taraweeh Prayer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

The Taraweeh prayers

Its merit – The reasons that facilitate it – Mistakes committed in it

All praise and thanks be to Allah alone, and prayers and peace of Allah be upon the last and seal of the Prophets, Muhammad and upon all his family and companions till the Day of Judgment.

A believer – as said by ibn Rajab – is faced by two strives in Ramadan against himself:

1- A strife in the morning against fasting,
2- A strife at night against night optional prayers and remembrances.

Whoever faces these two strives, fulfills their rights, and is patient for them, he will be given his reward without limits.

The Virtue of Praying at Night in Ramadan

The Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, awakened the desire of praying at night in Ramadan. He has said, «He who establishes prayers during the nights of Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah's rewards (not for showing off), all his past sins will be forgiven.» [agreed upon]

من قام رمضان إيمانًا واحتسابًا غُفِر له ما تقدَّم من ذنبه» متفقٌ عليه

The meaning of «out of sincere faith» is that believing in Allah and trusting Him about the rewards prepared for the observers of night prayers and remembrances.

The meaning of «and hoping to attain Allah's rewards» is that asking for the reward of Allah and being sincere to Him alone without any traces of hypocrisy or showing off.

Praying at night in Ramadan is the taraweeh prayer (in Arabic the word taraeeh is to take some rest). Sheik ibn Uthaymeen said, "It was called the taraweeh because people in the past used to prolong it. Whenever they prayed four prayer units – i.e. with the prayer-end greetings – they used to take a short rest and then they resumed it." (Fiqh al-Ibadat (The jurisprudence of the acts of worship))

Its Legality

The taraweeh is permitted to be prayed in congregations. Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, narrated, «Once in the middle of the night the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, went out and prayed in the mosque and some men prayed with him. The next morning the people spoke about it and so more people gathered and prayed with him (in the second night). They circulated the news in the morning, and so, on the third night the number of people increased greatly. The Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, came out and they prayed behind him. On the fourth night the mosque was overwhelmed by the people till it could not accommodate them. The Messenger of Allah came out only for the Fajr (dawn) prayer and when he finished the prayer, he faced the people and recited "Tashah-hud" (I testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger), and then said, "Verily your presence (in the mosque at night) was not hidden from me, but I was afraid that this prayer (the taraweeh) might be made compulsory and you might not be able to carry it out. The Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, died and the matter remained the same.» [Agreed upon] When the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, died and religion settled, the fear (of the taraweeh becoming compulsory) disappeared but the legality of praying it in congregation remained as the reason for fear has vanished.

«أن رسول الله -صلّى الله عليه وسلّم- خرج ليلةً من جوف الليل، فصلَّى في المسجد، وصلَّى رجالٌ بصلاته، فأصبح النَّاس فتحدثوا، فاجتمع أكثر منهم فصلُّوا معه، فأصبح النَّاس فتحدثوا، فكثر أهل المسجد من الليلة الثَّالثة، فخرج رسول الله -صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم- فصلَّى فصلُّوا بصلاته، فلمَّا كانت الليلة الرَّابعة عجز المسجد عن أهله، حتَّى خرج لصلاة الصُّبح، فلمَّا قضى الفجر أقبل على النَّاس، فتشهد ثمَّ قال: «أمَّا بعد، فإنَّه لم يخف علي مكانكم، ولكنِّي خشيت أن تفرض عليكم فتعجزوا عنها» فتُوفي رسول الله -صلَّى الله عليه وسَّلم- والأمر على ذلك» متفقٌ عليه

The orthodox caliph Omar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, enlivened this Sunnah. He found that people were praying separately, so he gathered them to pray behind one Imam. The Muslim has to observe such prayer in the mosque in the congregation and not to desert or neglect it. The righteous ancestors observed and prolonged it to a great extent. Assaeb ibn Yazeed, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The reciter used to read hundreds of verses (of the Quran), to the extent that we used to lean on sticks due to the long standing". Where are we from those?

The Number of its units

The best opinion in regard of the number of units in the taraweeh is that they are eleven or thirteen units due to the saying of Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, that she was asked how the prayers of the Prophet, prayers were and peace of Allah be upon him, were in Ramadan. She said, "He did not observe either in Ramadan or in other months more than eleven prayer units» [Agreed upon]

«ما كان يزيد في رمضان ولا غيره على إحدى عشرة ركعة» متفقٌ عليه

Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, said, «The prayer of the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, used to be of thirteen units, i.e. of the night prayer.» [Reported by al-Bukhari]

«كانت صلاة النَّبيّ -صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم- ثلاثة عشرة ركعة -يعني بالليل-» رواه البخاري

This does not prevent increasing the number of the prayer units, as when the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, was asked about the night prayer. He said, «Pray two prayer units at a time and then two and then two and so on, and if you are afraid of the dawn, pray one prayer unit and that will be the witr for all the prayer units which you have offered» [Agreed upon]

«مثنى مثنى، فإذا خشيت الصُّبح فأوتر بواحدة، توتر لك ما قد صلَّيت» متفقٌ عليه

Fulfilling Praying with the Imam

Sheikh ibn Baz said: "It is better for this who prays with the imam the night prayers of Ramadan not to leave but only with the imam. The Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said, «He who prays with the Imam till he leaves, a night in prayers and remembering Allah will be written for him (in his book of deeds).» [Reported by at-Tirmidhi 806, An-Nasâi 1604, Ibn Majah 1100 and Abu Dawud 1375. It is authenticated by Al-Albani] It is better for the follower to pray with the imam until he leaves, whether he prays eleven, thirteen, twenty three, or other prayer units" (Collected Verdicts and various articles)

«من قام مع الإمام حتَّى ينصرف كتب له قيام ليلة» رواه التِّرمذي 806 والنِّسائي 1604 وابن ماجه 1100 وأبو داود 1375 وصحَّحه الألباني

Submissiveness and Tranquility

Sheikh ibn Baz said:"It must be known that the Muslim, in praying at night in Ramadan and in all the prayers, must embark upon his prayers. He must be submissive and tranquil in standing, sitting, bowing down and prostrating. He must recite the Quran without being hasty. The spirit of prayer is to occupy yourself totally with it, to be submissive and to pray it as legislated by Allah with sincerity, faithfulness, hope, fear and presence of heart, as He –Almighty- has said, {Successful indeed are the believers. [1]. Those who offer their Salât (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.} [Al-Mu'minűn: 1-2] (Collected Verdicts and various articles)

{قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ (1) الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ} المؤمنون: 1-2

Transliteration: Qad 'Aflaĥa Al-Mu'uminūna (1) Al-Ladhīna Hum Fī Şalātihim Khāshi`ūna

The Reasons that Facilitate the Taraweeh Prayer:

Following are some of the reasons that facilitate praying and preserving the taraweeh prayer:

1- Not to eat much at fast breaking, so he will drink much and want to sleep and praying at night will be difficult.

2- Not to tire himself in the morning with useless matters.

3- Not to leave siesta, as it helps for praying at night.

4- To choose an imam with a good voice who recites well.

5- To ponder on the meaning of the recited verses. The Quran was only revealed for pondering, thinking and acting. Allah Almighty has said, {Do they not then consider the Qur'ân carefully?} [An-Nisâ': 82] and, {(This is) a Book (the Qur'ân) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings, that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember.} [Sâd: 29].

{أَفَلا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ} النِّساء: 82

Transliteration: 'Afalā Yatadabbarūna Al-Qur'āna

{كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الأَلْبَابِ} ص: 29

Transliteration: Kitābun 'Anzalnāhu 'Ilayka Mubārakun Liyaddabbarū 'Āyātihi Wa Liyatadhakkara 'Ūlū Al-'Albābi

6- To strive himself to adhere to the first row, in order not to be engaged with what happens at the end of the mosque.

7- To quit committing sins during the day in order not to be deprived from praying at night.

8- To know the great reward resulting from such prayer and that patience in obeying Allah leads to the highest degrees in Paradise.

9- To know that this prayer is the best one after the ordained prayers, as the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said, «The most excellent prayer after the ordained prayers is the prayer during the night.» [Reported by Muslim: 1163]

«وأفضل الصَّلاة بعد الفريضة صلاة الليل» رواه مسلم

10- To know that there is a time in the night where supplications are accepted. The Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said, «There is an hour during the night in which no Muslim individual will ask Allah for good in this worldly life and the Hereafter without His giving it to him; and that applies to every night». [Reported by Muslim: 757]. So, it may be the time of response while he is standing praying to Allah - Glorified and Exalted.

«إنَّ في الليل لساعةٌ، لا يوافقها رجلٌ مسلمٌ يسأل الله خيرًا من أمر الدُّنيا والآخرة، إلا أعطاه إيَّاه، وذلك كلّ ليلةٍ» رواه مسلم

11- To know that the nights of Ramadan are just a few ones, seized by the wise believer before their passing and that they pass quickly, so, if he does not utilize them in goodness, he will lose and his disaster will be great.

12- To know that our prayer is very few in comparison to the prayer of the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him. Hudhaifa, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that, «I prayed with the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, one night and he started reciting Surat Al-Baqarah. I thought that he would bow at the end of one hundred verses, but he proceeded on, so I thought that he would perhaps recite the whole (Surat) in one prayer unit, but he proceeded on, so, and I thought he would perhaps bow on completing (this Surat). He then started Surat An-Nisâ', and recited it; he then started Surat & Acirc;l-'Imrân and recited leisurely. And when he recited the verses which referred to the Glory of Allah, he glorified and when he recited the verses which tell (how the Lord) is to be begged, he would then beg (from Him) and when he recited the verses dealing with protection from the Lord, he sought (His) protection.» [Reported by Muslim: 772] So, where is our prayer from such blessed Prophetic prayer?!

«صلَّيت مع النَّبيّ -صلّى الله عليه وسلّم ذات ليلةٍ فافتتح البقرة، فقلت: يركع عند المائة ثمَّ مضى، فقلت: يصلِّي بها في ركعةٍ فمضى فقلت: يركع بها ثمَّ افتتح النِّساء فقرأها ثمَّ افتتح آل عمران فقرأها يقرأ مترسلًا، إذا مرَّ بآيةٍ فيها تسبيح سبح. وإذا مرَّ بسؤالٍ سأل. وإذا مرَّ بتعوذٍ تعوذ» رواه مسلم

Among the Mistakes of People during the Taraweeh prayers:

There are many mistakes committed by either the imams or their followers during the taraweeh prayers, among them:

1- Some imams are very quick in the taraweeh prayer that people cannot be tranquil behind him.

2- Some imams do not observe the follower's conditions, that they prolong the reciting too much so it becomes hard for people. One imam used to start the taraweeh prayer after the ishâ' (night prayer) and finish only a few minutes before the dawn prayer. This is also contradictory to the Sunnah.3- Some people neglect the taraweeh prayer, so he prays two prayer units and leaves, while the Sunnah is not to leave until the imam finishes prayer.

4- To feign crying loudly that it mounted to yelling in some mosques. This action is contradictory to the Sunnah, and may lead to hypocrisy by which deeds are rendered worthless.

5- The carrying of some people to the Quran copies with no reason for that and there competing in correcting the imam's mistake, which causes confusion to both the imam and the followers.

6- The moving of some prayers among mosques, so, he prays two or four prayer units, and then he moves to another mosque, to get two or four prayer units, so he may accordingly miss some prayers.

7- The intermingling between men and women upon getting out from mosques after praying. The Sunnah is for women to leave once the imam finishes the prayer, while men stay for a little while until women leave.

8- Some women attend prayers with full makeup, showy adornment, perfume and seduction. The Sunnah is that a woman attends with full covering and modesty, without being perfumed or displaying adornment.

9- The non completion of the rows in the praying place of women, so you see each woman as if praying alone. Accordingly, women miss the virtue of completing rows.

10- Accompanying young children and their running in the mosques and their confusion to praying persons.

Prepared by
The scientific Section in Madar Al-Watan

Slightly modified

 

EsinIslam Ramadan Team

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