Taraweeh Prayers


Muhammed(s.a.w) never prayed any prayer called Taraweeh prayer  nor did he pray any prayer after the Isha prayer except the usual nawafil prayers, which he regularly prayed throughout the year and which for us is the Sunnah prayers (two rakayats).  But Rasool(s.a.w) always prayed Tahjath prayers consisting of eight Rakayats,  and three rakayat witr.  Tahjath prayer was Nawafil for Rasool(s.a.w) and for us it is sunnah.  The below hadees very clearly states that Rasool(s.a.w) never prayed any special prayers in Ramadan.


That he asked 'Aisha "How was the prayer of Allah's Apostle in the month of Ramadan?" She replied, "He used not to pray more than eleven Rakat (Tahjat ) whether in Ramadan or in any other month. He used to offer four Rakat, let alone their beauty and length, and then four Rakat, let alone their beauty and length. Afterwards, he would offer three Rakat. I said, 'O Allah's Apostle! Do you go to bed before offering the Witr prayer?' He said, 'My eyes sleep, but my heart does not sleep.' "
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith
Hadith 4.769 Narrated by
Abu Salama bin Abdur Rahman



 We should remember that Muhammad(s.a.w) though he did not pray any extra prayer in Ramadan, he advised us to pray as much prayer as possible each night to the extent that if anyone wants to pray the whole night, it is permissible only in Ramadan, in all other months it is a must that we should sleep for sometime. And Allah(swt) is ready to pour-forth His Blessings on that person.  So, the question does not at all arise whether one should pray eight rakayats or twenty rakayats (Taraweeh prayers);  one can pray as many rakayats as possible for him, also though Rasool(s.a.w) prayed four Rakayats together in tahjath prayers he advised us to pray the Tahjath as 2+2+2 and so on and also he Rasool(s.a.w) prayed all his Nawafil prayers as 2 or 2+2.  As to how this prayer; i.e, the special night prayer in Ramadan was innovated, the hadees below clearly explains it:



Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever prayed at night the whole month of Ramadan out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah(swt), then all his previous sins will be forgiven." Ibn Shihab (a sub-narrator) said, "Allah's Apostle died and the people continued observing that (i.e. Nawafil offered individually, not in congregation), and it remained as it was during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr and in the early days of 'Umar's Caliphate." 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Abdul Qari said, "I went out in the company of 'Umar bin Al-Khattab one night in Ramadan to the mosque and found the people praying in different groups. A man praying alone or a man praying with a little group behind him. So, 'Umar said, 'In my opinion I would better collect these (people) under the leadership of one qari (reciter) (i.e. let them pray in congregation!)'. So, he made up his mind to congregate them behind Ubai bin Ka'b. Then on another night I went again in his company and the people were praying behind their reciter. On that, 'Umar remarked, 'What an excellent Bid'a (i.e. innovation in religion) this is; but the prayer which they do not perform, but sleep at its time is better than the one they are offering.' He meant the prayer in the last part of the night (Tahjath prayer). (In those days) people used to pray in the early part of the night."
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith
Hadith- 3.227 Narrated by
Abu Huraira



Here, we should note that though Umar(r.a.) innovated this practice, he also said that it would be much better to sleep in this time; i.e., at the time when they pray the Ramadan special night (Taraweeh) congregational prayer,  and pray the Tahjath prayer during which the people usually sleep.  And we should also note that Umar (r.a.) did not join in the congregational prayer.  For, he knew it would be best to emulate the Prophet, who prayed only Tahjath prayers.  But if one is to pray the whole night also, it is permissible as Rasool(s.a.w) has permitted to do so.  In the below hadees, it is clearly understood that during the time of Ramadan, for a few days, Rasool(s.a.w) conducted this Tahjath prayer in the Mosque and in congregation, but he did not make a practice of the same.


               One night Allah(swt)'s Apostle offered the prayer (Tahjath) in the Mosque  and the people followed him. The next night he also offered the prayer and too many people gathered. On the third and the fourth nights more people gathered, but Allah(swt)'s Apostle did not come out to them. In the morning he said, "I saw what you were doing and nothing but the fear that it (i.e. the prayer) might be enjoined on you, stopped me from coming to you." And that happened in the month of Ramadan.
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith
Hadith 2.229 Narrated by
Aisha(r.a) - mother of the faithful believers



We know that the congregation  conducted by Rasool(s.a.w) was during the time of Tahjath prayer as in another hadees, the Sahabas say Rasool(s.a.w) conducted the congregational prayer and recited long suras to the extent they feared that the suhr meals time (pre-dawn meals) would be over.


Allah's Apostle(s.a.w) said, "When it is the last third of the night, our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, descends every night to the (1st) heaven of the world and says, 'Is there anyone who invokes Me (demand anything from Me), that I may respond to his invocation; is there anyone who asks Me for something that I may give (it to) him; is there anyone who asks My forgiveness that I may forgive him?' "
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith
Hadith 8.333Narrated by
Abu Huraira(r.a)


At this juncture, it is very very important to bring it to your kind notice that praying Taraweeh prayers is allowed but it is absolutely useless when prayed behind an Imam, who takes payment for conducting the prayer and also behind an Imam, who belongs to divided or segregated groups for in either case it is HARAAM – i.e to take payment or gifts for the recitation  of the Quran or to divide Islam into different groups – the one and only acceptable group is to be a MUSLIM and nothing else. Do not divide yourselves,  like, - Hanafi, shafi, Maliki, Hanbali, JAQH, Tawheed, Shia, Sunni, etc. etc. and when Haraam is involved then Satan is involved and when Satan is involved, you do not get any virtues for your ammals (deeds). It is far better to pray alone or form a Halaal Jamath and pray and benefit from the tremendous amount of virtues that Allah(swt)(swt) gives for every good deed in Ramadan.

Allah(swt)(swt) says: therefore fear not men but fear Me (Allah(swt)) & sell not My Signs (verses of the Quran) for a miserable price.


O ye who believe! fear Allah(swt) as He should be feared and die not except as a Muslim.
Quran: 3 – 102


Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving clear signs; for them is a dreadful penalty.
Quran: 3 -  105


As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects (groups) thou                 ( Muhammed) hast no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah(swt): He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.

Quran: 6 - 159


 The above Quranic verses would tell you in a crystal clear manner that Allah(swt) tells you not to divide or join divided groups,  but to remain as Muslims only – be a Muslim, live as a Muslim, and die as a Muslim and do not join any of the divided groups, for if you do i.e. if you divide or join a divided group then you will have nothing to do with the Messenger of Allah(swt);  that is, in other words you will have nothing to do with Islam, which is also to tell you in a crystal clear manner all your amals (virtuous deeds) are a waste, for you would not get anything for them, you would be one in the seventy two groups who go to hell.


Brothers and Sisters please do understand being a Muslim and praying alone in the Masjid or home or in a Muslim Jamath where the Imam does not take payment for conducting prayers (Salah) is far more superior and you could recite any Sura you know by-heart or even recite sura Ikhlaas (Quran: 112 – 1,2,3,4) continuously or repeatedly for every rakayat  and this would be far far superior and would fetch you tremendous virtues in comparison with following a jamath which is divided or segregated into groups and where the imam takes money for conducting prayer – here you would not only lose your virtues but would also incur sins.


To conclude;  pray as much as you can and do as much good deeds as you can in Ramadan and in all the other months,  but do not miss the Tahjath prayers.  For, Tahjath prayer is most pleasing to Allah(swt) after the Fard prayers. May Allah(swt) accept all our good deeds and make us perform the good deeds with utmost ease and comfort, and above all help us to remain as TRUE MUSLIMS in all our life and also in death (ameen).

Please do share this with as many Muslim friends and relatives as possible – Jazzakallah Khairan.

A.H.Nazeer Ahmed