Ruling on saying du’aa’ after each two rak’ahs of Taraweeh..

18 09 2009

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

What is the ruling on saying du’aa’ between one tasleem and the next by saying “Subhaanaka Rabbana wa bi hamdika Allaahumma ighfir lana (Glory and praise be to You our Lord; O Allaah, forgive us)”?.

Praise be to Allah.

There is no basis in the Sunnah for saying du’aa’ between one salaam and the other during Taraweeh prayer by saying “Subhaanaka Rabbana wa bi hamdika Allaahumma ighfir lana (Glory and praise be to You our Lord; O Allaah, forgive us)”, and neither the imam or those praying behind him are obliged to do that, because worship is governed by the principle that nothing is permitted except that which was prescribed by the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Constantly doing a particular act of worship at a particular time without any evidence for that comes under the heading of bid’ah or innovation.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does an action that is not part of this matter of ours (Islam) will have it rejected.” Agreed upon.

This great dhikr – “Subhaanaka Rabbana wa bi hamdika Allaahumma ighfir li (Glory and praise be to You our Lord; O Allaah, forgive me)” – is something that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say when bowing and prostrating. Al-Bukhaari (784) and Muslim (484) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say when bowing and prostrating, “Subhaanaka Rabbana wa bi hamdika Allaahumma ighfir li (Glory and praise be to You our Lord; O Allaah, forgive me )” following the command given by the Qur’aan.

What is meant by following the command given by the Qur’aan is that he would do what was enjoined upon him in the Qur’aan, where Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“When there comes the Help of Allah (to you, O Muhammad against your enemies) and the Conquest (of Makkah).

2. And you see that the people enter Allaah’s religion (Islam) in crowds.

3. So glorify the Praises of your Lord, and ask His forgiveness. Verily, He is the One Who accepts the repentance and Who forgives”

[al-Nasr 110:1-3]

See how the Sunnah has been abandoned in this posture of the prayer, and how the people adhere to innovations!

Another innovation which is done during Taraweeh is when the people say: “Salaat al-qiyaam, athaabakum Allaah ((It is) time for qiyaam prayer, may Allaah reward you)”, and when they say between each two rak’ahs, “Allaahumma salli wa sallim ‘ala sayyidina Muhammad (O Allaah, send blessings and peace upon our master Muhammad) in a loud voice, and they recite Soorat al-Ikhlaas and al-Mu’awwidhatayn between each two rak’ahs, or the imam says “Subhaan Allaah (Glory be to Allaah)”and the congregation behind him responds by saying, “Subhaan Allaah wa bi hamdihi, subhaan Allaah il-‘Azeem (Glory and praise be to Allaah, Glory be to Allaah the Almighty).” None of these things were narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), hence the Standing Committee issued a fatwa to the effect that they are innovations and bid’ahs.

And Allaah knows best

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 7/207-210.

Islam Q&A





Virtues of Taraweeh

4 09 2009
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In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Asalamu Alaaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatu!


VIRTUES OF TARAWEEH

Abdullah Ibn Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) states that the Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) said:

“The fast and the Quraan will both plead on behalf of the servant (who will keep fast during the day and recite or listen attentively to the recitation of the Quraan in the night, standing in the presence of Allah .

The Fast will say:

    “My Lord ! I held him back from food, drink and sexual satisfaction. Accept my intercession for him today (and treat him with Mercy and Forgiveness).”

The Qura’n will say:

    “I had held him back from taking rest and sleeping in the night. O Lord ! Accept my intercession for him today (and treat him with Mercy and Forgiveness).” The intercession of both the fast and the Quraan will be accepted and he will be treated with exceptional kindness.

Baihaqi





Recitation in Taraweeh Prayer

3 09 2009
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In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Asalamu Alaaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatu!

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Our Imam recites from various places in the Qur’aan during Taraweeh Prayer each night.

What is the ruling on choosing passages from various surahs in Taraweeh?

Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly:

It is better when reciting in Taraweeh to complete the Qur’aan once. This may be understood from the reports in al-Saheehayn which state that Jibreel used to study the Qur’aan with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in Ramadaan, and review it with him.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz said (15/325):

    It may be understood from this that if the imam recites the entire Qur’aan to the congregation during Ramadaan, this is a kind of this studying together, because this lets them benefit from hearing the entire Qur’aan. Hence Imam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) used to like to complete the Qur’aan with those whom he led in prayer, and this is akin to what the salaf did, namely liking to hear the entire Qur’aan. But this does not mean that he should rush and not be deliberate in his recitation, and not seek to be focused and calm, rather seeking these things is better than seeking to complete it.

Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 11/331-333

It says in al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (27/148):

The Hanbalis and most of the Hanafi shaykhs – and it was also narrated by al-Hasan from Abu Haneefah – are of the view that the Sunnah is to complete the Qur’aan in Taraweeh prayer so that the people can hear the entire Qur’aan in that prayer. The Hanafis said: The Sunnah is to complete it once. So the imam should not forsake completing it because of the people’s laziness, rather he should recite ten verses or so in each rak’ah, and thus he will be able to complete it. (This is based on the assumption that he prays twenty rak’ahs each night.) And it was said that in each rak’ah thirty verses should be recited, because ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) enjoined that. In that case the Qur’aan can be completed three times in Ramadaan.

Al-Kaasaani said: What ‘Umar enjoined was by way of doing more of a good thing, which is to complete the Qur’aan more than once. This is what was suitable for their time. But in our time it is better for the imam to recite on the basis of the people’s situation; he should recite whatever will not put them off from joining the congregation, because increasing the size of the congregation is better than lengthening the recitation.

What al-Kaasaani said is good, and the imam should pay attention to the situation of the people behind him.

It is not permissible for the Imam to put people off by making the prayer so long that it becomes difficult for them and to think that if he does not do that he has done badly! What he should do is to encourage the people to pray even if that is by making it shorter, so long as the prayer is complete.

It is better for the people to offer a short but complete prayer than not to pray at all.

Abu Dawood said: Ahmad ibn Hanbal was asked about a man who recited the Qur’aan twice in Ramadaan, leading the people in prayer. He said: In my view this depends on the people’s energy level, and whether there are workers among them.

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali said: The words of Imam Ahmad indicate that attention should be paid to the state of the people with regard to recitation; he should not make it too hard for them. This view was also echoed by other fuqaha’ among the companions of Abu Haneefah and others.

Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif, p. 18

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz was asked:

What is your opinion about what some imams do, choosing a certain amount of Qur’aan to recite in each rak’ah each night?

He replied:

    I do not see anything wrong with that, because it depends on the imam’s own assessment of the situation. If he thinks it is better to recite more on some nights and in some rak’ahs, and that this will benefit those who are praying behind him, and he feels that he has the energy for that and he feels that he is enjoying the recitation and wants to recite more verses to benefit himself and others, then he may do so. If his voice is good and he started to enjoy the recitation and feels humble and focused and hopes that this will benefit himself and those who are praying behind him, then if he recites some extra verses in some rak’ahs or on some nights, we do not know of any reason why he should not do so. The matter is broad in scope, praise be to Allaah.

Fataawa al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, 11/335, 336

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz was also asked:

Should the imam pay attention to the situation of the weak such as the elderly etc. when praying Taraweeh?

He replied:

    This is something which is required in all the prayers, in Taraweeh and in the obligatory prayers, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When any one of you leads the people in prayer, let him make it short, because among them are the weak, the young and those who have needs.” So the imam should pay attention to the congregation and be kind to them with regard to praying qiyaam in Ramadaan and during the last ten nights. People are not all the same, rather they vary. So he should pay attention to their different situations and encourage them to come. When he makes the prayer too lengthy, he makes it difficult for them and puts them off from attending. He should pay attention to that which will encourage them to attend and pray, even if that is by making it short and not making it long. If the people concentrate during the prayer and find peace in it only for a short time, that is better than a long prayer in which there is no concentration and people only feel bored and tired.

Fataawa al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, 11/336, 337

Secondly:

Some scholars – such as Ibn al-Salaah – made an exception in the case of Taraweeh prayer, and said that it is better to recite part of a soorah in them, so that (the imam) may achieve the Sunnah of completing the Qur’aan in these prayers.

It says in Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj Sharh al-Manhaaj (2/25):

From this it may be understood that if he wants to recite the whole Qur’aan in Taraweeh it is better to recite part of the soorahs (in each rak’ah), otherwise it is better to recite the whole soorah (in one rak’ah).

It says in al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 33/49:

In one of the two reports narrated from him, Maalik regarded it as makrooh to recite only part of a soorah,

The Shaafa’is and Hanbalis are of the view that it is not makrooh to recite only part of a soorah, because of the general meaning of the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

    “So, recite you of the Qur’aan as much as may be easy for you”

[al-Muzzammil 73:20]

And Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite “Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allaah and that which has been sent down to us” [al-Baqarah 2:136] in the first rak’ah of Fajr and “Say (O Muhammad): O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians): Come to a word that is just between us and you” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:64] in the second. But the Shaafa’is clearly stated that a complete soorah is better than a passage of equivalent length from a long soorah… This applies in prayers other than Taraweeh. But in Taraweeh reciting part of a lengthy soorah is better. They explained that by saying that the Sunnah in Taraweeh is to complete the whole Qur’aan in this prayer.

In conclusion: So long as your imam is not going to complete the Qur’aan in Taraweeh prayer, it is permissible for him to recite from various places in the Qur’aan and that is not makrooh, although it is better for him to recite a soorah in full. And Allaah knows best.

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid





Is it essential to stay with the Imam until the end of Taraweeh prayer in order to be rewarded?

27 08 2009
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In The Name of ALLAH The Most Beneficent , The Most Merciful

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One of the Imams stated that it is essential to complete Taraweeh prayer with the Imam and not to leave halfway through, because what you have done with him, whether it is two rak’ahs or four, will not count for you. IS THIS CORRECT?.

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Praise be to Allah.

This view is undoubtedly incorrect. It is not permissible for anyone to attribute to Islam something that is not part of it. Allah has forbidden us to speak of Him without knowledge, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Say (O Muhammad): (But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al Fawaahish (great evil sins and every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allaah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allaah of which you have no knowledge”
[al-A’raaf 7:33]

Whoever stands with the imam until he has completed the prayer, it is equivalent to spending the whole night in prayer.

It was narrated that Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever stands with the Imaam until he finishes, it is equivalent to spending the whole night in prayer.”

Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 806; Abu Dawood, 1375; al-Nasaa’i, 1605; Ibn Maajah, 1327. Classed as saheeh by al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Khuzaymah (3/337), Ibn Hibbaan (3/340) and al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 447.

This reward (the reward of spending the whole night in prayer) is not attained by anyone except the one who stands with the imam for the whole prayer, until he completes it, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said.

As for the one who prays as much as he can and then leaves before the imam has completed his prayer, only what he has prayed will be recorded for him, but it will not be recorded as if he spent the entire night in prayer. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant) shall see it.
And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant) shall see it”
[al-Zalzalah 99:7-8]

Perhaps your Imam wanted to say that but he expressed it incorrectly, or perhaps you did not really understand what he meant.

And Allah knows best.

by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid [IslamQa.Com]

Assalamu Alaikum Warahmt-ALLAHi Wabarakatuh.





If we missed something at the beginning of Taraweeh, how can we make it up?

21 08 2009
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In the Name of ALLAH the Most Beneficial the Most Merciful , And All praise is due to ALLAH alone, And Peace and Blessings be upon the final Prophet Sala ALLAH alaih wa-salam.
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If we missed something at the beginning of Taraweeh Prayers, how can we make it up? 

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If I enter the mosque late for ‘Isha’ prayer and I missed the ‘Isha’ prayer in congregation and I pray it on my own, and I am late in joining the Taraweeh prayers because of doing ‘Isha’, and I miss two rak’ahs of Taraweeh, how should I do these two rak’ahs? Alone or what???.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: If I join the people when they are praying Taraweeh and I have missed part of it, should I make up what I have missed after Witr or what should I do?

He replied: Do not make up what you have missed after Witr, rather if you want to make up what you have missed, then pray two rak’ahs when the imam prays Witr, then offer the prayers youmissed, then pray Witr. Here there is an issue to which attentio n should be drawn: If you arrive when the imam is praying Taraweeh and you did not pray ‘Isha’ yet, what should you do? Should you pray ‘Isha’ on your own or join the imam in Taraweeh with the intention of praying ‘Isha’?

The answer is that you should join the imam in Taraweeh with the intention of praying ‘Isha’. When the imam says salaam from Taraweeh, then stand up and make up the restof ‘Isha’. Imam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) mentioned the exact sa me issue, and this was also the view favoured by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, and this is the correct view, because the correct view is that it is permissible to offer an obligatory prayer in congregation behind an imam who is offering a naafil prayer, based on the evidence of the hadeeth of Mu’aadh ibn Jabal (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said that he used to pray ‘Isha’ with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), then he would go back to his people and lead them in offering that prayer – it was naafil for him and obligatory for them.

http://abdurrahman.org/ram adhan/fatwa/making-up-miss ed-taraweeh.html





Praying in congregation in the mosque is better than praying at home!

21 08 2009
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In the Name of ALLAH the Most Beneficial the Most Merciful , And All praise is due to ALLAH alone, And Peace and Blessings be upon the final Prophet Sala ALLAH alaih wa-salam,

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Question : Is it better to do Taraweeh in congregation in the mosque, or to pray it at home?

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Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

Praying in congregation in the mosque is better than praying at home.

This is indicated by the Sunnah and the actions of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them).

01 – al-Bukhaari (1129) and Muslim (761) narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed one night in the mosque, and the people followed him in prayer. Then he prayed the next night, and many people came. Then they gathered on the third or fourth night, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not come out to them. The next morning he said: “I saw what you did, and nothing kept me from coming out to you except the fact that I feared that it would be made obligatory for you.” And that was in Ramadaan.

This indicates that praying Taraweeh in congregation is prescribed according to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), but he refrained from doing it because he feared that it would be made obligatory for the ummah. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) died, this reservation was no longer required, because the sharee’ah was established.

02 – al-Tirmidhi (806) narrated that Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever prays qiyaam – i.e., Taraweeh – with the imam until he finishes, it will be recorded as if he spent the whole night in prayer.”
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

3 – al-Bukhaari (2010) narrated that ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Abd al-Qaari said: I went out with ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) to the mosque one night in Ramadaan, and the people were scattered, each man praying by himself. Some men would pray and have groups of people behind them following them. ‘Umar said: “I think that if I unite all these people with one reader, it will be better. Then he resolved to gather them behind Ubayy ibn Ka’b.

Al-Haafiz said:

Ibn al-Teen and others said that ‘Umar based this decision on the Prophet’s approval of those who prayed with him on those nights. Although he disliked that for them, that was based on the fear that it might be made obligatory for them. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) died, there was no longer any fear of that happening, and ‘Umar thought, because of the potential division that might arise from people praying separately, and because uniting them behind one reader is more motivating for many people. The majority agreed with ‘Umar’s decision.

Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo’, 3/526:

Praying Taraweeh is Sunnah according to scholarly consensus… It is permissible to offer this prayer alone or in congregation, but which is better? There are two well-known opinions on this matter. The correct view according to the consensus of our companions is that praying it in congregation is better. The second view is that it is better to pray it individually.

Our companions said: The difference of opinion has to do with one who has memorized the Qur’aan; there is no fear that he may become lazy and neglect it if he prays on his own, and the congregation in the mosque is not going to be affected if he stays away. But if one of these factors is absent, then praying in congregation is better, and there is no difference of scholarly opinion on this point.

The author of al-Shaamil said: Abu’l-‘Abbaas and Abu Ishaaq said that praying Taraweeh in congregation is better than praying it individually, because of the consensus of the Sahaabah and the consensus of the scholars of the regions on this point.

Ibn al-Mubaarak, Ahmad and Ishaaq favoured praying with the imam during the month of Ramadaan.

It says in Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi:

In the book on night prayer (qiyaam):
It was said to Ahmad ibn Hanbal: Do you prefer a man to pray with the people in Ramadaan or on his own?
He said: He should pray with the people.
He said: And I prefer that he should pray with the imam and pray Witr with him.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If a man prays qiyaam with the imam until he finishes, it will be recorded as if he spent the rest of the night (in prayer).” Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “He should pray with the people until he prays Witr with them, and he should not leave until the imam leaves. Abu Dawood said: I saw him (Imam Ahmad) – in the month of Ramadaan, praying Witr with his imam, except on one night when I did not attend. Ishaaq (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: I said to Ahmad: Is praying qiyaam in Ramadaan in congregation dearer to you or praying on one’s own? He said: I prefer that this prayer should be offered in congregation, so as to revive the Sunnah. And Ishaaq said the same.

See al-Mughni, 1/457.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said in Majaalis Shahr Ramadaan, p. 22:

At first the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray Taraweeh in congregation in the mosque, then he stopped because he feared that it might be made obligatory upon his ummah…

Then he quoted the two ahaadeeth quoted above. Then he said:

No man should keep away from Taraweeh prayer lest he misses out on the reward for it. And he should not leave until the imam finishes Taraweeh and Witr, so that he may attain the reward of spending the whole night in prayer.

Al-Albaani said in Qiyaam Ramadaan: Rather it (praying Taraweeh in congregation) is better than praying it alone, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did it himself and explained its virtue.

Rather he did not lead them in praying it in congregation for the rest of the month because he feared that praying at night during Ramadaan might be made obligatory for them, and they would be unable to do that, as it says in the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah which is narrated in al-Saheehayn and elsewhere. This concern no longer applied after the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) died and Allaah had completed Islam. Hence the reason for not praying in congregation when offering night prayers in Ramadaan was no longer present, and the previous ruling remained in effect, which is that it is prescribed to offer this prayer in congregation. Hence ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) revived it, as it says in Saheeh al-Bukhaari and elsewhere.

It says in al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (27/138):

From the time of ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him), the Rightly-Guided Caliphs and the Muslims regularly offered Taraweeh prayer in congregation. ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) is the one who united the people in offering the prayer behind a single imam.

Asad ibn ‘Amr ibn Abi Yoosuf said: I asked Abu Haneefah about Taraweeh and what ‘Umar did. He said: Taraweeh is a confirmed Sunnah, and ‘Umar did not base his decision on speculation and he was not introducing bid’ah (an innovation). He did not enjoin it except because of what he knew from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). ‘Umar introduced this and gathered the people behind Ubayy ibn Ka’b and he offered this prayer in congregation, at the time when the Sahaabah – the Muhaajireen and Ansaar – were still alive, and no one among them objected to that, rather they helped him and agreed with him, and also enjoined it.

And Allah knows best!





Taraweeh: 8, 11 or 20 Rakaats?

14 08 2009
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In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,
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There is a lot of confusion surrounding Taraweeh, so how many rakats is it?!?

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Praise be to Allaah.

We do not think that the Muslims should be so sensitive with regard to issues that are the matter of scholarly differences or make them the cause of division and fitnah among the Muslims.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, when speaking about the matter of one who prays ten rak’ahs with the imam, then sits down and waits for Witr and does not complete the Taraaweeh prayers with the imam:

It grieves us deeply that we find in the Muslim ummah a group which differs concerning matters in which differences of opinion are acceptable, and they take these differences as a means to cause division. Differences within the ummah existed at the time of the Sahaabah, yet they remained united. The youth in particular and to all those who are committed to Islam must remain united, because they have enemies who are laying in wait.

Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 4/225

Two groups have gone to extremes with regard to this matter. The first group denounced everyone who prays more than eleven rak’ahs and said that doing so was bid’ah. The second group denounced those who do only eleven rak’ahs and said that they are going against scholarly consensus (ijmaa’).

Let us listen to what Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

Here we say that we should not go to extremes or be negligent. Some people go to extremes in adhering to the number mentioned in the Sunnah, and say that it is not permissible to do more than the number mentioned in the Sunnah, and they aggressively denounce those who do more than that, saying that they are sinners.

This is undoubtedly wrong. How can they be sinners, when the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), upon being asked about night prayers, said that they are to be done two by two, and he did not specify any particular number? Of course the one who asked him about the night prayer did not know the number, because if he did not know how to do it, it is even more likely that he did not know the number. And he was not one of those who served the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) so that we might say that he knew what happened inside his house. Since the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told him how to do it but did not say how many times, it may be understood that the matter is broad in scope, and that a person may pray one hundred rak’ahs then pray Witr with one rak’ah.

With regard to the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), “Pray as you have seen me praying”, this does not apply in absolute terms even for these people. Hence they do not say that a person should pray Witr with five rak’ahs sometimes and with seven rak’ahs sometimes and with nine rak’ahs sometimes. If we understand it in absolute terms, then we would have to pray Witr with five rak’ahs sometimes and with seven rak’ahs sometimes and with nine rak’ahs sometimes. But what is meant by the hadeeth is pray as you have seen me praying with regard to how to pray not how many rak’ahs, unless there is a text to state what the number is.

Whatever the case, a person should not be strict with people with regard to a matter that is broad in scope. We have even seen some brothers who are strict on this matter accusing the imams who pray more than eleven rak’ahs of following bid’ah, and they leave the mosque, thus missing out on the reward of which the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever stands with the imam until he finishes (the prayer), the reward of qiyaam al-layl will be recorded for him.”(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 806; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 646). Some of them even sit down after completing ten rak’ahs, thus breaking up the rows of worshippers by sitting there, and sometimes they start talking and disturb the people who are praying.

We have no doubt that their intentions are good and they are doing their best to come to the right conclusion, but that does not mean that they are correct.

The other group does the opposite. They sternly denounce those who pray only eleven rak’ahs and say that they have gone against scholarly consensus. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell — what an evil destination!”

[al-Nisa’ 4:115]

All the generations who came before you only knew the number as twenty-three rak’ahs, and they denounce anyone who says anything different.

Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 4/73-75

With regard to the evidence quoted by those who say that it is not permissible to do more than eight rak’ahs in Taraaweeh, they quote the hadeeth of Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmaan, who asked ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), “How did the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) pray during Ramadaan?” She said: “He did not pray more than eleven rak’ahs in Ramadaan or at other times. He would pray four, and do not ask how beautiful and long they were, then he would pray four, and do not ask how beautiful and long they were, then he would pray three. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, will you sleep before you pray Witr?’ He said, ‘O ‘Aa’ishah, my eyes sleep but my heart does not.’”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1909; Muslim, 738

They said: This hadeeth indicates that the Messenger of Allaah was consistent in his prayers at night in Ramadaan and at other times.

The scholars refuted this use of the hadeeth as evidence by saying that this is what the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did, but the fact that he did something does not imply that it is obligatory.

The evidence that there is no set number for prayers at night – which include Taraaweeh – is the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar according to which a man asked the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about prayer at night. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Prayers at night are to be offered two by two (two rak’ahs at a time). If any of you fears that the time of dawn is approaching then let him pray one rak’ah as Witr.”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 846; Muslim, 749)

If we look at what the scholars of the prominent schools of thought said, you will clearly see that this matter is broad in scope and that there is nothing wrong with doing more than eleven rak’ahs.

Al-Sarkhasi, who is one of the imams of the Hanafi school, said:

It is twenty rak’ahs, apart from Witr, in our view.

Al-Mabsoot, 2/145

Ibn Qudaamah said:

The favoured view according to Abu ‘Abd-Allaah (i.e., Imam Ahmad, may Allaah have mercy on him), is that it is twenty rak’ahs. This was the view of al-Thawri, Abu Hanfeefah and al-Shaafa’i. Maalik said it is thirty-six

Al-Mughni, 1/457

Al-Nawawi said:

Taraaweeh prayer is Sunnah according to scholarly consensus. Our view is that it is twenty rak’ahs with ten tasleems, and it is permissible to pray it individually or in congregation.

Al-Majmoo’, 4/31

These are the views of the four imams concerning the number of rak’ahs of Taraaweeh prayer. All of them said something more than eleven rak’ahs. Perhaps the reasons why they said something more than eleven rak’ahs include the following:

1- They thought that the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah did not mean that this was the specific number.
2- A greater number was narrated from many of the salaf.

 

See al-Mughni, 2/604; al-Majmoo’, 4/32

3- The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray eleven rak’ahs and make them very lengthy, so much so that it used to take him most of the night. Indeed, one night in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) led his companions in praying Taraaweeh, he did not end his prayer until just before dawn, and the Sahaabah feared that they would miss suhoor. The Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) loved to pray behind the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and they did not feel that it was too long. The scholars thought that if the imam made the prayer so long, this would be too difficult for the members of the congregation and that might put them off. So they thought that the imam should make the recitation shorter and increase the number of rak’ahs.

The point is that the one who prays eleven rak’ahs in the manner narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is doing well and is following the Sunnah. Whoever makes the recitation shorter and increases the number of rak’ahs is also doing well. A person who does either of these two things is not to be denounced. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:

If a person prays Taraaweeh according to the madhhabs of Abu Haneefah, al-Shaafa’i and Ahmad, with twenty rak’ahs, or according to the madhhab of Maalik, with thirty-six rak’ahs, or with thirteen or eleven rak’ahs, he has done well, as Imam Ahmad said, because there is nothing to specify the number. So the greater or lesser number of rak’ahs depends on how long or short the qiyaam (standing in the prayer) is.

Al-Ikhtiyaaraat, p. 64

Al-Suyooti said:

What is narrated in the saheeh and hasan ahaadeeth is the command to observe night prayers during Ramadaan, which is encouraged without specifying a particular number. It is not proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed twenty rak’ahs of Taraaweeh, rather that he prayed at night, with an unspecified number of rak’ahs. Then he delayed it on the fourth night lest it become obligatory for them and they might not be able to do it. Ibn Hajar al-Haythami said: There is no saheeh report that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed twenty rak’ahs of Taraaweeh. The narration which suggests that he “used to pray twenty rak’ahs” is extremely weak (da’eef).

Al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 27/142-145

So you should not be surprised that people pray Taraaweeh as twenty rak’ahs. There have been generation after generation of those imams (who used to pray twenty rak’ahs), and all of them are good.

And Allaah Knows Best

[For More Info Visit: http://www.islamqa.com FATWA NO.82152, 38021]

Asalaamu Alaaikum wa Ramatullahi wa Barakatu,