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Number of Rakah in Taraweeh

Some people think that Taraawee’h comprises of eight raka’aah only. This is not correct . In the unanimous opinion of all the Imams, Taraawee’h consists of twenty raka’aah.

Although no Imam agreed upon less than twenty raka’aah, Imam Malik holds an opinion of 32 raka’aah. This means that in the consensus of all the Imams no one agrees upon less than twenty raka’aah.

Moreover, we can know from Ibn Abbaas’s narration that he led taraawee’h for two or three nights during which he offered twenty raka’aah. The companions of the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) performed according to his saying and presented themselves as excellent examples to be followed. They had not only recorded the actions of the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) but also went on imitating his actions. They did us a great favor by providing us with valuable traditions that will be the source of guidance (for all of us) until the end of this world.

The variation in the number of raka’aah in the section of Taraawee’h is only due to misinterpretation of Qiyaam-al-lail as Tahajjud and not Taraawee’h and the premise that, “as the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) has most probably offered tahajjud in 8 raka’aah, therefore, Taraawee’h should also be offered in 8 raka’aah.”

To eliminate the misconceptions held by some people, we shall present here the routines followed by the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) himself, the rightly guided caliphs and other companions during the month of Ramadaan. We shall provide some information regarding the reinstatement of the congregational Taraawee’h during the caliphate of Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.) so that people may know the fact that the only reason that stopped the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) from leading the congregational Taraawee’h was that he was afraid that praying Taraawee’h in congregation might become obligatory upon his nation which might lead to hardship upon his ummah.

It is a sheer error in concluding that the congregational Taraawee’h is not at all proven by the practice of the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) just because he did not lead it with regularity.

Below are some of the narrations with their corresponding references.

The Practice (of Muslims) during the period of the holy prophet (s.a.w.) and his companions (r.a.a.)
Hadrath Abdullah bin Abbaas reported, “The holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) led us in twenty raka’aah congregational prayer of Taraawee’h. [musannaf ibn abi shaiba page 293 volume 2]
There should be no doubt concerning the fact that after the death of the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم), Hadrath Abu Bakr (r.a.a.) was the first caliph and in the Taraawee’h section, none of his acts is recorded nor has he left anything for the ummah concerning this. This fact should also be considered that regarding his era and the era that follows him, the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) had said; ‘the best era is mine, the next best after this one and the next one after that.’ Moreover the caliphate of Abu Bakr (r.a.a.) was of very short duration and he was busy curbing the revolt of the apostates [khaarijeen]. Therefore he did not consider it necessary for Taraawee’h to be offered in congregation. After him Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.) thought about protecting (Muslims) against the forthcoming circumstances and confusion and appointed Hadrath Ubai Ibn Ka’b as the Imam and reinstated this excellent form of congregation that accorded exactly with the will of the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم).

The prayer of Taraawee’h used to consist of twenty raka’aah during the caliphate of Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.) , Hadrath Uthmaan (r.a.a.) and Hadrath Ali (r.a.a). [Na'sburraya page 153 volume 2]

Hadrath Ubai ibn Ka’b (r.a.a.) said that he used to lead twenty raka’aah of congregational prayer of Taraawee’h on the command of Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.).[Kanzul 'ummaal page 315 volume 3]

During the month of Ramadaan Hadrath Suwaid bin Ghaflah (r.a.a.) used to lead twenty raka’aah taraawee’h prayer in which he took five tarwee’hah (pauses). [Baihaqi page 496 volume 2]

Hadrath Ali (r.a.a.) commanded a companion to lead twenty raka’aah taraawee’h prayer with five tarwee’hah (pauses/intervals). [Mu'sannaf ibn abi shaiba page 393 volume 3]

There is a narration related to Hadrath Ali (r.a.a.) himself that he gathered all the reciters and commanded them to lead twenty raka’aah Taraawee’h prayer and after the congregational Taraawee’h, Hadrath Ali (r.a.a.) himself led them in witr. [Baihaqi page 496 volume 2]

Hadrath Saa-ib bin yazeed (r.a.a.) said that during the caliphate of Hadrath Umar (r.a.a), twenty raka’aah Taraawee’h prayer was offered .[baihaqi page 496 volume 2]

Hadrath Ubai Ibn Ka’b (r.a.a.) used to lead twenty raka’aah taraawee’h in the month of Ramadaan in the city of Madinah [Musannaf ibn abi shaiba page 293 volume 2]

‘Sa’hibul Mi’t-harah (nickname of Hadrath Abdullah b. Mas’ood (r.a.a.)) used to offer twenty raka’aah taraawee’h prayer ['Aini, qiyaamul-lail page 91]

Hadrath ubai ibn ka’b (r.a.a.) used to lead twenty raka’aah taraawee’h prayer in the month of Ramadaan [musannaf ibn abi shaiba page 293 volume 2]

Hadrath ‘Ali ibn rabi`ah (r.a.a.) used to offer twenty raka’aah taraawee’h prayer which had five tarwee’hah (pauses/intervals) [musannaf ibn abi shaiba page 293 volume 2]

The practice of the second and third generation Muslims
‘Allaamah Nawawi (r.h.) of Shari’h Muslim (guide to Muslim Shareef) stated that only twenty raka’aah Taraawee’h is proven because there is a tawaatur (Having numerous chains of narrators) and tasalsul (Continuity) about “offering 20 raka’aah”. [Mirqaat page 169 volume 2]

Hadrath Haarith (r.h.) used to lead twenty raka’aah taraawee’h. [musannaf abi shaiba page 293 volume 2]

Hadrath Shateer (r.h) used to lead twenty raka’aah taraawee’h prayer. [Baihaqi page 496 volume 2]

‘Haafiz ibn ‘hajar ‘asqalaani (r.h.) of Shari’h Bukhari (Guide to Bukhari Shareef) said that twenty raka’aah in taraawee’h are proven by the actions of all the companions of the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) [Baihaqi volume 2 page 170]

‘Allaamah ibn ‘Ikramah Hambali (r.h.) said that since the companions of the holy prophet (Both Muhajireen and Ansar) kept offering twenty raka’aah taraawee’h with regularity, this act is considered to be in Ijma’ (consensus) [al-mughni libn qudaamah page 456 volume 1]

‘Allaamah Ta’h`taawi wrote; ‘Twenty raka’aah are proven by regularity of the companions of the holy prophet (s.a.w.).’ [Ta`h`taawi page 224]

 

 
 
 
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