1. What is the importance of Taraweeh during Ramadhaan in our shari`ah?
2. Hence how many rakaats taraweehs do we have?
1. Taraweeh is an established `amal outsourced from sunnah that Sahabas collectively established basing on the practice and the sayings of the prophet SAW. From then, till this era, every generation of muslims prayed taraweeh with great importance.
It is reported by Ibn Abbaas r.a. that the holy prophet SAW used to perform 20 rakaats of Taraweeh and read 3 witr during Ramadhaan(Ibn Abi Shaibah). This hadith is supported by other riwayats of Ibn Abi Shaibah, Abd Ibn Humaid and Tabrani, that makes it hassan. Besides the `amal of the ummah is a proof that the holy prophet SAW gave importance to Taraweeh. So important that it was feared that Taraweeh will become farz(Bukhari).
As a matter of fact, taraweeh salaah is sunnah Muakkadah. Because the holy prophet SAW said: ‘You will see great divergence after me. So take hold on my sunnah and sunnah of my rightly guided khulafas. Hold to it very strongly even with your teeth.’(Ibn Majah)
Ulamas who saw sahabas stated that whatever sahabas established was precisely outsourced from the existing sunnah of Nabi SAW. Sahabas prayed taraweeh continously and with great importance. So it is important for men and women to read taraweeh. As a conclusion it is sunnah muakkadah to read taraweeh during Ramadhaan and leaving sunnah muakkadah is a sin.
2. We should read 20 rakaats. It is sunnah muakkadah to read 20 rakaats of taraweehs every night of Ramadhaan. This is applicable for man also and women. We should read 2 by 2 rakaats.
One should note that the salaah of taraweeh was established even before hazrat Umar r.a.
It is reported in Bukhari that Hazrat Umar r.a. came at the masjid in Ramadhaan and found people praying taraweeh individually and in different jamaat. The next day, he gathered them behind Ubay bin Ka`b r.a.(Bukhari: see text below:)
وَعَنْ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ عَنْ عُرْوَةَ بْنِ الزُّبَيْرِ عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ عَبْدٍ الْقَارِيِّ أَنَّهُ قَالَ خَرَجْتُ مَعَ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ لَيْلَةً فِي رَمَضَانَ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ فَإِذَا النَّاسُ أَوْزَاعٌ مُتَفَرِّقُونَ يُصَلِّي الرَّجُلُ لِنَفْسِهِ وَيُصَلِّي الرَّجُلُ فَيُصَلِّي بِصَلَاتِهِ الرَّهْطُ فَقَالَ عُمَرُ إِنِّي أَرَى لَوْ جَمَعْتُ هَؤُلَاءِ عَلَى قَارِئٍ وَاحِدٍ لَكَانَ أَمْثَلَ ثُمَّ عَزَمَ فَجَمَعَهُمْ عَلَى أُبَيِّ بْنِ كَعْبٍ
Abdur Rahman said: ‘’I came to the masjid(An Nabawi) with Hazrat Umar r.a. once during the night of Ramadhaan. We saw people praying individually and in different groups. So Hazrat Umar r.a. wished that it would be better if all should have one imaam. Later on, he gathered them behind Ubay bin Ka`b r.a.(Bukhari)
So it is clear that Hazrat Umar r.a. did not change anything to taraweeh but only he gathered everybody behind one imaam. Since there is no description of the number of rakaats mentioned here and hence this brings the fact that the number of rakaats stayed the same. Because had there been a change in the number of rakaats, the narrator would have mentioned it also.
We explicitly find the number rakaats in the ahadiths mentioned in Ibn Abi Shaibah. Please read the following:
حَدَّثَنَا يَزِيدُ بْنُ هَارُونَ ، قَالَ : أَخْبَرَنَا إبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ عُثْمَانَ ، عَنِ الْحَكَمِ ، عَنْ مِقْسَمٍ ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ : أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَانَ يُصَلِّي فِي رَمَضَانَ عِشْرِينَ رَكْعَةً وَالْوِتْرَ.
Reported in Ibn Abi Shaibah that Ibn Abaas r.a. said that the beloved prophet Swalallahou `Alaihi wa sallam used to pray 20 rakaats in Ramadhaan and also the witr salaah.(Sahih-Ibn Abi Shaibah).
The same riwayat are found in Baihaqi Kubra, Baihaqi Sughra and Ibn Abi Shaibah.
If the sanad or chain of narration is questioned, then know that the amal of taraweeh in the masjid an nabawi has always been at least 20 rakaats and is still 20 rakaats. A present arab scholar `Atiyyah bin Saalim has written a book dealing with taraweeh in masjid an Nabawi through more a thousand years and he concluded that it was at least 20 rakaats, nothing less.
There is also a hadith of Ibn Abbaas r.a. that the holy prophet SAW prayed 20 rakaats of taraweeh(Ibn Abi Shaibah, Abd Ibn Humaid and Tabrani).
The hadith of hazrat Aisha r.a. argumented as a strong hold for 8 rakaats of taraweeh is for tahajjud and not taraweeh. We also agree that tahajjud is sunnah with 8 rakaats.
Let`s take a look at the hadith to help us analyse the issue:
عَنْ أَبِي سَلَمَةَ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ أَنَّهُ سَأَلَ عَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا كَيْفَ كَانَتْ صَلَاةُ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي رَمَضَانَ قَالَتْ مَا كَانَ يَزِيدُ فِي رَمَضَانَ وَلَا فِي غَيْرِهِ عَلَى إِحْدَى عَشْرَةَ رَكْعَةً يُصَلِّي أَرْبَعَ رَكَعَاتٍ فَلَا تَسْأَلْ عَنْ حُسْنِهِنَّ وَطُولِهِنَّ ثُمَّ يُصَلِّي أَرْبَعًا فَلَا تَسْأَلْ عَنْ حُسْنِهِنَّ وَطُولِهِنَّ ثُمَّ يُصَلِّي ثَلَاثًا فَقُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ تَنَامُ قَبْلَ أَنْ تُوتِرَ قَالَ تَنَامُ عَيْنِي وَلَا يَنَامُ قَلْبِي
Hazrat Aisha r.a. said:’’The holy prophet SAW did not increase his salaah during Ramadhaan or outside Ramadhaan over 11 rakaats. He would read very lengthy and beautiful 4 rakaats two times. And then he would read 3 witr.’’(Bukhari)
This hadith is obviously talking on Tahajjud and not taraweeh. Firstly because taraweeh is not outside Ramadhaan. This is why hazrat Aisha r.a. said: ‘‘…during Ramadhaan or outside Ramdhaan…’’We have tahajjud outside Ramadhaan and during Ramdhaan. Secondly taraweeh is read 2 by 2 rakaats and not four by four as described here. And also tahajjud was prayed at home and hence the wife of the prophet SAW should know better the description of tahajjud. That is why the question was addressed to her. As to the number of Rakaats, there are plenty of riwayats from the Khulafa Rashideen that they ordered their imams to read 20 rakaats.
حَدَّثَنَا وَكِيعٌ ، عَنْ نَافِعِ بْنِ عُمَرَ ، قَالَ : كَانَ ابْنُ أَبِي مُلَيْكَةَ يُصَلِّي بِنَا فِي رَمَضَانَ عِشْرِينَ رَكْعَةً وَيَقْرَأُ بِحَمْدِ الْمَلاَئِكَةِ فِي رَكْعَةٍ.
Ibn Abi Mulaika used to read 20 rakaats of taraweeh…(Ibn Abi Shaibah)
– حَدَّثَنَا وَكِيعٌ ، عَنْ حَسَنِ بْنِ صَالِحٍ ، عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ قَيْسٍ ، عَنِ أَبِي الْحَسْنَاءِ : أَنَّ عَلِيًّا أَمَرَ رَجُلاً يُصَلِّي بِهِمْ فِي رَمَضَانَ عِشْرِينَ رَكْعَةً.
Hazrat Ali r.a. ordered someone to lead them 20 rakaats during Ramadhaan(Ibn Abi Shaibah)
And know also that witr is 3 rakaats according to the riwayah of Aisha r.a.
Yes, as far as taraweeh is concerned, it is a salaah particular during Ramadhaan. And we found it in Bukhari in itself that Hazrat Umar r.a. gathered people behind one imaam and it is proven that it was and still is 20 rakaats in Masjid an Nabawi.
Today if you go Madinah Munawwarah, you would pray 20 rakaats of taraweehs in Masjid An Nabawi SAW.
Note also that Allamah Ibn Taimiyah mentions it in his Fatwa Kubra and Majmou` Fatawa:
فَالْقِيَامُ بِعِشْرِينَ هُوَ الْأَفْضَلُ وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَعْمَلُ بِهِ أَكْثَرُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ ‘
Hence taraweeh of 20 rakaats is the best opinion and most of muslims are abiding to it.’(Fatawa Kubra and Majmou` Fatawa-Ibn Taimiyah)
Allamah Ibn Qudamah commented the number of 20 Taraweehs as Ijma’ and concensus of the ummah.(Almughni)
Imaam Abu Hanifah r.a. explicitly described the salaah of taraweeh as 20 rakaats. None of the imams has opinion below 20 rakaats. And yet, they are closer to the prophet SAW than us. Scholars like Mufti Mahmood, Mowlana Yousuf Binnori r.a., Mufti Shafi` r.a. all unanimously agreed on that taraweeh is 20 rakaats.
As such, basing on the hadith of Rasouloullah SAW that emphasized us to follow His sunnah and sunnah of Khulafa Rashideen, we conclude that 20 Rakaats of taraweeh is sunnah muakkadah. And also wajib to read 3 witr also. This is applicable each night of Ramadhaan for men and women also.
Not reading 20 rakaats is definitely a sin.