Age of Jahiliyah

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Is Tarawih Prayer 20 Rakat?

From Sunnipath


It is an accepted fact among the true scholars of Islam that for centuries, tarâwîh prayer was and is an additional prayer (prayer) in the month of Ramadân. Only the Shî’as reject tarâwîh. The Ahl al-Hadith sect (or Salafis) also reject the fact that there is an additional prayer in Ramadân. Their belief is that tahajjud prayer which is performed during the latter portion of the night was brought forward in Ramadân. Thus there is no addition in Ramadân.

(The Ahl al-Hadith (Literalists) are a sect that do not ascribe to any mazhab nor do they follow any particular Imam. They claim to derive their rules directly from the hadith. Another name used for this sect is Ghair Muqallideen. The Salafis also hold similar beliefs. The term Ahl al-Hadith (Literalists) used in this book refers in general to all those who hold such beliefs)

The Ahl al-Hadith (Literalists) hold the same belief as the Shî’a regarding tarâwîh. (It is interesting to note that Mia Nazir Husain Delhwi, the first notable scholar of the Ahl al-Hadith (Literalists) sect remarked to Moulana Thanaullah Amritsari that the Ahl al-Hadith (Literalists) are small Shias due to the disrespect created by not adopting the taqlid of the Imaams. See Tarikh Ahl al-Hadith (Literalists) by Moulana Muhammad Ibrahim) According to them, the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) began performing his tahajjud earlier in Ramadân. This was then termed tarâwîh. According to this belief, there was no increase in the prayer of the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) during Ramadân.

Prayer is the highest form of physical worship in Islam. When the month of Ramadân arrives, the common masses begin increasing their prayer by performing extra nawâfil (optional prayers). Can it then be possible for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) that he encouraged excess worship in this month while he himself did not increase his nightly worship? If he merely transferred his tahajjud prayer to an earlier time, then it implies that there was no increase in his prayer. So why did he ask his followers to perform an additional prayer in Ramadân?

There is a narration that indicates an increase in his prayer during the holy month. Hadrat Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said:

“Whoever stood in Ramadân (in worship) with Imân and to seek reward, all his past sins are forgiven.”(Sahih Muslim vol.1 pg.259)

This hadith indicates that the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) encouraged the people to stand and worship Allâh during the month of Ramadân i.e. by performing prayer, but did he himself add anything to his prayer?

Is it suitable for the lofty status of this messenger that he encourages people to perform prayer in such a holy month while he himself does not do so? Any person that studies the life history of the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace), knows that there was no contradiction between his speech and his action. He practically demonstrated all that he spoke of. Even people that are generally far from Dîn, perform some extra worship during Ramadân. Thus it is impossible for him to have omitted extra prayer in Ramadân. He most certainly performed an additional prayer but was not strict in enforcing it.

Accordingly, the beliefs of the Ahl al-Hadith (Literalists) and Shias are similar on this issue; the only difference being that the Shia have not claimed the eight rakaât of tahajjud being brought forward while the Ahl al-Hadith (Literalists) have done so. The Shî’as openly and directly claim that there is no extra prayer in Ramadân and the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) did not add any prayer in the blessed nights of Ramadân.

With regards to the number of raka´ât of tarâwîh, for the past twelve centuries, the entire ummah without any exception has been performing twenty raka´ât of tarâwîh. This has been the practice of Muslims from the time of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), the Sahâbah (Allah be pleased with them), the Tabi’een and the Ulama (Allah have mercy on him) until two centuries ago, when a newly-born sect called the Ahl al-Hadith introduced the theory that tarâwîh is only eight raka´ât. Till today, tarâwîh in both the Haramain (Makkah and Madînah) is twenty raka´ât and thousands of Muslims observe it there in the month of Ramadân….(continued)

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17 thoughts on “Is Tarawih Prayer 20 Rakat?

  1. Salafi Burhaaan on said:

    My Dear Admin Brother…I My Self Am 4rm So Called Sunni Family…And Alhamdulillah Converted To Ehal.E. Hadith….The Real Followers Quran.O.Sunnah…Didn’t U Remember The Hadith Narrated By Hazrat Aisha(RA) That Massanger Of Allah Didn’t Offer More Than 11 Rakats In Ramadan And Gair Ramadan(Bukhari)Now Decide Ur Self Who Iz Jahil And Gumrah U Or Ehal.E.Hadith….


  2. Have you ever been in Makkah? Or had watch Ramadan Taraveeh of haram al sharifain? Leave 2011, tell me if your statement of 20 rakah qayamul lail is true for last 5 years. Tell me in particular year.


  3. Asallah mu ali kum.
    Narrated Abu Salma bin ‘Abdur Rahman: I asked ‘Aisha, “How is the prayer of Allah’s Apostle during the month of Ramadan.” She said, “Allah’s Apostle never exceeded eleven Rakat in Ramadan or IN OTHER MONTHS; he used to offer yt four Rakat– do not ask me about their beauty and length, then four Rakat, do not ask me about their beauty and length, and then three Rakat.(Bukhari) .////////… so it is 8 rakats taravi and and in odd vitar…… so what the maki and madni are doing we have not to followcthem but we have to follow what Allah and his prophet (saw) said…


    • Assalaam Alaykum wa Rahmatullah
      Br. Irfan,

      One of the reasons why Muslims follow madhabs is because respected scholars like Shafi’i, Hanfi’i, Maliki, and Hanbali dedicated their entire lives to studying Islam and discerning the strong hadiths from the weak hadiths. You have brought a hadith, and I can probably bring you another hadith that says something different. Which hadith do we choose? Does every Muslim just cherry pick the hadith they like and follow that?

      That is why Muslims rely on respected scholars who have been through all of the hadiths and spent their lives trying to understand which narrator of a particular hadith is strong, and which narrator is more weak, or they looked at the language used in a particular hadith to determine which hadith is more strong.

      Most of us as Muslims have never spent any time studying our deen, so can we just whip out a Bukhari and a Muslim hadith book, and start following that when there are several different hadiths on the subject matter?

      I recommend reading the following articles to understand why the method above is very faulty and may be detrimental to our practice of the deen.

      Why Muslims Follow Madhabs?

      What is a Madhab?


    • syed on said:

      Is Tarawih 8 Or 20?

      For the past fourteen hundred years, the Ummah has been performing twenty Rakaats of Taraweeh without a question. However “a sect” now claims that Taraweeh is ONLY eight Rakaats, which implies that for fourteen hundred years the Ummah had deviated from the Sunnah of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and had performed twenty Rakaats without any Shari proof.

      First, it should be said that the Hadith reported from Sayyidah Aisha (RA) about 11 Rak’ahs is not at all to do with Taraweeh, according to the majority of scholars, but in fact concerns the number of Rak’ahs of Tahajjud prayer! The Hadith is as follows:-

      Narrated abu salama bin abdur rahman (RA):

      I asked Aisha (RA) about the prayer of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) during the month of Ramadan. She said, “ALLAH’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) never exceeded 11 Rakats in Ramadan nor in the other months; he used to offer 4 rakats – do not ask me about their beauty and lentgh, then 4 Rakats, do not ask me about their beauty and length, and then 3 Rakat.” Aisha further said , “I said, ‘O Allah’s messenger! Do you sleep before offering Witr salat?’ he replied, ‘O Aisha! My eyes sleep but my heart remains awake!’

      (Bukhari, book of Tahajjud prayer, chapter: the Salat (prayer) of the prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) at night in Ramadan and in other months. 2:248)

      The commentator of al-Sahih al-Bukhari and the erudite traditionist, Shaykh Shamsud-Din al-Kermani (d. 786 AH; RH) said: ‘In the Hadith (above), the Tahajjud prayer is meant. Abu Salama’s question and Hadrat Aisha’s answer concerned the Tahajjud.’ He adds further: ‘If the Tahajjud prayer is not meant, then this tradition will be at variance with the tradition that states that the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) led twenty Rak’ahs each for two nights, and in the case of such clash the tradition of twenty Rakah’s which is affirmative (Muthbit) shall have precedence because according to the principles of Hadith, the affirmative takes precedence over the negative (Naafi)” (vide: Al-Kawakib ud-Durari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 9, pg 155-156).

      We say, does this not mean that people who perform 8 Rak’ahs of Taraweeh, should pray 20 Rak’ahs instead? Since according to the principles of Hadith, “The affirmative takes precedence over the negative in certain cases.”

      A great fact that should also be noted is that the Imam’s of Hadith have placed the Hadith from Sayyidah Aisha (RA) under the section of Tahajjud prayers, which indicates their belief that the Hadith applies to Tahajjud only. The Imam al-Muhaddithin al-Bukhari has placed the Hadith from Sayyidah Aisha under at least two sections of his Sahih, first under the section of ’21: The Tahajjud Prayer at Night’ (see Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 2, chapter 15, no. 248, English ed’n) and then under the section of ’32: The Book of Taraweeh Prayers’ (see Sahih al-Bukhari, 3/230, pg. 128 English ed’n). This means that al-Imam Bukhari believed that the prayer mentioned by Aisha was that of Tahajjud only, and since the Tahajjud prayer is performed also in Ramadan, then Imam Bukhari also quoted the same Hadith under ‘The book of Taraweeh prayers’, but Allah knows best.

      Imam Muslim has also placed the Hadith from Aisha under the Tahajjud prayer section (see Sahih Muslim 1/1607, pg. 356, English ed’n). Also Imam Malik has placed Sayyidah Aisha’s Hadith under the Book of Tahajjud (see Al-Muwatta, Book 7, section 7.2, no. 9, pg. 5, English ed’n). Al-Imam Abi Dawud has also placed the same Hadith under the chapter ‘On the number of Rak’ahs of the prayer at night (Tahajjud)’ (see Abi Dawud 1/1336, pg. 351, English version). Even Imam’s Tirmidhi and Nisai (Allah’s mercy be upon them) placed Aisha’s Hadith under the Tahajjud section (see Tirmidhi, vol. 1, pg. 58 and Nisai, vol. 1, pg. 154).

      Ibne Hajar states that in Bukhari the chapter of Tahajjud, Witr, and Nawafil prayers are mentioned separately, so this indicates that Imam Bukhari did not place Tahajjud, Witr and optional prayer into one chapter, but into different, separate chapters.
      (FATHUL BARI VOL.2 PG.478)

      This proves that Tahajjud and Tarawih prayers are separate prayers, if however, the Tahajjud and Tarawih prayer was the same-as some people (Salafis) say, why didn’t Imam Bukhari mention Tarawih and Tahajjud prayer into one chapter or book?

      Removal of a doubt

      If someone makes a claim that there is no distinction between Tahajjud and Taraweeh. For 11 months it is called Tahajjud and in Ramadhaan it is called Taraweeh. In response to this we would question: What is the proof for this claim? And when there are numerous distinctions existing, then how is it possible to regard both as one?

      Differences between Tahajjud and Taraweeh

      1. Tahajjud was ordained by means of express quranic verse: “Stand up at night except a little.” Taraweeh being a Sunnah was established through the hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “I have made its standing Sunnat upon for you.”

      2. Everyone agrees that the number of Rakaats of Tahajjud have been transmitted by Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), the maximum being 13 including Witr and the minimum being 7 including Witr. However no specific number has been transmitted from Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) regarding Taraweeh as clearly stated by Allamah ibne Taymiah. Therefore the Aimma-e-Mujtahideen differ in the number. Some say 20 and some say 36, even more.

      3. Tahajjud was ordained in Makkah whilst Taraweeh was prescribed in Madina.

      4. It is mentioned in the realiable books of the Hambali Mazhab, Muqna: “Taraweeh is 20 Rakaats which a person performs in Ramadhaan in Jamaat. He will read Witr after it in Jamaat. However if he reads Tahajjud then he will make Witr after it.”

      5. Tahajjud is generally performed after sleeping while Taraweeh is performed after Esha.

      From the above we learn that Taraweeh and Tahajjud are separate Salaahs.

      The Hadith Of Aisha (RA) Dosen’t proove The Tarawih Prayer:

      This Hadith apparently indicates that Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) performed eight Rakaats and three Rakaats Witr, In other Ahadith it is stated that Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) prayed more than 8 and less than 8 Rakats, i.e.

      The same narrator Aisha (RA) clearly states that prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) prayed 13 Rakats. (Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 21, Number 241)

      Abu Salama asked Aisha about the prayer of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)
      she said, “He observed 13 Raka’ahs (in the night prayer). He observed 8 Raka’ahs and would then observe (three Rak’ahs of) Witr and then observe two Raka’ahs sitting (Nafl prayer), and when he wanted to bow he stood up and then bowed down, and then he observed two Raka’ahs in between the Azan and Iqama of the dawn prayer (i.e. Fajr).” (Sahih Muslim 1/1603, pg. 357).

      Ibn Abbas narrates:
      The prayer of the Prophet used to be of thirteen Rakat, i.e. of the night prayer. (Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 21, Number 239)

      Masruq narrates:
      I asked Aisha about the night prayer of Allah’s Apostle and she said, “It was seven, nine or eleven Rakat besides the two Rakat of the Fajr prayer (i.e. Sunna). ”
      (Bukhar, Volume 2, Book 21, Number 240)

      Now we can see clearly from these traditions that it contradicts with the proof and evidence (The Hadith Aisha RA)) of the Ghair Muqallids (those who do not follow a Madhab (one of the school of thought)) .

      Note: In the following paragraphs we will be analyzing the Hadith of Aisha (RA), so make sure you refer to it.

      1) This hadith (the hadith of A’isha) also mentions the word, ‘“ALLAH’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) never exceeded 11 Rakats in Ramadan nor in the other months” this clearly indicates that this was with reference to Tahajjud because the Tahajjud prayer was compulsory on Rasulullah (the messenger of Allah) everyday, Allah (Ta’ala) Say’s,“stand (to pray all) night, except a little-half of it, or a little less than that, or a little more…”(73:4)

      However, the Hadith of A’isha doesn’t refer to Taraweeh Salaat but refers to Tahajjud.

      2) This hadith states, that Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) prayed this Salat by himself, and the Witr prayer also. This is very clear in the text (Hadith).

      -Ghair Muqallids say it is prayed with congregation and the witr prayer also.

      3) This hadith states, that Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) prayed this prayer at home.

      (When Aisha further said, “I said, O Allah’s messenger! Do you sleep before offering the Witr prayer?” he replied, ‘O Aisha my eyes sleep but my heart remains awake!”)
      This is clear that Aisha (RA) is mentioning it at home.

      -Ghair Muqallids say that it is prayed in the Masjid.

      4) This hadith states, that Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) after praying this prayer he went to sleep, and then got up to pray his Witr prayer. (Like the hadith mentioned above, ‘O Aisha my eyes sleep but my heart remains awake!”)

      In the noble quran, Allah (Ta’ala) says, “verily, the rising by night is very hard most potent………….” (73:6)
      In this verse we can see clearly that Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was ordered to rise (from sleep) for Tahajjud prayer and he also use to pray Witr prayer, as this was the practice of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).

      In another Hadith the narrator Aisha (RA) was asked about the night prayer of Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) she replied, ‘he used to sleep during the first part of the night (after praying I’sha ), and get up in its last part to offer prayer (Tahajjud prayer with Witr prayer), and then return to his bed.’ (Bukhari, book of Tahajjud, chapter: Sleeping in the first part of the night and getting up in its last part. 2:247)

      -Ghair Muqallids say, that the witr prayer is immediately prayed after tarawih Salat (Prayer).

      5) This hadith states, that Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) prayed this Salat with 4
      Rakats. like the hadith mentioned,
      (“he used to offer 4 rakats……….”)

      -Ghair Muqallids say, that this prayer is prayed with 2 Rakats .

      (Ghair Maqallideen Imam Bukhari Ki A’dalat Main Pg. 147-149)

      The belief of the Ghair Muqallids on 8 Rakat Taraweeh contradicts in every direction with the Hadith of A’isha (RA), which they hold evident and using their utmost effort to prove that the Tarawih prayer of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was 8. However, this proof is useless and baseless. From this we also learn that according to some people themselves it is not compulsory to practice upon this Hadith nor is going against this Hadith opposing the Sunnah. In such a situation to use this Hadith as a proof against anyone else or to prove any claim is gross injustice and against the dictates of piety.

      There are some who say that if anyone performs more than 11 Rak’ahs of Taraweeh, then he or she is basically committing a Bid’ah (a very bad innovation)! We seek refuge in Allah from such a disgusting statement! Since this tantamountally means that the foremost Imams of the saved sect (al-Firqat an-Najiyyah) of Ahl-al-Sunnah wa’l-Jama’ah have been committing a gross innovation (Allah forbid). Such a person seems to be implying that the venerable Sahaba kiram (RA), the four great Mujtahid Imams (RH), as well as the foremost scholars of Hadith and Fiqh of the last 1400 years have ‘innovated’ the practise of 20 Rak’ahs of Taraweeh, if considered in the light of penetrative elaboration, implicitly and covertly! Laa Hawla wa Laa Quwwata Illaa Billaah il-Aliyy il-Azeem!

      And Only Allah Ta’ala Knows Best.


    • syed on said:

      The 20 Rakats Taraweeh prayer is a Sunnah Muakkadah – Those who
      reject it, go against the Sunnah and the consensus of the Sahabah
      It is related from Sayyidina Ibn Abbas : ‘The Prophet would pray 20 Rakats and then witr in the
      month of Ramadhan.’ (Musnad ibn Abi Shaybah vol 2, p294/ Sunan Baihaqi vol 2, p496/ Tibraani Kabir vol 11, p393/
      Musnad ibn Hameed p218)
      Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا related from Imam Rafi ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا : The Prophet prayed 20 Rakats in Taraweeh on two
      consecutive nights with a congregation in Ramdhan. On the third night many more people gathered (for a
      congregation) but the Prophet did not appear before them. In the morning the Prophet stated: ‘It occurred
      to me that this prayer (20 Rakats in Ramadhan) could become compulsory (Fard) upon you, and you would not be
      able to bear it.’ This narration related by Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqalani, after relating it, he used to state: ( ﻖﻔﺘﻡ ﻪﺘﺤﺹ ﻰﻠﻋ )
      ‘There is a consensus amongst all the Muhadditheen that this narration is sound (Sahih).’ (Talkeesul Habeer Fe
      Takhreej Ahadith Rafi ul Kabeer vol 1, p119)
      Sayyidina Abu Dhar Ghifari related: ‘We (the Companions) observed the fasts of Ramadhan with the Prophet
      . In the whole month the Prophet did not lead us in prayer, until there were 7 days left in the month. The
      Prophet then led us in prayer on the 23rd, 25th and 27th night. (Sunan Abu Dawood vol 1, p195)
      Sayyidah Aisha related: ‘After these nights (23, 25 &27th) the congregation grew to a very large number on the
      29th night. The Masjid of the Prophet had become filled to capacity. On this night the Prophet only came
      out to lead the people for the Fajr prayer. After the Fajr prayer, the Prophet stated: ‘I knew that you had
      gathered for the night prayer (Taraweeh) but I feared that this prayer would become compulsory (Fard) upon you
      and you would find it difficult to fulfil. (Sahih Bukhari vol 1, p269/ Sahih Muslim vol 1, p259)
      Even in the days in which the Prophet did not pray in congregation, Sayyidina Ibn Abbas has related: Verily in
      the month of Ramadhan, The Prophet used to pray 20 Rakats and Witr independent from any congregation.
      (Sunan Baihaqi As-Sunanul Kubra vol 2, p496)
      Allamah Subqi Shafi’ ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا stated: ‘Our belief is that the 20 Rakats Taraweeh is a Sunnah, which is proven from a
      sound chain.’ (Sharahul Minhaaj)
      The ‘Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamat’ are those who are satisfied and content with the
      actions/teachings of the Sahabah
      The soundness and correctness of the above narrations is supported by the very actions of the Sahabah . It was
      the nature of the Sahabah that without the order and permission of the Prophet they would not perform
      any religious action. They would not create innovative practices in the Deen. It is this very same 20 Rakats
      Taraweeh that has been performed from the time of the Sahabah to the present day in congregation in the
      month of Ramadhan. This form of worship has been passed down from generation to generation and safeguarded
      to this day. The strength of these Ahadith is established from the Khulafa Rashideen and Sahabah , Scholars of
      Hadith, Jurists and Mujtahideen of this Ummah, as well as the very practice of the Ummah itself.
      The Hadith related in respect of the 20 Rakats Taraweeh above has been related by Sayyidina Ibn Abbas .
      Sayyidina Umar then acted upon this narration and ordered the Ummah to read 20 Rakats Taraweeh behind
      an Imam. Both of these Companions are recognised as reliable and sound narrators of Hadith and on their
      narrating there is no doubt. It is the proven unanimous practice of the Sahabah to act upon this narration of
      Sayyidina Ibn Abbas which authenticates this narration as a correct and accepted practise.
      The Prophet stated: ‘After my time, people will see much differences occurring. In such a condition, it is
      compulsory upon you that you hold firmly to my Sunnah and the rightly guided path of the Khulafa Rashideen.’
      (Mishkaat Masabih p30)
      The Prophet specifically gave the Ummah an advice; related from Sayyidina Huzaifa : The Prophet
      stated: ‘I do not know how long I will remain amongst you. After me, follow Abu Bakr and Umar .
      (Mishkaat Masabih p560/ Sunan Ibn Majah #97)
      Sayyidina Abu Rahman bin Abdul Qari related: I left one night in Ramadhan with Sayyidina Umar bin Khattab
      and we headed towards the Masjid of the Prophet . In the Masjid we saw various groups of people praying alone or
      behind an Imam and they were scattered over the Masjid. Umar bin Khattab made a decision to congregate all the
      people behind Sayyidina Ubay ibn Ka’ab . (Sahih Bukhari vol 1, p269)
      Yazid bin Ruman ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا related: In the time of the Khalifah of Sayyidina Umar bin Khattab people would pray
      23 Rakats behind an Imam (20 Taraweeh, 3 Witr). (Muwatta Imam Malik vol 1, p98/ Sunan Kabeer Baihaqi vol 2,
      Abi Abdur Rahman Salmi ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا related: In the nights of Ramadhan, Sayyidina Ali called upon the recitors of
      the Qur’an (Huffaz/Qura) and ordered one amongst them to lead the people in 20 Rakats of Taraweeh. Sayyidina
      Ali would lead the people himself in the Witr Salah. (Sunan Kabeer Baihaqi vol 2, p496/ Fathul Bari vol 4, p219)
      Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا writes in his Fatawa: ‘Verily it has been proven that Umar made Ubay ibn Ka’ab
      lead the people in 20 Rakats of Taraweeh and 3 Witr in Ramadhan. This is the way of the scholars of this
      Ummah and this is the Sunnah. This is due to the fact that Sayyidina Ubay ibn Ka’ab read 20 Rakats Taraweeh
      in a large congregation of the Muhajireen and Ansar of the Sahabah and none amongst them objected to this
      practice.’ (Fatawa Ibn Taymiyyah vol 1, p191/ Al Mughni vol 1, p803)
      In the time of Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا when the Rawafid (Shia) put the blame upon Sayyidina Umar for
      creating the innovated practice of 20 Rakats Taraweeh. Ibn Taymiyyah ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا responded to this allegation by
      writing in defence of Sayyidina Umar to the Rawafid: ‘If Sayyidina Umar Farooq by establishing 20 Rakats
      of Taraweeh had been deemed to adopt a bad practise, then Sayyidina Ali would have put an end to this in his
      Khilafat. However, in the Khilafat of Sayyidina Ali , he too would read 20 Rakats Taraweeh prayer in Kufa. In
      the month of Ramadhan, Sayyidina Ali would state: ‘May Allah enlighten the grave of Sayyidina Umar ,
      just as He (Umar ) has enlightened our Masajids for us.’ (Due to the fact of establishing the 20 Rakats Taraweeh
      for the Ummah). (Minhaaj ul Sunnah vol 2, p224)
      Those Ghair Muqalideen who accuse Umar for introducing the innovation of 20 Rakats Taraweeh in his
      Khilafat, ask yourselves this, are you not treading the same path with your words as the Rawafid (Shia) in the time
      of Ibn Taymiyyah ﻤﺣر ﻪ ﷲا ?
      This practise of 20 Rakats continued throughout the Khilafat of Sayyidina Uthman and Sayyidina Ali &
      remained unaltered in the entire world until today. Alham-du-lil-lah, this is practised still today in the holiest
      Masajid i.e. Masjid Haram Makkah, Masjid Nabwi and Masjid al-Aqsa.
      Sayyidina Abdullah Ibn Masood , who is one of the most senior Sahabah in terms of knowledge and
      Taqwa, gave this advice to the Ummah in respect of the status of the Sahabah , upon which we should reflect
      wholeheartedly: ‘Sayyidina Ibn Masood stated: if you wish to follow the way of anyone, then follow the path of
      the Sahabah . These Sahabah had pure hearts, depth of knowledge, were devoid of show and pomp, had
      simplicity and were the best people of this Ummah. Allah preferred this great group of the Sahabah for
      the company of his most beloved Prophet and used them to establish his Deen. For this reason, their
      greatness should be recognised and their path followed, as truly they were those who were upon the rightly guided
      straight path.’ (Mishkaat Masabih, p32)
      Asad bin Amr ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا related from Qazi Imam Abu Yusuf ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا ‘I asked Imam Abu Hanifa ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا about the matter
      of Taraweeh and what Sayyidina Umar had done in this respect. Imam Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamat Abu Hanifa
      ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا replied: ‘20 Rakats of Taraweeh is Sunnah Muakkadah. Sayyidina Umar did not establish this from his
      own accord, nor was he one to create innovations in the Deen. Rather, he was the greatest in his hatred of
      innovation. The order that he gave for the 20 Rakats of Taraweeh, verily; there would have been an order of the
      Prophet in this respect.’ (Marakeeyul Farah Ma’a Hashiya p334)
      Imam Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamat Ahmed bin Hanbal ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا stated: ‘It has reached me that Sayyidina Umar bin
      Khattab would read 20 Rakats of Taraweeh.’ (Al Mughni vol 2, p168/ Baihaqi vol 1, p296/ Muwatta Imam Malik p40)
      The Incorrect Evidence Provided by the Ghair Muqalideen for Establishing of
      8 Rakats as Taraweeh
      Sayyidina Abdullah Ibn Abbas related: ‘The Prophet took rest after Isha (in the house of Mamunah )
      when half of the night had passed the Prophet woke up from his sleep and rubbed his eyes with his hands and
      recited the last 10 verses of Surah Ale Imran. The Prophet then performed ablution and prayed 12 Rakats of the
      night prayer (Qiyam ul Layl Tahajjud) in two Rakat segments… (Sahih Bukhari #184, Sunan Ibn Majah #594)
      There is different Sahih Ahadith that can be found supporting the number of Rakats performed by Prophet
      during the night prayers (Qiyam ul Layl Tahajjud) i.e. 4, 6, 8 or even sometimes 12 Rakats can be found in the
      Usually the narration of Aisha is used to support the view that Taraweeh of 8 Rakats is sufficient. Abu Salma
      related that he asked of Sayyidah Aisha : ‘How was the prayer of the Prophet in Ramadhan?’ She replied:
      ‘The Prophet would not pray more than 11 Rakats in Ramadhan or outside of it.’ (Sahih Bukhari vol 1, p154)
      In this narration, the words clearly state that the prayer of the Prophet throughout the whole year (in and
      outside of Ramadhan) would be no more than 11 Rakats. Therefore, this Hadith indicates the Prophet’s
      practice in respect of Tahajjud, as Taraweeh is connected only to the nights of Ramadhan. Is Taraweeh read after
      Isha in the other months of the year apart from Ramadhan?
      It is recorded in the Sahih Hadith that in the time of Prophet , He only prayed as Imam 3 nights in
      Ramadhan with the congregation of the Companions . On the three nights when The Prophet performed
      Taraweeh Salaah in congregation, He performed Tahajjud Salaah alone on one of those nights. Anas
      related that the Prophet ‘In (one night of) Ramadhan was praying (Taraweeh) Salaah. A number of us
      including myself joined the Prophet in Salaah forming one Jamaat. Afterwards the Prophet upon
      completing the Salaah went to his room and performed that Salaah (Qiyam ul Layl Tahajjud) alone which He
      did not perform with us. (Sahih Muslim vol 1, p352)
      The Prophet would pray Tahajjud (Qiyam ul Layl) the whole year round, but never was there the same
      congregation as was found in the 3 days of Ramadhan (as mentioned above). Nor did the Khulafa Rashideen
      gather and perform their own congregation. The Prophet never led the congregation of the Companions in
      Tahajjud (Qiyam ul Layl). (Fatawa Rahimiyah vol 1, p331)
      Why is the idea of Qiyam ul Layl Tahajjud in congregation in the Masjid than enforced as though it is a
      compulsory prayer. There are also posters put up to attract people to take part in this, reflect upon your own
      actions before implicating the Sahabah !
      If the above narration is not regarding the Tahajjud prayer, then the Sahih narration of Ibn Hajar Asqalani ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا
      mentioned above where the Prophet prayed 20 Rakats congregation on two consecutive nights in Ramadhan is
      conflicting to this narration of Aisha mentioning 11 Rakats in and outside of Ramadhan. Also, the narration of
      Aisha found in Bukhari has not mentioned a congregation of prayer. Where is the proof then for praying 8
      Rakats Taraweeh with congregation in Ramadhan?
      The establishment of 20 Rakats Taraweeh with congregation started upon the order of Umar and it was Umar
      also who established this 20 Rakats Taraweeh in the whole month.
      On one side, the Ghair Muqalideen by implicating Sayyidina Umar , leave the prayer composing of 20 Rakats.
      Yet, they pray 8 Rakats for the entire month. Both their actions are without reason or proof as the Prophet
      only prayed 20 Rakats in 3 nights with congregation and He never prayed Tahajjud (8 Rakats) in congregation.
      The Ulama of Salaf-us-Saliheen ﷲا ﻢﻬﻤﺣر have left the Ummah rules/regulations on how best to interpret Ahadith:
      if in any narration the message is not completely understood or there are a number of conflicting opinions
      regarding the same topic it is essential to refer to the practices and recommendations of the Sahabah , especially
      the actions of the Khulafa Rashideen – ‘for you that is the true path’. (Fathul Bari Sharah Bukhari vol 2, p269/
      Abu Dawood vol 1, p263/ Tareekh Baghdad vol 2, p247/ Ahkamul Qur’an vol 1, p17)
      The supporting proof from the Scholars of the Ummah that the Narration of
      Aisha is in respect of Tahajjud prayer
      Allamah Abu Bakr ibn Arabi ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا writes: ‘the 11 Rakats (8 Rakats Nafl, 3 Witr) narration related by Aisha
      refers to the Qiyam ul Layl (Tahajjud) of the Prophet .’ (Aridatul Ah’wadhi Shara Tirmidhi vol 4, p19)
      Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا also refers to this narration as referring to the Tahajjud (8 Rakats) with Witr (3 Rakats).
      (Fathul Bari Sharah Bukhari vol 3, p328)
      Qazi Ayadh Maliki ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا has taken all of Aisha narrations as referring to the Tahajjud prayer of the Prophet
      , which He would perform in Her house. (Sharah Muslim Nawawi vol 1, p253)
      Qazi Mohammad Shawqani ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا who himself was a Ghair Muqalid Aalim writes: ‘The narration of Aisha in
      Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim referring to the 11 Rakats in and outside of Ramadhan is in respect of Tahajjud
      Qiyam ul Layl. (Naylul Awtar vol 3, p39)
      Shah Abdul Aziz Muhaddith Dehlawi ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا states: ‘the narration of Aisha is in regards to Tahajjud which
      whether it was Ramadhan or not the Prophet would always perform. (Fatawa Azizia p125)
      Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlawi ﻪﻤﺣر ﷲا writes: ‘The 20 Rakats of Taraweeh is an ‘established continuous
      Sunnah’ (Sunnat Qai’mah Mutawatira) which has been practiced in its current form since the time of the 1st
      generation of Muslims (Salaf-us-Saliheen ﷲا ﻢﻬﻤﺣر) in a united manner. Specifically, for the view of the 4 Imams to
      agree upon a matter is one of the greatest proofs of it being an established Sunnah.’ (Hujatulahil Baligha vol 1,
      Verily 20 Rakats Taraweeh is Sunnah Muakkadah (an emphasized Sunnah) on both men and women. (Ad-Durrul
      Mukhtar. vol 1 p.520)
      After all these narrations and sayings, an appeal is made to the Ghair Muqalideen to act upon the sayings and way
      shown by the Sahabah and do not destroy your Akhirah by following another way. The actions of the Sahabah
      are the actions of Rasulullah .
      There are others, who without having the mind-set of the Ghair Muqalideen, through laziness or are easily
      influenced read 8 Rakats of Taraweeh and leave. Why is this the case that due to laziness 20 Rakat Taraweeh is
      neglected? Performing less than 20 Rakaat Taraweeh is a sin. These people are deprived of a very great worship of
      Ramadhan (not only in relation to Salah but also in the context of listening to Qur’an as established Sunnah) and
      lose out on the immense bounties and rewards to be presented on the Day of Qiyamah.
      مﻼّﺴﻟاو ﺮﻴﺨﻟا ﻞﺒﺱ ﻰﻟإ يدﺎﻬﻟا ﻮهو نﺎﻌﺘﺴﻤﻟاو لوﺆﺴﻤﻟا ﻮه ﻩﺪﺣو ﷲاو .
      ﻒﺳﻮﻳ ﺪﻤﺤﻣ ) ﻪﻟ ﷲا نﺎآ (
      Mufti Muhammad Yusuf bin Yaqoob Danka
      07/ / 1430 Hijrah- 28. 08. 2009.


    • mohd ashraf on said:

      bt i f v offer another 12 rakah also dat vil b so better……………………………………………………………………….


  4. Yameen on said:

    Its an old article but for the the future references,
    The Ahl al-Hadith re translated as Literalists. Which is not right at all. Literalists are called in Arbic as Dhariyah. Thats the Madhab which follows the opinions of Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi. Jizak Allah Khair.


  5. Bilal mir on said:

    It is not true that ahl hadees totally deney taraweeh.
    Quran says: come to common terms between u and us i.e Allah is one and Mohammad p.u.h is the his messenger.
    Therefore, we should lives as muslim brother not sect enemies


  6. Assalamoalaikum

    What here is said about Ahle-Hadees sec. is not totally true. I myself am a sunni muslim but my so many friends are from Ahle-Hadees sec. I saw nothing difference between us and them. Yes… they believe in 8 rakah taraweeh and we in 20.
    But they believe in taraweeh. They never say it as a part of Tahajjud prayer.
    Better it we should take all the sec. together. And shouldn’t raise fingure at each other. All are muslims. We should pray that may Allah Give unity in all the “ULEMA” of deen. Ameen


  7. Salaam Alaikum,

    Its a good post & we need some more such posts to make Muslims aware of the facts. I would have liked it even more if you had spoken more about the authentication of 20 Rakah of Tarawih, rather than describing the Shia ideology. I fail to understand why people insist on 8 rakah, its not for any religous purpose, its only for avoiding to pray 20 rakah & gng back home soon.


  8. zubair on said:

    brother can you please give me the reference from any of the sahai hadith that Prophet Mohmmad (PBUH) offered 20 rakat of Tarawah.


  9. Salaam Alaikum Hariss,

    Thanks for your comments.


  10. Hariss Naseem on said:

    Very good explanation. It will increase its effectiveness if all direct saheeh sayings and traditions available with us, of Rasool Allah Sallal allaho alaiwasallam with arabic version and reference with respect to siya sitta etc. about the number of rakat of taraweeh.


  11. Jazzakum Allahkhair for your comment brother Hussain.


  12. hussain on said:

    There is no doubt that tarawih prayer has 2o rakat.It is necessary for every muslims to complete atleast one complete full quran during tarawih prayer.


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