Prayer During Ramadan (Taraweeh)
( by Imam Mohamed
has legislated different forms of worship so that we do not continuously
perform only one which would lead us to get tired of it, and as
a consequence, halt performing that kind of worship.
made certain forms of worship obligatory that we may not fall short
of performing. He (S.W.T) also prescribed the recommended acts of
worship that would increase the rewards. In a Qudsi hadith reported
by Imam Bukhari, The Prophet (saws) said: "Allah (S.W.T.) said:'
My servant draws not near to Me with any thing more loved by Me
than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant
continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I
shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears,
his seeing, with which he sees his hand with which he strikes and
his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me,
I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge,
I would surely grant him it."
The prayer is
one of these forms. Allah (S.W.T) prescribed upon us five in a day
and a night. Five to perform, and fifty in rewards in the scale
on the Day of Judgment. Allah (S.W.T) recommended us to increase
our non-obligatory prayers so that they can make up for the less
perfect obligatory prayer. In an authentic hadith reported by Imam
At-Tirmithi, Abu-Dawud, An-Nisai and others that the Prophet Muhammad
said: "The first of his actions for which a servant of Allah
will be held accountable on The Day Resurrection will be his prayers.
If they are in order, then he will have prospered and succeeded;
and if they are wanting, then he will have failed and lost. If there
is something defective in his obligatory prayers, the Lord (S.W.T)
will say: see if my servant has any voluntarily prayers with which
may complete that which was defective in his obligatory prayers.
Then the rest of his religious duties will be judged in like fashion."
From the recommended
prayers that accompany the obligatory ones are: the two Rakahs
before Fajr, four before Thuhr, two after it, two after Al-Maghrib,
and two after Alisha.
And from the
recommended ones are special ones that are greatest after the obligatory
prayers. This is the night prayer. Imam Muslim reported that the
prophet (saws) said: "The best prayer after the obligatory
is the night prayer."
From the night
prayer is the Witr prayer which is an emphatic Sunnah according
to the opinion of the major scholars and obligatory according to
Imam Abu Hanifah. The least Witr prayer is one Rakah and eleven
Rakah is the most it can get. All this is evidenced from the
sayings and actions of the prophet (saws).
The night prayer
in Ramadan has a special consideration different from any other
time of the year. Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that the Prophet
Muhammad (saws) said: "Whoever offers optional prayers (like
Taraweeh prayers) throughout the nights of Ramadan, believing in
Allah and seeking His rewards, will have his previous sins forgiven."
Qi-yam of the
nights of Ramadan includes the early as well as the late night.
So, the Taraweeh is considered from the Qi-yam of Ramadan so we
should perform it. It was called Taraweeh because the Companions
of the prophet and the successors to the Companions used to make
a lengthy standing in them and they would take rest after offering
every four Rak'ah. This is how these came to be named Taraweeh (Rest
prayer). (Four Rak'ah are called Tarweehah).
(saws) was the first who made praying the Taraweeh in congregation
Sunnah (recommended), and then he left it fearing that it may become
obligatory upon his Ummah. Imams Bukhari and Muslim have reported
that Aeeshah (R.A.) said that the prophet (saws) prayed once
in the Masjid in one of the night of Ramadan. People joined him,
and then more people joined him in the next night. Then more people
waited for the prophet (saws) in the third and the fourth (night),
but the prophet (saws) did not come out to them. In the next morning,
the prophet (saws) said: "I have seen what you did, nothing
had prevented me from coming out to you except that I feared that
it may become obligatory upon you."
the rule of Umar Ibn Al-Hkattab (R.A.), he saw the companions praying
in the Masjid individually, or in different congregation so he ordered
them to prayer behind one Imam. During his caliphate, In an authentic
narration reported by Imam Malik "Umar (R.A.) ordered Ubayy
bin K'ab and Tamim Ad-Dari (R.A.) to offer them in congregation.
He enjoined them to offer eight Rak'ah Tarawih and three Rak'ah
witr. This practice has been going on ever since."
have different opinions about the number of Rakahs of Taraweeh
prayer along with the Witr. Some said: forty-one Rakahs, some
said: thirty-nine, some said: twenty-nine, some said: twenty-three,
some said: nineteen, some said: thirteen, and some said: eleven.
The strongest opinions are those who said: eleven according to Imams
Bukhari and Muslim that Aeeshah (R.A.) was asked about the
night prayer of the prophet (saws) in Ramadan, she replied: "He
did not pray it more than eleven Rakahs." Also Imam Bukhari
reported that Aeeshah (R.A.) said: "The prophet used
to offer thirteen Ruk'at of the night prayer and that included the
Witr and two Ruk' at Sunnah of the Fajir prayer." Also Imam
Bukhari reported that Ibn' Abbas (R.A.) said: "The Salat (prayer)
of the prophet used to be of thirteen Rak'at, i.e. of the night
prayer". Which included the Witr and two Ruk'at Sunnah of the
The early Muslims
from the used to pray the Taraweeh prayer. Assaeeb bin Yazeed
said: "The Imam used to read hundreds of verses and we used
to use the staff to help us stand up from the lengthy standing."
This is contrary to what many Muslim do these days. The people today
pray the Taraweeh with great speed so that the recitation is almost
not understood. So we should be really cautious.
is coming soon, we should prepare ourselves for it. We should prepare
ourselves to pray the Taraweeh in the Masjid in congregation with
the Imam and not to leave until the Imam has finished it and finished
the Witr prayer so that we all gain the rewards of praying the whole
night. The prophet (saws) said: "Whoever prays with the Imam
until he leaves, it is considered as Qi-yam of one night."
have a consensus that women are allowed to come to pray the Taraweeh
in the Masjid with men if they are wearing the Hijab, and men should
not prevent the women from coming to the Masjid. Imams Bukhari and
Muslim reported that the Prophet Muhammad (saws) said: "Do
not prevent women from coming to the Massajid."
It is a must
that women should have a designated place in the Masjid in the back
of it like it was during the life of the prophet (saws) and that
they start with the last row unlike men. Imam Muslim reported that
the Prophet Muhammad (saws) said: "The best of the men's rows
[In salat (prayer)] is the first row and the worst row is the last;
but the best of the women's row is the last row and the worst of
their rows is the first."
For those women
who come to the Masjid for the congregation prayer, they should
leave the Masjid as soon as the Imam makes Tasleem, or they should
have special doors for them to leave the Masjid from so that they
would not mingle with men. Imam Bukhari reported that Umu Salamah
(R.A.) said: "When the prophet (saws) used to make Tasleem,
the women got up and left while the prophet (saws) remained shortly
in his place before he got up. She said: this is (Allah knows best)
because the prophet (saws) wanted the women to leave before the
men can catch up with them."