Tarawih or night prayers during Ramadan

by | Sep 4, 2010

Tarawih is an Arabic word which means night prayers in the month of Ramadan. Tarawih is not compulsory but there is great reward for those who pray tarawih during Ramadan. The Prophet (P.B.U.H) used to encourage night prayers during Ramadan. One can pray tarawih in congregation or they may be performed at home too, but it is better to pray with the Imam. Night prayers during Ramadan are called tarawih because the Companions of the Prophet (P.B.U.H) and their successors used to stand long in the prayers and they would take rest after offering every four Rakah. This is how they were named tarawih (Rest Prayer)

Importance of Tarawih

1. Tarawih or night prayers are the best after the obligatory prayers. The Prophet (P.B.U.H) said:

“The best prayer after the obligatory is the night prayer.” [Muslim]

2. The Prophet (P.B.U.H) explained about the virtues of praying tarawih in this Hadith. Also this Hadith explains that tarawih can be prayed in congregation. Abu Dharr (R.A) said:

“We fasted Ramadan with the Prophet (P.B.U.H) and he did not lead us in Qiyaam at all until there were only seven days left, when he led us in prayer until a third of the night had passed. When there were six days left, he did not lead us in Qiyaam. When there were five days left; he led us in prayer until half the night had passed. I said; ‘O Messenger of Allah, I wish that you had continued until the end of the night.’

He said, ‘If a man prays with the Imaam until he finishes, it will be counted as if he prayed the whole night.’ When there were four nights left, he did not lead us in Qiyaam. When there were three nights left, he brought together his family, his wives and the people, and led us in Qiyaam until we were afraid that we would miss al-falaah. I asked, ‘What is al-falaah?’ he said, ‘Suhoor. Then he did not lead us in Qiyaam for the rest of the month.” [al Bukhari]

The Prophet (P.B.U.H) did not lead the people in Qiyam for the rest of the month because of the fear that tarawih would become obligatory.

3. From the above Hadith, it is proven that it’s permissible for the women to pray Tarawih in congregation too.

4. The number of Rakah of tarawih is eight along with 3 Rakaah of Witr as reported in this Hadith of Aisha (R.A):

“The Prophet (P.B.U.H) never prayed more than eleven Rakah’s (of Qiyaam), whether during Ramadan or any other time. He would pray four, and don’t ask me how beautiful or how long they were. Then he would pray four, and don’t ask me how beautiful or how long they were. Then he would pray three.” [Muslim]

Ibn Abbas (R.A) said: “The night Prayer of the prophet used to be of thirteen Rakat”. which included the Witr and two Rakat Sunnah of the Fajr prayer [Bukhari]

5. As Allah has made five prayers a day obligatory for every Muslim, but a person will be held accountable for prayers on the day of resurrection so the Prophet (P.B.U.H) advised us to pray more Nawafil; one of which is tarawih.

The Prophet (P.B.U.H) said:

“The first of his actions for which a person will be held accountable on The Day of Judgment will be his prayers. If they are in order; then he will become successful, and if they are less; then he will have failed and lost. If there is something defective in his obligatory prayers, Allah will say: see if this person 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 wise manner” [Abu-Dawud]

6. If a person prays tarawih in the Masjid with Imam and finishes it until the Imam has finished it; he will gain reward of praying the whole night.

The Prophet (P.B.U.H) said:

“If a man prays with the Imam until he finishes, it will be counted as if he prayed the whole night” [Bukhari]

So we should pray Tarawih in congregation during Ramadan to gain reward from Allah. Women should also pray it in Masjid.

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