Islam is not just a religion. It is a way of life. A life based our attempts to be righteous and disciplined. Life made more colorful by Tarāweeh and countless Ramadan nights.
But what is Tarāweeh and what makes it so important? Let’s take a closer look at this special prayer and its role in our lives as Muslims.
Tarāweeh was first prayed by the Prophet PBUH during the last year of his life. On the 1st night, some believers joined the Prophet in prayer.
The number of people who prayed Tarāweeh rose day after day until the 4th night when a huge crowd gathered in the masjid to wait for the Prophet PBUH and pray Tarāweeh as one group.
However, it is narrated that the Prophet peace be upon him did not appear in the masjid. Instead, he prayed Tarāweeh on his own and said:
“Nothing prevented me from coming out to you except the fact that I feared that it would be made obligatory for you.” (Muslim).
But since Umar al Khattab’s time, most Muslims pray Tarāweeh in congregation. The sense of solemnity in praying Tarāweeh made it a very special communication tool between Muslims and Allah, especially during Ramadan.
And today, we are experiencing the same level of peace and tranquillity, thanks to old practices that made Islamic prayers a more personalized experience.
What is Tarāweeh?
Technically, Tarāweeh is a series of Sunnah prayers that are commonly prayed during Ramadan nights, specifically the night following Eshā’ Salāh. There are two main classifications of Tarāweeh: nafl or Sunnah mu’akkadah.
Many of us also associate Tarāweeh with rest and relaxation because it is typically prayed right after waking up in the late-night (or early morning, depending on how you look at it!), just before the break of dawn.
What is the Most Ideal Time to Pray Tarāweeh?
Historically, the best time to pray has always been noted after periods of rest, especially after long prayers. Many historical praying practices during the period of Ramadan went like this: 1) recite the Eshā’ prayer, 2) rest or sleep, 3) pray the tarāweeh prayer, along with the witr during the final 3rd of the night.
I Have No Option But To Pray Taraweeh at Home – Is That Cool?
It’s always comforting to know that we can pray the tarāweeh prayer in either a masjid or right at the comforts of our home, just like the Prophet PBUH did on the fourth night.
As most of us cannot get out of the house, you can also form small prayer groups at home and make special memories with your family members. An opportunity to bond and grow together in faith? We won’t say no to that!
What About If We’re Just A Group Of Women?
If it’s just a group of sisters praying together only, you would stand side by side whilst one leads the prayer.
And Can A Child Lead?
It is found in a Prophetic narration that once a community was praying behind a seven-year-old child. So from this, it’s been noted that if the child is of sound knowledge and understanding and has the most knowledge of the Qur’an of the family or group of people, then this is permissible.
It’s also a great way of encouraging the child to feel empowered by their faith too!
Okay, So How Should I Pray the Taraweeh Prayer?
- “Prayers at night are to be offered two by two (two rak’āt at a time). If any of you fears that the time of dawn is approaching, then let him pray one rak’ah as Witr.”(10) — [Abdullāh ibn Umar’s].
- “The Prophet pbuh would pray 20 Rak’āt and then witr in the month of Ramadhan.”(11) [Abdullāh ibn Abbās].
Variations in the narrations of the life of the Prophet Pbuh greatly affect the tarāweeh prayer. While some versions suggest that 8 rak’āt is enough to complete tarāweeh, others recommend completing 20 rak’āt.
So just like performing any other rituals and praying practices, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to praying tarāweeh. It mainly depends on three factors: 1) your eagerness, 2) your physical and mental state, 3) your beliefs.
Either way, tarāweeh bears similarity with a regular salāh since it is prayed by dividing two rak’āt into sets.
Just remember, at the end of the day, the goal behind praying tarāweeh is to find meaning behind your prayer. It can draw you a step closer to Allah.
Can I hold The Qur’an During My Taraweeh and Recite the Qur’an looking at The Book?
There is a difference of opinion on this. Some scholars will allow the recitation whilst holding the Qur’an. And an example of this is the scholars of the Shafi’ee fiqh would permit the use of a mushaf. However, some scholars of the Hanafi fiqh discourage or prohibit the use of a mushaf during the Taraweeh prayer.
What Are The Rewards?
“Whoever draws nearer (to Allāh) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month) shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time, and whoever discharges an obligatory deed in (this month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time”(5) [Prophet Muhammad Pbuh].
Ramadan gives us the gift of hope, faith, and love. It gives us the opportunity to pray sincerely and develop a strong relationship with Allah, and we can do that by performing short prayers in the form of Taraweeh.
Tarāweeh is not a compulsory prayer, although the sunnah was a minimum of eight Rak’ah’s so depending on your concentration level and your eagerness to pray, the amount of Rak’ah’s is up to you.
But our advice is don’t get into the 8 or 20 arguments. Every prayer is heard and rewarded by Allah, especially the ones that are not compulsory in the time of Ramadan.
And Finally, Can I Rest Inbetween Each Two Rak’ah Prayers?
Yes. It’s an important thing to note is that you can rest in between your prayers, especially after two rak’ah’s of two.
This way, you can give your all in every prayer you perform. As long as you pray with the right intention in your heart, you can be sure that Allah will not let any of your prayers go unnoticed.
And The Rest Is Up To Him!
Ramadan or not, it’s always our hearts and spirits that matters, not the length of your taraweeh prayer. Just have a sincere intention. Put the effort in. Have that desire to make this Ramadan the best one when it comes to your personal Taraweeh prayers.
May we all be successful, have all our prayers and be blessed all abundantly this Ramadan.