Tarawih Prayer

Tarawih Prayer

What is the Decree about Performing the Tarawih Prayer in Congregation?

How Many Rak'ahs is the Tarawih Prayer?

Its Time

How is it Performed?

 

Tarawih Prayer

Tarawih is a prayer performed every night during the month of Ramadan. It is sunnah al-muakkadah for every Muslim, whether male or female, and it is one of the signs of Islam.

Tarawih is the sunnah of Ramadan, not fasting. Therefore, it is sunnah to perform the tarawih prayer for ill people and travelers who cannot fast.

 

What is the Decree about Performing the Tarawih Prayer in Congregation?

It is sunnah al-kifayah to perform the tarawih prayer in congregation. If some of the people living in a country or district perform the tarawih prayer in mosques in congregation, the sunnah of performing the tarawih prayer in congregation is fulfilled. In that case, it becomes permissible for others to perform the tarawih prayer individually at home. However, a person may make mistakes while performing it or ignore it since it is a long prayer. If it is performed in congregation with the family members at home, this risk will be eliminated.  

It is definite by the deed of the Prophet that to perform the tarawih prayer in congregation is sunnah. The Messenger of Allah led the tarawih prayer to the Companions on the 23rd, 25th and 27th nights of Ramadan in the mosque. The reason why he did not pray it in congregation every night in Ramadan is to prevent people from thinking that it is a wajib prayer.

 

How Many Rak'ahs is the Tarawih Prayer?

It is definite by the consensus of the Companions that the tarawih prayer is 20 rak'ahs. When the Prophet led the tarawih prayer in the mosque, he performed 8 rak'ahs. The Companions completed it to 20 rak'ahs in their homes.

The practice of performing all of the 20 rak'ahs in the mosque started during the caliphate of Hz. Umar. Nobody among the Companions opposed to it; a kind of consensus occurred. It has been performed like that since then.

   

Its Time:

The time of the tarawih prayer starts after the time of the night (isha) prayer and ends when the time of the morning (fajr) prayer starts. The tarawih prayer is a sunnah connected with the night prayer; so, the witr prayer can be performed before or after the tarawih prayer. What is customary is to perform the tarawih prayer first and to perform the witr prayer then.   

Therefore, a person who catches up with the imam in the middle of the tarawih prayer can perform the witr prayer with the imam and complete the remaining part of the tarawih prayer after the witr prayer.  

If the tarawih prayer is not performed in its determined time, it is not performed afterwards as qada either in congregation or individually.

  

How is it Performed?

* The most virtuous way of performing the tarawih prayer is performing it in two rak'ahs with 10 salutations. A common way of performing it is saluting after every four rak'ah. It can also be performed by saluting after every 6 rak'ahs.  

It is also possible to perform it by sitting after every two rak'ahs but saluting only after the 20th rak'ah. However, it is makruh to perform prayers longer than 8 rak'ahs with one salutation at night; therefore, the tarawih prayer should not be performed like that.

No matter how many salutations are uttered, it is necessary to sit after every two rak'ahs in the tarawih prayer. 

If a person does not sit after the second rak'ah but sits after the fourth rak'ah, four rak'ahs are regarded as two rak'ahs. It is necessary to sit after every two rak'ahs even if one does not salute after sitting.  

* The tarawih contains the meaning of resting and relaxing. Therefore, it is necessary to sit a bit after four rak'ahs and rest. During this resting period, one can read something or meditate. Or, he can utter tasbihat. In our country, muezzins generally recite salawat aloud together with the congregation.  

* If the tarawih prayer is performed in the form of four rak'ahs, salawat are read after at-tahiyyat in the first sitting. It is sunnah al-muakkadah. According to some mujtahids, it is fard. Even if the congregation gets bored, the imam cannot abandon them.  Subhanaka is read before al-Fatiha at the beginning of the third rak'ah. 

* It is sunnah to perform the tarawih prayer by reading a khatm (reading the whole Quran).  

The sunnah of performing the tarawih prayer by khatm cannot be abandoned because it is difficult for the congregation. This sunnah must be fulfilled in one of the mosques in a town.  

* A person who has performed the fard of the night prayer alone can perform the tarawih prayer in congregation. However, it is not permissible to perform the tarawih prayer in congregation before the night (isha) prayer is performed in congregation.  

* It is makruh for the imam to perform qira'ah and other rukns of prayer fast in order to please the congregation. An imam who has the feeling of responsibility avoids making qira'ah ununderstandable and abandoning tadil al-arkan and uttering tasbihat fewer than three times by hurrying up.

* It is necessary for an imam who leads the tarawih prayer with a khatm to finish the khatm on the 27th ninth of the month of Ramadan. If the imam does not lead the tarawih prayer with a khatm, it is more virtuous to read the chapter of al-Fil and the chapters after it than to read one chapter and mixed verses. Thus, the number of rak'ahs is remembered better.  

* It is permissible to perform the tarawih prayer by sitting without any excuse, but doing so decreases the virtues and rewards of the prayer.  

The imam can lead the tarawih prayer by sitting whether he has an excuse or not. The congregation can perform the tarawih prayer by standing. However, it is mustahab for the congregation to perform the tarawih prayer by sitting when the imam performs it by sitting so that they will perform in the same way.   

* It is permissible to follow one imam in the tarawih and another imam in the witr prayer. 

* It is makruh to perform the tarawih prayer when one feels very sleepy.  

* It is mustahab to sit a bit between the witr and the tarawih prayer.  

* A person who performs the tarawih prayer in congregation can perform the witr prayer in congregation or individually.  

* It is not necessary to utter niyyah (intention) before each two rak'ahs of the tarawih prayer.  

For, the tarawih prayer, which consists of 20 rak'ahs, is regarded as a single prayer. Therefore, the intention (niyyah) uttered at the beginning of the tarawih prayer is enough.

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