How is Tarawih Prayer Performed?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The most virtuous way of performing tarawih prayer is performing it in two rak’ahs by uttering greetings 10 times. A more common way of performing it is in four rak’ahs. It is possible to perform it in 6 rak’ahs, too. It is also possible to perform tarawih prayer by sitting after every two rak’ahs and by uttering greetings at the end of the 20th rak’ah only. However, it is makruh (abominable) to perform night prayers by uttering greetings once in more than 8 rak’ahs; therefore, tarawih prayer should not be performed like that. No matter how many greetings are uttered, it is necessary to sit after every two rak’ahs. If you do not sit after two rak’ahs but sit after 4 rak’ahs, those 4 rak’ahs are regarded as two rak’ahs. Even if greetings are not uttered, it is obligatory to sit after every two rak’ahs.  

* Tarawih means to ease, to relax. Therefore, before each 4 rak’ahs, it is necessary to sit and relax a bit after uttering greetings. During this period, one can recite something, meditate or glorify Allah. The person who performs tarawih prayer can do any of them. In our country, muezzins usually utter salawat and other prayers together with the congregation.

* If tarawih prayer is performed in four rak’ahs, salawat are recited after the second rak’ah. It is sunnah al-muakkada. It is even fard according to some mujtahids. Even if the congregation gets tired of it, the imam cannot give up reciting salawat. It is necessary to recite Subhanaka before al-Fatiha at the beginning of the 3rd rak’ah.

* It is sunnah to perform tarawih prayer by khatm al-Quran. This sunnah cannot be abandoned because it is hard for the congregation. This sunnah must be carried out at least in one mosque in a town.

* A person who has not performed night (isha) prayer in congregation can perform tarawih and witr prayers in congregation. If a person comes to the mosque after the imam has led the night prayer and has started tarawih prayer, he performs night prayer alone and then follows the imam for tarawih prayer. He completes the missing prayer later alone. A person who has not performed tarawih prayer in congregation can perform witr prayer in congregation. That is the sound view. However, if the imam and the congregation have not performed the night prayer in congregation, they cannot perform only tarawih prayer in congregation because the congregation of tarawih is dependent on the congregation of the fard prayer. To perform only tarawih in congregation does not conform with the principles of the religion about nafilah (supererogatory) prayers.    

* It is makruh for the imam to perform reciting and other parts of the prayer fast in order to please the congregation. An imam who has the feeling of responsibility avoids incomprehensible reciting, ignoring ta’dil al-arkan and uttering tasbih fewer than three times in order to lead the prayer fast. 

* An imam who performs tarawih by khatm al-Quran needs to complete it on the 27th night of Ramadan. If it is not performed by khatm al-Quran, it is more virtuous to recite the chapters after the chapter of al-Fil than to recite a single chapter or mixed verses. This way, the number of rak’ahs is known better.

* It is permissible to perform tarawih prayer by sitting without any excuse but by doing so, the reward of the prayer decreases. The imam can perform tarawih prayer by sitting whether he has an excuse or not. In that case, the congregation performs it standing. However, it is mustahab (recommended) for the congregation to perform the prayer by sitting when the imam sits.  

*It is permissible to perform tarawih and witr prayers by following different imams.

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

* It is mustahab to sit for a while between tarawih and witr prayer.

* A person who has performed tarawih in congregation can perform witr in congregation or alone.

* It is not necessary to utter niyyah at the beginning of every two rak’ahs because tarawih ,which consists of 20 rak’ahs, is regarded as one single prayer. Therefore, the niyyah uttered at the beginning of tarawih is enough. * * *

Questions on Islam

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