Taraweeh Prayer During Ramadan
Ramadan is coming soon inshallah which means that Muslims are going to fast during the day from dawn to dusk. Ramadan is the most blessed month of the year as it comes with countless virtues and blessings for those who sincerely fast its day and offer prayer to Allah Almighty. Muslims prepare themselves for offering the prayers during the day and the night. In addition to the obligatory five daily prayers, there is special prayer that Muslims offer during the night. These special prayers are called taraweeh in which long portions of the Qura’n are recited. Offering taraweeh is one of the best ways to gain the great blessings and feel the spirituality of Ramadan.
What is Taraweeh?
Taraweeh is originated from an Arabic word that means to relax and rest. Throughout the month of Ramadan, Muslims line up at night to observe a number of optional rak`ahs and listen to and reflect on the recitation of the Qur’an. Offering taraweeh is the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who led the companions in congregation after the time of ishaa’ (Night) prayer for three nights. Since then, this has been a tradition during the nights of Ramadan. Yet, it is not obligatory due to the following hadith narrated by `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her):
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) prayed one night in the mosque and people also prayed along with him. He then prayed on the following night and there were many persons. Then on the third or fourth night (many people) gathered there, but the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) did not come out to them (for leading the taraweeh prayer). When it was morning he said: “I saw what you were doing, but I desisted to come to you (and lead the prayer) for I feared that this prayer might become obligatory for you. (He the narrator) said: It was the month of Ramadan.” (Agreed upon)
How to Offer the Taraweeh Prayer?
It is highly recommended that Muslims should attend the taraweeh prayer in congregation at mosques after `ishaa’ Prayer. It is also preferred for women to attend these prayer at mosque if they could. However, one may also offer the prayers individually at home. Offering taraweeh in congregation at the mosque enhances the feeling of unity among Muslims.
The proof for the legality of offering taraweeh in congregation is the following hadith,
`Abdu-Rahman ibn `Abdul-Qari said, “I went out in the company of `Umar ibn Al-Khattab one night in Ramadan to the mosque and found the people praying in different groups. A man praying alone or a man praying with a little group behind him. So, `Umar said, ‘In my opinion I would better collect these (people) under the leadership of one Qari (Reciter) (i.e. let them pray in congregation!)’. So, he made up his mind to congregate them behind Ubai ibn Ka`b. Then on another night I went again in his company and the people were praying behind their reciter. On that, `Umar remarked, ‘What an excellent bid`ah (i.e. innovation in religion) this is; but the prayer which they do not perform, but sleep at its time is better than the one they are offering.’ He meant the prayer in the last part of the night. (In those days) people used to pray in the early part of the night.” (Al-Bukhari)
Virtues of the Taraweeh Prayers
There are many virtues and blessing of observing the taraweeh prayers during the month of Ramadan:
1- Taraweeh is one of the best deeds that makes a slave comes close to Allah Almighty and a means for forgiveness of sins.
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to urge (the people) to perform (optional taraweeh) prayer at night during the month of Ramadan. He did not order them or make it obligatory on them. He (peace be upon him) said, “Whosoever performs (optional taraweeh) prayers at night during the month of Ramadan, with Faith and in the hope of receiving Allah’s reward, will have his past sins forgiven.” (Muslim)
2- Offering Taraweeh is a revival for the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
3- Offering the Taraweeh with the Imam, until he finishes, is equivalent to spending the whole night in prayers (qiyam al-layl).
It was narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever stands with the Imam until he finishes, it is equivalent to spending the whole night in prayer.” (Ibn Majah)
4- The blessed Laylat Al-qadr is observed at the last 10 nights of Ramadan.
Muslim should strive hard in worship during the last ten nights of Ramadan as in these last nights is laylat Al-qadr, of which Almighty Allah says:
The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. (Al-Qadr 97:3)
Observing the night prayer during that night has a greet reward as it was narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whosoever performs Qiyam during Laylat Al-qadr (Night of Decree), with Faith and being hopeful of Allah’s reward, will have his former sins forgiven.” (Agreed Upon).