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Tarawih - Proof For 20 Rak'ats

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 10th November 2010 14:00
Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه reported: The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "He who observes optional prayer (Tarawih prayers) throughout Ramadan, out of sincerity of Faith and in the hope of earning reward will have his past sins pardoned.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه reported: The Messenger of Allah (saw) used to urge (the people) to perform (optional Tarawih) prayer at night during the month of Ramadan. He did not order them or make it obligatory on them. He (saw) said, "Whosoever performs (optional Tarawih) 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]

Taraweeh consist of 20 rak'ats done in sets of 2, with a short break after every four. It is performed after Isha, before the Witr, in the month of Ramadaan.

Maulana Jameel Ahmed Sakrodhwi, in "Ashraful Hidayah sharh Al-Hidayah" v.2 p.202, explains:
"Taraweeh is Sunnah Mu'akkadah for both men and women and this is the correct opinion. Imam Abu Hanifa is also of the opinion that taraweeh is Sunnah Mu'akkadah."

Abdullah Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه reported that: "During Ramadan, the Messenger (saw) performed 20 rak'ah salah as well as the witr salah without the congregation."

This hadith has been recorded by the following:

* Ibn Abi Shaybah (rh) in his Musannaf
* Imam Bayhaqi (rh) in his Sunan
* Tabraani (rh) in his Kabeer
* Ibn Adi (rh) in his Musnad
* Baghawi (rh) in his Majma Sahabah

"Al-Bayhaqi has related in al-Marifa (The full title is al-Marifatus-Sunan wa'l athar): 'In the time of Umar ibn al-Khattab (radiallahu anhu) the people used to observe 20 rak'ahs and the witr.' Al-Nawawi said in al-Khulasa: 'Its Isnad is Sahih.'"

"(Bayhaqi) has related in al-Sunan [2/496] - "In the time of Umar ibn al-Khattab, radiallahu anhu, they would perform 20 rak'ats in the month of Ramadan. He said (also): And they would recite the Mi'in (A group of medium sized chapters from the Qur'an), and they would lean on their sticks in the time of Uthman ibn Affan, radiallahu anhu, from the discomfort of standing." All the men in the (above) isnad are trustworthy, as mentioned by the Indian research scholar, Shaykh al-Nimawi, in Athar al-Sunan [2/54]."

The evidence which proves that Umar (radiallahu anhu) ordered the practise of 20 rak'ahs has been recorded by Shaykh Ali al-Muttaqi al-Hindi in the largest collection of Hadith available today: Kanz al-Ummal fi Sunan al-aqwal wal Af'al (4/284, no. 5787 (8 vols. 1st edn; Hyderabad, India, 1312-14 AH), reported by him on the authority of the Muhaddith, Ibn Man'i), as follows from Ubayy ibn Ka'b (radiallahu anhu): "Umar (radiallahu anhu) ordered him (Ubayy) to lead the people in prayer at night in Ramadan, because the people fast during the day and can not recite (the Qur'an) well, therefore it is better that you should recite (the Qur'an) during the night. I (Ubayy) asked: "O commander of the believers, this thing was not done before." He said: "I know, but it is a good practise", and so (Ubayy) led (the Companion's) for 20 rak'ahs."

In "Fatawa Rahimiyyah", v.2 p.253 to 258, Mufti Abdul Raheem Lajpuri gives overwhelming evidence making it clear without a doubt that twenty rak'ah taraweeh salah was accepted by everyone. This is reproduced below:

"Here we will cite a few excerpts making it clear that twenty Rakaahs Taraweeh salah has been accepted by the Ummah throughout the ages:

1. Imam Tirmidhi (rh) [passed away 279 AH] states that 'Umar رضي الله عنه, 'Ali رضي الله عنه, Sufyan Thawri (rh) and Imam Shafi'i (rh) all accept the taraweeh salah as being twenty Rakaahs. He quoted Imam Shafi'i رضي الله عنه as saying that he saw the people of Makkah performing twenty Rakaahs. (Tirmidhi, v.1 p.99)

2. The famous compilation of Ahadith Kanzul Ummaal (v.2 p.284) reports that after 'Umar رضي الله عنه instructed Ubay bin Ka'b رضي الله عنه to lead the people in twenty rak'ah of taraweeh salah, Ubay رضي الله عنه then led the Sahabah (raa) and Tabi'een in twenty rak'ah.

3. Bayhaqi (v.1 p.492; Nasbur Ra'yah, v.1 p.294) reports a narration in which Sa'ib bin Yazid رضي الله عنه states that they performed twenty rak'ah taraweeh during the periods of 'Umar رضي الله عنه, 'Uthman رضي الله عنه and 'Ali رضي الله عنه.

4. The other narration of Yazid bin Rooman (rh) in the Muwatta of Imam Malik (p.40) states that during the Khilafah of 'Umar رضي الله عنه, people performed 23 rak'ah of taraweeh together with the Witr salah.

5. Ma'rifatus Sitta quotes an authentic narration from Imam Bayhaqi (v.1 p.477; his Sunan Kubra, v.2 p.496) stating that 'Ali رضي الله عنه summoned the Qurra in Ramadan and appointed someone to lead the people in the twenty rak'ah of taraweeh salah. 'Ali رضي الله عنه then himself led the witr salah.

6. The Muhaddith ibn Qudaamah (rh) writes in his al-Mughni (v.1 p.803) that the Sahabah (raa) were unanimous about performing twenty rak'ah taraweeh.

7. The research of the Muhaddith Ibn Hajar Haythami (rh) also reveals that the Sahabah (raa) were unanimous about performing twenty rak'ah taraweeh. (Tuhfatul Akhyaar, p.197)

8.The famous Hafidh of Hadith Allama Abdul Birr (rh) says that it is a fact that the Sahabah performed twenty rak'ah taraweeh during Khilafah of 'Umar رضي الله عنه. (Mirqaat, v.2 p.174)

9. Allama ibn Taymiyyah (rh) writes that Ubay bin Ka'b رضي الله عنه led the Sahabah (raa) in twenty rak'ah taraweeh during the Khilafah of 'Umar رضي الله عنه. (Fatawa Ibn Taymiyyah, v.1 p.148). He further writes (v.1 p.191) that because Ubay led the Sahabah (raa) in twenty rak'ah taraweeh and three rak'ah witr during Ramadan, most 'Ulema regard this to be a Sunnah because all of the Muhajireen and Ansaar performed the salah without an objection from any of them.

10. Imam Sharaani (rh) writes, "'Umar رضي الله عنه then gave the instruction for 23 rak'ah to be performed, three being the witr salah. This was then practiced in all the cities." (Kashful Ghumma, v.1 p.167)

11. The famous scholar of Ahl al-Hadith Nawab Siddique Hasan believes that "'Ulema regard as ijma the twenty rak'ah taraweeh salah that was performed during the Khilafah of 'Umar رضي الله عنه. (Awnul Bari, v.4 p.307)

12. Allama Bahrul Uloom (rh) writes that twenty rak'ah taraweeh became a matter of consensus. (Rasaa'il al-Arkaan, p.138)

13. Allama Ibn al-Humam (rh) says that consensus was eventually reached that the taraweeh salah comprises of twenty rak'ah and this is what has been passed on from generation to generation. (Fathul Qadeer, v.1 p.407)

14. Allama Ayni (rh) says, "During the Khilafah of 'Umar رضي الله عنه, the Sahabah (raa) performed twenty rak'ah taraweeh and this continued during the Khilafah of 'Uthman رضي الله عنه and 'Ali رضي الله عنه. (Ayni's commentary of Bukhari, v.7 p.178)

15. When Imam Abu Yusuf (rh) asked Imam Abu Hanifa (rh) whether 'Umar رضي الله عنه had any proof from Rasulallah (saw) to perform twenty rak'ah taraweeh, Imam Abu Hanifa (rh) replied, "'Umar رضي الله عنه was never one who perpetrated acts of bid'ah." (Faydhul Bari, v.2 p.420; Maraaqil Falaah, p.81; Bahrur Raa'iq, v.2 p.66)

16. The Muwatta of Imam Muhammad (p.11-12) reads, "We go by this (twenty rak'ah taraweeh).....because the Muslims (the Sahabah) were unanimous about it and saw it to be a good act. It has been reported that Rasulallah (saw) said, "Whatever the Muslim (the Sahabah) regard as good act, is indeed a good act in the sight of Allah as well."

17. The following appears in the book Al-Mutaqaa min Akhbaaril Mustafa (p.78), "During the Khilafah of 'Umar رضي الله عنه, the Sahabah (raa) and others performed 23 rak'ah, which included the witr salah."

18. Yahya bin Sa'eed Ansari (rh) who was the Qadhi of Madinah says that 'Umar رضي الله عنه instructed someone to lead the people in twenty rak'ah taraweeh salah. The narration is authentic albeit mursal. (Ibn Abi Saybah, p.406; Aathaarus Sunan, v.2 p.55)

19. Abdul Aziz bin Rafi' (rh) says that Ubay bin Ka'b رضي الله عنه led the people of Madinah in twenty rak'ah taraweeh and three rak'ah witr. This narration is also authentic albeit mursal. (Ibn Abi Saybah, p.406; Aathaarus Sunan, v.2 p.55)

20. Abul Khaseeb (rh) says, "Suwayd bin Ghafala رضي الله عنه used to lead us in Ramadan with five resting periods and twenty rak'ah." The narration is authentic. (Bayhaqi, v.2 p.496; Aathaarus Sunan, v.2 p.55)

21. Shutayr bin Shakal (rh) who was the student of 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud رضي الله عنه used to lead the people in twenty rak'ah taraweeh salah and three rak'ah witr. This narration is also authentic. (Bayhaqi, v.2 p.496; Qiyaamil Layl, p.91; Mirqaat, v.2 p.174)

22. The eminent Tabi'ee and Mufti of Makkah Ataa bin Abi Rabaah (rh) says that he found the Sahabah (raa) and others performing 23 rak'ah (taraweeh salah) together with the witr. (Ibn Ani Shaybah, v.1 p.406; Qiyaamul Layl, p.91, Fath al-Bari, v.4 p.219; Aathaarus Sunan, v.2 p.55)

23. Naafi (rh) who was the student of 'Abdullah bin 'Umar رضي الله عنه says that ibn Mulaykah (rh) used to lead them in twenty rak'ah taraweeh salah during Ramadan. The narration is authentic. (Aathaarus Sunan, v.2 p.56)

24. A'mash (rh) reports that 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud رضي الله عنه used to perform twenty rak'ah taraweeh salah and three rak'ah witr. (Umdatul Qari, v.11 p.127; Qiyaamul Layl, p.91)

25. Abul Bakhtari (rh) also took five resting periods and performed three rak'ah witr. (Ibn Abi Shaybah, p.406)

26. Abul Hasana (rh) says, "'Ali رضي الله عنه instructed someone to lead us in twenty rak'ah taraweeh with five resting periods. (Sunan Kubra of Bayhaqi, v.2 p.496). This narration is authentic. (See Jawaahirun Naqi, v.1 p.208 and Umdatul Qari, v.11 p.127 for details on authenticity)

27. Muhammad bin Ka'b Qurazi رضي الله عنه also says that the Sahabah (raa) performed twenty rak'ah taraweeh during the time of 'Umar رضي الله عنه. (Qiyaamul Layl, p.91)

28. Sa'eed bin Ubayd (rh) reports that 'Ali bin Rabee'ah (rh) took five resting periods and performed three rak'ah witr during Ramadan. This narration is authentic. (Aathaarus Sunan, v.2 p.56)

29. Allama Subki Shafi'i (rh) writes, "We believe that the taraweeh salah is twenty rak'ah, as proven by authentic narrations." (Sharhul Minhaaj)

30. Abdul Qadir Jaylani (rh) says, "It comprises of twenty rak'ah with every two rak'ah ending with sitting and salam.....a person should make the intention of performing the taraweeh salah before every two rak'ah." (Ghunyatut Talibeen, v.2 p.10-11)

31. Imam Ghazali (rh) writes, "The taraweeh salah comprises of twenty rak'ah and is Sunnah Mu'akkadah. The method of performing it is well known." (Ihyaa'ul Uloom, v.1 p.208). He also writes, "Twenty rak'ah is the opinion of the consensus of 'Ulema because of the narration of Yazid bin Rooman (rh) in the Muwatta of Imam Malik, stating that during the Khilafah of 'Umar رضي الله عنه, people performed 23 rak'ah of taraweeh together with witr salah. (Ihyaa'ul Uloom, v.2 p.66)

32. Ahmad Roomi (rh) says, "There were a great number of Sahabah (raa) present at the time (when 'Umar رضي الله عنه instructed Ubay رضي الله عنه to lead them in twenty rak'ah taraweeh). Amongs them were 'Uthman رضي الله عنه, 'Ali رضي الله عنه, Abdullah ibn Mas'ud رضي الله عنه, 'Abbas رضي الله عنه and his son, Talha رضي الله عنه, Zubayr رضي الله عنه, Mu'aadh رضي الله عنه and many other Muhajireen and Ansar. None of them objected to 'Umar رضي الله عنه, but rather supported him and practiced accordingly with steadfastness. In fact, 'Ali made du'a for 'Umar saying, "May Allah illuminate his grave just as he illuminated our Masaajid." Rasulallah (saw) also said, "Hold fast to my practices and the practices of the rightly guided Khalifahs after me." The taraweeh salah comprises twenty rak'ah". (Majaalisul Abrar, p.187)

33. Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlawi (rh) also writes that the taraweeh salah during the times of the Sahabah رضي الله عنه and tabi'een comprised of twenty rak'ah. (Hujjatullahi Baaligha, v.2 p.67)

34. Shah Abdul Aziz Muhaddith Dehlawi (rh) also mentions that consensus was reached amongst the Sahabah رضي الله عنه to perform twenty rak'ah taraweeh and three rak'ah witr. (Majmoo'ah Fatawa Azizi, v.1 p.162)

35. Maulana Qutbud Deen Khan Muhaddith Dehlawi (rh) also mentions that consensus was reached amongst the Sahabah (raa) to perform twenty rak'ah taraweeh. (Mazaahirul Haqq, v.1 p.433)

36. Allama Shabbir Ahmed Uthmani (rh) writes that since none of the Sahabah (raa) ever differed about the twenty rak'ah, all scholars are unanimous about it. (Fathul Mulhim, v.2 p.320)

Allama Nawawi (rh) writes in his commentary of Muslim that the twenty rak'ah taraweeh is a hallmark of Islam just like the Eid salahs (v.1 p.259). Therefore, the Ta'leeqaat of Hidayah (v.1 p.131) states that anyone performing only eight rak'ah of taraweeh will be guilty of forsaking the Sunnah."



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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 10th November 2010 14:11
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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 10th November 2010 15:06
Muadh_Khan wrote:
Asslamo Allaikum,then the last paragraph contradicting everything above...


This is that last paragraph
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Majmoo' al-Fataawa (11/322):

It is proven that 'Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) told the one whom he appointed among the Sahaabah to pray eleven rak'ahs, and it is proven that they prayed twenty-three rak'ahs based on his command. This indicates that the matter is broad in scope and that the matter was flexible according to the Sahaabah. That is also indicated by the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): "The night prayers are two by two." End quote.


I Love brother Muadh purely for the pleasure of Allah.

See Also the hadith below:
A Hadith states that Rasulullaah (SAW) said, "Verily Allaah has placed the truth
on the tongue of Umar."(1) This tells us that nothing contrary to the truth will come from the tongue of Hadhrat Umar (RA). Therefore, why should he not be a criterion for good and bad?

There is also another narration in which Rasulullaah (SAW) said, "There has been Muhaddathoon in the previous nations (people whose tongues are inspired with the truth). If there is any Muhaddath in my Ummah, it is definitely Umar."(2)

Imaam Tahtaawi (RH) reports a Hadith in which Rasulullaah (SAW) says, "Many things will be initiated after me and those that I love the most are the ones that
Umar shall initiate. You people should therefore adhere steadfastly to that
which Umar initiates."(3)

1) Tirmidhi, as quoted in Mishkaatul Masaabeeh (Pg.554).
2) Mishkaatul Masaabeeh (Pg.554).
3) Imaam Tahtaawi (RH)'s commentary to Maraaqil Falaah, Pg.239.
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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 10th November 2010 16:16
The Truth about the Number of Rakahs in Tarawih

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

In recent times there has been a growth in the number of lay people who, influenced by a certain ideology, claim that the tarawih consists of only eight rak'ahs rather than the established twenty rak'ahs. There is, therefore, a need to discuss the tarawih prayer, which is a special type of salah (ritual prayer) only offered in Ramadan.

The practice of performing tarawih in eight rak'ahs is in total contrast to the practice of the Ummah throughout the ages. Given the fact that tarawih is an emphasized sunnah (sunnah muakkadah), this issue should not be treated lightly. A staunch approach in opposition to this baseless view needs to be adopted, including highlighting the abhorrence of opposing the view of the majority (jamhur) and the sin of habitually abandoning an emphasized sunnah.

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#5 [Permalink] Posted on 20th November 2010 08:54
Ijma' of the Companions (radiallahu anhum)

The issue of the tarawih consisting of twenty rak'ahs is one that the Companions (Sahabah) agreed upon by ijma' (consensus). Hafiz Ibn 'Abd al-Barr stated, "The Companions had no dispute regarding this."[1] 'Allamah Ibn Qudamah said, "The Companions made ijma' upon this in the era of Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him)" (Al-Mughni). Hafiz Abu Zur'ah Al-'Iraqi stated, "They (the 'ulama) have considered the approval of the Companions [when Sayyiduna 'Umar did so] as ijma'".[2] Mulla 'Ali al-Qari stated that that the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) have made ijma' on the practice of twenty rak'ahs.[3] Ibn Hajar al-Haytami and many others have also claimed ijma' of the Companions on this issue.[4]

Furthermore, there exists no view in the four madhhabs (i.e. the Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki and Hanbali schools of Islamic jurisprudence) that support the view that tarawih consists of eight rak'ahs. The Hanafis, Shafi'is and Hanbalis state tarawih consists of twenty rak'ahs while Imam Malik is of the view that it consists of thirty-six rak'ahs, and according to one report he considers it to consist of fourty-one rak'ahs. According to another report he had also approved twenty rak'ahs. Some claim that Imam Malik also has a view supporting eleven rak'ahs but Mawlana Habib al-Rahman Al-A'zami has adequately refuted this claim in his book Rak'ate Tarawih.[5]

From the above, we can deduce that almost all of the scholars of this Ummah held the opinion that tarawih does not consist of eight rak'ahs because throughout history all have adhered to one of the four madhabs, although there may have been certain individuals who renegaded in this regard. Mawlana Habib al-Rahman Al-A'zimi said in this regard, "From after the era of Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) up to the end of the 13th century, you will not find any mention of people performing only eight rak'ahs [in tarawih]".[6] Mawlana has also proven that offering twenty rak'ahs has remained the practice of the Ummah up to the modern day.[7]


The practice of the Companions (radiallahu anhum) and the Followers (rahmatullahi alaihim)

Sayyiduna Sa'ib ibn Yazid reports that "the people would perform twenty rak'ahs in Ramadan during the era of Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him)".[8] Others beside Sayyiduna Sa'ib ibn Yazid have also reported that the twenty rak'ahs were introduced by Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) such as Sayyiduna Yazid ibn Ruman, Sayyiduna Yahya ibn Sa'id Al-Ansari, Sayyiduna Ubay ibn Ka'b and Sayyiduna Muhammad ibn Ka'b Al-Qurazhi.[9]

The following muhaddithin (hadith scholars) have accepted these reports, i.e. the reports of twenty rak'ahs from Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), to be authentic: Hafiz Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, Imam Al-Nawawi, Hafiz Al-'Iraqi, Imam Al-Subki, Imam Al-Suyuti and Mulla 'Ali al-Qari.

Imam al-Bayhaqi has narrated from several chains that Sayyiduna 'Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) also maintained the practice of twenty rak'ahs in tarawih.[10] This has also been reported as the practice of Sayyiduna 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (may Allah be pleased with him),[11] Sayyiduna 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him),[12] Sayyiduna Ubay ibn Ka'b (may Allah be pleased with him),[13] Shutayr ibn Shakl,[14] Ibn Abi Mulaykah,[15] Harith Al-Hamdani,[16] 'Ali ibn Rabi'ah,[17] Abu 'l-Bukhtari,[18] Sayyid al-Tabi'in Sa'id ibn Jubayr,[19] 'Ata (he said: "I found the people performing twenty-three rak'ahs including witr."),[20] Sa'id ibn Abi 'l-Hasan,[21] 'Imran Al-'Abdi[22] and Suwayd ibn Ghaflah.[23]

The practice of the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)

In a narration it is stated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) performed twenty rak'ahs in tarawih.[24] The chain of this narration is weak. However, it is a well established principle in the sciences of Hadith and Fiqh that if a hadith possesses a weak chain but is supported by the general practice of the Ummah in the era of the Companions and the Followers (Tabi'in) then that hadith will be considered authentic.[25]

Mawlana Habib al-Rahman Al-A'zimi has mentioned that this albeit weak narration is supported by the following points: (1) The fact that the general practice of the Muslims in the era of Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) conformed to it, (2) this remained the practice even in the era of Sayyiduna 'Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), (3) all of the four madhhabs concur with it and (4) the fact that the entire Ummah has been practicing upon it till this day. These are sufficient reasons to strengthen this narration and raise it to the level of authenticity. (Rak'ate Tarawih, pg. 60)

Interestingly, Imam Ibn Abi Shaybah, under the chapter of "The number of rak'ahs to be performed in Ramadan", first quotes the practice of twenty rak'ahs from ten different Companions and Followers (Tabi'i) and thereafter cites the narration of twenty rak'ahs from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).[26] This probably means he was alluding to the strength of this narration.


Twenty rak'ahs were established by Sayyiduna 'Umar (radiallahu anh)

Those who prefer eight rak'ahs generally contest the fact that Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) was the one who introduced the twenty rak'ahs and that it was in fact only eight rak'ahs that he had established. This claim is easily refutable in light of the quotations mentioned earlier. Furthermore, Imam Tirmidhi has stated the following in his Sunan: "And most of the 'ulama have chosen twenty rak'ahs as has been reported from Sayyiduna 'Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) and Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) and other Companions besides these two."[27]

The fact that Imam Tirmidhi did not even mention eight rak'ahs from Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) or anyone else is a clear indication as to which is the proper view. Moreover, some 'ulama have reconciled this by stating that Sayyiduna 'Umar had probably first introduced eight rak'ahs which thereafter became twenty. This then became the constant practice in his era as well as in the era of those who came after him.[28]

On the other hand, Mawlana Habib al-Rahman Al-A'zimi and others have challenged the narration of eight rak'ahs from Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him). Mawlana has classified it as weak due to idtirab (i.e., diverse conflict between the narrators). (Rak'ate Tarawih, pgs. 7-8)

The fact that the narration of eight rak'ahs was narrated by Imam Malik from Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) and he (Imam Malik) still chose twenty, thirty-six or fourty-one rak'ahs further weakens this narration.[29] Another weakening factor for this narration is that there are no other references from the Companions and Followers which support this version of eight rak'ahs.[30]

Sunnah of the rightly-guided caliphs (radiallahu anhum)

The fact that Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) approved of twenty rak'ahs and the other caliphs maintained this practice after him is sufficient to prove its importance. All of this is in light of the hadith in which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "You must then follow my sunnah and that of the rightly-guided caliphs" (Abu Dawud). The 'ulama have ruled that the sunnah of the caliphs are also part of the emphasized sunnah in light of this particular hadith.[31]

Hafiz Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali said: "The directive in this hadith to follow the caliphs is as incumbent as following the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself.[32] This becomes even more clear knowing that this was one of the last advices of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).


The significance of the practices of Sayyiduna 'Umar (radiallahu anh)

The sunnah (practice) of Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) enjoy an added significance and this is due to several narrations which support this:

(1) The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "Allah has placed truth upon 'Umar's tongue and heart." (Abu Dawud)

(2) Sayyiduna 'Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) would meticulously follow the practices of Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) and would say: "Indeed he ('Umar) was always correct in his affairs."

(3) Sayyiduna 'Abullah ibn Mas'ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said while on oath: "The straight path is that which 'Umar chose."

(4) The caliph 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz said in one of his addresses to the people: "Behold! Whatever the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his two Companions (Abu Bakr and 'Umar) have implemented is a duty that we have to follow and adhere to in our religion."[33]

Imam Abu Hanifah (may Allah be pleased with him) said the following when asked concerning the tarawih and its introduction by Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him): "Tarawih is an emphasized sunnah. Sayyiduna 'Umar did not introduce it from his own intellect, neither was it an innovation from his side. He surely did so because of having some knowledge about it from Allah's Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace)."[34]

'Allamah Al-Mawsili, after quoting the above from Imam Abu Hanifah, stated: "He (Sayyiduna 'Umar) did so in the presence of a large group of Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), among them were the likes of Sayyiduna 'Uthman , Sayyiduna 'Ali, Sayyiduna Ibn Mas'ud, Sayyiduna 'Abbas, Sayyiduna Ibn 'Abbas, Sayyiduna Talhah, Sayyiduna Zubayr , Sayyiduna Mu'adh, Sayyiduna Ubayy and others among the muhajirun (emigrants) and ansar (helpers). None of them objected to him, rather they assisted him and concurred with him."[35]


Tarawih of the Two Noble Sanctuaries

In the Two Noble Sanctuaries of the noble city of Makkah and the illuminated city of Madinah up to this day since the time of Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) twenty rak'ahs of tarawih has been performed in congregation. The Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), the Followers (i.e. those who came after the Companions), the Imams of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and the rest of the Ummah - with the exception of the so-called Ahl al-Hadith (or Salafis) of recent times - have been unanimous on performing twenty rak'ahs.[36]

The Shi'ah resemblance

Those who hold the view that the tarawih consists of eight rak'ahs hold the same belief as the Shi'ah in this regard. It is an accepted fact among the true scholars of Islam that for centuries the tarawih prayer was and is an additional prayer in the month of Ramadan. The Shi'ahs reject the practice of praying tarawih altogether. Similarly, the Ahl al-Hadith sect (or the Salafis) also reject there is an additional prayer in Ramadan. They believe that the tahajjud prayer which is performed during the latter portion of the night throughout the year was merely brought forward (i.e. to the earlier portion of the night) in Ramadan. Thus, in essence, there is no additional prayer in Ramadan according to their understanding.

Furthermore, to believe that the twenty rak'ahs is an innovation of Sayyiduna 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) is to undermine the integrity of this great Companion and in fact all the Companions who were present in his time. Generally speaking, this is precisely what the aims of the Shi'ahs are since it is an act of virtue for them to undermine the integrity of the Companions.


Difference between tarawih and tahajjud

The claim is made that since the tahajjud prayer only consists of eight rak'ahs - which is also an incorrect claim as other hadiths suggest more rak'ahs - the same applies to tarawih. There are several differences between tarawih and tahajjud, some of which are as follows:

(1) Tarawih consists of twenty rak'ahs while tahajjud consists of only eight or maximum twelve.

(2) Tarawih is an emphasized sunnah while tahajjud is preferable (mustahab).

(3) Tarawih should be performed in congregation while tahajjud is performed individually only.

(4) Tarawih is only performed in the month of Ramadan while tahajjud is performed throughout the year.

(5) Tarawih is performed in the earlier part of the night while tahajjud is performed in the latter part of the night.


In addition to the above, there are several hadiths wherein the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) has specifically encouraged qiyam (standing for prayers) in Ramadan:

(1) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah reported Allah's Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) as saying: "He who observed prayer at night during Ramadan, because of faith and seeking his reward [from Allah], his previous sins would be forgiven." (Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim)

(2) The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "Allah has enjoined (fard) the fast of Ramadan, and standing for night prayers (i.e. tarawih) was made sunnah for you; so whoever fasts and stands for night prayers because of faith and seeking his reward [from Allah], he will be freed from his sins like on the day when his mother gave birth to him". (Sunan al-Nasai; Al-Targhib, 2:105.)

(3) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to exhort [his Companions] to pray [at night] during Ramadan without commanding them to observe it as an obligatory act, and say: "He who observed the night prayer in Ramadan because of faith and seeking his reward (from Allah), all his previous sins would be forgiven". (Sahih Muslim)

The above-mentioned hadiths prove the fact that there is an additional prayer to be performed during the nights in the month of Ramadan. Furthermore, Allah's Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "Salah is a good action, so the one who can perform it excessively should do so."[37] Therefore, the more salah in this month the better.

Concluding remarks

It should also be borne in mind that the month of Ramadan is a month in which Muslims generally exert themselves in worship. Hence, this concept of performing twenty rak'ahs surely displays more exertion than eight. In fact, those who choose to perform only eight rak'ahs should examine their souls, it should not be that laziness in worship leads them to opt for lesser rak'ahs.

Lastly, the general advice of the 'ulama is that whatever a person inculcates during Ramadan will remain with him throughout the year that follows. Ramadan serves as an opportunity to recharge one's self if one is lacking spiritually and it also serves as a training platform for the believer. We abstain from the lawful (halal) during fasting in the day so that we can acquire the ability to shun the unlawful (haram) as well for the rest of the year.

On this note it is worth mentioning that the amount of obligatory salahs (including the Witr) that are performed daily are twenty. Therefore, one who sacrifices during the blessed month by offering these twenty rak'ahs of voluntary salah will - by the will of Allah - be punctual the rest of the year in that which is obligatory.

The masses should be cautioned against accepting such innovative views from people who claim to have knowledge but refuse to follow the way of the Companions and the Ummah in general. The issue of tarawih is one of many such erroneous views held by these deviant entities. In fact, the masses are advised against arguing with such people. They should rather refer them to the 'ulama. And Allah knows best.

Shaykh Mohammed H. Abasoomer

Notes:
1. See Al-Istidhkar, vol. 5, pg. 157.
2. See Tarh al-Tathrib, part 3, pg. 97.
3. See Mirqat al-Mafatih, vol. 3, pg. 194.
4. See Tuhfat al-Akhyar.
5. See Rak'ate Tarawih, pg. 86-87.
6. Ibid., pg. 6.
7. Ibid., pgs. 1-6.
8. See Sunan al-Kubra, vol. 2, pg. 496; Nasb al-Rayah, vol. 2, pg. 154.
9. See Rak'ate Tarawih, pgs. 63-68.
10. See Sunan al-Kubra, vol. 2, pgs. 494-495.
11. See Rak'ate Tarawih, pg. 66.
12. See Fada'il Shahr Ramadan Ibn Abi Dunya, pg. 54.
13. See Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, vol. 2, pg. 285.
14. Ibid.
15. Ibid.
16. Ibid.
17. Ibid.
18. Ibid.
19. Ibid.
20. Ibid.
21. Mukhtasar Qiyam al-Layl li 'l-Marwazi, pg. 202.
22. Ibid.
23. Sunan al-Kubra, vol. 2, pg. 495.
24. Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, vol. 2, pg. 286; Bayhaqi, vol. 2, pg. 496. ↩
25. There are several examples of this, for further reading on this topic see Shaykh Isma'il ibn Muhammad Al-Ansari's refutation of the view of eight rak'ahs.
26. Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, vol. 2, pg. 285-286.
27. Sunan al-Tirmidhi, vol. 1, pg. 99.
28. Sunan al-Kubra, vol. 2, pg. 496; a similar statement was made by 'Allamah Baji in Sharh al-Muwatta.
29. See Ikhtilafe Ummat, pg. 498.
30. Ibid.
31. See 'Allamah 'Abd al-Hayy Al-Lakhnawi's discussion on this in Tuhfat al-Akhyar.
32. See Jami' al-'Ulum, vol. 1, pg. 774.
33. Above quotes (1-4) were extracted from Hafiz Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali's Jami' al-'Ulum wa 'l-Hikam, vol. 1, pgs. 776-777.
34. Radd al-Muhtar, vol. 2, pg. 493, Dar al-Kutb al-Ilmiyyah ed.
35. See Al-Ikhtiyar, vol. 1, pg. 95.
36. Shaykh 'Atiyyah Salim, a renowned scholar from the Arab lands, has written a book proving that the practice of performing twenty rak'ahs in tarawih in the masjid of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) has been taking place for over 1000 years!
37. Al-Tabarani from the narration of Abu Hurayrah; also see Majma al-Zawa'id, 2:249.
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#6 [Permalink] Posted on 30th November 2010 16:56
Opinions Of The Scholars

Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi'i, and Imam Ahmad (rahmatullahi alaihim) are unanimous that twenty rak'ats are to be performed for taraweeh during Ramadan. There are different opinions recorded from Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaih): one states twenty rak'ats; another is of thirty-six rak'ats, about which Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaih) said, "This is our former opinion;" and a third view is of thirty-eight rak'ats. There is also an opinion which states forty-one rak'ats (Bidayat al-Mujtahid 1:210). 'Allama 'Ayni (rahmatullahi alaih) mentioned the second of view of thirty-six rak'ats to Imam Malik's (rahmatullahi alaih) more popular opinion.

What becomes clear at this point is that none of the four prominent Imams held a view of taraweeh being less than twenty rak'ats. Twenty is the minimum number mentioned, and the reason for Imam Malik's (rahmatullahi alaih) view of thirty-six is that it was the practise of the people of the noble city of Makkah to perform tawaf (circumambulation) of the Ka'bah after every four rak'ats of taraweeh. During the pause between each four rak'ats of taraweeh, the people of the illuminated city of Madinah would observe an extra four rak'ats of prayer in place of the tawaf. (see al-Mughni 2:167)

Therefore, since taraweeh was performed as twenty rak'ats, consisting of five sets of four rak'ats (each set called a 'tarweeha'), the people of Madinah would perform an extra four rak'ats after every tarweeha, bringing the total number of extra rak'ats to sixteen. Sixteen extra rak'ats plus the twenty rak'ats of taraweeh make thirty-six rak'ats. Hence, the actual number of tak'ats of Taraweeh was twenty even according to Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaih).

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#7 [Permalink] Posted on 30th November 2010 16:57
Taraweeh During The First Generations
For centuries, ever since taraweeh came to be observed in congregation, no less than twenty rak'ats were performed by Muslims throughout the Islamic world. Nafi' (rahmatullahi alaih), a prominent tabi'ee states, "I never found any one performing less than thirty-nine rak'ats (three of which were Witr)." Nafi' (rahmatullahi alaih) remained in Madinah for most of his life and passed away in 117 A.H. (Fath al-Bari 4:254). At that time, the number of rak'ats observed for taraweeh in Madinah were thiry-six (twenty rak'ats taraweeh and sixteen supererogatory (nafl) rak'ats).

Thereafter, Imam Shafi'ee (rahmatullahi alaih) states, "I observed the people performing thirty-nine rak'ats in Madinah (which included three Witr), and twenty-three rak'ats in Makkah." Imam Shafi'ee (rahmatullahi alahih) was born in 150 A.H. and passed away in 204 A.H. Hence, this report accounts for the second century of Islam. Furthermore, Ibn 'Abd al-Barr (rahmatullahi alaih) states, "Twenty rak'ats was the opinion followed by the majority of scholars, including those of Kufa, Imam Shafi'ee (rahmatullahi alaih), and most other jurists." This specifies that, throughout the earlier period of Islam, the minimum number of rak'ats performed in taraweeh was twenty.

Sufyan al-Thawri (rahmatullahi alaih) (died 161 A.H.) and Imam Abu Haneefah (rahmatullahi alaih) (died 150 A.H.) of Kufa both held the opinion of twent rak'ats. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahmatullahi alaih) of Baghdad (died 235 A.H.) held the same opinion as did Dawud al-Zahiri (rahmatullahi alaih) (died 270 A.H.). 'Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak (rahmatullahi alaih) (died 181 A.H.), one of the prominent scholars of Khurasan, also held the view of twenty rak'ats (Bidayat al-Mujtahid 1:210).

From the above, one can comfortably conclude that the predominant view of the scholars from Makkah to Khurasan and beyond was of taraweeh being twenty rak'ats. There is not a single opinion of eight rak'ats to be found during this extensive period, neither from the great Imams nor from any other jurist.

The mass of people who follow the Hanafi, Shafi'ee, Maliki and Hanbali schools of though, and who constitute the majority of the Ummah, have until today adopted the view of twenty rak'ats for taraweeh. In the two sanctified sites of Isalm - Makkah and Madinah - twenty rak'ats are performed in congregation for taraweeh until today. It was not until approximately a century and a half ago, that the first arguments were made, after the consensus reacher bu 'Umar (radiallahu anh); claiming that taraweeh was only eight rak'ats and not twenty.

Imam Tirmidhi (rahmatullahi alaih), well known for recording in his Sunan the various opinions held by different scholars in jurisprudential (fiqhi) issues, does not mention so much as even a weak opinion of taraweeh being eight rak'ats when discussing the issue. If there had been an opinion of eight rak'ats concurrent among the earlier scholars, he would not have failed to mention it. (see al-Tirmidhi 1:166)

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#8 [Permalink] Posted on 30th November 2010 16:57
Absence Of Authentic Narrations Concerning The Number Of Rak'ats In Taraweeh

Another point to be taken into consideration in this issue is that many scholars state that there are no authentic (saheeh) and direct (marfu') chains of narration (from the Messenger - salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) mentioning the exact number of rak'ats performed by him in taraweeh.

1) Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiya (rahmatullahi alaih) writes: "Whoever assumes that there is a fixed number of rak'ats reported from the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) concerning taraweeh, and does not accept any greater or lesser amount, has erred." (Majmu' al-Fatawa 46, Mirqat al-Mafatih 3:381)
2) 'Allama Subki (rahmatullahi alaih) writes, "Let it be known that it has not been narrated as to how many rak'ats the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed during those nights (in congregation), whether they were twenty or less." (Tuhfat al-Akhyar 116)
3) 'Allama Suyuti (rahmatullahi alaih) says, "The scholars have differed on the number of rak'ats (in taraweeh). If it (the number) had been established through the practise of the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), they would not have differed (regarding it)." (al-Masabih 42)
4) 'Allam Shawkani (rahmatullahi alaih) writes: "What has been understood from the hadiths in this chapter is the validity of the nightly prayers of Ramadan, and that they can be performed either in congregation or individually. However, to confine the prayer known as taraweeh to a stipulated number of rak'ats...is not understood from the Sunnah." (Nayl al-Awtar 3:53)
5) Mawlana Wahid al-Zaman (rahmatullahi alaih) states: "There is no fixed number (of rak'ats) for the prayer in the nights of Ramadan, i.e. taraweeh." (Nazl al-Abrar 1:126)

The scholarly statements mentioned above clearly establish that there are no authentic narrations stating that Allah's Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed a fixed number of rak'ats for taraweeh. Hence, this strikes down the claim that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) only performed eight rak'ats and that to perform anything besides eights is a "reprehensible innovation" (bid'ah), as claimed by some.

There are however a handful of weak reports which inform us of the number of rak'ats performed by the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) in taraweeh. For instance, there is a narration of Ibn 'Abbas (radiallahu anhuma) which states that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed twenty rak'ats. Although the hadeeth scholars have classified this narration to be weak, it could still be used as evidence, because it is supported by the consensus of the Companions (radiallahu anhum) and the practise of the whole Ummah, generation after generation, for more than twelve hundred years.

Other weak reports from the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) on this issue that are not substantially supported by the practise and statements of the pious predecessors, will be rejected. One must understand though that even if the narration of Ibn 'Abbas (radiallahu anhuma) is rejected, the scholarly consensus (ijma') reached by 'Umar (radiallahu anh) - which established that taraweeh was twenty rak'ats - would be sufficient evidence to prove that taraweeh is indeed twenty rak'ats.

The reason why there are no authentic and direct reports from the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) concerning the number of rak'ats in taraweeh, is that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed the prayer in congregation for a few days only, after which he performed taraweeh in the confines of his home. Hence, many of the the Companions (radiallahu anhum) did not observe him performing the prayer. Thereafter, the prayer continued to be performed individually or in small groups until the time of 'Umar (radiallahu anh), when he appointed an Imam to lead everyone in twenty rak'ats. Thus, it came to be performed as twenty rak'ats in a large congregation. The few Companions fortunate enough to have observed it with Allah's Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) in congregation did not voice any objection to the decision of 'Umar (radiallahu anh). If the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) had performed more or less than twenty rak'ats on any of the nights during Ramadan, these Companions would surely have refuted 'Umar's (radiallahu anh) decision for establishing taraweeh as twenty rak'ats.

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#9 [Permalink] Posted on 30th November 2010 16:58
The Hadiths On This Issue

Since it has been established that there are no authenticated hadiths from the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) regarding the number of rak'ats in taraweeh, all that remains in terms of proof for taraweeh being twenty rak'ats is the agreement of scholars with 'Umar's (radiallahu anh) decision; for once this is established, the Ummah must follow it wholeheartedly as it is incumbent on Muslims to follow the rulings of the Companions (radiallahu anhum).

1) 'Irbad ibn Sariya (radiallahu anh) narrates (that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said): "Keep to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the guided Caliphs who followed the right way (al-Khulafa' ar-Rashidun al-Mahdiyyin). Hold fast to it, and cleave onto it with your teeth." (Sunan Abi Dawud 2:287, al-Tirmidhi 2:97, Ibn Majah 5)
First, the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) very strongly instructed, "Keep to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the guided Caliphs who followed the right way." This means that the rightly Guided Caliphs (radiallahu anhum) must also be followed in their rulings, just as the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) is to be followed. 'Umar (radiallahu anh), being the second rightly guided Caliph, is the one who put forth the verdict that taraweeh was to be performed as twenty rak'ats, which the Companions (radiallahu anhum) unanimously agreed upon. Due to the above hadith, his decisions will have to be accepted just as if it had come from the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) himself.
Second, it should also be remembered that the amount of rak'ats stipulated by 'Umar (radiallahu anh) could have only been acquired from the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) himself. This is obviously assumed because the number of rak'ats for any prayer cannot be determined through one's own preference, but rather must be set by Allah (azza wa jal) through His Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). For 'Umar (radiallahu anh) to have ruled on this matter and not have received any objections from the Companions (radiallahu anhum) regarding it, indicates that the number of rak'ats performed by the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) in taraweeh was twenty. Ibn 'Abbas's (radiallahu anh) narration (mentioned earlier) confirms that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed twenty rak'ats.
'Umar (radiallahu anh) determined the number of rak'ats of taraweeh to be twenty and appointed Ubay ibn Ka'b (radiallahu anh) to lead the people in congregation. This then remained the practise of the Muslim Ummah throughout the caliphate of 'Uthman and 'Ali (radiallahu anhuma), and then on and on for twelve hundred years. Hence, it will be necessary to follow suit. Some of the following hadiths mention this in more detail.

2) 'Abd al-Rahman ibn 'Abd al-Qari (rahmatullahi alaih) relates: One night during Ramadan, he went out to the masjid with 'Umar ibn al-Khattab (radiallahu anh). People were scattered around in groups. One person was praying alone, whereas another was leading a group of people in prayer. 'Umar (radiallahu anh) remarked, "If I could have them all congregate behind one Imam it would be better." He then made a firm commitement to do so and had them all pray behind Ubay ibn Ka'b (radiallahu anh). 'Abd al-Rahman (rahmatullahi alaih) states that he went out with him again on another night and found the people congregated behind their Imam. Upon seeing this, 'Umar (radiallahu anh) remarked, "How great an innovation this it" (ni'mat al-bid'atu hadhihi, i.e. a practise that has been revived)." (Sahih al-Bukhari 1:269, Muwatta Imam Malik 42)
The Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) had performed the taraweeh in congregation for a few days and then discontinued it for fear of it turning into an obligation on the Ummah. It then remained like this throughout the caliphate of Abu Bakr (radiallahu anh), who remained occupied with the many issues that arose in his time. Thereafter, 'Umar (radiallahu anh) revived the practise and had everyone perform twenty rak'ats taraweeh behind one Imam. He called it a good practise saying that if it was an innovation, that it was indeed a good one. This practise was then continued throughout the generations.
Hadeeth 1 above makes it clear that a reprehensible innovation cannot be attributed to 'Umar (radiallahu anh) or any of the other three Caliphs. Regarding 'Umar's (radiallahu anh) statement of the practise being such a 'wonderful innovation,' Allama Tibi (rahmatullahi alaih) writes: "'Umar (radiallahu anh) was referring to the praiseworthy deed of encouraging the prayer and re-establishing the congregation after it had not been observed during the caliphate of Abu Bakr (radiallahu anh), even though it had been observed for a few days in the time of the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) in this manner. However, the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) had discontinued it for fear of it becoming an obligation (fard) on his Ummah. 'Umar (radiallahu anh) was aware of this and established this procedure as Sunnah for time to come (i.e. as a Sunnah Mu'akkadah, not a Fard). Hence, for him is the reward of this tradition and the reward of all who observe it until the Day of Judgment." (Fath al-Mulhim 2:319)
This clarifies that 'Umar's (radiallahu anh) practise was in line with that of the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). Because Abu Bakr (radiallahu anh), for most of his caliphate, remained occupied with the important task of dealing with the apostates and those who either claimed prophet-hood after the Messenger's (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) death or demanded certain radical changes in the religion, many issues that were under debate in his time were clarified during the time of 'Umar (radiallahu anh).

3) Yazid ibn Khusayfa (rahmatullahi alaih) narrates Sa'ib ibn Yazid (rahmatullahi alaih) as saying: "They would perform twenty rak'ats taraweeh during the month of Ramadan in the time of 'Umar (radiallahu anh), and they would recite the chapters containing a hundred or so verses; and during the time of 'Uthman ibn 'Affan (radiallahu anh) they would lean on their staffs from standing (for so long)." (Sunan al-Bayhaqi 2:296)
The narrators of this hadeeth have all been rigorously approved as 'Allama Nimawi (rahmatullahi alaih) confirms in his Athar al-Sunan. This hadeeth is clear evidence that twenty rak'ats were observed during the time of 'Umar as well as during the time of 'Uthman (radiallahu anhuma).

4) Yazid ibn Ruman (rahmatullahi alaih) relates: "The people would perform twenty-three rak'ats during Ramadan in the time of 'Umar (radiallahu anh)." (Sunan al-Bayhaqi 2:496, Muwatta Imam Malik 1:71)

Although this is a rigorously authenticated hadeeth, it is mursal, or one with a broken chain. However, this does not alter is effectiveness for a number of reasons:
A) By consensus of the hadeeth scholars, mursal narrations can used as evidence.

B) This is a hadeeth narrated by Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaih), and it is an established fact that the mursal narrations of Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaih) in his Muwatta rank alongside the his mawsul narrations (i.e. those with unbroken chains).

C) There are many other mursal and mawsul narrations which strengthen this one; for instance, hadeeth 2 above.

D) Shah Waliyullah (rahmatullahi alaih) writes that Imam Shafi'ee (rahmatullahi alaih) said: "The most authentic book after the Qur'an is the Muwatta of Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaih), and the hadeeth scholars are unanimous that all its narrations are authentic according to the judgment of (Imam) Malik (rahmatullahi alaih), and all its mursal narrations reach the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) in some way or another." (Hujjatullah al-Baligha 1:106)

5) Yahya ibn Sa'id (rahmatullahi alaih) narrates that: 'Umar ibn al-Khattab (radiallahu anh) appointed an Imam to lead them in twenty rak'ats." (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2:393)

6) 'Abd al-'Aziz ibn Rafi' (rahmatullahi alaih) narrates that, Ubay ibn Ka'b (radiallahu ang) would lead the congregation in twenty rak'ats in Madinah during Ramadan, followed by three (rak'ats) Witr. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2:393)

7) 'Ata' (rahmatullahu alaih) reports: "I found the people observing twenty-three rak'ats, which included witr." (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 3:393)

8) Abu Khusayb (rahmatullahi alaih) narrate: Suwayd ibn Ghafala (rahmatullahi alaih) would lead them in prayer during the month of Ramadan. He would perform five tarweehas (sets of four rak'ats) - twenty rak'ats (in all). (Sunan al-Bayhaqi 2:496)

9) Nafi' ibn 'Umar (rahmatullahi alaih) narrates that, Ibn Abi Mulayka (rahmatullahi alaih) would lead them in twenty rak'ats prayer during Ramadan. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2:393)

10) Sa'id ibn 'Ubayd (rahmatullahi alaih) narrates that, 'Ali ibn Rabi'ah (rahmatullahi alaih) would lead them in five tarweehas (i.e. twenty rak'ats) and three witr during Ramadan. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2:393)

11) Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhuma) relates: "The Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would perform twenty rak'ats during Ramadan and three rak'ats witr." (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2:394)
This hadeeth may be weak since a narrator in its chain, Abu Shayba Ibrahim ibn 'Uthman, has received some criticism. However, as mentioned earlier, since the Ummah has adopted the same number of rak'ats for the greater part of history, it will not be totally rejected but rather used as supplementary evidence.

12) It has been narrated from Shutayr ibn Shakl (rahmatullahi alaih) (a companion of 'Ali - radiallahu anh) that, He would lead them during the month of Ramadan in twenty rak'ats (taraweeh) and three rak'ats witr. (Sunan al-Bayhaqi 4:496)

13) Muhammad ibn Ka'b al-Qurazi (rahmatullahi alaih) says, The people would perform twenty rak'ats in the month of Ramadan during the caliphate of 'Umar (radiallahu anh). They would lengthen the recitation and perform three rak'ats witr. (Qiyam al-Layl 91)

14) A'mash (rahmatullahi alaih) reports that 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ood (radiallahu anh) would perform twenty rak'ats (taraweeh) and three rak'ats witr. (Qiyam al-Layl 91)

All of these reports mention the rak'ats of taraweeh as being twenty and no less.

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#10 [Permalink] Posted on 30th November 2010 16:59
The Opinions Of Various Jurists And Scholars

1) The author of Bidayat al-Mujtahid, Ibn Rush (rahmatullahi alaih), writes: "Imam Malik (in one of his opinions), along with Imam Abu Haneefah, Shafi'ee, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and Dawood al-Zahiri (rahmatullahi alaihim), has preferred that the taraweeh performed in the month of Ramadan be twenty rak'ats excluding witr. Ibn al-Qasim (rahmatullahi alaih) reports from Malik (rahmatullahi alaih) that he preferred thirty-six rak'ats with three witr (according to another of his opinions)." (Bidayat al-Mujtahid 210)

2) The great hadeeth master Imam Tirmidhi (rahmatullahi alaih) presents a detailed report on various opinions surrounding this issue: "The knowledgeable people have disputed over the number of rak'ats to be performed for taraweeh during Ramadan. Some say forty-one rak'ats including witr; this is the opinion of the people of Madinah and such is their practise. However, the opinion of the majorty is that taraweeh is twenty rak'ats, and this opinion is more in agreement with the narrations of 'Ali, 'Umar, and the other Companions (radiallahu anhum) of the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), and it is also the opinion of Sufyan al-Thawri, 'Abdullah ibn Mubarak, and Imam Shafi'ee (rahmatullahi alaihim). In fact, Imam Shafi'ee (rahmatullahi alaih) states, "I found the people of my city, Makkah, performing twenty rak'ats." Imam Ahmad states, "There are various reports to be found concerning taraweeh, but no exact number is confirmed." Ishaq (rahmatullahi alaih) states, "We prefer forty-one rak'ats, according to what has been narrated from Ubay ibn Ka'b (radiallahu anh)."" (Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1:166)
In such a detailed analysis of the opinions, there is not even a mention of taraweeh being eight rak'ats, even as a weak opinion.

3) In his commentary on Saheeh al-Bukhari, 'Allama Qastalani (rahmatullahi alaih) writes: "Imam Bayhaqi (rahmatullahi alaih) has reconciled the various narrations and concluded that initially the Companions (radiallahu anhum) performed eleven rak'ats for taraweeh, after which they performed twenty with three witr. The scholars accepted the agreement on twenty rak'ats during the time of 'Umar (radiallahu anh) as a consensus."

4) In the Maliki fiqh text, al-Anwar al-Sati'ah, it states: "We say that that twenty rak'ats of taraweeh following the 'Isha prayer is an emphasised (mu'akkadah) Sunnah during the month of Ramadan, with salams to be made on every second rak'ah (i.e. to be performed in two rak'ah units)."

5) Ibn Qudama (rahmatullahi alaih) writes: "It is reported from 'Ali (radiallahu anh) that he appointed an Imam to lead the people in twenty rak'ats taraweeh during Ramadan." (al-Mughni)
This narration proves that the practise of twenty rak'ats continued on into the time of 'Ali (radiallahu anh).

6) The great Shafi'ee scholar Imam Nawawi (rahmatullahi alaih) writes: "The number of rak'ats in taraweeh remained twenty, since this was constantly accepted century after centry."

7) It is reported in the Mirqat al-Mafatih that Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahmatullahi alaih) said: "The Companions (radiallahu anhum) reached a unanimous verdict that taraweeh was twenty rak'ats." (Mirqat al-Mafatih 3:382)

8) Ibn Taymiya (rahmatullahi alaih) states: "This is the opinion most Muslims follow (i.e. of taraweeh being twenty rak'ats)." (A'zami in his Rak'ate Taraweeh 92)

9) Shaykh Mansur ibn Idris al-Hanbali (rahmatullahi alaih) writes: "Taraweeh is twenty rak'ats during Ramadan."

10) Asad ibn 'Amr (rahmatullahi alaih) reports that Imam Abu Yusuf (rahmatullahi alaih) said: "I asked Abu Haneefah (rahmatullahi alaih) regarding taraweeh and concerning 'Umar's (radiallahu anh) role in it. He informed me that taraweeh is an emphasised Sunnah. It is not something 'Umar (radiallahu anh) established through is own preference or innovated, but he established it based on some evidence or information he possessed from the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)." (I'la al-Sunan 46)

11) Imam Ghazali (rahmatullahi alaih) writes: "Taraweeh is twenty rak'ats, its method is well known, and it is an emphasised Sunnah." (Ihya 'Ulum al-Deen 1:139)

12) Sayyid 'Abd al-Qadir Jilani (rahmatullahi alaih) writes: "Taraweeh is a Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and is twenty rak'ats." (Ghunyat al-Talibin 567)

13) Imam Nawawi (rahmatullahi alaih) says, "Let it be known that taraweeh is a Sunnah by agreement of all the Muslims, and it is twenty rak'ats." (Kitab al-Adhkar 83)

14) Ibn Taymiya (rahmatullahi alaih) says, "It has been established that Ubay ibn Ka'b (radiallahu anh) would lead the people in twenty rak'ats of taraweeh throughout the month of Ramadan, after which he would perform three rak'ats of witr. Hence, most scholars have taken twenty rak'ats to be Sunnah, as Ubay ibn Ka'b (radiallahu anh) performed this number of rak'ats amidst the Emigrant (Muhajireen) and Helpers (Ansar) (radiallahu anhum) and none refuted him." (Fatawa Ibn Taymiya 23:112)

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#11 [Permalink] Posted on 30th November 2010 17:00
Other Important Points To Be Noted

First, it has to be fully comprehended that the amount of rak'ats for any prayer is not something which can be made up and established through one's own intellect and reasoning. It has to come from Allah (azza wa jal) and His Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). Hence, the scholars state that whenever anything of this nature (i.e. that which is not established through human reasoning alone) is reported by a Companion, it will be considered as being directly acquired from Allah's Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam).

According to the agreement of hadeeth scholars, all the Companions (radiallahu anhum) are considered trustworthy and legally upright ('adul). It cannot be believed that they would introduce a new concept ito the religion which is contrary to the principles of the Shari'ah. Hence, even though there are no marfu' (directly related from the Messenger - salallahu alayhi wa sallam) hadeeths to be found concerning the number of rak'ats in taraweeh, the decision of 'Umar (radiallahu anh) of taraweeh being twenty rak'ats is accepted. It is believed, as explained by Imam Abu Haneefah (rahmatullahi alaih) (see hadeeth above), that the number was acquired from the Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and not something 'Umar (radiallahu anh) established through his own desire.

Second, once the unanimous agreement concerning the number of rak'ats was reached, not a single Companion of the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was reported to have refuted it. The Companions (radiallahu anhum) who had performed taraweeh with the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) (during the few days he performed it in congregation) and who were present at the time of 'Umar (radiallahu anh), also did not refute his decision.
'Umar (radiallahu anh) did not even receive criticism from the wive of the Messenger (salallahy 'alayhi wa sallam), who constantly observed the Messenger's (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) taraweeh prayer at home after he had abandoned performing it in congregation. This indicates that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) must have performed twenty rak'ats, and it was because of this fact that the Companions (radiallahu anhum) supported 'Umar's (radiallahu anh) decision to set the taraweeh prayer at twenty rak'ats.

Third, 'Allama Halabi (rahmatullahi alaih) has made a very noteworthy point as to why the number of rak'ats of taraweeh may have been set at twenty. He states: "The Sunnah and Nawaafil (supererogatory) prayers are supplementary prayers which make up for any deficiencies that may have been left in the obligatory (fard) prayers. The obligatory prayers of the day, along with the three rak'ats of witr, total to twenty rak'ats. Hence, it is appropriate to have twenty rak'ats of taraweeh, so that there is a balance between the two types of prayers, i.e. between the rak'ats of the obligatory prayers and rak;ats of the supplementary nafl or sunnah prayers.

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#12 [Permalink] Posted on 1st December 2010 10:43
Analyzing The Narrations Concerning Eight Rak'ats

Those who calim the taraweeh to be eight rak'ats try to establish this opinion in two ways. One way is claiming that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) only performed eight rak'ats, and the other is by claiming that 'Umar (radiallahu anh) also ordered only eight rak'ats to be performed; hence, their rejection of Umar's (radiallahu anh) decision establishing twenty rak'ats. We will now look at the narrations which they have used to substantiate these two claims.

1) It is reported from Abu Salama (rahmatullahi alaih) that he asked 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) regarding the prayer of the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) during Ramadan. She explained, "The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would not perform more than eleven rak'ats, neither in Ramadan nor out of it. He would perform four rak'ats, and do not ask of their beauty and length, followed by another four, and do not ask of their beauty and length, after which he would perform three (witr)." 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) continued, "I asked, 'O Messenger of Allah, do you sleep before you perform the witr?' He replied, 'O 'A'isha, my eyes sleep, but my heart does not.'" [Saheeh al-Bukhari 1:154]

This hadeeth is probably the most widely used in claiming that taraweeh is only eight rak'ats. However, there are a number of reasons why this hadeeth cannot stand as evidence:

A) The prayer mentioned in this hadeeth is clearly not Taraweeh but rather the Tahajjud (night-vigil) prayer. Abu Salama's (rahmatullahi alaih) inquiry was regarding whether or not the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed any extra rak'ats of Tahajjud during Ramadan. 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) answered by stating that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would perform no more than eight rak'ats (tahajjud) throughout the year, regardless of what month it was.

Hence, 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) was speaking of a prayer that was performed by the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) both in and out of Ramadan, which is why she used the words 'neither in Ramadan nor out of it.' She could not have been speaking about taraweeh since taraweeh is not performed out of Ramadan. The question of Abu Salama (rahmatullahi alaih) therefore had to be about tahajjud (which is performed throughout the year) and not about taraweeh.

What further supports this explanation is that there are some narrations of 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) which speak of the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) increasing his worship during the month of Ramadan. She states: "The Messenger of Allah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would exert himself (in worship) during the last ten days of Ramadan more than at any other time." (Saheeh Muslim 1:372)

This narration and many others like it indicate that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would perform more prayer in Ramadan than in any other month, even though the rak'ats of tahajjud performed by him would remain constant throughout the year. This means that the increase in worship by him during Ramadan was through performance of taraweeh and other supererogatory prayers. Hence, the narration of 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) above is concerning tahajjud, since the rak'ats of his tahajjud prayer remained constant in all the months of the year.

B) Imam Muhammad ibn al-Nasr al-Marwazi (rahmatullahi alaih), in his book, Qiyam al-Layl, has compiled many narrations under a chapter entitled, "Chapter on the Rak'ats Performed by the Imam in Ramadan for Taraweeh." However, he does not mention the above hadeeth of Abu Salama (rahmatullahi alaih) in that chapter despite it being a regorously authenticated hadeeth of Saheeh al-Bukhari. Like al-Marwazi (rahmatullahi alaih), there are many other authors who, in their works, have not mentioned this hadeeth to be concerning taraweeh.

C) Many compilers of hadeeth, such as Imam Muslim, Nasa'i, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ibn Khuzayma, and Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaihim), have not included this hadeeth in their chapters on taraweeh, despite it being such a rigorously authenticated hadeeth. Instead, they mention it in their chapters on tahajjud or witr. Indeed, had this narration been in regards to taraweeh, they would have surely included it in their chapters on taraweeh.

D) Furthermore, if this hadeeth was concerning taraweeh, then why did 'A'isha (radiallahu anha), the narrator, not reject the consensus (ijma') reached by 'Umar (radiallahu anh)? She could have informed him in some way or the other that the correct number of rak'ats for taraweeh was eight. Thus, the prayer she describes in the above hadeeth can be none other than tahajjud.

Another narration popularly used to claim that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed only eight rak'ats for taraweeh is the following:

2) Jabir (radiallahu anh) narrates that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) led them in prayer during Ramadan. He performed eight rak'ats followed by Witr." (Saheeh Ibn Hibban, Ibn Khuzayma, I'la al-Sunan 7:60:7)

The following explanations have been given for this hadeeth:

A) This hadeeth furnishes details of only one night in which the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) led the congregation in taraweeh prayer. The following narration is actually more detailed in this regard:

Jabir (radiallahu anh) narrates that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed eight rak'ats during one night of Ramadan followed by witr. The following night, we gathered together in the masjid hoping that he would come out to us. We remained waiting for him until morning, when he (came out and) said, 'I did not desire....' or (he said), 'I was afraid that the witr would be made obligatory (yaktubu) upon you.' (Qiyam al-Layl 91)

There are many narrations which mention that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed the taraweeh in congregation for three nights then failed to appear on the fourth night (see the narrations of 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) in Saheeh al-Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim). However, the above narration indicated that the congregation did not turn up on the second night; which means that both are concerning two different occasions.

Other differences between and 'A'isha's (radiallahu anha) other narrations is that 'A'isha's (radiallahu anha) other narrations do not mention the number of rak'ats performed for taraweeh (despite these narrations being so widely transmitted) whereas this one does. Also, the other narrations of 'A'isha (radiallahu anha) mention that Allah's Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was fearful of taraweeh becoming obligatory in the Ummah whereas the hadeeth of Jabir (radiallahu anh) he was fearful of witr becoming obligatory. Hence, Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani (rahmatullahi alaih) has hesitated in accepting this narration to be concerning the same incident mentioned in the other narrations. (Fath al-Bari 2:12)

B) The other point Mawlana Habib al-Rahman A'zami (rahmatullahi alaih) makes about this narration is that there is only one person relating it from Jabir (radiallahu anh). This single narrator, 'Isa ibn Jariya, has been strongly criticized by the scholars of hadeeth. Hafiz Dhahabi (rahmatullahi alaih) and Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani (rahmatullahi alaih) have recored much criticism about him, and Yahya ibn Ma'een (rahmatullahi alaih) states that "He is not strong" (laysa bi dhaka). Likewise Imam Nasa'i, Abu Dawood, 'Uqayli, Saji, and Ibn 'Adi (rahmatullahi alaihim) all have grave statements to make about him, either rejecting his narrations outright or labelling him as weak. Only Ibn Hibban (rahmatullahi alaih) Abu Zur'a (rahmatullahi alaih) have not criticized him. However, since the criticism of the former group is very severe, it will take precedence over the opinions of the latter in determining his status as a narrator.

Hence, his narrations are weak and cannot be accepted as evidence for the claim of taraweeh being eight rak'ats; even more so, in that no one else has reported that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed eight rak'ats in congregation during those nights he performed it in congregation. (A'zami in Rak'ate Taraweeh 28)

C) Some scholars have explained that even if the hadeeth were to be accepted, it would only inform as to the number of rak'ats the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) could have performed in congregation, and does not negate the possibility that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) could have performed the remaining twelve rak'ats at home. Jabir (radiallahu anh) does not negate this possibility either, but merely informs us of the number of rak'ats that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed in congregation with the Companions (radiallahu anhum), before retiring to the confines of his home.

There are also other narrations of Jabir (radiallahu anh) on this issue which mention that the Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed eight rak'ats in congregation; however, since they are all narrated through 'Isa ibn Jariya, they are all classified as weak and not to be used or related as evidence.

3) Sa'ib ibn Yazid (radiallahu anh) relates: 'Umar (radiallahu anh) appointed Ubay ibn Ka'b and Tamim al-Dari (radiallahu anhuma) to lead the people in eleven rak'ats. (Muwatta Imam Malik 1:71)

This is the narration presented to substantiate their second claim that 'Umar (radiallahu anh) ordered only eight rak'ats to be performed for taraweeh and that there was never a consensus on twenty. However, this claim is even weaker than the first due to the following reasons:

A) This hadeeth has been related from Sa'ib ibn Yazid (radiallahu anh) by two people - Muhammad ibn Yusuf and Yazid ibn Khusayfa. Five people have then related it from Muhammad ibn Yusuf. However, all five reports are different from one another, even though each one relates it from the same person. Due to its inconsistency and conflicting nature, this narration cannot stand as evidence to prove that taraweeh is eight rak'ats. This different reports from Muhammad ibn Yusf are as follows:

(1) The version mentioned above, transmitted by Imam Malik (rahmatullahi alaih), mentions eleven rak'ats, but does not mention Ramadan.

(2) Yahya ibn Qattan's version mentions that 'Umar (radiallahu anh) brought the people together behind Tamim al-Dari (radiallahu anh) and they would perform eleven rak'ats. It does not mention 'Umar (radiallahu anh) issuing any specific command on the number of rak'ats, nor does it mention the month of Ramadan.

(3) The version narrated by 'Abd al-'Aziz ibn Muhammad simply mentions that they performed eleven rak'ats during the caliphate of 'Umar (radiallahu anh). There is no mention of any specific command or of Ubay ibn Ka'b (radiallah anh), Tamim al-Dari (radiallahu anh), or Ramadan.

(4) Ibn Ishaq's report mentions that they would perform thirteen rak'ats in Ramadan during the period of 'Umar (radiallahu anh). It does not speak of 'Umar's (radiallahu anh) instructions, Ubay ibn Ka'b (radiallahu anh), or Tamim al-Dari (radiallahu anh).

(5) Lastly, 'Abs al-Razzaq's version describes 'Umar (radiallahu anh) commanding that twenty-one rak'ats be performed instead of eleven.

Some versions of this narration mention eleven rak'ats, others thirteen rak'ats, and one also mentions twenty-one/ So what is the reason for choosing the version of eleven rak'ats over the rest? In fact, the great Maliki jurist Ibn 'Abd al-Barr (rahmatullahi alaih) has given preference to the narration of twenty-one rak'ats and called the narrations of eleven to be an 'erroneous assumption' (wahm). (Rak'ate Taraweeh 39). Hence, the version of twenty rak'ats has been adopted in light of these and other similar factors that only serve to strengthen its authenticity.

B) The other narrator of this hadeeth from Sa'ib ibn Yazid (radiallahu anh) is Yazid ibn Khusayfa. And Yazid's two students, Ibn Abi Dhi'b and Muhammad ibn Ja'far, relate this narration from him (see hadeeth 3 in 'hadeeths on this issue' above). All versions of this narration through Yazid ibn Khusayfa are unanimous in mentioning twenty rak'ats; and Imam Nawawi, 'Iraqi, Suyuti, and others (rahmatullahi alaihim) have judged its chains (isnad) to be strong and reliable.

Hence, the question is: Why would the version of Muhammad ibn Yusuf mentioning eight rak'ats be adopted, despite it being so confusing and inconsistent in its mention of the number of rak'ats, and the version of Yazid ibn Khusayfa be abandoned despite it being consistent? Justice would demand that the narrations of Sa'ib ibn Yazid (radiallahu anh) through Yazid ibn Khusayfa be accepted since they are consistent and have classified as rigorously authenticated by many scholars; and that the narrations through Muhammad ibn Yusuf, because of their confusing nature, be interpreted and reconciled with those of Yazid ibn Khusayfa.

C) Some scholars have reconciled various versions of Sa'ib ibn Yazid's (radiallahu ahn) narration by stating that 'Umar (radiallahu anh) initially ordered eleven rak'ats to be performed but then changed his decision to twenty after learning that it was the more correct view. Nobody refuted this decision, and twenty rak'ats continued to be performed for the most part of Islamic history.

Imam Bayhaqi (rahmatullahi alaih), after mentioning the eleven and twenty rak'at narrations, states: "It is possible to reconcile the two types of narrations because the Companions (radiallahu anhum) would (initially) perform eleven rak'ats in congregation after which they began to perform twenty rak'ats and three witr." (Sunan al-Kubra li'l-Bayhaqi 2:296)

Imam Bayhaqi (rahmatullahi alaih) makes the same point at another place in his Sunan al-Kubra. Many other scholars have also provided similar explanations. Ibn Habib Maliki (rahmatullahi alaih) writes: "It was initially (performed as) eleven rak'ats, but they would prolong the recitation in them, which proved difficult on the people, so they increased the number of rak'ats and shortened the recitation. They would perform twenty rak'ats excluding witr." (Tuhfat al-Akhyar 192)
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#13 [Permalink] Posted on 27th October 2011 21:54
I came across this by chance. Very interesting remark regarding the chain of narration of a particular Hadith.

I don't know anything about this site, but the stuff here is worth a read, although we already know it.

truth-sincerity.blogspot.com/2009/08/zakir-naik-taraweeh-...

AUG 13 , 2009
Zakir Naik: Taraweeh and the Salafi Movement

The blessed month of Ramadhan is approaching, and I decided to break the silence on another issue that is instigated by the Ghair-Muqallideen / Salafi Movement more than anyone in the entire Ummah of the noble prophet (sallahu alayhi wa sallam). Zakir Naik is very proud to tell his audience that he follows only Quran and hadith. The Salafi movement that he subscribes to also claims that every action they do is according to Quran and Hadith. But when looking at the books of Nasirudeen Albani and watching the video(s) posted by Zakir Naik on the subject of "Taraweeh" it becomes very clear that Dr.Naik and his school of thought does not follow the Quran or Sahih Hadith. The questions below will shed the light on this matter in determining if the Salafi Scholars, including Zakir Naik, follow the Quran and Hadith:

1. Where did the word Tarawih come from? It came from the great Khalifa Ali (radhi Allahu anhu). The word Tarawih is not found in the Quran or any Sahih Hadith. So, this claim of Zakir and Salafi's that they follow only Quran and Sahih hadith is false in this matter. There is no evidence, and Zakir takes this blindly from the Sahaba and not the noble prophet (sallahu alayhi wa sallam). 2. Tarawih prayers in Jamaat. Can Dr.Naik show from the Quran and Hadith the practice of the noble messenger of Allah (sallahu alayhi wa sallam) that when the moon was sighted (or month of Shaban was completed) that the messenger of Allah (sallahua alayhi wa sallam) started the Tarawih prayers? It is only proven from the Hadith that he prayed 3days and that was actually in the last 10 days. So, why doesn't Zakir and the Salafi Scholars follow this practice? 3. The methodology that Tarawih is prayed right after Isha is also not proven from any Sahih Hadith. This is the practice of the Sahaba. So, when Zakir says that he does not follow any "follower" (inclusive of the companions) he actually has uttered a lie to the people because this practice is the sunnah of the companions. 4. Praying Tarawih in the Masjid for the entire month is also not proven from any Sahih Hadith. So, who are the Salafi scholars, including Zakir following when they implement this practice in their mosques? 5. Sleeping after Tarwih prayers and waking up for Tahajjud prayers (night prayers) or Sahoor (eating before commencing the fast) is also not proven from any Sahih Hadith. However, reading Imaam Bukhari's sahih one finds that sleeping after Tarawih and waking up thereafter to pray tahajjud is proven from the Sahaba but not the practice of the messenger of Allah (sallahua alayhi wa sallam). In Bukhari one can read to the contrary that the messenger of Allah (sallahua alayhi wa sallam) used to wake his entire family reminding his family [more or less] that these days (ramadhan) will not come again. In fact his established practice was to wake up through the entire night of the whole month. 6. Completion of the Quran during this month is also something not from Sahih Hadith.

Zakir Naik and his followers, including the Salafi Jamaat, scream and disrupte the peace of the entire Ummah under the false pretext that they follow only Quran and Sahih Hadith and that other Muslims follow opinion, and men of Islam. In all the above Issues Zakir Naik follows the companions, not a single Sahih Hadith; but when it comes to the "number of rakaats" they drop the practice of 20rakaats of the companions. In regards to the 8-rakaats Dr.Naik uses the famous hadith that is recorded by almost every muhaddith under the Chapter of "Tahajjud"; with the exception of Imaam Bukhari who records that particular hadith in two chapters.

What Zakir hasn't explained, because this is not his area of expertise, is that the Salafi's who he follows blindly consider Tahajjud, Tarawih and Witr to be all one and same in the month of Ramadhan. The famous hadith of Aisha (radhi Allahu anha) is interpreted by Dr.Naik as follows:

11 months those 8rakaats are called Tahajjud (nafl prayers), but in the month of ramadhan it is called Tarwih. 11th months those 8rakaats are prayed in the last part of the night, but in the month of ramadhan those 8 rakaats are prayed after Isha prayers (1st part of the night). 11months praying of 1witr is practiced, but the 12month 3rakats-witr is prayed. 11 months it is preferrable to pray 8-rakaats at home, but the 12th month it is preferred to pray at a mosque. 11months completing the Quran every month is not stressed, but completing the Quran via 8-rakaats in ramadhan is important.

Where did Zakir get all of these practices? Where did the Salafi movement find these practices? There is absolutely no proof in any Sahih Hadith that the messenger of Allah prayed (sallahu alayhi wa sallam) 8-rakaats and he called them Tarawih? In fact, the Salafi scholars quote the hadith where the messenger of Allah (sallahu alayhi wa sallam) prayed Surah Fatiha in Janaaza. This hadith in Ibn Majah and the hadith that the messenger of Allah (sallahu alayhi wa sallam) prayed 20rakaats both have exactly the same chain of narrators. Ibraheem bin Usman, Abi Shaibah, Hakam and ibn abbas. So, why does Dr.Naik reject one and not the other? Moreover, Aisha (radhi Allahu anha) was alive during the time of Umar, Usman and Ali (radhi allahu anhum). Interestingly, the hadith of "every innovation is a misquidance" also comes from Aisha (radhi Allahu anha). So, could she have tolerated the innovative practice of 20-rakaats? Shouldn't she have presented the hadith of 8-rakaats and clarified this matter? Nothing of this nature is known or recorded. I hope we can all pray our 20-rakaats this Ramadhan like Makkah and Madina, without confusion and instigation.
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#14 [Permalink] Posted on 2nd April 2014 23:30

Why the ummah has been performing 20 Raka'ah Taraweeh for over 14 centuries?

By Shaykh (Mufti) Mohammad Ishaq Bhana (HA)

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#15 [Permalink] Posted on 3rd April 2014 00:15
Post rectified using [mp3][/mp3] tested okay via mobile.
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