Fasting during the day, breaking the fast then sleeping at night is not the purpose of Ramadan. This month is a wonderful spiritual occasion to persevere in worship and obedience to attain great reward and righteous deeds. The Prophet (PBUH) used to exert himself more in Ramadan by fasting during the day, performing Qiyam during the nights and reciting the Koran at the hand of Jibril (pbuh). The Prophet ordered the Ummah to perform Taraweeh which is considered a laudable practice and great ritual that has magnificence in the hearts of Muslims and leads to rewards from Allah (SWT). Without it, the spiritual atmosphere of Ramadan and the divine whiff would not be complete, and the thirsty souls will not be relieved.
Definition of Taraweeh
In Arabic, Taraweeh from taraweeha (singular) means rest after effort and fatigue, and was called so because the worshipers rest during their performance after every two rak'aats. Taraweeh, also called Qiyam, are the prayers performed in Ramadan after Isha until Fajr prayer. Taraweeh prayers lead the spirit of believer to the worlds of purity, and to the kingdom of God and his greatness, in order to clear up his mind, satisfy his soul, and relax his heart by getting closer and connected to Allah.
Legitimacy of Taraweeh
Muslim scholars agree that Taraweeh prayer is an emphasized Sunnah held in the month of Ramadan between Isha and Fajr prayers. It is a great worship and an important ritual of Islam. Abu Hurairah narrated that The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Whoever prays during the night in Ramadan out of sincere faith and seeking its reward from Allah, will have all of his previous sins forgiven”. The prophet (PBUH) used to pray Taraweeh in the mosque with the group, but fearing that it will be considered as an obligatory act he did not have a consensus over it as it was narrated from Aisha (mabpwh) in Sahiih Al-Bukhaari.
Number of Rak’aats
Muslims persevere in performing Taraweeh after the Messenger of Allah whether collectively or individually, but Omar (mabpwh) gathered them behind one Imam. It has not been proven that the Prophet determined the number of Rak’aats during Taraweeh, except that he used to pray eleven Rak’aats as it was reported by Aisha (mabpwh), she said: “The Prophet would not increase the number of Rak’aats in the night prayer more than eleven, neither in Ramadan nor in any other month, he would pray four Rak’aats, let alone their excellency and their length, then he would pray another four, let alone their excellency and their length, and then he would pray three…”. The scholars differ to determine the exact number, but most of them advise to perform eleven Rak’aats or more depending on the capacity and ability of each person.
The virtue of Taraweeh
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had associated fasting to Qiyam, he praised those who perform Qiyam in Ramadan, who pray Isha then Taraweeh, and promised them great rewards. It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (mabpwh) said: I heard Allah's Messenger (pbuh) saying regarding Ramadan, "Whoever prayed at night in it out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven" . In a clear indication to the great reward that God has prepared for a Muslim who ignores tiredness of fasting and constraints of life, as he stands up before Allah (SWT) after Isha prayer to perform Taraweeh, then performs Qiyam in the middle of the night when people are asleep, and prays some Rak’aats for the Ever-living who does not sleep, in order to be amongst the worshippers, the humble ones and the obedient. And to be amongst those who will be forgiven what preceded of their sins. Blessed are those who prayed Taraweeh, keep saying it, and congratulations to those who made the night and worked hard in it.
Written by: Amine Hilal