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A Guide to Ramadhan and Fasting

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Salat At-Taeawih and Quran

Origin of Tarawih

It is narrated by A�ishah �The Prophet offered salah [at-tarawih] in the mosque and many people prayed with him. The next day he did the same and more people prayed with him. Then the people gathered on the third night but the Prophet did not come out to them. In the morning, he said to them, �Surely I saw what you did, and t�t0ll1i.I"QQ prevented me jrotn coming out to yon, save that I feared that [that prayer] would be made obligatory upon you.� And that was during Ramadan.� (Bukhari and Muslim)

It was during the Caliphate of "Umar lbn al�Khattab" that salat at- Tarawih was performed as a congregational prayer behind one imam Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abdulqari reports:

�One night during Ramadan, I went with �Un-tar to the mosque and the people were praying in different groups. Some were praying by themselves and others were praying in small groups. �Umar said: �I think it would be better iflgathered them under one imam.� Then he did so and appointed Ubayy ibn Ka�b as the leader of the prayer. Then I went out with him on another night and all the people were praying behind one imam and �Ur-nar said: �What a good innovation {bid�ah) this is,� but, it is better to sleep and delay it nntil the latter portion of the night.� The people (however) prayed it at the beginning of the night. � (Bukhari, Ibn Khuzaymah and Al-Bayhaqi)

How to Perform Tarawih

Tarawih are supererogatory prayers: they are strongly recommended and are sunnah mu'akkadah, but not wajib. Regarding the number of rah�ahs, there is a difference of opinion as to whether there are eight, twenty or thirty-six. Traditionally, Muslims everywhere have oiiered twenty. This is inherited from the practice of �Umar during whose time there was no dispute on this issue.

In the time of Umar ibn al-Khattab the people used to observe twenty rale�ahs and the witr. (A1-Bayhaqi in Ma�rifat as-sunan wa'l athar)

The Prophet said, "Follow my Si-mnah and the Snnnah of the rightly- gnided lehalifahs after me."

There are also sorn.e reports of thirty-six rale�ahs of tarawih according to Imam Malik.

Ihn al-Qasim said, �The rale�ahs (of tarawih) with witr are thirty-nine. � Imam it/Ialile said, �This is what the people have agreed nponfrom amongst the predecessors, and the people have not stopped doing it. �

The practice of thirty-six rah�ahs was that of the people of Madinah at the time of �Umar ibn Abdul Aziz and Imam Malik ibn Anas The number of rale�ahs of taratuih prayed in congregation were twenty and the people of Madinah used to perform an extra four rale�ahs Without congregation during the rest periods after every four rale"ahs of congregational tarawih. This amounted to an extra sixteen rale�ahs in addition to the congregational twenty rale�ahs. The reason that the Madinans introduced the extra prayers was because the people of Makkah would perform tawaf around the Ka�bah after every four raIe�ahs of congregational tarawih, and these extra prayers were a form of compensation.

Today twenty rale�ahs of tarawih are performed in both al-Masjid al- Haram in Makkah and al-Mas]'id an-Nabawi in Madinah. The schools also concur that salat at-Tarawih consists of twenty rak�ahs, except that this is the less well known position in the Maliki school who still recommend thirty-six rak�ahs.

Imam Ali al�Qari al-Hana? said in Sharh an-Nuqayah:

Imam al-Bayhaqi has reported on genuine authority (sahih) about the performance qf twenty rak�ahs of Tarawih during the periods of � Umar, Uthman and Ali and hence there has been consensus (ijma�) on it.

Salar at-Tarawih can be performed after salat al-�Isha and before salat al-Fajr. It can be done individually or in congregation although there is great reward in attending congregation. It is performed in sets of two rak�ahs and there is a rest period after every four rak�ahs. It is recommended to wait for a period (equal to four rak�ahs of prayer) after each four rak�ahs that are offered and between the ?fth interval and the witr prayer. This was the practice of the right�acting predecessors since Ubayy ibn Ka�b led the Muslims in the tarawih prayer. Abu Hanifah stated that this is inferred from the Arabic Word rarawih (from the Arabic root rawwaha meaning �to have a rest�). There are no hadith indicating what should be said or done in these intervals, although one can do dhikr, make du�a or remain silent.

The three rak�ahs of witr can be said after the tarawih is complete, although if one chooses then to pray tahajjud, one can offer the witr after salat at- Tahajjud

The tarawih prayer precedes the fast so that upon breaking the last fast according to some there will be no tarawih prayers that night, but again some others observe tarawih on this last night too.

It is highly meritorious to read the Qur�an in its entirety once in Ramadan as the Prophet 2%}; used to recite the entire content of the Qur�an that had been revealed up to that time to jibril every Ramadan. In the year of his death, he read the entire Qur�an twice in Ramadan to Jibril. It is narrated that he said:

Fasting and the Qur�an interceciefor a man. Fasting says, �O my Lord, I have kept him away from hisfood and his passions by clay, so accept my intercessionfor him. � The Qm/�an says, �I have kept him away?oin sieep by night, so accept my intercession for him.� Then their intercession is accepted. (Al-Bayhaqi)

It is also acceptable, rather than reciting the Qur�an oneself, to listen to the entire contents of the Qur�an being read out in tarawih prayers throughout Ramadan. Indeed, the �nlama say that listening to the Qur�an attentively when it is recited in one�s presence is obligatory because Allah said:

When the Qur�an is recited listen to it and be quiet so that hopefully you will gain mercy. (7:204)

On the other hand, reciting the Qur�an is a sannah and is not obligatory, and obligations take precedence over sannahs.

Umar ordered him (Uhayy) 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: �Commander of the believers, this thing was not done before.� He said: �I know, but it is a good practi.-:e�, and so (Ubayy) led (the Companions) in twenty rak�ahs. �