Muslim Matrimonials and More's News and Events



Sunnahs of Taraweeh Prayer

Source: ad-Dawal ila-Allah

Ramadaan is an event in which the whole Muslim Ummah participates and during this month many of us observe Qiyaam al-Layl, also known as Taraaweeh (literally, the break between individual prayers), which is a Sunnah for both men and women. It is performed after the Isha prayer up until the end of the night i.e. before the Fajr prayer and prayed in sets of two rak'aat each.

Taraaweeh has an important place in Ramadaan. To find out why read on:

Its Excellence and Merit from the Qur'aan:

During Ramadaan, we are not only pre-occupied with our daily activities but are also subjected to hunger and thirst, and so naturally at the end of the day we become tired and cherish the prospect of a good nights rest! However, in the Qur'aan Allah commends those who observe the night prayer and He exhorts the believers towards it, “Verily the rising by night (for Tahajjud prayer) is very hard and most potent and good for governing (the soul) and most suitable for (understanding) the Word (of Allaah)" [Soorah al-Muzzammil (73):6]

From the Sunnah

“And whoever stands (in prayer) in Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward (from Allah) then all his previous sins will be forgiven." [1]

In this Hadeeth the Prophet salla allahu alaihe wa-sallam wanted us to earn this great reward, encouraging us towards taraaweeh. His statement, “out of sincere faith hoping for a reward.." suggests that in order to get reward one must purify his niyyah (intention) to perform this act of worship.

Praying Taraaweeh in Congregation

“It is allowed to pray taraaweeh of the month of Ramadan in a congregation just as it is allowed to pray them on an individual basis. The majority of scholars, however prefer to pray them in congregation." [2]

Aa'ishah reported that: “Allah's Messenger salla allahu alaihe wa-sallam went out in the middle of the night and prayed in the mosque, and the people prayed behind him, then in the morning people spoke about it. Then a large number gathered (the second night), and he prayed and they prayed behind him, then the people spoke about it in the morning. On the third night the mosque was crowded, so Allah's Messenger salla allahu alaihe wa-sallam came out and could not accommodate the number of people, but he only came out for the morning. Then when he finished the morning prayer he turned to the people repeated the Shahaadah and said: 'Indeed your presence was not hidden from me, but I feared that it would be made obligatory upon you and that you would not be able to mange it.' [3] So Allaah's Messenger salla allahu alaihe wa-sallam passed away and the situation remained like that."

When Prophet salla allahu alaihe wa-sallam was taken by Allaah, the Sharee'ah had been completed and this fear had ceased (i.e. that Taraaweeh would be made obligatory) and so it remained prescribed in congregation - since the reason preventing it had ceased.

Tarteel - recitation in slow, rhythmic tones

It was the practice of the Prophet salla allahu alaihe wa-sallam to recite one verse at a time, pausing after every verse. He used to recite the Qur'aan in slow, measured, rhythmic tones as Allaah had instructed him, not raising or hurrying, rather; his was “a recitation clearly distinguishing each letter," [4] so much so that he would recite a soorah in such slow rhythmic tones that it would be longer than it would seem possible." [5]

The Length and Beauty of the Prayer

There are a number of Ahadeeth which mention how the Prophet would sometimes exceedingly lengthen his recitation in a single rak'ah, so it is not surprising when 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ood said: “I prayed with the Prophet salla allahu alaihe wa-sallam one night and he carried on standing for so long that I was struck by a wrong idea." He was asked, “What was this idea?" He said, “I thought I would sit down and leave the Prophet salla allahu alaihe wa-sallam" [6]

And in another narration we learn that the Messenger salla allahu alaihe wa-sallam recited Soorat al-Baqarah (286 verses), an-Nisaa' (176 verses) and Aal-lmraan (200 verses) all in one standing. [7] Just imagine that! How long does it take to recite just half of Soorat al-Baqarah: then all of it, then Soorat an-Nisaa' etc!! And remember the Prophet salla allahu alaihe wa-sallam recited in a 'slow, rhythmic style' and then he would go into Rukoo' and Sujood. He salla allahu alaihe wa-sallam used to make his Qiyaam (standing), his Ruku, his standing after rukoo', his sujood, and his sitting between the two sajdahs, nearly equal in length. [8] When 'Aa'isha asked why he salla allahu alaihe wa-sallam offered such an unbearable prayer; which caused his feet to swell due to the prolonged standing, he humbly replied: “Should I not be a thankful servant?" [9]

It is not being said that the Taraaweeh prayer offered in congregation must be as long as this, but on mere reflection does it not leave much to be questioned and sought when we compare our sad state of affairs today? What has befallen Muslims these days? In their Salaah and Qiyaam is fast recitation of the verses of the Qur'aan and hurried movements which hardly resemble the Ruku, Sujood and other positions in Salaah - what benefits can we possibly hope to secure by neglecting the Sunnah?

Best Time for Taraweeh:

The majority of mosques hold taraweeh prayer after salaat al-Ishaa, and by doing so they are able to accommodate the varying needs and conditions of those who attend, (i.e. amongst them there may be the weak, sick, old etc.) attract more people due to the convenient earlier timing which in turn encourages families to bring along their younger children and those being only a few of the benefits. Therefore it is good thing and we know lslaam does not impose any hardships. However if you are praying taraaweeh at home, then it is worth knowing that it is best to delay the taraaweeh prayer to the last third portion of the night. Allah's Messenger salla allahu alaihe wa-sallam said: "The nearest that a slave comes to his Lord is during the middle of the later portion of the night. If you can be among those who remember Allaah, the Exalted One, at that time then do so." [10]

Also, once when 'Umar ibn al-Kattaab went out during Ramadaan and saw the people praying taraaweeh, he commented, “prayer at the time when they sleep is better than at the time when they are praying it." Since the people used to pray in the early part of the night. [11]

Know also dear reader; that it is the time when Allaah descends to the lowest Heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring (though He knows everything).

“[Is there anyone] who invokes Me, so that I may respond to his invitation? [ls there anyone] who asks Me, so that I may grant him his request? [Is there anyone] who seeks My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?" [12]


We are encouraged to exert our efforts even further; towards the end of Ramadaan while seeking out Laylatul-Qadr. 'Aa'isha reported that Allah's Messenger salla allahu alaihe wa-sallam used to exert himself in devotion during the last ten nights to a greater extent than at any other time. [13]

Allah's Messenger salla allahu alaihe wa-sallam said: “Whoever stands [in prayer] in Lailatut Qadr out of Eemaan and seeking reward, then his previous sins are forgiven." [Bukhari and Muslim]


As with all aspects in lslaam, moderation and consistency are the cardinal words - avoiding the two extremes i.e. negligence and excessiveness, and this is the correct position. He salla allahu alaihe wa-sallam said: "The deeds of anyone of you will not save you (from the hell fire)." They said, 'Even you (will not be saved by your deeds) O Messenger of Allaah?" He said, “No, even I (will not be saved) unless and until Allaah bestows His Mercy on me. Therefore, do good deeds properly. Sincerely and moderately, and worship Allaah in the forenoon and during a part of the night and always adopt a middle moderate, regular course whereby you will reach your target (i.e. paradise)." [14]

Allah has ordained the compulsory prayer, after which the most excellent prayer is the night prayer [15] and that which I have mentioned regarding its characteristics is applicable in every prayer- whether compulsory or voluntary (i.e. such as Taraaweeh). It is not possible for us to perform prayer as it should be performed, or even approach it, unless we know the detailed description of the Prophet's (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) prayer. [16] I hope that the significance of the Taraaweeh prayer has been correctly established and I pray that it's a benefit to all those rushing to fulfill his command. "Pray as you have seen me praying." [l7]


1. Saheeh AL- Bukhari (eng. Tran. Vol.2, p. 126,no.227)
2. Fiqh us-Sunnah (v.2, p.28). It is preferred for women to pray at home.
3. Saheeh - Related by al-Bukhari from Urwah (eng, trans. Vol.3, p.127, no.229) and Muslim from Aaisha' (eng. Trans.
Vol.1, p.367, no.1667). Note that this Hadeeth is a proof that performing the Taraweeh prayer in congregation was a
Sunnah of the Prophet which Umar later revived and it was not a new practice which he invented as many claim.
4. Related by Ibn al-Mubaarak in Az-Zuhar [162/2 from al Kawaakib 575] Aboo Dawood and Ahmed with a saheeh isnad.
5. Related by Muslim and Malik.
6. Saheeh related by al-Bukhari (eng. Trans. v.2, no.236) and Muslim.
7. Saheeh related by Muslim (eng. Trans. V.1, no. 1697) and Nasaa'ee.
8. Related by al-Bukhari (eng. Trans. vol. 1, Pg. 424 no.766) and Muslim (eng. Trans. vol.1 Pg.250 no.953).
9. Related by Bukhari (eng. Trans. vol.2 Pg. 129 no.230)
10. Related by at-Tirmidhee, an Nisa'ee & al-Haakim: al Mishkat 1229.
11. Related by al-Bukhari (eng. Trans. vol.3 Pg.126 no.227).
12. Bukhari (eng. Trans. v.2 # .246), Muslim (eng. Trans. V1 # 165/7).
13. Releted by Muslim (eng. Trans. vol.2 Pg.576, no.2644)
14. Related by al-Bukhari (eng. Trans. v.8, #..470) from Aboo Hurayrah.
15. Related by Muslim from Aboo Hurayrah.

We refer and strongly recommend the readers to read “The Prophet's Prayer Described" by Sheikh Muhammad Naasir-ud Deen al-Albanee.

Posted by Mohammad Athiqur Rahaman
Islamic Email Circle Management, Saudi Arabia

Ramadhan Articles Muslim Matrimonials and More