Tarawih Prayer (Night Prayer in the Month of Ramadan)

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What is tarawih prayer? How to perform tarawih prayer in islam?

To perform tarawih prayer in the nights of Ramadan is a tradition of the Messenger of Allah. He said that, “Allah the Almighty made the fasting in the month of Ramadan obligatory; and I made the tarawih prayer my tradition.” (Ibn Majah, Salat, 173) In order to get the most benefit from the month of Ramadan, believers should revive the Ramadan nights with tarawih prayers in addition to fasting throughout the day. They should also be careful about what they say and retreat to a mosque for a number of days. Reviving the nights of Ramadan is a means of forgiveness. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stated that:

“Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Bukhari, Tarawih, 46)

According to the narration of Aisha (r.a.) the Prophet (pbuh) used to perform acts of worship during the month of Ramadan more than the rest of the year. In the last ten days of Ramadan he would increase his worship even more. He would revive the nights of the last ten days with prayer and also wake his family up for it. (Bukhari, Faḍlu Laylat al-Qadr, 5)

Even though Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) performed tarawih prayer at night in the month of Ramadan, he did not perform it in congregation. He deemed more appropriate to let everybody do as much as he/she can. Tarawih prayer continued to be performed individually during the days of Caliph Abu Bakr (r.a.). Then, during Umar’s caliphate it began to be performed in congregation. Aisha (r.a.) narrates the following incident, which explains why the Prophet (pbuh) performed it alone and not in congregation:

“One night in the month of Ramadan Allah’s Apostle went out in the middle of the night and prayed in the mosque and some men prayed behind him. In the morning, the people spoke about it and then a large number of them gathered and prayed behind him (on the second night). In the next morning the people again talked about it and on the third night the mosque was full with a large number of people. Allah’s Apostle came out and the people prayed behind him. On the fourth night the Mosque was overwhelmed with people and could not accommodate them, but the Prophet came out (only) for the morning prayer. When the morning prayer was finished he said, “your presence was not hidden from me but I was afraid lest the night prayer (Qiyam) should be enjoined on you and you might not be able to carry it on.” So, Allah’s Apostle died and the situation remained like that (i.e. people prayed individually).” (Bukhari, Tarawih, 1; Muslim, Musafirun, 177)

Source: An Excellent Exemplar, Osman Nuri Topbaş,  Erkam Publications

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