The Allegation Regarding Tarawih

If it Were Not For `Ali, `Umar Would Have Been Destroyed
September 18, 2015
Answering the Accusation on Sayyiduna Mughirah ibn Shu`bah
September 18, 2015

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The Allegation Regarding Tarawih

 

The most important aspects of this issue:

 
  • Three forms of Tarawih in the era of nubuwwah
  • Replying the contradiction between the eleven raka’at narration and twenty raka’at narration.
  • The subject matter of the narration of Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu has been accepted by the ummah.
  • Removal of a doubt (regarding the young age of Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu).
  • Tarawih during the era of the al Khilafah al Rashidah.
  • The practise of Tarawih in the era of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
  • The communal practice of Tarawih during the era of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
  • Support of the senior scholars for twenty raka’at Tarawih (Ibn Taymiyyah and others).
  • Removal of a doubt (that Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu first began with eleven raka’at and then increased it to twenty raka’at later on).
  • Tarawih in the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
  • Participation of the women.
  • Tarawih in the era of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
  • Summary (during the era of the al Khulafa’ al Rashidin, it was the continuous practice of twenty raka’at for twenty-five years)
  • Support for following the al Khulafa’ al Rashidun from the hadith.
  • The practice of the famous Sahabah (Ubay ibn Ka’b, Ibn Mas’ud, Ibn ‘Abbas, Umm al Mu’minin Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anhum).
  • Statements of the Tabi’in, Taba’ al Tabi’in and senior scholars.
  • The practice of the Ummahat al Mu’minin K.
  • Is Tarawih eight raka’at?
  • Summary of the discussion.
 

Introduction

الحمد لله وكفى والصلوة والسلام على سيد الورى وعلى آله الشرفاء واصحابه النجباء واتباعه الصلحاء صلوة دائمة بدوام الارض والسماء ، اما بعد،

 

The ruling of Tarawih will be now explained, however before we begin explaining the related issues, we present a few questions to the readers which will underline which aspects need clarification.

  1. Is it sunnah or bid’ah to perform twenty raka’at Tarawih?
  2. In the time of the al Khulafa’ al Rashidin radiya Llahu ‘anhum and the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, was twenty raka’at performed or not? What was the practice of the Sahabah in this regard?
  3. In the first three eras, was there any reliable scholar of religion, muhaddith or jurist of repute that classified twenty raka’at as bid’ah? Alternatively, did they criticise this continued practice or did they accept it willingly?
 

Now, all the related aspects of this issue will be discussed. Study it carefully, by paying close attention to this discussion, one will acquire contentment and the answers to these questions will also be found.

 

During the Era of Nubuwwah

It is clear to the people of knowledge that during the era of nubuwwah, there were a number of forms of Tarawih. During the era of Nubuwwah, after the fast of Ramadan was made obligatory in 2 A.H, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam encouraged standing up in worship at night and said:

من قام رمضان إيمانا واحتسابا غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه

He who stands in worship during Ramadan, with faith and hope of acquiring reward, his past sins will be forgiven.[1]

 

First Form

This was the initial stage of standing in worship during Ramadan and it was practiced by way of being encouraged. As a result of this encouragement of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum would form separate groups and perform the Tarawih in various places and areas of Masjid al Nabawi. A number of Muhaddithin have explained this in their works, with their chains of narration. For example:

 

عن العلاء بن عبد الرحمن عن ابيه عن ابي هريرة انه قال خرج رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وانا الناس في رمضان يصلون في ناحية المسجد فقال ما هؤلاء؟ فقيل هؤلاء ناس ليس معهم قرآن وابي بن كعب يصلي بهم وهم يصلون بصلاته فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم اصابوا – او نعم ما صنعوا

 

Sayyidina Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates that one night during Ramadan, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came out of his blessed room and saw that people were performing salah in various groups in various places of Masjid al Nabawi. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam enquired: “What are these people doing?” It was said in reply: “These people do not know the entire Qur’an by heart and Ubay ibn Ka’b radiya Llahu ‘anhu is reciting. They are following him in salah.” On this occasion, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “These people have done correctly.” Or he said: “They are good in what they have done.”

 

Some narrations state:

 

قال قد احسنوا وقد اصابوا ولم يكره ذالك لهم

“They have done good and are correct,” and he did not dislike this action for them.[2]

 

In conclusion, it is appropriate to state here:

Firstly, the Sunnah is established verbally here, which is proven from the apparent words of the hadith. If we were to overlook this and give it a lower status, then at the least it will have the status of being a sunnah by tacit approval, there is no doubt in this.

In essence, this was the first stage of Tarawih; during the era of Nubuwwah, it was performed in congregation in Masjid al Nabawi and this action was done with the knowledge of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and it had the approval and status of being endorsed by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

 
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Worthy of Note

It is not hidden from the people of knowledge that other narrations of this subject matter are narrated from the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and the Tabi’in. We shall mention a narration as further corroboration. As mentioned above, the narration of Sayyidina Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu is narrated in Sahih Ibn Khuzaimah vol. 3, Sahih Ibn Hibban vol. 5 and Abu Dawood vol. 1. Abu Dawood rahimahu Llah mentions the following with regards to the chain of narration:

 

ليس هذا الحديث بالقوي ومسلم بن خالد ضعيف

This hadith is not strong and the narrator Muslim ibn Khalid is weak.

 

The scholars have mentioned a number of responses to this criticism. In light of their explanation, we shall mention a few points briefly.

The narrator in question, Muslim ibn Khalid al Zanji, although some of the scholars have criticised him and have stated that he is weak, despite this, other senior scholars have stated that he is reliable. Subsequently, regarding the reliability of this narrator, the views of a few scholars are mentioned, for example:

Yahya ibn Ma’in rahimahu Llah writes in his history:

ثقة وهو صالح الحديث

Muslim ibn Khalid is reliable and his hadith is sound.[3]

 

Ibn Hibban rahimahu Llah writes in his Kitab al Thiqat,

وكان مسلم بن خالد يخطئ احيانا

Muslim ibn Khalid would err sometimes.

 

However, together with this, he also classifies him as reliable:

كان من فقهاء الحجاز وروى عنه عبد الله بن المبارك والشافعي والحميدي وغيرهم ومنه تعلم الشافعي الفقه

He was of the jurists of Hijaz. ‘Abdullah ibn al Mubarak rahimahu Llah narrates from him, and al Shafi’i rahimahu Llah, al Humaidi rahimahu Llah and others. Al Shafi’i rahimahu Llah learnt fiqh from him.[4]

 

Ibn Hajar rahimahu Llah writes in Tahdhib al Tahdhib:

قال ابن عدي حسن الحديث وكان فقيه مكة وكان من فقهاء اهل الحجاز قال الساجي صدوق قال الدارقطني ثقة

Ibn ‘Adi says that he reports good ahadith, he was the jurist of Makkah and he was of the jurists of Hijaz. Al Saji says that he is truthful; al Darqutni says that he is reliable.[5]

 

In short, there is criticism found on Muslim ibn Khalid al Zanji al Makki. Despite this, the scholars have stated that he is reliable. We have presented this above. Looking at this, the narration cannot be rejected totally but it will be acceptable on account of his reliability.

 
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Corroboration

It is appropriate to mention, as mentioned before, that a narration similar to the narration of Sayyidina Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu has been reported in al Sunan al Kubra of Imam al Bayhaqi rahimahu Llah. This narration of al Bayhaqi rahimahu Llah corroborates the narration of Sayyidina Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

Therefore, on account of corroborating material being present this narration may be accepted and to discard it will be incorrect. The corroborating narration from al Bayhaqi is mentioned below:

 

عن ثعلبة بن ابي مالك رضي الله عنه القرظي قال خرج رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ذات ليلة في رمضان فراى ناسا في ناحية المسجد يصلون فقال ما يصنع هؤلاء؟ قال قائل يا رسول الله! هؤلاء ناس ليس معهم القرآن وابي بن كعب يقراؤهم معه يصلون بصلته قال قد احسنوا وقد اصابوا ولم يكره ذالك لهم

 

Tha’labah ibn Abi Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates: “One night during Ramadan, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came out of his house. He saw in the corner of the Masjid a few people performing salah. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam asked: “What are these people doing?” A person said: “Those who do not know the Qur’an, they are performing salah behind Ubay ibn Ka’b.” Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “They have done good and are correct.” Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not show dislike for their action.[6]

 

Al Nimawi rahimahu Llah has written in Athar al Sunan under this narration:

 

رواه البيهقي في المعرفة واسناده جيد

Al Bayhaqi has narrated it and the chain of narration is excellent.

 

Al Bayhaqi rahimahu Llah discusses this narration and writes in al Sunan al Kubra:

 

قال الشيخ هذا مرسل حسن

Sheikh said: “This is mursal and hasan.”

 

This means that on account of Tha’labah being a Tabi’i and not a Sahabi, this narration is regarded as Mursal, but it has a grading of hasan and is not graded as da’if.

The summary is that the narration of Sayyidina Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Tha’labah are both narrated and it is proven from them that during the era of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Tarawih used to be performed in congregation in Masjid al Nabawi and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stated that this action is correct and did not prohibit it.

We learn that during Ramadan, performing Tarawih in congregation is proven from the era of nubuwwah and it is in accordance to the sunnah.

 

Second Form

The one form in which Tarawih would be performed during the era of nubuwwah has been clarified above. The second form is discussed in the narration that is transmitted by a number of Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum such as Sayyidina Abu Dhar al Ghifari, No’man ibn Bashir, and others radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

 

عن ابي ذر رضي الله عنه قال صمنا مع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في رمضان فلم يقم بناحتي بقي سبع من الشهر فقال بناحتي ذهب ثلث الليل ثم لم يقم بنا في السادسة وقام بنا في الخامسة حتى ذهب شطر الليل فقلت يا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لو نفلنا بقية ليلتنا هذه؟ قال انه من قام مع الامام حتى ينصرف كتب له قيام ليلة ثم لم يصل بنا حتى بقي ثلاث من الشهر فقام بنا في الثالثة وجمع اهله ونساء

 

Sayyidina Abu Dhar radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates: “We kept the fast of Ramadan with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. During this time, he did not stand in worship with us at night until seven days of the month were left (counting the month as 29). Then Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam performed salah for us until a third of the night. He did not come on the twenty-fourth night and he came again on the twenty-fifth night and performed salah until half the night passed. I asked: “O Rasul of Allah, if we perform nafl salah the rest of the night?” Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam replied: “He who stands with the imam until he leaves the reward of standing the entire night will be recorded for him.” Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not lead us in salah thereafter until three days were left. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then led us on the twenty-seventh night and he gathered his family and performed salah until late, until we feared that we will miss the suhur.”

 
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Narration of No‘man ibn Bashir

Similarly, Sayyidina No’man ibn Bashir radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates:

 

قمنا مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في شهر رمضان ليلة ثلاث وعشرين الى ثلث الليل ثم قمنا معه ليلة خمس وعشرين الى نصف الليل ثم قمنا ليلة سبع وعشرين حتى ظننا ان لن ندرك الفلاح وكذا نسيمه السحور

We stood with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam during the month of Ramadan on the twenty-third night for a third of the night, then we stood with him on the twenty-fifth night till half the night passed, then we stood with him on the twenty-seventh night until we thought that we will miss the suhur.[7]

 

The Sahabi, No’man ibn Bashir radiya Llahu ‘anhu sat on the pulpit of Hims and narrated this hadith. This narration has the same meaning and purport of the narration of Sayyidina Abu Dhar al Ghifari radiya Llahu ‘anhu and corroborates it. The people of knowledge know that narrations with this subject matter are mentioned in the Sihah Sittah, narrated by other Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum as well.

In these narrations, it is proven that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam performed Tarawih in congregation, although the number of raka’at is not mentioned. However, it is proven from the sunnah that he used to lead the Tarawih salah during Ramadan in congregation and a sufficient amount of time used to pass and a significant portion of the night used to be spent.

The action of remaining awake at night for Tarawih during the nights of Ramadan continued. Then, sometimes, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would not come to lead the salah, intentionally, whilst the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum would request it. Despite this, he did not come. Then, in the morning, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam explained the wisdom of this:

 

اما بعد ، فانه لم يخف على شانكم ولكني خشيت ان تفرض عليكم صلاة الليل فتعجزوا عنها

Your request was not hidden from me, but I had the fear that the salah of the night of Ramadan should not become obligatory upon you, then you would not be able to perform it.[8]

 

This means that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam deliberately missed it, fearing that it may become obligatory. This was a great expediency upon the ummah and an act of compassion upon the ummah. Thus, he mentioned the reason for not being punctual upon its practice.

The summary is that this was the second form of performing Tarawih that was found in the era of nubuwwah.

 

Third Form

A third narration regarding Tarawih is presented here, narrated by Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

عن ابن عباس ان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يصلي في رمضان عشرين ركعة والوتر

Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to perform twenty raka’at in Ramadan and witr.[9]

 

عن مقسم عن ابن عباس قال كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يصلي في رمضان عشرين ركعة ويوتر بثلاث

Sayyidina Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu said: “Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to perform twenty Raka’at in Ramadan and he used to perform three witr.”[10]

 

In the light of this narration, it is proven that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to perform twenty raka’at Tarawih.

This is the third form of Tarawih and there is proof for it in the era of nubuwwah. Now, refuting it will be a case of turning away from the truth.

This means that in the era of nubuwwah, these various forms of Tarawih used to be in practice. A number of points need clarification here:

  1. This narration of Sayyidina Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu apparently seems to contradict the narration of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, in which eleven raka’at are mentioned. At the end of the discussion, there will be a separate topic where the apparent contradiction will be removed. Sufficient detail will be presented, which one can study.
  2. There is a narrator by the name of Ibrahim ibn ‘Uthman Abu Shaibah in this narration, the scholars of hadith have criticised him and said that he is weak. A number of points will now be mentioned in reply to the weakness of this narrator. Although the scholars of the science have stated that this narrator is da’if, there are other reasons that make the narration worthy of acceptance and remove the weakness of this narration. In this way, the narration will be worthy of acceptance and it will not be discarded.
 
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Clarification

1. This narration gains support by the fact that the al Khulafa’ al Rashidin and other senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum practised upon it. The fact that twenty raka’at Tarawih was performed in that era is a sign that this narration is sahih. We shall mention the practice of the al Khulafa’ al Rashidin soon, Allah willing.

Subsequently, the scholars have written:

 

ومواظبة الصحابة على عشرين قرينة صحة هذه الرواية

The punctual practice of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum upon twenty raka’at is a sign of validity of this narration.[11]

 

2. Similarly, support for the validity Ibn ‘Abbas’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu narration is found in twenty raka’at being the practice of the senior Tabi’in and majority of the scholars of the ummah. Through a number of strong narrations, this particular narration is supported and gains strength.

3. Moreover, although the above narration of Sayyidina Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu is Khabar al Wahid, but the validity of this narration is established by the fact that the ummah has accepted it, and the subject that has been accepted by the ummah, practiced upon on and verified, then according to majority of the scholars, it gives the benefit of ‘ilm yaqin (definite knowledge), and it does not remain zanni (doubtful).

It is written in Sharh ‘Aqidah al Tahawiyyah fi ‘Aqidah al Salafiyyah:

 

وخبر الواحد اذا تلقه الامة بالقبول عملا به وتصديقا له يفيد العلم اليقيني عند جماهير الامة وهو احد قسمي المتواتر ولم يكن بين سلف الامة في ذالك نزاع

When the ummah accepts a Khabar al Wahid, practising on it and verifying it, then it gives the benefit of ‘ilm yaqin according to majority of the ummah. This is one category of mutawatir and there is no debate about this amongst the pious predecessors of the ummah.[12]

 

In light of this law, even the narration of Sayyidina Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu will not be discarded, but it is worthy of acceptance and the ummah has conviction that it is valid. Therefore, we will not consider its weakness and in light of the above it will be accepted.

 
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Removal of a doubt

One may say that Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu is among the young Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, and the narrations of the senior Sahabah should be presented instead. In reply to this, it is sufficient to say that Umm al Mu’minin Sayyidah Maimunah bint al Harith radiya Llahu ‘anha is the maternal aunt of Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu (the sister of his mother, Umm al Fadl). Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu would frequent the house of his maternal aunt and he would spend the night in the home of his maternal aunt on a number of occasions. As a result, he had better knowledge of this ruling (of twenty raka’at Tarawih being performed), which he explained in the above quoted narration.

Furthermore, there are a number of reasons that indicate that this narration is valid, as we have mentioned briefly above. Taking all of this into account, the objection Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu being too young holds no weight and it is synonymous with turning away from the truth. The truth is more worthy of being followed.

 

During the Era of the al Khilafah al Rashidah

We have explained briefly the forms of Tarawih prevalent during the era of nubuwwah in the previous pages, and we have also mentioned sufficient proof for them.

After this, the system of performing Tarawih during the era of the khilafah will be explained. Study it carefully.

 

Khilafah of Sayyidina Abu Bakr

During the khilafah of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the early form of performing Tarawih continued, i.e. there were various groups in Masjid al Nabawi performing Tarawih.

Alternatively, some would perform Tarawih at home. Similarly, during the era of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Tarawih continued to be performed but it would not be performed in a single congregation.

The khilafah of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu remained for about two years and three months and this method continued throughout this time, which is only two Ramadans.

 

Khilafah of Sayyidina ‘Umar

Thereafter came the khilafah of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It encompassed about 10 years, beginning in the year 13 A.H. It was here, in 14 A.H, that the congregational form of Tarawih was adopted.

In the introduction to this discussion, the statement of the scholars of hadith was mentioned that a person (‘Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Abdul Qari) says that in the era of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he once went to Masjid al Nabawi in the company of Sayyidina ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He saw that people were performing salah in various groups. Some on their own; others behind an imam. Looking at this condition, Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu said that if the people are gathered behind one reciter, it will be more virtuous and better.

‘Abdul Rahman says that Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu then resolved to gather the people behind one imam, and he gathered them behind Sayyidina Ubay ibn Ka’b radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

The next night, he went with Sayyidina ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu to the Masjid and he saw all those performing salah gathered behind one imam, performing Tarawih. Looking at this, Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

نعمت البدعة هذه

How good is this new way?[13]

 
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Removal of a doubt

At this point, there is an objection from some that:

  1. Tarawih was an innovation of Sayyidina ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  2. He referred to it with the words: “How good is this new way?”’, whereas in the shari’ah, every bid’ah (innovation) is deviation and bid’ah is always despised, so how then can it be termed as good?
 

The following is reply to this objection:

Two points were raised in this objection:

1. Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu innovated the practice of Tarawih salah, i.e. it is not prescribed by the shari’ah.

The reply to this is that Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not innovate Tarawih salah, but it was initiated upon the command of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and he instructed the ummah to perform it. Subsequently, a hadith states:

 

ان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ذكر شهر رمضان فقال شهر كتب الله عليكم صيامه وسننت لكم قيامه

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam mentioned the month of Ramadan and said: “Ramadan is the month wherein Allah has made fasting compulsory and in this month I have initiated the practice of standing at night (i.e. Tarawih).”[14]

 

It is clear from this hadith that Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not initiate the practice of Tarawih, but was performed in accordance to the instruction of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

 

2. The second objection is that he said about Tarawih: “How good is this new way (bid’ah)?” and bid’ah is something despised in the shari’ah. The senior scholars have written in reply to this in different eras and this doubt has been dispelled. A few points will be mentioned below in light of their explanation.

Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu referred to the action of gathering the people behind one imam for Tarawih as a bid’ah, in terms of the lexical meaning of the word. This is because in the dictionary, any new practice or action is referred to as bid’ah, i.e. this is a new way. However, he did not use the word bid’ah according to the technical definition of shari’ah. It is bid’ah in shari’ah that is despised.

This can be said in other words, that this action of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was new in terms of procedure, but not in terms of practice. This is because it was already a verbally established sunnah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and a sunnah by way of tacit approval as well. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not continue with this practice out of fear that it may become obligatory, and when this fear did not exist after the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, it is correct to make a continuous practice of it, it will then not be termed a bid’ah.

Mirqat, the commentary of Mishkat, states:

 

انما سماها بدعة باعتبار صورتها فان هذا الاجتماع محدث بعده عليه الصلوة والسلام واما باعتبار الحقيقة فليست بدعة لانه عليه السلام انما امرهم بصلاتها في بيوتهم للعه هي خشية الافتراض

He called it bid’ah in terms of the procedure of it, because this gathering was brought about after the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. In terms of reality, it is not a bid’ah because Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commanded them to perform it in their homes out of fear that it may become obligatory upon them.[15]

 

Al Dhahabi rahimahu Llah in his work al Muntaqa writes in clarification of this statement:

 

فسماه بدعة وما هو بالبدعة الشرعية التي هي الضلالة اذ هي ما فعل بلا دليل شرعي ولو كان قيام رمضان جماعة قبيحا لابطله امير المؤمنين على وهو بالكوفة بل روى عنه انه قال نور الله على عمر قبره كما نور علينا مساجدنا

He referred to it as bid’ah, and it is not a shar’i bid’ah that is deviation because that is an action that has no proof in the shari’ah. If standing in the month of Ramadan was something bad, then Amir al Mu’minin Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu would have classified it as baseless, when he was in Kufah. Instead it is narrated from him: “May Allah enlighten the grave of ‘Umar just as he has enlightened our Masajid (through this congregational worship).”[16]

 

The actions of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu are in itself a clear proof that it was not bid’ah.

The summary is that the al Khulafa’ al Rashidin classified this gathering for Tarawih as something good and they did not take it as a bid’ah.

Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahu Llah clarifies this sentence in his work Iqtida’ al Sirat al Mustaqim’ p. 276 under the discussion of Tarawih:

 

وهذه تسمية لغوية لا تسمية شرعية

Referring to Tarawih as bid’ah was in terms of the lexical meaning and not the shar’i definition of it.

 

Looking at this clarification of the scholars, the above mentioned objection is totally dismissed.

The narration of Mishkat which were presented on the authority of Bukhari does not specify the number of raka’at of Tarawih, but only mentions the ruling of Tarawih in brief. Now we will present the narrations from the era of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu in which the number of raka’at are mentioned in detail.

In al Muwatta’ of Imam Malik rahimahu Llah the following narration is mentioned:

 

حدثنا مالك عن يزيد بن رومان انه قال كان الناس يقومون في زمان عمر بن الخطاب في رمضان بثلاث وعشرين ركعة

Malik narrates from Yazid ibn Ruman that he said: “The people would stand during the era of ‘Umar in Ramadan for twenty-three raka’at.”[17]

 

Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Nasr al Marwazi rahimahu Llah in his work Qiyam al Layl clarifies this matter in the following text:

 

عن يزيد بن رومان كان الناس يقومون في زمان عمر بن الخطاب في رمضان بثلاث وعشرين ركعة

It is narrated from Yazid ibn Ruman that the people would stand in the era of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab during Ramadan for twenty-three raka’at.[18]

 

‘Allamah al Bayhaqi rahimahu Llah in his work al Sunan al Kubra mentions the above narration from Yazid ibn Ruman, (al Sunan al Kubra vol. 2 p. 496).

The purport of these narrations is that during the era of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, people would perform twenty-three raka’at during Ramadan. Although the above narration is Mursal, but the senior scholars have clarified:

 

رواه مالك واسناده مرسل قوي

Malik narrated it, the chain of narration is Mursal, but it is strong.[19]

 

The scholars have written a general rule for the Mursal narrations of Imam Malik rahimahu Llah that according to the people of the science, it is sahih and accepted and worthy of practice.[20]

Subsequently, from all three previous narrations it is proven that during the era of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, twenty-three raka’at Tarawih would be performed in congregation, and it is clear to the scholars that twenty of these raka’at were Tarawih and three raka’at would be witr.

Now, for our friends, we shall present a few narrations that further prove twenty raka’at, from which the entire matter will be clarified. There is no need for any explanation or interpretation and according to the hadith scholars, these narrations are correct and worthy of acceptance.

1. Ibn Abi Shaibah rahimahu Llah states in his al Musannaf:

 

حدثنا وكيع عن مالك بن انس عن يحيى بن سعيد ان عمر بن الخطاب امر رجلا يصلي بهم عشرين ركعة

Waki’ narrates from Malik ibn Anas from Yahya ibn Sa’id that ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu commanded a person to perform twenty raka’at for them.[21]

 

2. Muhammad ibn Nasr al Marwazi rahimahu Llah has written in his work, Qiyam al Layl:

 

قال محمد بن كعب القرظي كان الناس يصلون في رمضان عشرين ركعة يطيلون فيها القرآءة ويوترون بثلاث

Muhammad ibn Ka’b al Qurazi says that the people would perform twenty raka’at during Ramadan; they would lengthen the recitation and perform witr of three raka’at.[22]

 

3. Narration of Sa’ib ibn Yazid

 

عن سائب بن يزيد ايضا انهم كانوا يقومون في رمضان بعشرين ركعة ويقراؤن بمائين من القرآن … في زمان عمر بن الخطاب

Sa’ib ibn Yazid narrates that they would perform twenty raka’at during Ramadan and they would recite of the surah’s that have a hundred verses… in the era of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab.[23]

 

4. ‘Allamah al Bayhaqi rahimahu Llah has written in al Sunan al Kubra:

 

عن يزيد بن خصيفة عن سائب بن يزيد قال كانوا يقومون على عهد عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه في شهر رمضان بعشرين ركعة وكانوا يقراؤن بالمئين…الخ

It is narrated from Yazid ibn Khasifah from Sa’ib ibn Yazid that he said:

They would stand in the month of Ramadan in the era of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab twenty raka’at and they would recite of the surah’s that have a hundred verses.[24]

 

Note:-

The senior scholars have written regarding this narration:

 

قال النواوي في الخلاصة اسناده صحيح

Nawawi rahimahu Llah said in al Khulasah: “The chain of narration is sahih.”[25]

 

Sheikh al Nimwi rahimahu Llah writes in Athar al Sunan (vol. 2 p. 53-55):

 

رواه البيهقي واسناد صحيح

Al Bayhaqi rahimahu Llah has narrated it and the chain of narration is sahih.

 

The summary is that the scholars of the science have classified the chain of al Bayhaqi’s rahimahu Llah narration regarding twenty raka’at as sahih, (and not da’if).

 
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Summary:-

The purport of the above narrations is that during khilafah of Sayyidina Amir al Mu’minin ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the Muslims would perform twenty raka’at of Tarawih and witr of three raka’at.

The Hashimi’s who followed the salah were Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib radiya Llahu ‘anhu, as well as other senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu appointed a single imam, who he instructed to lead the people in twenty raka’at of Tarawih.

 
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Supporting narration

It would be beneficial to quote the words of the senior scholars, which lends support to the above.

In Fatawa Ibn Taymiyyah, it is written:

 

فانه قد ثبت ان ابي بن كعب كان يقوم بالناس عشرين ركعة في قيام رمضان ويوتر بثلاث فراى كثير من العلماء ان ذالك هو السنة لانه اقامه بين المهاجرين والانصار ولم ينكره منكر

It is proven that that Ubay Ibn Ka’b would lead the people in twenty raka’at of Tarawih in Ramadan and perform witr of three raka’at. Thus numerous ‘ulamaʼ hold the view that it is Sunnah (to perform twenty raka’at Tarawih and not bid’ah) because he led the Muhajirin and the Ansar in salah and no one objected.[26]

 

In short, this communal action was established in the era of the al Khilafah al Rashidah and not a single Sahabi claimed this to be a bid’ah. Therefore, it will be correct and does not contradict the Sunnah.

 

Similarly, ‘Allamah al Suyuti rahimahu Llah writes in al Hawi li al Fatawa:

 

وفي المؤطاء وابن ابي شيبة والبيهقي عن عمر رضي الله عنه جمع الناس على ابي بن كعب فكان يصلي بهم في شهر رمضان عشرين ركعة

In al Muwatta’ and Ibn Abi Shaibah and al Bayhaqi it is reported that ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu gathered the people behind Ubay ibn Ka’b radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and he would perform twenty raka’at for them in the month of Ramadan.[27]

 

At this point, Hafiz al Dhahabi rahimahu Llah has mentioned another point that during the era of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, an Ansari — Sayyidina Muaz ibn al Harith al Qari radiya Llahu ‘anhu — also used to lead the Tarawih. His title was Abu Hakimah and according to some, Abu Halimah.

 

ابو حكيمة معاذ بن الحارث القاري الانصاري الذي اقامه عمر يصلي بالناس التراويح

Abu Hakimah Muaz ibn al Harith al Qari al Ansari; whom ‘Umar appointed to lead the people in Tarawih.[28]

 

This means that in the khilafah of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu there were a number of imam’s. One was Sayyidina Ubay ibn Ka’b radiya Llahu ‘anhu; another was Sayyidina Muaz ibn al Harith al Ansari radiya Llahu ‘anhu. They would lead the Tarawih in accordance to the instruction of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

It is also beneficial to state at this point that the scholars of hadith have mentioned a third imam of the era of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He was Sayyidina Tamim al Dari radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He would also lead the salah at times.

 

Note:-

These narrations lend credence to the practice during the khilafah of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and established it as sahih, the senior scholars of the ummah having ruled them as such.

 
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Replying another misconception

It is reported in certain narrations that Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu issued the command that eleven raka’at should be performed in Ramadan, which contradicts the narrations cited earlier. The reply to this misconception is as follows:

 

A contradiction will only be established if it is ascertained that the time period of both narrations are the same, whereas in these two narrations it is found that one refers to an initial practice and the other to the final practice.

In simple terms, the Muhaddithin have reconciled between the two narrations.

 

‘Allamah al Zayla’i rahimahu Llah on the authority of al Bayhaqi reports:

 

قال البيهقي ويجمع بين الروايتين بانهم قاموا باحدى عشرة ركعة ثم قاموا العشرين واوتروا بثلاث

Both narrations can be reconciled in this way that they would perform eleven raka’at, then twenty and then witr of three raka’at.[29]

 

وفي المؤطا رواية باحدى عشرة وجمع بينهما بانه وقع اولا ثم استقر الامر على عشرين فانه المتوارث

In Muwattaʾ there is a narration of eleven, the narrations are reconciled in this manner that it is said that this took place first then the matter was affixed upon twenty; and that continued.[30]

 

Khilafah of Sayyidina ‘Uthman

In the previous pages, the practice of Tarawih during the era of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was explained briefly (which covered about ten and a half years). Now we shall explain in brief the system of Tarawih during the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, which was approximately twelve years.

1. During the khilafah of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the scholars have written that sometimes Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu would lead the nawafil (Tarawih).

 

قتادة عن الحسن امنا علي بن ابي طالب في زمن عثمان عشرين ليلة ثم احتبس فقال بعضهم قد تفرغ لنفسه ثم امهم ابو حليمة معاذ القاري فكان يقنت

Qatadah radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates from Hasan radiya Llahu ‘anhu: “‘Ali ibn Abi Talib led us for twenty nights in the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman, then he did not come out. Some said: ‘He has freed himself for his own worship.’ Then Abu Halimah Muaz al Qari led them and he would recite the du’a of Qunut.”[31]

 

2. Similarly, during the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, due importance was given to performing Tarawih. Some of the imam’s would recite lengthy portions (of Qur’an) in this salah; surah’s containing a hundred verses (or more). On account of this, some weak people were forced to lean on their sticks. Al Bayhaqi explains this in al Sunan al Kubra:

 

قال (السائب بن يزيد) وكانوا يقراؤن بالمئين وكانوا يتوكئون على عصيتهم في عهد عثمان بن عفان رضي الله عنه من شدة القيام

Sa’ib ibn Yazid radiya Llahu ‘anhu said: “And they would recite of the surah’s of a hundred verses and they would lean on their sticks during the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, due to long periods of standing.”[32]

 
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Participation of the women

The practice of performing Tarawih in congregation was from the era of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Similarly, in the era of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu a Tabi’i was appointed imam for the women (Sulaiman ibn Abi Hathmah rahimahu Llah). He would lead the women in Tarawih on a platform in the side of the Masjid. (Arrangements for veiling were made there).

Thereafter, the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu arrived and in accordance to his instruction, the men and women were gathered behind one imam (Sulaiman ibn Abi Hathmah rahimahu Llah) and arrangements for screening were made. When the salah was completed, the women were prevented from leaving the Masjid until all the men left first, after which the women were permitted to leave the Masjid. This is mentioned in detail in Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d in the following narration:

 

ان ابي بن كعب وتميما الداري كانا يقومان في مقام النبي عليه السلام يصليان بالرجل وان سليمان بن ابي حثمة كان يقوم بالنساء في رحبة المسجد فلما كان عثمان بن عفان جمع الرجال والنساء على قاري واحد سليمان بن حثمة وكان يامر بالنساء فيحسن حتى يمضي الرجال ثم يرسلن

Ubay ibn Ka’b and Tamim al Dari would stand in the place of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and lead the men in salah. Sulaiman ibn Abi Hathmah rahimahu Llah would stand and lead the women in a corner of the Masjid. Sayyidina ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu gathered the men and women behind one reciter, Sulaiman ibn Hathmah, and he would lead the women in salah; they would wait until the men left then he would allow them to leave.[33]

 

It is clear from the above references that the system of performing Tarawih in congregation continued in the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Sometimes, the senior Sahabah like Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu would personally lead the Tarawih and he would perform twenty raka’at. The men and women would participate in this congregational practice. The other imam’s would, in accordance to a system, lead this salah. No known Sahabi called this a bid’ah and they did not criticise it.

 

Khilafah of Sayyidina ‘Ali

After the era of Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, in the era of Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu, which was approximately four years and nine months, Tarawih would be duly performed.

The scholars of hadith and the senior scholars have mentioned the details of this. A few references are given below through which the issue of Tarawih will be clarified.

Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu would issue guidance to his imam’s and students to perform Tarawih.

 

1. Abu al Hasna’ says that Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu instructed a person to lead the people in twenty raka’at Tarawih during Ramadan.

 

حدثنا وكيع عن حسن بن صالح عن عمرو بن قيس عن ابي الحسناء ان عليا امر رجلا يصلي بهم في رمضان عشرين ركعة

Waki’ narrates from Hasan ibn Salih from ‘Amr ibn Qais from Abu al Hasna’ that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu commanded a person to lead them for twenty raka’at during Ramadan.[34]

 

2. Narration of Urfujah al Thaqafi

 

عن عمر الثقفي عن عرفجة الثقفي ان عليا كان يامر الناس بالقيام في شهر رمضان ويجعل الرجال اماما وللنساء امام فقال فامرني فاممت النساء

Urfujah al Thaqafi narrates that Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu commanded the people to stand in worship during Ramadan. “He appointed an imam for the men and an imam to lead the women. He said that I should lead the women, so I led the women.”[35]

 

3. Narration of Abu ‘Abdul Rahman al Sulami

 

عن عطاء بن السائب عن ابي عبد الرحمن السلمي عن علي رضي الله عنه قال دعا القراء في رمضان فامر منهم رجلا يصلي بالناس عشرين ركعة وكان علي رضي الله عنه يوتر بهم وروى ذالك من وجه آخر من علي

Abu ‘Abdul Rahman al Sulami narrates; that Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu called the qurra’ (plural of Qari’) during Ramadan and commanded one of them to lead the people in twenty raka’at. Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu would personally lead the people in witr.[36]

 

Now we present those narrations that are transmitted from the direct students of Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu, which will inform us of their perpetual practice. This is the action which was out upon the instruction of Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu and during that time, no one raised the objection of this being against the Sunnah.

 

Note:-

In our book, Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu, this ruling is also discussed under the section of “fiqhi rulings”.

Suwaid ibn Ghaflah is the famous student of Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He is a reliable personality amongst the senior Tabi’in. Our scholars have written that he arrived in Madinah on the day that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was buried.

 

انباء ابو الخصيب قال كان يؤمنا سويد بن غفلة في رمضان فيصلي خمس ترويحات عشرين ركعة

His student Abu al Khasib relates that Suwaid ibn Ghafalah rahimahu Llah would lead us in twenty raka’at of Tarawih during Ramadan, and he would complete the salah in five Tarwihah[37]. Tarawih of twenty raka’at would be completed in this manner.[38]

 

روينا عن شبير بن شكل وكان من اصحاب علي رصي الله عنه انه كان يؤمهم في شهر رمضان بعشرين ركعة ويوتر بثلاث

Similarly, one of the students of Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu was Shattir ibn Shakl rahimahu Llah, he would lead the people for twenty raka’at Tarawih in Ramadan and he would lead three raka’at of witr.[39]

 

Summary

The method as well as the importance given to Tarawih during the khilafah of Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and the way that his students always practised on it, was touched on in the preceding pages.

These narrations make it abundantly clear that t during the khilafah of Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu, as well as his students, Tarawih would be performed in congregation, and that too in twenty raka’at and the witr of three raka’at. This practice continued thereafter. In short, during the khilafah of Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Tarawih was not abandoned, nor was there a decrease in the number of raka’at.

The method of Tarawih which was practiced during the eras of Sayyidina Abu Bakr, Sayyidina ‘Umar and Sayyidina ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhum was explained, underlining the practice of the Muslim ummah for approximately twenty-five years. In all this time, the practice of the senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and senior Tabi’in X was found to be twenty raka’at.

During this entire period, no Sahabi or Tabi’i claimed this practice to be a bid’ah — classifying it to be contrary to the Sunnah — and worthy of abandonment. The practice of the Muslim ummah with regards to Tarawih could never have been an agreement upon deviation (which this ummah has been saved from), nor a bid’ah, but rather it was precisely in accordance to the sunnah.

 

Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Emphasis on Adhering to the Practice of the al Khulafa’ al Rashidin

We shall now present the validity of performing twenty raka’at Tarawih in congregation through a different means, which is corroborated by the blessed ahadith of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instructed his ummah: “O people! hold on firmly to my sunnah and the sunnah of my al khulafa’ al Rashidin after me, follow them and remain firm upon their way.”

This hadith has been recorded by a number of scholars, each with their own chain of narration, regarding which the scholars are well aware. However, for the sake of putting our ‘friends’ at ease, we quote this narration from the books of hadith.

 

1. The famous scholar of hadith, Muhammad ibn Nasr al Marwazi (d. 294 A.H) in his Kitab al Sunnah mentions the narration in the following way:

 

عن عرباض بن سارية الفزاري وكان من الباكين قال صلى بنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم صلاة الغداة فاقبل علينا فوعظنا موعظة بليغة… فانه من يعيش منكم فسيرى اختلافا كثيرا فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء الراشدين المهديين من بعدي

Sayyidina ‘Irbad ibn Sariyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates: “Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam led us in the morning (fajr) salah. He then turned towards us and delivered a heart rendering advice… (Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said 🙂 ‘Whoever amongst you is granted a healthy lifespan will see abundant differences, so hold on to my sunnah and the sunnah of the al khulafa’ al Rashidin after me.’”[40]

 

2. This narration appears as follows in Mishkat:

 

عن عرباض بن سارية قال صلى بنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ذات يوم ثم اقبل علينا بوجهه… فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء الراشدين المهديين تمسكوا بها وعضوا عليها بالنواجذ …الخ رواه أحمد وأبو داؤد والترمذي وابن ماجة

Sayyidina ‘Irbad ibn Sariyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates: “Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam led us in salah one day, he then turned towards us (and said :)… hold on to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the al khulafa’ al Rashidin, grasp onto it, and clench it with your molars.”[41]

 

This very narration has been reported in the following works:

 

3. Al Sunan of al Darimi p. 26

4. Al Mustadrak of al Hakim rahimahu Llah vol. 1 p. 96

5. Al Sunan al Kubra p. 114

6. Mawarid al Zam’an ila Zawa’id Ibn Hibban p. 56 narration: 102

 

The summary and purport of the above narrations are the same as explained previously, i.e. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam delivered a sermon in which, among other aspects, he issued the instruction, “You will see abundant differences after me, so hold on to my sunnah and the sunnah of the al khulafa’ al Rashidin after me (i.e. adhere to it strictly).”

Thereafter we find special instructions from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to follow Sayyidina Abu Bakr and Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, and the narrations in this regard are sahih according to the scholars of hadith.

A few of these narrations are presented below:

 

1. Narration of Sayyidina Hudhayfah radiya Llahu ‘anhu

 

عن حذيفة قال كنا جلوسا عند النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال اني لا ادري ما قدر بقائي فيكم اقتدوا بالذين من بعدي واشار الى ابي بكر وعمر

Sayyidina Hudhayfah radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates: “We were sitting with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam when he said: ‘I do not know for how long I shall remain among you. Follow those after me…’ and he gestured towards Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu.”[42]

 

2. In Tirmidhi, this narration is mentioned with the following text:

 

عن حذيفة قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم اقتدوا بالذين من بعدي ابي بكر وعمر

Sayyidina Hudhayfah radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Follow those who come after me: Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.”[43]

 

3. Jami’ Masanid al Imam al A’zam vol. 1 p. 226

The above narration was narrated from Sayyidina Hudhayfah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. A narration of the same subject matter is narrated from Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

عن ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم اقتدوا بالذين من بعد ابو بكر وعمر

Sayyidina Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Follow those who come after: Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.”[44]

 

The summary is that in these ahadith, we find an emphatic command from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to follow the al Khulafa’ al Rashidin, especially Sayyidina Abu Bakr and Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.

Three of the al Khulafa’ al Rashidin, (‘Umar, ‘Uthman and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhum) would perform twenty raka’at of Tarawih in congregation and in accordance to their practice, this has been the continuous practice since their respective eras until today.

Therefore, in this matter, it is necessary to follow the practice of the rightly guided khulafa’ — in accordance to the hadith — and this is in direct conformity with the Shari’ah of Nabi Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. It does not contradict the Sunnah, but rather would be precisely in line with the instructions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

 

The practice of the Sahabah

The method of Tarawih as practiced by the al Khulafa’ al Rashidin has been discussed in the preceding pages, now the practice of a few senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum with regards to Tarawih will be discussed; which will clarify the ruling of twenty raka’at Tarawih.

 

The practice of Sayyidina Ubay ibn Ka‘b

The scholars of hadith have written that Sayyidina Ubay ibn Ka’b radiya Llahu ‘anhu would lead the people of Madinah Munawwarah in twenty raka’at Tarawih during Ramadan and he would then perform three raka’at witr. The words of the narration inform us of his continuous practice. Ibn Abi Shaibah rahimahu Llah reports:

 

كان ابي بن كعب يصلي بالناس في رمضان بالمدينة عشرين ركعة ويوتر بثلاث

Ubay ibn Ka’b radiya Llahu ‘anhu would lead the people in for twenty raka’at during Ramadan in Madinah and he would perform three raka’at witr.[45]

 

We gauge from this narration that in Madinah Munawwarah, the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum would always perform twenty raka’at Tarawih and three raka’at witr.

 

The practice of Sayyidina Ibn Mas‘ud

After this, the practice of Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu is mentioned. Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu is that Sahabi regarding whom the scholars of hadith have written:

 

وكان اقرب الناس دلا وسمتا وهديا برسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم

He (‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu) was the closest to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in terms of his ways, habits and manner.[46]

 

Moreover, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said with regards to Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

وتمسكوا بعهد ابن مسعود

Hold onto the counsel and advice of Ibn Mas’ud.[47]

 

In the light of these statements, the rank of Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu as well as his adherence to the Sunnah is abundantly clear. The scholars of hadith have written with regards to Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

كان عبد الله بن مسعود يصلي عشرين ركعة ويوتر بثلاث

‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud would perform twenty raka’at and three raka’at witr.[48]

 

Thus, it is apparent that Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu practice was upon twenty raka’at Tarawih which he had preserved from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and held onto.

 

The Method of Ibn ‘Abbas in Shar‘i rulings

 

عن عبد الله بن ابي يزيد قال سمعت عبد الله بن عباس رضي الله عنهما سئل عن شيئ هو في كتاب الله قال به وان لم يكن في كتاب الله وقاله رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال به وان لم يكن في كتاب الله ولم يقله رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وقاله ابو بكر وعمر رضي الله عنهما قال به والا اجتهد رايه

Whenever someone would ask Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas al Hashimi radiya Llahu ‘anhu a question and its answer could be found in the Qur’an then he would reply accordingly. If the ruling was not in the Qur’an but could be found in the Sunnah, then he would reply accordingly. If the ruling was not in the Qur’an or the Sunnah but could be found in the statements of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar), then he would reply accordingly. If he could not find the answer in one of the three then he would reply according to his ijtihad.[49]

 

Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu was of the view of twenty raka’at Tarawih since it was the practice that was decided upon during the khilafah of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Sayyidina Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu would practice according to the view of Sayyidina Abu Bakr and Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, and he would reagrd that as a Shar’i proof. Thus, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu was of the view that twenty raka’at Tarawih and that too in congregation was correct.

 

Note:-

In the previous pages (under the narrations of “era of nubuwwah”) the marfu’ narration of Sayyidina Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu was quoted wherein there is explicit mention of twenty raka’at. Although there is criticism regarding a few of its narrators, it is corroborated by other factors and narrations, and its content is thus correct. The practice of the senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum was highlighted and now this narration of al Bayhaqi was presented. The purpose of quoting this narration is to lend support to the practice of Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu with regards to twenty raka’at, it was with this intention that this narration was quoted.

 

The practice of the Ummahat al Mu’minin

The senior hadith scholars and jurists have reported that Umm al Mu’minin Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha would also perform Tarawih; she would lead the women in nafl salah. The method I which she performed the salah was that she would stand in the middle of the row (a little ahead) and lead the Tarawih. This is mentioned by the senior jurists in the following books:

 

1. Narration from Abu Hanifah

 

عن ابي حنيفة عن حماد بن ابراهيم عن عائشة رضي الله عنها انها كانت تؤم النساء في رمضان تطوعا وتقوم في وسط الصف

It is narrated from Abu Hanifah from Hammad ibn Ibrahim from Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha that she would lead the women in nafl salah in Ramadan, and she would stand in the middle of the row.[50]

 

2. The Muhaddithin have written that Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha had a slave by the name of Dhakwan, whose agnomen was Abu ‘Amr. He was also the doorkeeper of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. One special service of Dhakwan was that during Ramadan, he would lead Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha in Tarawih. Imam Malik rahimahu Llah states this in his Muwatta’:

 

مالك بن هشام بن عروة عن ابيه ان ذكوان ابا عمرو وكان عبدا لعائشة زوج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فاعتقته عن دبر منها يقوم يقرأ لها في رمضان

Malik ibn Hisham ibn ‘Urwah narrates from his father that Dhakwan Abu ‘Amr, who was the slave of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha — the wife of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam — and whom she had declared would be free upon her demise, would stand and recite for her during Ramadan.[51]

 

3. The senior jurists have clarified regarding the Tarawih of the Ummahat al Mu’minin radiya Llahu ‘anhum that Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha would perform Tarawih behind Dhakwan. Umm al Mu’minin Sayyidah Umm Salamah radiya Llahu ‘anha would perform Tarawih in congregation with a group of women and her servant, Umm al Hasan al Basri, would lead the congregation.

This is mentioned in Fatawa Qadi Khan in the following text:

 

واقامها ازواج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم نحو عائشة وام سلمة رضي الله عنهن خلف ذكوان وام سلمة رضي الله عنها بجماعة النساء امتها مولاتها ام الحسن البصري رضي الله عنها وكانت هي في صفهن

The wives of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, such as Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha and Umm Salamah radiya Llahu ‘anha, would establish this (salah) behind Dhakwan. Umm Salamah radiya Llahu ‘anha would perform it with a group of women, led by her servant, Umm al Hasan al Basri, and she was in the row.[52]

 

In short, this practice of the Ummahat al Mu’minin radiya Llahu ‘anhum continued during Ramadan and this was done in accordance to the instruction of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, they would have never gone against his instruction.

In the previous pages, we highlighted the practice of the Sahabah and the Ummahat al Mu’minin radiya Llahu ‘anhum. When they agree on a shar’i ruling and make it a practice, then their consensus serves as proof for us.

The senior scholars have mentioned the following by way of principle:

 

قاعده التوارث والتعامل هو معظم الدين يعني اذا ثبت تعامل الصحابة بامر فهو حجة قاطعة وسنة ثابتة لا يمكن دفعها

Principle: Tawaruth (continuous practice of the predecessors) and Ta’amul (general practice of the ummah), is the pillar of religion. In other words, the practice of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum on something is a resolute proof and an established Sunnah, which cannot be rejected.[53]

 

Ijma’ Sukuti

It is also imperative to note that no Sahabi objected to the performance of twenty raka’at Tarawih in congregation nor did anyone classify it as contrary to the sunnah. Thus, we can conclude that Ijma’ Sukuti (consensual silence) was attained. In addition to the other poofs for this, the consensual silence of that era serves as separate corroborating evidence.

 

Statements of the Tabi’in and Taba’ al Tabi’in

The practice of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum has been discussed in detail, now the statements of the Tabi’in and Taba’ al Tabi’in will be mentioned.

 

Ibrahim Nakha‘i

Ibrahim Nakha’’i rahimahu Llah is among the senior Tabi’in and his Mursal narrations are accepted by the jurists. The Muhaddithin and jurists report the following from him:

 

عن ابراهيم بن يزيد (النخعي) ان الناس كانوا يصلون خمس ترويحات في رمضان

It is reported from Ibrahim Nakha’i rahimahu Llah that the people would perform five Tarwihah during Ramadan.[54]

 

The term ‘tarwihah’ implies to wait for a little while after every four raka’at of Tarawih in fiqh terminology, and in the case of five tarwihah, twenty raka’at of Tarawih are completed.

 

‘Ata’ ibn Abi Rabah

The famous Tabi’i, ‘Ata’ ibn Abi Rabah rahimahu Llah, is quoted by the senior Muhaddithin as saying:

 

عن عطاء قال ادركت الناس وهم يصلون ثلاثة وعشرين ركعة بالوتر

It is narrated from ‘Ata’: “I found the people and they were performing twenty-three raka’at including witr.”[55]

 

This means that twenty raka’at would be Tarawih and three raka’at would be witr.

‘Ata’ ibn Abi Rabah rahimahu Llah mentioned the practice of the Muslims of his time which the people had been perpetually practicing.

 

Ibn Abi Mulaykah

The Muhaddithun have mentioned the practice of the renowned Tabi’i, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Ubaidullah ibn Abi Mulaykah rahimahu Llah, better known as Ibn Abi Mulaykah, as follows:

 

حدثنا وكيع عن نافع مولى لابن عمر كان ابن ابي مليكة يصلي بنا في رمضان عشرين ركعة

Waki’ narrates from Nafi’ — the freed slave of Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu — that Ibn Abi Mulaykah would lead us in twenty raka’at during Ramadan.[56]

 

It is quite apparent that practice of the senior scholars of this ummah during the month of Ramadan was twenty raka’at Tarawih.

 

‘Ali ibn Rabi‘ah

The Muhaddithin have written about ‘Ali ibn Rabi’ah rahimahu Llah — a famous Tabi’i — that during Ramadan he would lead the Muslims in five Tarwihah, and he would perform three raka’at witr. Ibn Abi Shaibah mentions the following narration:

 

عن سعيد بن عبيد ان علي بن ربيعة كان يصلي بهم في رمضن خمس ترويحات ويوتر بثلاث

It is narrated from Sa’id ibn ‘Ubaid that ‘Ali ibn Rabi’ah would perform five Tarwihah for them in Ramadan and three raka’at witr.[57]

 

There are statements and practices of many senior Tabi’in regarding this but for the sake of brevity; we have sufficed with just these few.

 

Note:-

The statements and practices of a few senior Tabi’in have been mentioned above. This was the era regarding which the following glad tidings have been mentioned:

The best of eras is my era, then the one which follows it and then the one which follows it.

 

In this blessed era twenty raka’at of Tarawih would be performed, in accordance to the shari’ah and was never considered to be contrary to the sunnah or to be a bid’ah. It is well-known that the practice of the best of eras is best to follow.

 

Explanations of the senior scholars of the ummah

Now we shall mention in brief, the explanations of the senior Muhaddithin and famous scholars regarding Tarawih, wherein it is clearly mentioned that Tarawih is twenty raka’at. Through the elucidations of the senior scholars of the ummah the importance of Tarawih will become clear.

 

1. ‘Allamah Ibn Nujaym rahimahu Llah in his work al Bahr al Ra’iq reports this incident from al Ikhtiyar:

 

وذكر في الاختيار ان ابا يوسف رحمة الله عليه سال ابا حنيفة رحمة الله عليه عنها وما فعله عمر فقال التراويح سنة مؤكدة ولم يتخرجه عمر من تلقاء نفسه ولم يكن فيه متبدعا ولم يامر به الا عن لديه وعهد من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم

(Once the esteemed student of Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah) Abu Yusuf rahimahu Llah, asked Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah about the method of Tarawih practiced by Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and Hanifah rahimahu Llah replied:

Tarawih is Sunnah Mu’akkadah, and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not prescribe it or bring it into vogue of his own accord. He was not practising on an innovation in this and he did not command anything unless it was practiced in the era of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[58]

 

2. Imam al Tirmidhi rahimahu Llah in his work Jami’ al Tirmidhi has thrown light on this matter in the following text:

 

واكثر اهل العلم على ما روى عن علي وعمر وغيرهما من اصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم عشرين ركعة وهو قول سفيان ثوري وابن المبارك والشافعي هكذا ادركت ببلدنا بمكة يصلون عشرين ركعة

The majority of the people of knowledge are unanimous that (Tarawih) is twenty raka’at based upon what has been narrated from ‘Ali, ‘Umar and other Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. This is the view of Sufyan al Thowri, Ibn al Mubarak and Imam al Shafi’i. Moreover, Imam al Shafi’i says: “I found the people of our city, Makkah, performing twenty raka’at.”[59]

 

3. Similarly, the famous Muhaddith Imam al Baghawi rahimahu Llah[60] mentions the above text in the following way:

 

واما اكثر اهل العلم فعلى عشرين ركعة…يصلون عشرين ركعة

As for most of the people of knowledge, they are on the view of twenty raka’at, they would perform twenty raka’at.[61]

 

4. The famous Hanafi jurist, Shams al A’immah al Sarakhsi rahimahu Llah[62] writes in his work al Mabsut on this issue:

 

والمبتدعة انكروا ارادها بالجماعة في المسجد فادائها بالجماعة جعل شعار للسنة كاداء الفرائض بالجماعة شعار الاسلام

The perpetrators of bid’ah have refuted performing Tarawih in congregation. Nonetheless, performing Tarawih in congregation is a symbol of it being sunnah, just as performing the obligatory salah in congregation is a symbol of Islam.[63]

 

In other words, the senior scholars of the ummah have given such importance to the performance of Tarawih in congregation in the Masajid that they counted it to be among the characteristics and signs of religion.

Moreover, al Sarakhsi rahimahu Llah has also mentioned:

 

وان عمر رضي الله تعالى عنه صلاها بالجماعة مع اجلاء الصحابة فرضي به علي رضي الله عنه تعالى عنه حتى دعا له بالخير بعد موته كما ورد وامر به في عهده

In other words, Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not alone in the ruling of performing Tarawih in congregation and it was not an action that he did alone, but the senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were with him. Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu was especially pleased with this ruling, to the extent that after the demise of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he made supplicated for him. During his khilafah, he too commanded Tarawih to be performed in congregation.[64]

 

The references quoted above make it extremely clear that the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum agreed with Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu in this ruling. It is well-known that the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum will not collectively agree upon something incorrect or contrary to the shari’ah. Therefore, twenty raka’at Tarawih is in accordance to the shari’ah and does not contradict the sunnah way.

 

5. The renowned Hanafi scholar, ‘Allamah al Kasani rahimahu Llah[65] writes in al Bada’i’ al Sana’i’:

 

‘Umar gathered the Sahabah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in Ramadan and appointed Ubay ibn Ka’b as the imam:

فصلى بهم كل ليلة عشرين ركعة ولم ينكر عليه احد فيكون اجماعا منهم على ذالك

Ubay ibn Ka’b would lead them every night of Ramadan in twenty raka’at and no person refuted this. Thus there is consensus amongst them upon this matter.[66]

 

These narrations indicate that there is consensus upon twenty raka’at Tarawih amongst the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, which is termed Ijma’ Sukuti. Ijma’ is a proof in shari’ah. Therefore, it is not correct to refer to this issue as bid’ah or contrary to the Sunnah.

 

6. ‘Allamah Muhammad ibn Ahmed ibn Rushd al Qurtubi rahimahu Llah (d. 595 A.H), known as Ibn Rushd al Maliki, writes in his work Bidayat al Mujtahid, wherein he has clarified this issue in the following manner:

 

واختلفوا في المختار من عدد الركعات التي يقوم بها الناس في رمضان فاختار مالك في احد قوليه وابو حنيفة والشافعي واحمد وداؤد رحمهم الله تعالى القيام بعشرين ركعة سوى الوتر

There is a difference of opinion with regards to the number of raka’at performed in Ramadan (in Tarawih), but according to one view of Imam Malik and according to Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Shafi’i, Imam Ahmed, and Imam Dawood, twenty raka’at is preferred, without witr (and is classified as the preferred view).[67]

 

This means that according to all the scholars mentioned above, the performance of twenty raka’at is a decided matter.

 

7. Amongst the famous Hambali scholars, Ibn Qudamah rahimahu Llah[68], quotes in his famous work al Mughni, the view of the senior scholars:

 

والمختار عند ابي عبد الله رحمه الله (الامام احمد رحمه الله) فيها عشرون ركعة وبهذا قال الثوري وابو حنيفة والشافعي

According to Ahmed ibn Hambal rahimahu Llah twenty raka’at is the preferred view. This is the opinion of al Thowri, Abu Hanifah, and Shafi’i rahimahu Llah.[69]

 

In short, Tarawih is twenty raka’at according to the senior scholars of the ummah, and this is the preferred ruling according to them.

 

8. The famous Muhaddith and jurist, ‘Allamah Badr al Din al ‘Ayni rahimahu Llah (d. 855 A.H), mentions in his commentary of Bukhari:

 

واما القائلون به (عشرين ركعة) من التابعين فشتير بن شكل وابن ابي مليكة والحارث الهمداني وعطاء بن ابي رباح وابو البختري وسعيد بن ابي الحسن البصري اخوا الحسن وعبد الرحمن بن ابي بكر وعمران العبدي وقال ابن عبد البر وهو قول جمهور العلماء وبه قال الكوفيون والشافعي واكثر فقهاء وهو الصحيح ابي بن كعب من غير خلاف من الصحابة

As for the Tabi’in who held the view of twenty raka’at, they are: Shattir ibn Shakl, Ibn Abi Mulaykah, al Harith al Hamdani, ‘Ata’ ibn Rabah, Abu al Bukhtari, Sa’id ibn Abi al Hasan al Basri (the brother of Hasan al Basri), ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Abi Bakr, and ‘Imran al ‘Abdi. Ibn ‘Abdul Barr said: “This is the view of the majority of the scholars, which was agreed upon by the jurists of Kufah, Imam al Shafi’i, and majority of the fuqaha’. This is the correct opinion as narrated from Ubay ibn Ka’b, without any difference of opinion amongst the Sahabah.[70]

 

A Few Questions Regarding Tarawih Being Eight Raka’at

Some people present the following hadith of Umm al Mu’minin Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha that Tarawih is eight raka’at, after which they claim that performing more than this is contrary to the sunnah.

 

عن ابي سلمة بن عبد الرحمن انه سال عائشة كيف كانت صلوة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في رمضان فقالت ما كان يزيد في رمضان ولا في غيره على احدى عشرة ركعة يصلي اربعا فلا تسئل عن حسنهن وطولهن ثم يصلي اربعا فلا تسئل حسنهن وطولهن ثم يصلي ثلاثا فقلت يا رسول الله اتنام قبل ان توتر قال يا عائشة ان عيني تنامان ولا ينام قلبي

 

Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abdul Rahman asked Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha: “How would Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam perform salah during Ramadan?” She replied: “During Ramadan and out of Ramadan, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would not perform more than eleven raka’at. He would perform four raka’at, do not ask about their length and beauty. Then he would perform another four raka’at, do not ask about their length and beauty. Then he would perform three raka’at.” Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha then said: “I asked: ‘O Rasul of Allah, will you sleep before performing witr.’ He replied: ‘O Aisha, my eyes sleep, my heart does not.’”[71]

 

This narration is reported by a number of Muhaddithin, as is indicated in the references. This narration is also sahih and as a result the claim is made that it is actually sunnah to perform eight raka’at of Tarawih, and anything more than this is contrary to the Sunnah, which is not permissible. Thus, we should only perform eight raka’at of Tarawih and nothing more.

 

Answer

In reply to the claim made above, we wish to mention a few points. If one were to ponder over them, the ruling will become clear.

The scholars have stated that before a final conclusion can be made all the narrations regarding a specific matter has to be studied, only then can a ruling be issued. In this regard, we have already mentioned the other narrations pertaining to this ruling.

As for this narration quoted above, Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha is narrating about the Salat Tahajjud (nightly prayers) of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Take note of the following narration:

 

عن عائشة قالت كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يصلي بالليل ثلاث عشرة ركعة ثم يصلي اذا سمع النداء الصبح بركعتين خفيفتين

Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha narrates: “Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would perform thirteen raka’at at night, then he would perform two short raka’at when the adhan for Fajr would be called out.”[72]

 

Similarly, the following is mentioned in other narrations of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha:

 

عن مسروق قال سالت عائشة عن صلوة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بالليل فقالت سبع وتسع واحدى عشرة ركعة سوى ركعتى الفجر

Masruq relates: “I asked Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha about the salah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam at night and she said: ‘Besides the two raka’at of Fajr, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would perform seven, nine and eleven raka’at.’”[73]

 

These narrations of Umm al Mu’minin Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha establishes that the salah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam at night was seven, nine, eleven and sometimes thirteen raka’at. Similarly, other Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, viz. Sayyidina Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Sayyidina Zaid ibn Khalid al Juhani radiya Llahu ‘anhu and others, narrate the nightly salah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was thirteen raka’at. The following works can be referred:

  1. Muslim vol. 1 p. 260
  2. Muslim vol. 1 p. 262
  3. Mishkat p. 106
 

Therefore, there seems to be an apparent contradiction between these narrations and the narration of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha mentioning eleven raka’at, i.e. in terms of the number of raka’at. It is thus clear that the night salah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was not only eleven raka’at, but would sometimes be seven, sometimes nine, sometimes eleven and sometimes even thirteen raka’at, as is apparent from the above narrations. We will first mention the consolidation of the Muhaddithin, and in order to remove the apparent contradiction of this narration, we shall explain a few more aspects related to this narration, Allah willing.

 
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Consolidating the Narrations

In order to consolidate these narrations, the scholars have mentioned the following interpretation:

 

لعل الاختلاف بحسب اختلاف الاوقات والحالات او طول القرآءة وقصرها او صحة ومرض وقوة وفترة او لتنبيه على سعة الامر في ذالك

The difference is probably a result of differences in time and condition, or the length of the recitation or the shortness of it, or health or illness, or strength, or perhaps to illustrate that there is scope in this matter.[74]

 

Thus, the difference in the narrations can be based on the following:

  1. Difference in time
  2. Difference in condition
  3. The length of the recitation
  4. Differences during health and illness
  5. Strength and weakness
  6. Ease for the ummah
 

In short, the reasons for the differences of these narrations have been explained by the Muhaddithin and there remains no contradiction between these narrations.

The Muhaddithin have also explained another method by which these narrations may be consolidated, that the narration of eleven Raka’at mentioned by Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha was describing the usual habit of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and not a fixed ruling in this regard.

In order to consolidate the narrations, the Muhaddithin have also written that the questioner in the narration of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abdul Rahman, wished to know whether the Tahajjud Salah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was the same in Ramadan and out of Ramadan or was there a difference? Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha thus replied that this salah was ‘generally’ not more than eleven raka’at during Ramadan and out of Ramadan.

It should be borne in mind that the question was not concerning Tarawih nor did Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha discuss it, nor does the context of this hadith deal with Tarawih. In short, there is no mention of Tarawih in the question or in the answer of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, but rather this discussion was about Tahajjud.

The following text of Fatawa ‘Azizi is presented in support of this explanation. Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Muhaddith Dehlawi rahimahu Llah explains:

 

Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha asked Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: “Do you sleep before performing witr?” Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam replied: “O Aisha, my eyes sleep but my heart does not sleep.” The commentators of hadith state that it is apparent that sleeping before performing witr is understood in the case of Tahajjud, but this is not understood in the case of other forms of salah. The narrations which mention more raka’at than this refer to Tarawih, which was referred to as Qiyam Ramadan at that time.[75]

 

Thus, we learn that the narration of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha is discussing Tahajjud, and has no link to Tarawih. Therefore, when this narration does not concern Tarawih, then it is totally out of place to cite it as proof, or to draw the conclusion from it that Tarawih is eight raka’at. This explanation is a case of interpreting the speech in a manner, that was never implied.

 

Note:-

In conclusion, it would not be void of benefit to highlight the differences between Tarawih and Tahajjud; how they differ in form and ruling.

  • Tahajjud was fard at first, and a year later its compulsion was abrogated. Its status then reduced to that of nafl (optional).[76]

As for Tarawih, when fasting became obligatory in 2 A.H then Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

جعل الله صيامه فريضة وقيامه تطوعا

Allah has made the fasting of Ramadan obligatory and He made the standing at night (Tarawih) optional.

 
  • Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to perform Tahajjud at the end of the night, while Tarawih was performed in the beginning of the night the first time, till half the night passed the second time and until the end of the night the third time.
  • Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to perform Tahajjud individually. At times, someone may have joined him later, after having already begun, such as Sayyidina Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu on one occasion came and joined him. This is in contrast to Tarawih, which was performed a number of times in congregation.

We learn from this that Tahajjud and Tarawih are two separate salah and the conditions and rulings pertaining to them are different.

 

Taking the above into account, it becomes clear that the above quoted narration has no relation to Tarawih, but rather it deals with Tahajjud and nafl salah. Therefore, it can never be correct to cite this hadith as proof for Tarawih.

 

Counter Argument

A few counter arguments will now be cited to those who are obstinate in their view that Tarawih is eight raka’at, based on the narration of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, and raise a huge clamour about twenty raka’at Tarawih, deeming it to be contrary to the sunnah.

 
  • These people always perform Tarawih and witr in the beginning of the night, i.e. in the first half of the night, whereas Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to perform witr sometimes in the first part of the night, sometimes in the middle of the night and generally in the last part (which was most often the case).
  • In the narrations presented, the salah is described in sets of four raka’at, then witr of three raka’at, whereas they perform the salah in sets of two raka’at and they say that the narration of three raka’at witr is weak. It is as though half the narration is worthy of being practiced and the other half not worthy of practice. This is a strange method of substantiation indeed.
  • Moreover, they perform this salah throughout Ramadan in congregation, whereas after three days, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not perform it in congregation.
  • It is proven from this narration that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam went to sleep, woke up and then performed this salah, whereas they perform this salah before sleeping.
 

In short, all other aspects which do not conform to this narration are not deemed to be contrary to the sunnah, whereas it is only the number of raka’at (twenty) which they find objectionable; employing all their strength and effort to prove that it is contrary to the sunnah.

 

Summary

To summarise, the method of performing Tarawih as practiced by the al Khulafa’ al Rashidin and the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum has been discussed in the preceding pages. The statements of the senior Tabi’in and other scholars were then presented, followed by a reply to the narration of eleven raka’at. In the light of all the quoted material the following deduction may be made:

 
  • Twenty raka’at Tarawih is a sunnah and not bid’ah.
  • Tarawih Salah is Sunnah Mu’akkadah, established by authentic narrations and sound reasoning.
  • Tarawih in congregation is a symbol of the sunnah and a symbol of Islam.
  • Tarawih in congregation is a Sunnah that has been passed down through the generations
  • There is Ijma’ of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum with regards to Tarawih and consensus is a proof of the shari’ah.
  • We find agreement and consensus amongst the senior luminaries of the ummah upon twenty raka’at, as well their practice being upon it.
  • In addition, from the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum until the fifteenth century after hijrah, the Muslims have continuously performed twenty raka’at Tarawih in the two Harams (Masjid al Haram and Masjid al Nabawi), and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

لا تجتمع امتي على الضلالة

My ummah will not gather upon deviation.

Thus we can conclude that the majority of the Muslim ummah will not gather upon deviation in this ruling and they will not agree upon acting contrary to the Sunnah.

  • To abandon the performance of twenty raka’at Tarawih in congregation — without any shar’i reason — opposes the instruction of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “Hold onto the group…” and it is synonymous with abandoning the sign of Islam.
 

NEXT⇒ Answering the Accusation on Sayyidina Mughirah ibn Shu’bah


[1]Mishkat p. 114, al Sunan al Kubra vol. 2 p. 492, Riyad al Salihin p. 450, 451

[2]Sahih Ibn Khuzaimah vol. 3 p. 339, Sahih Ibn Hibban vol. 5 p. 107, Abu Dawood vol. 1 p. 202

[3]Tarikh Yahya ibn Maʿin vol. 2 p. 561, 562

[4]Kitab al Thiqat vol. 7 p. 448

[5]Tahdhib al Tahdhib vol. 10 p. 129, 130

[6]Al Sunan al Kubra vol. 2 p.495

[7]Sahih Ibn Khuzaimah vol. 3 p. 336, al Sunan al Kubra vol. 1 p. 410, 411

[8]Sahih Ibn Khuzaimah vol. 3 p. 338, 339, Mishkat p. 114

[9]Al Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah vol. 2 p. 394

[10]Al Muntakhab Musnad ʿAbd Humaid p. 218, narration 653, Majmaʿ al Zawa’id vol. 3

[11]Rasa’il al Arkan, ʿAbdul Hayy Lucknowi p. 138

[12]Sharh ʿAqidah al Tahawiyyah fi ʿAqidah al Salafiyyah p. 320, Ahkam al Qur’an vol. 1 p. 456

[13]Mishkat p. 115

[14]Sunan Ibn Majah p. 95

[15]Mirqat vol. 3 p. 186

[16]Al Muntaqa p. 542

[17]Al Muwatta’ p. 40, Kitab al Tamhid vol. 8 p. 115

[18]Qiyam al Layl p. 157

[19]Athar al Sunan vol. 1 p. 55

[20]Tawdih wa Talwih

[21]Al Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah vol. 2 p. 393

[22]Qiyam al Layl p. 157

[23]  Ibid p. 157

[24]Al Sunan Al Kubra vol. 2 p. 496

[25]Fath al Qadir vol. 1 p. 334

[26]Majmuʿ Fatawa Ibn Taymiyyah vol. 23 p. 112

[27]Al Hawi li al Fatawa vol. 1 p. 54

[28]Tarikh al Islam vol. 2 p. 358

[29]Al Sunan al Kubra vol. 2 p. 496

[30]Mirqat Sharh Mishkat vol. 3 p. 194

[31]Qiyam al Layl p. 155

[32]Al Sunan al Kubra vol. 2 p. 496, Mirqat vol. 3 p. 192, Athar al Sunan p. 33

[33]Tabaqat Ibn Saʿd vol.5 p. 17, Mirqat vol. 3 p. 193

[34] Al Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah vol. 2 p. 393, Kitab al Tamhid vol. 8 p. 115

[35]Al Musannaf ʿAbdul Razzaq vol. 3 p. 152, al Muntaqa p. 542

[36] Al Sunan al Kubra vol.2 p. 497, al Muntaqa p. 42

[37]  Tarwihah: To remain seated for a short duration after every four rakaʿat.

[38]Al Sunan al Kubra vol. 2 p. 496

[39]  Ibid vol. 2 p. 496

[40]Kitab al Sunnah p. 21

[41]Mishkat p. 29, 30

[42]Al Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah vol. 14 p. 569

[43]Tirmidhi vol. 2 p. 207

[44]Al Musnad al Imam Abi Hanifah p. 172, ʿUqud al Jawahir al Munifah vol. 1 p. 31

[45]Al Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah p. 393

[46]Mishkat p. 574, with reference to Bukhari

[47]Tirmidhi p. 542

[48]Qiyam al Layl p. 157, 158

[49]Al Sunan al Kubra vol. 10 p. 115

[50]Kitab al Athar of Imam Abu Yusuf rahimahu Llah p. 41, Kitab al Athar of Imam Muhammad p. 43

[51]Muwattaʾ Imam Malik p. 99

[52]Fatawa Qadi Khan vol. 1 p. 213

[53] Fayd al Bari vol. 2 p. 254

[54]Kitab al Athar p. 41 narration 211

[55]Al Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah vol. 2 p. 393, Athar al Sunan vol. 2 p. 55

[56]Al Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah vol. 2 p. 393, Athar al Sunan vol. 2 p. 55

[57]Al Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah vol. 2 p. 393, Athar al Sunan vol. 2 p. 56

[58]Al Bahr al Ra’iq vol. 2 p. 66, Radd al Muhtar vol. 1 p. 736, Kitab al Fiqh vol. 1 p. 341

[59]Tirmidhi vol. 1 p. 99

[60]  Al Hussain ibn Masʿud, d. 516 A.H.

[61]Sharh al Sunnah vol. 4 p. 123

[62]  Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Abi Sahl, d. 490 A.H.

[63]Kitab al Mabsut vol. 2 p. 145

[64]Al Mabsut vol. 2 p. 145

[65]  ʿAla’ al Din Abu Bakr ibn Masʿud, d. 587 A.H.

[66]Al Bada’iʿ al Sana’iʿ vol. 1 p. 288

[67]Bidayat al Mujtahid vol. 1 p. 210

[68]  Abu Muhammad ʿAbdullah ibn Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn Qudamah, d. 620 A.H.

[69]Al Mughni vol. 2 p. 138, 139

[70]ʿUmdat al Qari vol. 11 p. 1287

[71]Al Muwattaʾ p. 102, 103, Muslim vol. 1 p. 265, Musnad Ishaq ibn Rahawayh p. 555

[72]Al Muwattaʾ p. 103, Muslim vol. 1 p. 354, 355

[73]Mishkat p. 106, Sahih ibn Hibban vol. 5 p. 136

[74]Jamʿ al Wasa’il vol. 2 p. 91

[75]Fatawa ʿAzizi vol. 1 p. 118

[76]  Surah al Muzammil, Muslim vol. 1 p. 256

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