All praise is due to Almighty Allah who has blessed us with his pristine Deen and may the choicest of his blessings be upon the Ambiyā (Alayhimus Salaam), our beloved Nabi Muhammad Rasūlullah (Swallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam), upon his pure wives and family and his honourable companions d who are the beacons of guidance for this Ummah.
In the present era, Islām and the Islamic way (the Seeratul Mustaqeem) are being challenged by many antagonists, thus it is incumbent upon every single individual of the Ummah to safeguard and protect their Deen, both from external hazards such as the disbelievers who are bent on destroying Islam and from internal hazards as well, such as Muslims themselves who either misunderstands or misinterprets the laws and teachings of Islam. One of these many hazards is that we find a certain group of people propagating a view of the Taraweeh Salāh being eight Rak’āt. Unfortunately, many individuals have fallen prey to this menace and misguided mindset. They accuse the general Muslim public, the Ummah at large of being misled from the straight path from the time of the Sahābah (r.a) till the present day. The end-result of their ideologies is that all the Sahābah (r.a) united on an erroneous decision of performing twenty Rak’āt of Taraweeh.
The entire Ummah, the sahabah, the Tabi’īn, the Tab-Tabi’īn, all the scholars of Hadīth and Tafsīr, the great jurists and scholars of Islam and the entire Muslim Ummah have been misled until today, while they were the only ones who found true guidance. They forgot that the Sahābah were the direct students of Rasūlullah (Swallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam), they would rather give up their lives before giving up the minutest Sunnah of their beloved Nabi (Swallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam).
Twenty Rak’āt of Taraweeh has always been performed at the Masājid of the Haramayn and every single Masjid until this very era. Nowhere is there evidence of eight Rak’āt of Taraweeh being performed in congregation or the Ummah practicing upon it in any masjid of the world until this new-found view came into existence. All the scholars of the shariah have unanimously agreed that Taraweeh consists of twenty Rak’āt whereas the Ghair-Muqallideen claim that the narrators of Hadīth and the Ulamā of Islām did not understand the teaching of the Shariah and Taraweeh consists of only eight Rak’āt.
PROOFS SUBSTANTIATING THAT TARAWEEH IS TWENTY RAK’ĀT
1) IJMĀ: Ijmā means the consensus of or agreed upon opinion of the Ummah of Rasūlullah (Swallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam). The law and status of Ijmā is proven both from the Quran Shareef and Ahadith of Rasūlullah (Swallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) as a bounty of this Ummah. The Ijmā of the Sahābah, Tabi’īn, Tab-Tabi’īn, the scholars of Islām and the entire Ummah is that it is an undisputable fact that Taraweeh is twenty Rak’āt. And when there is Ijmā of the Sahabah in regards to Taraweeh, then all the allegations of the Ghair-Muqallideen fade into insignificance.
2) THE HADITH OF UMMUL MU’MINEEN AISHAH (r.a)
Sayyidatinā Aishah (r.a) narrates that Rasūlullah (Swallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) did not increase, in Ramaḍān and out of it, on eleven Rak’āt. He used to perform four Rak’āt, do not ask of its beauty and its length and then he used to perform four Rak’āt, do not ask of their beauty and length. Then he used to perform three Rak’āt. Sayyidatinā Aishah (r.a) enquired: Do you sleep before you have performed the Witr?” Rasūlullah (Swallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) replied: O Aishah, my eyes sleep but my heart does not sleep.” [Bukhari Shareef]
The Ghair-Muqallideen have made this Hadīth the basis of their view that Taraweeh is eight Rak’āt whereas this Hadith refers to the Tahajjud Salāh of Rasūlullah (Swallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam). This hadith specifically states ‘in and out of Ramaḍān’ and obviously Taraweeh is not performed out of Ramaḍān. Hereby are some critical points which should be taken in consideration in regards to the Hadith of Ummul Mu’mineen, Aishah (r.a).
1. Using this Hadith Shareef as proof implies that the Ghair-Muqallideen considers Tahajjud and Taraweeh to be the same, which of course is a baseless notion.
2. The Muhadithīn and Fuqahāh (whether Hanafi, Maliki and Shafi’i or Hambali) of the Ummah have written separate chapters for Tahajjud and Taraweeh. The following scholars of hadith have all narrated this Hadith Shareef in their books of Hadith but it never appeared under the chapters pertaining to Taraweeh:
- Imām Muslim (r.a)
- Imām Mālik (r.a)
- Imām Abu Dawūd (r.a)
- Imām Nasa’i (r.a)
- Imām Abdur-Razzāq (r.a), Abu Awānah (r.a), Ibn Khuzaymāh (r.a), Imam Dārami (r.a) and many others.
3. Imām Muhammad (r.a), Imām Bukhāri (r.a) and Imām Baihaqi (r.a) have narrated this Hadith under the chapter of Qiyām al-Ramadān (standing up in Salāh in Ramadān). These great luminaries too, did not believe that Tahajjud and Taraweeh are the same; their purpose of narrating this narration here too was to show that in Ramadān both Taraweeh and Tahajjud should be performed. Thus in Tārikh al-Baghdad we find that Imām Bukhāri (r.a) performed and used to emphasize on the importance of both Tahajjud and Taraweeh.
4. In Fatāwā Ulamā al-hadith (a compilation of the Ghair-Muqallideen) it is stated that congregation is a definite condition for the establishment of the Taraweeh Salāh. If performed individually it is not considered as Taraweeh. The hadith of Aishah d states the individual Salāh of Rasūlullah (Swallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam).
5. Sayyidāh Aishah d never opposed the sahabah d when they established twenty Rak’āt of Taraweeh at the Masjid al-Nabawi by presenting this hadith.
6. Throughout the khayrul Qurūn (the best of times) everyone performed twenty Rak’āt. Actually the inhabitants of Madinah Munawwarah used to read 36 Rak’āt. Twenty Rak’āt of Taraweeh and sixteen Rak’āt of Nafl Salāh (optional Salāh) in between every four Rak’āt of Taraweeh whilst the inhabitants of Makkah Mukarramah used to perform Tawāf in between every four Rak’āt of Taraweeh.
3) The practice of Nabi :
Abdullah Ibn Abbās (r.a) narrates that Rasūlullah (Swallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) used to perform twenty Rak’āt in Ramaḍān and the three Witr. [ Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybāh Vol 2: pg.394]
4) Ta’āmul al-Ummah:
Allāmah Sakhāwi (r.a) has written that when the entire Ummah accepts and practice on an aspect then the correct way will be to practice on it.
5) Hassan Basri (r.a) relates from Abdul Aziz Ibn Rafi’ee (r.a) that Sayyidinā Ubayy Bin Kā’b (r.a) used to lead twenty Rak’āt of Taraweeh and three Witr in Madinah Munawwarah.
6) The author of Mirqaat, Mulla Ali al-Qāri P states: The sahabah had unanimous consensus that Taraweeh is twenty Rak’āt.
7) Ibn Taymiyyah (r.a) states the fact that Sayyiduna Umar (r.a) congregated the people behind Sayyiduna Ubayy Ibn Kā’b (r.a) , is sufficient to prove Ijmā.
8) The A’immāh Arba’ā (the four founders of the four correct school of thoughts) have safeguarded and compiled the Sunnah and teachings of Rasūlullah (Swallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) and the Khulafāh al-Rashideen (r.a) in the most comprehensive manner ever possible. It is for this reason that the whole Ummah follows the blessed Sunnah and teachings of Rasūlullah (Swallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) in the manner compiled by these august and saintly scholars. Not one of these great luminaries has deemed Taraweeh to be eight Rak’āt.
THE GHAIR-MUQALLIDEEN THEMSELVES DO NOT PARACTICE ON THIS HADITH SHAREEF
1. The Hadith states Ghair-Ramadan (out of Ramaḍān), whereas they do not perform Taraweeh out of Ramaḍān.
2. The Hadith states performing Salāh in sets of four Rak’āt, whereas they perform in sets of two.
3. This Hadith states three Rak’āt of Witr, whereas they perform only one.
4. The Hadith states individual Salāh, whereas they perform in congregation.
5. The Hadith states sleeping before Witr, whereas they don’t.
From the above we may deduce that the teachings of the Ghair-Muqallideen promote lethargy and misinterpretation of the shariah. Following their teachings will deprive us of the untold benefits of Ramaḍān. Whereas, Rasūlullah (Swallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) increased his efforts during the month of Ramadān.
Finally, we beseech Allah Ta’ala to give us the ability of practicing upon the Sunnah and teachings of his beloved Rasūl (Swallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) and also to protect and guide the entire Ummah from every Fitnah.