Allah Taa'la has blessed the Muslims with a very sacred and blessed month in which all rewards are multiplied, the reward for a nafl (optional) act becomes equivalent to a compulsory act (fardh) and the reward for a compulsory act is multiplied 70 times. In this month the gates of heaven are opened, the punishment of hell is ceased and heaven is at its best. Besides all these blessings, the month of Ramadhan has been blessed with the act of Tarahweeh Salaah.
Roots of Tarahweeh
It is narrated by Muslim on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Prophet said, “Whoever stands in Ramadhan with Imaan and hope of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Muslim, pg 259)
The Prophet has stated here that ‘whoever stands in Ramadhan', this refers to standing Tarahweeh. The commentators have said this is because the Prophet of Allah has specified ‘standing' with the month of Ramadhan. So it is apparent that it is NOT referring to Tahajjud but Tarahweeh.
Hazrat Aisha Radhiallaho Anha narrates in a Hadith that the Prophet said,
“Your act was not hidden from me but I feared that Tarahweeh will become compulsory on you and you will not be able to complete it, then the Prophet passed away.”
(Bukhari pg 269, Chapter: The benefit of standing in Ramadhan, Muslim, pg 259, Abu Dawood, pg 202, Chapter: Inspiring to stand in the month of Ramadhan; Tarahweeh.
The Prophet did not go to pray Tarahweeh with the people because of the fear that Tarahweeh will become compulsory and he only prayed for three nights in Ramadhan.
It is written in Muatta Malik on the authority of Abdur Rahman ibn Abdulnil Qari that he said: I came out with Umar ibn Khatab in Ramadhan towards the Masjid, people were scattered everywhere. A man was praying alone and another man was praying alone and a group of people praying in another corner. Then Hazrat Umar said, “I swear by Allah, that I intend to gather these people under one Imam and that is better, thus I gathered them to pray behind Ubay ibn Kaab. (Muatta Malik, pg 40)
How many Rak'ats?
The precepts of the Holy Prophet has been misunderstood by many regarding how many rak'ats should be prayed.
It is mentioned in Musanif ibn Abi Shayba, Tabraani and Baihaqi on the authority of Ibn Abbas that the Prophet used to pray 20 Rak'ats in Ramadhan besides witr. (Vol 2, pg 153)
Further evidence that the Prophet's 20 rak'ats is proven by a narration narrated by Imam Malik (Allah's blessings upon him). In the time of Hazrat Umar the people used to pray 23 rak'ats (pg 130) and this was by the order of Hazrat Umar , the second Khalifah of the Prophet , regarding whom the Prophet said if there were to be a Prophet after me, it would be Umar . The Prophet also said that he was the Mulham of this Ummah (command revealed upon). There is no space for objection here saying this is not a Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammed because the Prophet has himself said,
“Hold on firmly to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Khulafah Rashideen.”
(Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood)
Verily Umar gathered the people to pray behind Ubay ibn Kaab and Tameem Dari in Ramadhan. (Vol 5, 73, 75, 76)
It is narrated by Ibn Mas'ood Radhiallaho Anhu that the Prophet said:
“Whatever the Muslims find good, this is good with Allah.” (Musnad Ahmed, pg 379, Vol 1)
It is narrated by the great Imam Abu Yusuf Rahmatullahi Alayhi that he asked Imam Abu Hanifah Rahmatullahi Alayhi about Tarahweeh and what Umar did. He replied that Tarahweeh is an emphasised Sunnah and Hazrat Umar did not say himself nor did he initiate it, nor did he order for it, but for a foundation he had from the time of the Prophet . Umar u carried out this way and gathered the people to pray behind Ubay ibn Kaab thus they prayed Tarahweeh and amongst the Jamaat (congregation) were Uthmaan , Ali , Ibn Mas'ood , Abbas and his son, Talha , Zubair , Muaz and many more companions amongst the Muhajireen and Ansar. None from amongst them objected, but they helped him and agreed to it and also ordered it. (Al-Iktiyaar, pg 75)
It is narrated by Ibn Abbas that the Prophet used to pray 20 Rak'ats without congregation and three witr in Ramadhan. (Baihaqi, Vol 2, Pg 698)
In this Hadith again, there is further proof that the Prophet prayed 20 Rak'ats.
The Hadith narrated by Hazrat Aisha which states that the Prophet did not pray more than 11 Rak'ats in Ramadhan and outside is brought under the chapter ‘standing in Ramadhan' by Imam Bukhari Rahmatullahi Alayhi. This Hadith does not contradict the reading of 20 Rak'ats Tarahweeh but in reference to Tahajjud. This Hadith has been bought by Imam Muslim Rahmatullahi Alayhi and Imam Bukhari Rahmatullahi Alayhi under the chapter of witr and Tahajjud. In a Hadith it is mentioned that the Prophet used to pray four Rak'ats together and what is to be said about its beauty. Tarahweeh is not prayed in four four rak'ats but in two rak'ats. This is why this Hadith is not about Tarahweeh but Tahajjud.
The portion of the Hadith narrated by Aisha is:
“The Prophet of Allah used to pray four rak'ats, and don't ask about the grace and length of his Salaah, then again he would pray four rak'ats, and do not ask about the grace and length of his Salaah, then he would read three (witr) rak'ats.”
In this Hadith, it is mentioned that the Holy Prophet prayed four rak'ats then again four rak'ats and the Prophet would not pray Tarahweeh four Rak'ats at a time.
So this is why the Hadith is referring to Tahajjud and not Tarahweeh.
Saying of the Imams regarding Tarahweeh
Imam Nawawi says that the four Imams, Imam Malik, Imam Shafee, Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Ahmed ibn Hambal have all agreed that ‘standing in Ramadhan' refers to Tarahweeh.
Allamah Abu Waleed Basi says that this Salaah is specific with Ramadhan otherwise why has it been associated with Ramadhan.
Imam Saraksaree says that besides the Shiah, nobody has denied that Tarahweeh is an emphasised Sunnah.
No imam has said that there is less than 20 rak'ats, but Imam Malik and the people of Madinah would pray 36 rak'ats because the people of Makkah would do a Tawaaf after every four rak'ats and to compensate for this Imam Malik and the people of Madinah would pray 36 rak'ats.
Hazrat Sheikh Mohammed Zakaria has said that there is the consensus of the Ulama on the fact that Tarahweeh is 20 rak'ats.
Allamah Ayni says that the agreement of 20 rak'ats between the three Khalifah's and companions of the Prophet is proof of it being authentic.
Abu Nuaim says that the Prophet said:
“After me, there will be new things and the best new thing will be what Hazrat Umar creates.”
This was a prophecy by the Prophet regarding Umar's decision about Tarahweeh.
Muhammed ibn Ismail Al-Ansari says that sometimes a Hadith is weak but because of the number of people agreeing to it and common practice, it is no longer weak. For example, the repayment of debt before making a will. If we were to accept that these Hadith are not authentic then because of the consensus of the Ulama and common practice, we cannot go against the Hadith.
Questions and Answers regarding Tarahweeh
Question : Are you allowed to take money for leading the Tarahweeh prayer?
Answer : It is not permissible to take money for leading Tarahweeh. In the Qur'an, Allah Taa'la states:
“Do not sell the verses of Allah for a small value.” (Surah Baqarah, Verse 41)
Regarding this matter, the Prophet of Allah has said:
“Whoever prays the Qur'an so he can take money from the people, on the Day of Judgement, he will be resurrected in such a state that his face will not have any flesh and only bones.” (Baihaqi)
Hazrat Moulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi Rahmatullahi Alayhi says:
“You cannot take money for the Qur'an prayed in Tarahweeh or listened in Tarahweeh, this act is HARAM and because this act is haram, then he should pray from the last ten Surah's (himself instead of paying someone else).” ( Fatwa Rasheediya, pg 392)
Moulana Mufti Shafi Saheb says:
“The fixing if money for Tarahweeh whether it is fixed from before or whether it is out of common practice in both circumstances is prohibited.” (Imdaday Muftiyeen)
Hazrat Moulana Masiullah Khan Saheb says that if a hafiz takes money and makes someone listen to the Qur'an, then a person should not listen but pray the last ten Surah's himself. This listening of the Qur'an is like selling the Qur'an and this is Haram.
A similar Fatwa has also been given by Mufti Mahmood (Fatwa Mahmoodia, pg 32, Vol 1 and Vol 2, pg 163)
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