Taraweeh 20 Rakaat

In The Name Of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful
Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatuallahi wa barakatuhu


Initially Prophet Muhammad salla lahu alaihi wa sallam Prayed In The Mosque
Praying at Night in Ramadaan (Taraweeh) Bukhari :: Book 3 :: Volume 32 :: Hadith 229Narrated 'Urwa:
That he was informed by 'Aisha, "Allah's Apostle went out in the middle of the night and prayed in the mosque and some men prayed behind him. In the morning, the people spoke about it and then a large number of them gathered and prayed behind him (on the second night). In the next morning the people again talked about it and on the third night the mosque was full with a large number of people. Allah's Apostle came out and the people prayed behind him. On the fourth night the Mosque was overwhelmed with people and could not accommodate them, but the Prophet came out (only) for the morning prayer. When the morning prayer was finished he recited Tashah-hud and (addressing the people) said, "Amma ba'du, your presence was not hidden from me but I was afraid lest the night prayer (Qiyam) should be enjoined on you and you might not be able to carry it on." So, Allah's Apostle died and the situation remained like that (i.e. people prayed individually). "

Later Umar r.a Allowed Congregation
Praying at Night in Ramadaan (Taraweeh) Bukhari :: Book 3 :: Volume 32 :: Hadith 227 Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever prayed at night the whole month of Ramadan out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven." Ibn Shihab (a sub-narrator) said, "Allah's Apostle died and the people continued observing that (i.e. Nawafil offered individually, not in congregation), and it remained as it was during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr and in the early days of 'Umar's Caliphate." 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Abdul Qari said, "I went out in the company of 'Umar bin Al-Khattab one night in Ramadan to the mosque and found the people praying in different groups. A man praying alone or a man praying with a little group behind him. So, 'Umar said, 'In my opinion I would better collect these (people) under the leadership of one Qari (Reciter) (i.e. let them pray in congregation!)'. So, he made up his mind to congregate them behind Ubai bin Ka'b. Then on another night I went again in his company and the people were praying behind their reciter. On that, 'Umar remarked, 'What an excellent Bid'a (i.e. innovation in religion) this is; but the prayer which they do not perform, but sleep at its time is better than the one they are offering.' He meant the prayer in the last part of the night. (In those days) people used to pray in the early part of the night."

Twenty Three Rakats
Prayer in Ramadan Malik :: Book 6 : Hadith 6.2.5
Yahya related to me from Malik that Yazid ibn Ruman said, "The people used to watch the night in prayer during Ramadan for twenty-three rakas in the time of Umar ibn al-Khattab."
*Note:Twenty of Taraweeh and 3 of witr.

We also find that some of the Taba'een used to pray 20 and some used to pray 36 Rakats in Tarawih. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaiba, Vol.2, Pages 165 & 166).

Praying at Night in Ramadaan (Taraweeh) Bukhari :: Book 3 :: Volume 32 :: Hadith 226 Narrated Abu Huraira:
I heard Allah's Apostle saying regarding Ramadan, "Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven."

Taraweeh is 20

It is related from Sayyidina Ibn Abbas (RA) : ‘The Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) would pray 20 Rakats and then witr in the month of Ramadhan.’ (Musnad ibn Abi Shaybah vol 2, p294/ Sunan Baihaqi vol 2, p496/ Tibraani Kabir vol 11, p393/ Musnad ibn Hameed p218)

Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani (RA) related from Imam Rafi (RA) : The Prophet prayed 20 Rakats in Taraweeh on two consecutive nights with a congregation in Ramdhan. On the third night many more people gathered (for a congregation) but the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) did not appear before them. In the morning the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) stated: ‘It occurred to me that this prayer (20 Rakats in Ramadhan) could become compulsory (Fard) upon you, and you would not be able to bear it.’ This narration related by Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqalani, after relating it, he used to state: ‘There is a consensus amongst all the Muhadditheen that this narration is sound (Sahih).’ (Talkeesul Habeer Fe Takhreej Ahadith Rafi ul Kabeer vol 1, p119)

Sayyidina Abu Dhar Ghifari (RA) related: ‘We (the Companions) observed the fasts of Ramadhan with the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam). In the whole month the Prophet did not lead us in prayer, until there were 7 days left in the month. The Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) then led us in prayer on the 23rd, 25th and 27th night. (Sunan Abu Dawood vol 1, p195)

Sayyidah Aisha (RA) related: ‘After these nights (23, 25 &27th) the congregation grew to a very large number on the 29th night. The Masjid of the Prophet had become filled to capacity. On this night the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) only cameout to lead the people for the Fajr prayer. After the Fajr prayer, the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) stated: ‘I knew that you had gathered for the night prayer (Taraweeh) but I feared that this prayer would become compulsory (Fard) upon you and you would find it difficult to fulfil. (Sahih Bukhari vol 1, p269/ Sahih Muslim vol 1, p259)

Even in the days in which the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) did not pray in congregation, Sayyidina Ibn Abbas (RA) has related: Verily in the month of Ramadhan, The Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) used to pray 20 Rakats and Witr independent from any congregation. (Sunan Baihaqi As-Sunanul Kubra vol 2, p496)

Allamah Subqi Shafi’ (RA) stated: ‘Our belief is that the 20 Rakats Taraweeh is a Sunnah, which is proven from a sound chain.’ (Sharahul Minhaaj)

The report that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab ordered that Taraweeh prayer should be twenty rak’ahs came from four of the Taabi’een. These are their reports:

1 – It was narrated that Saa’ib ibn Yazeed said: ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) gathered the people together in Ramadaan to be led by Ubayy ibn Ka’b and Tameem al-Daari in praying twenty-one rak’ahs, and they used to recite hundreds of verses, and they dispersed before dawn broke.

A number of narrators narrated it from al-Saa’ib, some of whom mentioned twenty rak’ahs or twenty-one or twenty-three. They were:

Muhammad ibn Yoosuf, the son of the sister of al-Saa’ib, from al-Saa’ib, as was narrated by ‘Abd al-Razzaaq in al-Musannaf (4/260) from the report of Dawood ibn Qays and others.

Yazeed ibn Khusayfah. This was narrated by Ibn al-Majd in al-Musnad (1/413), and via him by al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan (2/496).

Al-Haarith ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Abi Dhubaab. This was narrated by ‘Abd al-Razzaaq in al-Musannaf (4/261).

These reports are saheeh reports narrated by trustworthy narrators from al-Saa’ib ibn Yazeed. They mention twenty rak’ahs at the time of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him). The extra amount mentioned – twenty-one or twenty-three, refers to Taraweeh plus Witr.

2 – It was narrated that Yazeed ibn Rumaan said: At the time of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab the people used to pray twenty-three rak’ahs of qiyaam in Ramadaan.

This was narrated from him by Maalik in al-Muwatta’ (1/115). Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo’ (4/33: It is mursal, because Yazeed ibn Rumaan did not live at the same time as ‘Umar. End quote.

3 – It was narrated from Yahya ibn Sa’eed al-Qattaan that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) ordered a man to lead them in twenty rak’ahs of prayer. This was narrated by Ibn Abi Shaybah in al-Musannaaf (2/163) from Wakee’ from Maalik. But Yahya ibn Sa’eed did not live at the same time as ‘Umar.

4 – It was narrated that ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Rafee’ said: Ubayy ibn Ka’b used to lead the people in praying twenty rak’ahs during Ramadaan in Madeenah, and he would pray Witr with three rak’ahs.

This was narrated by Ibn Abi Shaybah in al-Musannaf (2/163).

From all these reports it is clear that twenty rak’ahs was the way that Taraweeh was usually done at the time of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him). A matter such as Taraweeh prayer is something that is well known among all people, and is transmitted from one generation to another. The report of Yazeed ibn Rumaan and Yahya al-Qattaan is to be taken into account even if they did not live at the same time as ‘Umar, because undoubtedly they learned it from a number of people who had been alive at the time of ‘Umar, and this is something that does not need and isnaad, rather all the people of Madeenah are its isnaad.

Imam al-Tirmidhi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his Sunan (3/169):

Most of the scholars are of the view that what is narrated from ‘Umar, ‘Ali and other companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is twenty rak’ahs. This is the view of al-Thawri, Ibn al-Mubaarak and al-Shaafa’i.

Al-Shaafa’i said: This is what I learned in our land, in Makkah they pray twenty rak’ahs.

Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said in al-Istidhkaar (2/69):

Twenty rak’ahs was narrated from ‘Ali, Shateer ibn Shakl, Ibn Abi Mulaykah, al-Haarith al-Hamadaani and Abu’l-Bakhtari. It is the view of the majority of scholars and it is the view of the Kufis, the Shaafa’is and most of the fuqaha’. It was narrated in saheeh reports from Ubayy ibn Ka’b, and there was no difference of opinion among the Sahaabah. ‘Ata’ said: I grew up at a time when the people prayed twenty-three rak’ahs including Witr.

See that in Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah (2/163).

Sayyidina Abu Rahman bin Abdul Qari (RA) related: I left one night in Ramadhan with Sayyidina Umar bin Khattab (RA) and we headed towards the Masjid of the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam). In the Masjid we saw various groups of people praying alone or behind an Imam and they were scattered over the Masjid. Umar bin Khattab (RA) made a decision to congregate all the people behind Sayyidina Ubay ibn Ka’ab (RA) . (Sahih Bukhari vol 1, p269)

Yazid bin Ruman (RA) related: In the time of the Khalifah of Sayyidina Umar bin Khattab (RA) people would pray 23 Rakats behind an Imam (20 Taraweeh, 3 Witr). (Muwatta Imam Malik vol 1, p98/ Sunan Kabeer Baihaqi vol 2, p496)
Abi Abdur Rahman Salmi (RA) related: In the nights of Ramadhan, Sayyidina Ali (RA) called upon the recitors of the Qur’an (Huffaz/Qura) and ordered one amongst them to lead the people in 20 Rakats of Taraweeh. Sayyidina Ali (RA) would lead the people himself in the Witr Salah. (Sunan Kabeer Baihaqi vol 2, p496/ Fathul Bari vol 4, p219

Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah (RA) writes in his Fatawa: ‘Verily it has been proven that Umar made Ubay ibn Ka’ab (RA) lead the people in 20 Rakats of Taraweeh and 3 Witr in Ramadhan. This is the way of the scholars of this Ummah and this is the Sunnah. This is due to the fact that Sayyidina Ubay ibn Ka’ab (RA) read 20 Rakats Taraweeh in a large congregation of the Muhajireen and Ansar of the Sahabah and none amongst them objected to this practice.’ (Fatawa Ibn Taymiyyah vol 1, p191/ Al Mughni vol 1, p803)

In the time of Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah (RA) when the Rawafid (Shia) put the blame upon Sayyidina Umar (RA) for creating the innovated practice of 20 Rakats Taraweeh. Ibn Taymiyyah (RA) responded to this allegation by writing in defence of Sayyidina Umar (RA) to the Rawafid: ‘If Sayyidina Umar Farooq (RA) by establishing 20 Rakats of Taraweeh had been deemed to adopt a bad practise, then Sayyidina Ali (RA) would have put an end to this in his Khilafat. However, in the Khilafat of Sayyidina Ali (RA) , he too would read 20 Rakats Taraweeh prayer in Kufa. In the month of Ramadhan, Sayyidina Ali (RA) would state: ‘May Allah enlighten the grave of Sayyidina Umar (RA) , just as He (Umar ) has enlightened our Masajids for us.’ (Due to the fact of establishing the 20 Rakats Taraweeh for the Ummah). (Minhaaj ul Sunnah vol 2, p224)

This practise of 20 Rakats continued throughout the Khilafat of Sayyidina Uthman (RA) and Sayyidina Ali (RA) & remained unaltered in the entire world until today. Alham-du-lil-lah, this is practised still today in the holiest Masajid i.e. Masjid Haram Makkah, Masjid Nabwi and Masjid al-Aqsa.
Sayyidina Abdullah Ibn Masood (RA), who is one of the most senior Sahabah in terms of knowledge and Taqwa, gave this advice to the Ummah in respect of the status of the Sahabah , upon which we should reflect wholeheartedly: ‘Sayyidina Ibn Masood (RA) stated: if you wish to follow the way of anyone, then follow the path of the Sahabah . These Sahabah had pure hearts, depth of knowledge, were devoid of show and pomp, had simplicity and were the best people of this Ummah. Allah preferred this great group of the Sahabah for the company of his most beloved Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)and used them to establish his Deen. For this reason, their greatness should be recognised and their path followed, as truly they were those who were upon the rightly guided straight path.’ (Mishkaat Masabih, p32)
Asad bin Amr (RA) related from Qazi Imam Abu Yusuf (RA)‘I asked Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) about the matter of Taraweeh and what Sayyidina Umar had done in this respect. Imam Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamat Abu Hanifa (RA) replied: ‘20 Rakats of Taraweeh is Sunnah Muakkadah. Sayyidina Umar (RA) did not establish this from his own accord, nor was he one to create innovations in the Deen. Rather, he was the greatest in his hatred of innovation. The order that he gave for the 20 Rakats of Taraweeh, verily; there would have been an order of the Prophet in this respect.’ (Marakeeyul Farah Ma’a Hashiya p334)

Imam Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamat Ahmed bin Hanbal (RA) stated: ‘It has reached me that Sayyidina Umar bin Khattab (RA) would read 20 Rakats of Taraweeh.’ (Al Mughni vol 2, p168/ Baihaqi vol 1, p296/ Muwatta Imam Malik p40)

Allamah Abu Bakr ibn Arabi (RA) writes: ‘the 11 Rakats (8 Rakats Nafl, 3 Witr) narration related by Aisha (RA) refers to the Qiyam ul Layl (Tahajjud) of the Prophet .’ (Aridatul Ah’wadhi Shara Tirmidhi vol 4, p19)
Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani (RA) also refers to this narration as referring to the Tahajjud (8 Rakats) with Witr (3 Rakats). (Fathul Bari Sharah Bukhari vol 3, p328)

Qazi Ayadh Maliki (RA) has taken all of Aisha (RA) narrations as referring to the Tahajjud prayer of the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) , which He would perform in Her house. (Sharah Muslim Nawawi vol 1, p253)
Qazi Mohammad Shawqani (RA) who himself was a Ghair Muqalid Aalim writes: ‘The narration of Aisha (RA) in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim referring to the 11 Rakats in and outside of Ramadhan is in respect of Tahajjud Qiyam ul Layl. (Naylul Awtar vol 3, p39)

We also find that some of the Taba'een used to pray 20 and some used to pray 36 Rakats in Tarawih. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaiba, Vol.2, Pages 165 & 166).

Tahajjud Is 8 Rakat
Prayer at Night (Tahajjud) Bukhari :: Book 2 :: Volume 21 :: Hadith 248 Narrated Abu Salma bin 'Abdur Rahman:
I asked 'Aisha, "How is the prayer of Allah's Apostle during the month of Ramadan." She said, "Allah's Apostle never exceeded eleven Rakat in Ramadan or in other months; he used to offer four Rakat-- do not ask me about their beauty and length, then four Rakat, do not ask me about their beauty and length, and then three Rakat." Aisha further said, "I said, 'O Allah's Apostle! Do you sleep before offering the Witr prayer?' He replied, 'O 'Aisha! My eyes sleep but my heart remains awake'!"

Praying at Night in Ramadaan (Taraweeh) Bukhari :: Book 3 :: Volume 32 :: Hadith 230 Narrated Abu Salama bin 'Abdur Rahman:
that he asked 'Aisha "How was the prayer of Allah's Apostle in Ramadan?" She replied, "He did not pray more than eleven Rakat in Ramadan or in any other month. He used to pray four Rakat ---- let alone their beauty and length----and then he would pray four ----let alone their beauty and length ----and then he would pray three Rakat (Wiitr)." She added, "I asked, 'O Allah's Apostle! Do you sleep before praying the Witr?' He replied, 'O 'Aisha! My eyes sleep but my heart does not sleep."
*Note:The Hadith says “He did not pray more than eleven Rakat in Ramadan or in any other month” so this is not Taraweeh because Taraweeh is only prayed in Ramadhan ,its Tahajjud.

Narrated Nafi
Ibn 'Umar said, "While the prophet was on the pulpit, a man asked him how to offer the night prayers. He replied, ' Pray two Rakat at a time and then two and then two and so on, and if you are afraid of the dawn (the approach of the time of the Fajr prayer) pray one Rakat and that will be the witr for all the Rakat which you have offered." Ibn 'Umar Said, "The last Rakat of the night prayer should be odd, for the prophet ordered it to be so. ( Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 1, Hadith No. 461).

Narrated Amr ibn Anbasah as-Sulami
I asked: "Apostle of Allah, in which part of the night the supplication is more likely to be accepted? He Replied: In the last part: Pray as much as you like, for the prayer is attended by the angels and it is recorded till you offer the dawn prayer. (Abu Dawood, Vol. 1, Hadith No. 1272).

Tahajjud Malik :: Book 7 : Hadith 7.3.13
Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi and Abdullah ibn Umar that a man asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about night prayers. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Night prayers are two by two, and when you are afraid that dawn is approaching, pray one raka to make what you have prayed odd."
*Note: Tahajjud can be prayed 2 Rakat, with further 2,2,2 or with 4 Rakat and further 4.

Allah knows best