RAMADAN with WISDOM [Part 5] – “Isha’a or Taraweeh?”
Despite the fact that performing Taraweeh prayer throughout Ramadan helps to wipe out our past sins, if carried out with firm faith and in hope of reward [Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim and Musnad Ahmed], and the reward increases when performed with congregation, the Isha’a Jama’a is more virtuous and rewarding, for Taraweeh prayer is sunnah, while Isha’a is Fardh and congregational Isha’a prayer is Wajib (Mandatory). In spite of the virtue of congregation of obligatory prayers, people are enthusiastic to perform Taraweeh with the Imam, while rest in the time of Isha’a Jama’a.
Prophet (S) Taraweeh
Due to the virtue and Prophet (S)’s establishment of Taraweeh in congregation in Ramadan, it is more virtuous than doing it individually. But he did it only few days making it not compulsory.
In an Hadith Abu Darr (R) said: “We performed fasting Ramadan with Allah’s Messenger (S), but he did not lead us in the Night Prayer during any month until there only remained seven days, so then he led us in Night Prayer until a third of the night had passed away. When the sixth night came, he did not lead us in the Taraweeh. So when the fifth night came, he led us in prayer until half the night had passed. So I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, can we finish the rest of the prayer’? So he said: “Indeed, when a man prays woth the Imam until he finishes, it is recorded for him that he prayed the entire night.” Then on the next night, he didn’t establish the night prayer (in congregation). On the next night (27th), he (S) gathered his family, his wives and the people and led us in night prayer until he feared that we would miss the falaah (success). He (Abu Dharr) said: ‘The Suhoor’. Then he did not lead us in the night prayer for the rest of the month.” [Sunan Abu Dawood, , Sunan al sugra, by Nasai’i, Sunan ibn Majah, Graded ‘authentic’ by albanee in Saheeh Abu Dawud, Irwaa- ul- Ghaleel]
It was out of fear that Prophet (S) did not establish it in the whole month. The virtue of performing it in congregation is established. Shaykh Albanee (R) states that reason for the prophet (S) to discontinue establishing Taraweeh in congregation for the remainder of the month is ‘out of fear that the Night Prayer would be made obligatory upon them in the month of Ramadan, and thus they would not be able to do it’. After the death of Prophet (S) the fear came to an end, for the laws are completed, resulting Umar (R) to reviving the congregation [Sahih Bukhari].
On the other hand, Prophet (S) never missed a Jama’a of an obligatory prayer. Besides, He (S) has mentioned in several hadiths the importance of congregational prayer. A narration from the two Sahihs will be enough to prove the point.
Abu Huraira (R) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “The heaviest salat for the hypocrite is that of Isha’a and Fajr and if they knew what was in them they would have attended them even if it meant crawling, and I have a strong desire to order the salat to be established, then order a man to lead the people in salat then I would go with some men carrying bundles of wood to a people not attending the salat and burn their houses on them.”