RAMADAN with WISDOM [Part 11] – “Salaah at Taraweeh”
What does it mean?
Taraweeh literally means “rest pauses.” This name was given in later generations to the night prayer during Ramadan because of the pause observed after every four rak’ahs (units of prayer). The name was not used by the Prophet (S). He called it Salaatul- Layl.
The number of Raka’hs
Prophet (S) prayed eleven rak’ahs and not twenty. Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abdur Rahman reported that he asked ‘Aa’ishah, “How was Allah’s Messenger’s (night) Salaah in Ramadan? ‘Aa’ishah replied, ‘Allah’s Messenger never used to exceed eleven rak’aats in Ramadan or other months. He would pray four rak’aats –don’t ask me about their beauty and length – then four more rak’aats – don’t ask me about their beauty and length either – then he would pray three more.” [Sahih Bukhari].
This prayer can be observed individually at home or as a group in the Masjid, as the Prophet (S) did both [Sahih Bukhari].
The Merits of Taraweeh
Means of forgiveness: The night prayer is a means of gaining Allah’s forgiveness for sins done in the past, if the prayers are sincerely done. The Prophet (S) was quoted by Abu Hurayrah as saying, “Whoever prayed at night throughout the month or Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah will have all of his previous sins forgiven [Sahih Bukhari].”
He also reported the Prophetic statement, “Whoever faithfully established prayers on the Night of Power (Laylatul-Qadr), seeking his reward only from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven [Sahih Bukhari].” This special night is a great mercy and blessing from Allah. Worship during Laylatul-Qadr equals about 83 years (1,000 months) of worship, as stated by Allah,
“The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.” (Quran 97:3)
It is also recommended to spend the last ten days and nights of Ramadan in seclusion in the mosque (i’tikaaf), as the Prophet (S) used to do. ‘Aa’ishah stated, “The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to seclude himself in the Masjid during the last ten days of Ramadan until he died, and his wives continued the practice after him [Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim]