Taraweeh? Tahajjud? How to?

>> Friday, July 6, 2012

Assalaamu' alaykum Auntie,
Thank you very much for such a LOVELY blog, your advice is so helpful, and I hope you Insh'Allah continue on helping others and giving advice. I really, really need help..i'm 16 yrs old, and feel that i've wasted most of my Ramadhan's- usually by sleeping, waking up then eating and going off to bed again, I wanted to Insh'Allah make use of this Ramadhan but feel very confused over some things. I remember when I learnt how to pray when I was younger I found it difficult to remember the number of rakah's to pray and the niyah for each Salah...I'm kind of facing that same problem again and would really appreciate your help.
I see older cousins/friend in Ramadhan praying Tarawih..I have some questions, could you please tell me briefly what it is and when we pray this..my main problem is how many rakah's do we pray for Tarawih? I tried searching on Google but ended up more confused, and what about the niyah? What do I have to say? Is it exactly the same for the obligatory 5 prayers? I'm so confused...and i'm having the same problem with the Tahajjud prayers, i'd like to Insh'Allah pray this a few times in Ramadhan and maybe develop it into a habit Insh'Allah- but how many rakah's and what do I say for the niyah?
I find it hard to ask people directly things that I really need help with, so thanks a lot for the blog Auntie! :D I promise to leave a comment in the answer thread (i'm the short_sister who drops a comment now and then)

wa'alaykum as salam wa rahmatullah aw barkatoo, Short_sister feeling confused ,

Your email brought a huge smile to my face! It's wonderful to see you already planning ahead and wanting to really make the most out of this Ramadan, insahAllah :)

You asked some great questions =)

Let's first talk about "niyah" when it comes to ANY salah. 

Niyah means intention. It means that you have a true and firm intention to really pray. The niyah isn't something that is found in the words you choose to use but what is actually in your HEART.

Ibn al-Qayyim said in Zaad al-Ma’aad (1/201): 
When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood up to pray, he would say: “Allaahu akbar,” and he did not say anything before that, or utter the intention (niyyah) out loud at all. He did not say, “I am going to pray such-and-such a prayer, facing the qiblah, four rak'ahs, as an imam or following an imam.” And he did not say “ada’an (on time)” or “qadaa’an (making up a missed prayer)” or “fard al-waqt (the obligatory prayer of this time).” 

So, following the prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam's example, you do not have to say anything out loud :) You can totally relax on that part.

Also: Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah was asked about the intention when starting to do an act of worship such as praying etc., do we need to utter it verbally, such as saying, “I intend to pray, I intend to fast”?*!
He replied:*!
Praise be to Allaah.*!
The intention of purifying oneself by doing wudoo’ ghusl or tayammum, of praying, fasting, paying zakaah, offering kafaarah (expiation) and other acts of worship does not need to be uttered verbally, according to the consensus of the imaams of Islam. Rather the place of intention is the heart, according to the consensus among them. If a person utters something by mistake that goes against what is in his heart, then what counts is what he intended, not what he said.*!

In fact, your intention for salah begins when you start making your wudu, inshaAllah. So don't stress about what to say. 

Now, what is Tarawih and what is Tahajjud? And how do we pray them? 

Here's the thing. Qiyam or standing in the night is the term used to refer to voluntary night prayers which are performed from after Isha prayer until dawn.'

We use the words tahajjud and taraweeh to simplify things but they are actually not different prayers. This is what we commonly use them to describe:

Tahajjud: Any salah performed after one sleeps during the night. That means, that you went to sleep, and then woke up to pray extra prayers.
Taraweeh:  voluntary night prayers performed during the month of Ramadan.
To simplify when we use these names more, if you were to go to a mosque during Ramadan, taraweeh would begin after the Isha prayer immediately. Tahajjud prayers would begin in the middle of the night, say 1:00 a.m. or 2:00. (You would have had a chance to sleep for one or two hours and then wake up).
But how do you pray them?
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said, “Night prayer is two by two.” (Bukhari and Muslim). 
Also, Aisha Radiya Allah Anha was reported as saying: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray eleven rak’ahs at night, and say the tasleem after each two rak’ahs, and he would pray Witr with one rak’ah. Saheeh, agreed upon. [Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him: Fataawa Islamiyyah (2/156).]
What that  basically means is that you pray 2 rakhat, just like Fajr prayer. You say the salams at the end of the 2 Rakhat.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that Taraweeh, got its name from  tarweehah, which means the space of rest between every two rak’ah. Usually in mosques that pray 8 ones, they give a short break after praying 2 sets of 2 rakhat (after praying 4 rakhat). So you pray 2 prayers, take a break, and then continue again.
How many rak’ah is it? There are different opinions. These include: 
1. Eight Rak’ah:
- Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said that that Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم never prayed more than eight rak’ah (plus three witr).
- This was the opinion of Shaykh Al-Albanee (may Allah have mercy on him), he said more than eight is an innovation (bid’ah).
2. Twenty Rak’ah:
- Umar ibn Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) brought the people together to perform Taraweeh and it was performed in twenty rak’ah (However, authenticity of the narrations are disputable) . To read more on this: http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/82152/
3. No specific number:
- The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم never limited the number, he said: “Night prayer is two by two.”
- Ibn Taymiyah and Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on them) did not limit the number of rak’ahs, although, in terms of quality and quantity, they preferred eight rak’ah.

At the end of the day, the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم : “Whoever stands with the imaam until he finishes, it is equivalent to spending the whole night in prayer.”
(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 806; Abu Dawood, 1375; al-Nasaa’i, 1605; Ibn Maajah, 1327. Classed as saheeh by al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Khuzaymah (3/337), Ibn Hibbaan (3/340) and al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 447.)
Hope that helps sort the confusion a bit. Please sisters correct me if there's anything wrong in there :) And finally, May Allah let us be among these people mentioned in the Quran:

Verily, the Muttaqoon (the pious) will be in the midst of Gardens and Springs (in the Paradise),
16. Taking joy in the things which their Lord has given them. Verily, they were before this Muhsinoon (good‑doers).
17. They used to sleep but little by night [invoking their Lord (Allaah) and praying, with fear and hope]”
[al-Dhaariyaat 51:15-17] 

16. Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (in charity in Allaah’s Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them.
17. No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do”
[al-Sajdah 32:15-17] 

16 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Unknown July 6, 2012 at 4:52 AM  

As-Salaam Alaikum :)

Taraweeh and Tahajjud were two prayers I was pretty confused about too and after much digging, this is what I have learned, al-hamdulillhi.

There is only ONE nafl (voluntary) prayer at night and different names are used to describe it. Such as Qiyam ul-layl (standing at night), Tahajjud (remaining awake at night), Tarawih (resting) etc..

Even though Tarawih is most commonly used to describe it in Ramadan, this does NOT make it a different prayer.

The Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wasallam) consistently performed Qiyam (optional night prayer) through out the year because Allah says:

“And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salaah (prayer) with it (i.e. recite the Qur’aan in the prayer) as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer Nawâfil) for you” [Surah al-Isra’ 17:79]

In 2 AH, when fasting became obligatory, the Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wasallam) performed Qiyam on his own in the masjid. Some of the Sahabah joined him, then more joined him the next night and more the night after and so on. When it became popular, the Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wasallam) stopped leading the people in Qiyam for fear that night prayer in Ramadan would then become obligatory and the people would not be able to do it.

After the death of the Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wasallam), people prayed Qiyam in the Masjid in separate groups, behind various Imams. During the caliphate of Umar bin Al-Khattab, he gathered the people behind one Imam and revived the Sunnah of praying Qiyam-ul-layl in congregation during Ramadan.

And from since then, Muslims have continued to perform Qiyam-ul-layl during Ramadan in congregation, naming it Tarawhih. As Little Auntie said, the name "Tarawih" comes because they rest after every four rak'at.

So basically Tarawih and Tahajjud are not two different prayers. Tarawih is preponed Tahajjud, to make it easy for the believers to pray in congregation.

From what I have read, praying Tarawih early in the night and Tahajjud at the end of the night like some masjids do, making them two different prayers, is actually a bid'ah, which has no basis in the practice of the Salaf.

As for the number of rak'at, the Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wasallam) never prayed more than eight, but he also never exactly specified a limit, this is why some people pray more than eight. But it is better and closer to the Sunnah to pray as the Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wasallam) prayed.

Okies, so that's all, and Allah knows best whether I have understood it correctly :) I hope that was helpful insha Allah.

Little Auntie July 6, 2012 at 9:36 AM  

Xahu, what an excellent comment. I realized that my post made it sound like they were different prayers, but as you said: they are the same thing (voluntary prayer)performed at night. All I meant is that we use the name Taraweeh for the ones we do in Ramadan, but they're not actually a different prayer. I shall edit my post to make sure it sounds more right :)

I was surprised to read this part of your comment, though =)
From what I have read, praying Tarawih early in the night and Tahajjud at the end of the night like some masjids do, making them two different prayers, is actually a bid'ah, which has no basis in the practice of the Salaf.

JazakiAllah khair!

Anonymous,  July 6, 2012 at 4:25 PM  

Wa alaykum assalaam sisters,

@Little Auntie- A very BIG Jazak'Allah Khair! Your post was, Mash'Allah, amazing and it helped loads. Thanks for all the great detail and hadiths, Mash'Allah I don't feel confused now at all. May Allah grant you and all the lovely sisters here Janat-ul-Firdous. Ameen.

I'm really grateful for all your help, I was confused over this for a long time and your efforts are really appreciated Auntie! :D

@ Xahu- Jazak'Allah Khair sister, your answer was also very helpful..and this part was something new I learnt:

'When it became popular, the Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wasallam) stopped leading the people in Qiyam for fear that night prayer in Ramadan would then become obligatory and the people would not be able to do it'.

Jazak'Allah Khair for helping me out sisters :D


Haseefa July 6, 2012 at 10:27 PM  

I found this http://www.habibihalaqas.org/2012/07/webinar-unforgettable-ramadan-obedience.html so thought of sharing it

Unknown July 7, 2012 at 1:57 AM  

Wa Iyyaki Little Auntie :)

Actually I read that from the book "The Night Prayers - Qiyam and Tarawih" by Muhammad al-Jibali, based on works by Sheikh al-Albani.

But maybe I should check into it a little bit more? Afterall, one shouldn't rely on just one statement, right? :)

Unknown July 7, 2012 at 2:02 AM  

Barakallah feek Short-Sister =)

Al-hamdulillahi I was able to help, and may Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala help you experience the sweetness of night prayer this Ramadan and beyond :)

Anonymous,  July 7, 2012 at 11:22 AM  

@Haseefa I checked it out. It's seems amazing mashallah! Jazakallah khair for for sharing it :)

Aziza July 8, 2012 at 1:59 PM  

You can do it sister! It is an amazing feeling to start your day off with Tahajjud! :)

Ghadeer July 15, 2012 at 4:50 AM  

:) We need to gear ourselves up for Ramadan and make the most use of it!

Anonymous,  July 18, 2012 at 10:43 AM  

JazakAllah, what a much needed post and amazing comments mashaAllah. Just to clear my confusion then, we should either pray the Taraweeh OR the Tahajjud? I mean, if we go by the praying-one-voluntary prayer rule?

Anonymous,  July 19, 2012 at 5:31 AM  

Also, is it necessary that we finish the Quran in our Tarawih prayers?

Little Auntie July 22, 2012 at 7:57 AM  

Anonymous, just make your intention that you are doing the "voluntary night prayers" [qiyam]. Just think, "I am going to pray qiyam at this time and this time". That's what I understood :)

It's not a "must" to finish reciting the Quran in Tarawih but it is recommended/ or said to be recommended by some scholars.

ireminisces July 24, 2012 at 4:13 AM  

Asalamu alaikum, replied to your post on my blog alhamdulillah, you'll have to find it :)

p.s Fasts & Suhur

khadijah August 6, 2012 at 11:26 AM  

Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatulahi wa barakatu LITTLE AUNTIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ohhh i love your blog masha'Allah haven't checked in for a while but masha'Allah love this post!! Hope you all are having a blessed Ramadan and please keep updated with my new blog posts and I got a new makeover!! What do you think!?!? Please follow xoxo
and enjoy this post insha'Allah!!! http://onechinesemuslimah.blogspot.ca/2012/08/what-if-this-was-your-last-ramadan.html

Anonymous,  January 30, 2013 at 12:06 AM  

As Salaam Alaikum Wa Rahmatulillahi Wa Barakatu
Jazack Allahu Khaiyrum for the very helpful/ beneficial information you sisters have posted. I have a question and inshAllah you sisters are able to help me. I know Taraweeh prayer is recited aloud but is Tahajjud recited aloud as well?
Jazack Allahu Khaiyrum

Aziza July 7, 2013 at 8:20 AM  

"The Qiraat of Tahajjud Salaat may be read either “sirrun” (silently) or “jahrun” (audibly)."
(from http://www.themajlis.net/QA-index-myqa-yes-id_cat-11.html#719)
Hope that helps!

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