[Q-ID0476] What are the proofs for 20 rakaat Tarawih prayer?

QUESTION:

What do the scholars and muftis of the mighty Shari’ah say regarding the following matter: are there any Ahaadith that prove the authenticity of performing 20 rakaat for Salat ut Taraaweeh?

A Shia asked me this question and (he) said that I used to pray 20 rakaat Salat ut Taraaweeh however after doing some research I came to realise that it is not proven from any ahaadith (narrations) so I left performing it.

Questioner: Adeel from England

ANSWER:

بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب

Imam Tabaraani has reported in his book Mu’jam Al-Kabeer and Imam Bayhaqi has reported in his book As Sunan ul Kubra and Allaamah Ibn Abi Shaybah has narrated in his book Musannaf and Musnad ibn Hameed and Imam Baghawi has narrated on the authority of the beloved companion Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbaas رضي الله تعالى عنهما

عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ اَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ كَانَ يُصَلِّيْ فِيْ رَمَضَانَ عِشْرِيْنَ رَكْعَةً سِوَى الْوِتْرِ

“Without doubt, In the blessed month of Ramadaan the Beloved and Blessed Prophet ﷺ used to perform 20 rakaat salaah excluding that of Witr.”

[السنن الکبری للبیہقی ج 2 ص 494رقم الحدیث4391 /المعجم الکبیرج 11 ص393 رقم الحدیث12102 /مصنف ابن ابی شیبہ ج2 ص164رقم الحدیث7692 /مسند ابن حمید ج 1 ص 218 رقم الحدیث353 /مجمع الزوائد ج3 ص172]

This Hadith has been passed down by means of many chains of narration, if we consider each one of them separately then this would total to more than 7 Ahaadith. However in terms of text we consider it as one.

Also it is also acknowledged through this that the Beloved Prophet ﷺhimself would perform 20 rakaat of Taraaweeh. Even though at that time it was not referred to as Taraweeh.

The Actions of blessed companions during the era of Hazrat Umar رضي الله تعالى عنه 

Imam Malik (A profound pious predecessor) has narrated in his book Muwatta, directly from Yazeed bin Rumān, and Imam Bayhaqi in As Sunan Ul Kubra narrated the following statement:

كَانَ النَّاسُ يَقُوْمُوْنَ فِيْ زَمَانِ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ رَضِيَ الله عَنْهُ فِيْ رَمَضَانَ بِثَلاَثٍ وَّ عِشْرِيْنَ رَكْعَةً

During the era of Hazrat Umar رضي الله تعالى عنه  people would perform 3 and 20 rakaat in the blessed month of Ramadaan (meaning a total of 23 rakaat).

[موطاامام مالک کتاب الصلوۃ باب الترغیب فی الصلوۃ۔۔ ج 1ص115 رقم الحدیث253 /السنن الکبری للبیہقی  ج2 ص496 رقم الحدیث4394]

Allaamah Abdullah bin Ahmad bin Qudaamah after mentioning this narration has annotated:

وهذا كالاجماع

Meaning the stand/opinion regarding the 20 rakaat Salah of Taraaweeh is consensually agreed upon.

 [المغنى ج1 ص456 بيروت]

Imam Bayhaqi in Ma’rifah As Sunan Wal Aathaar and As Sunan Us Sagheer with an authentic narration from Saaib bin Yazeed has stated:

عَنِ السَّائِبِ بْنِ يَزِيْدَ قَالَ ” كُنَّا نَقُوْمُ فِيْ زَمَانِ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ رَضِيَ الله عَنْهُ بِعِشْرِيْنَ رَكْعَةً وَالْوِتْرِ

On the authority of Saaib bin Yazeed, he said “During the era of Hazrat Umar (رضي الله تعالى عنه) We (the blessed companions) used to collectively perform 20 rakaat salaah of Taraweeh and Witr.

[معرفة السنن و الآثار باب قيام رمضان ج4 ص42 رقم الحديث5409/ السنن الصغير باب قيام شهر رمضان ج1 ص297]

Hazrat Ubay bin Ka’b (Companion of the Prophet ﷺ) has  narrated:

أَنَّ عُمَرَ أَمَرَ أُبَيًّا أَنْ يُصَلِّيَ بِالنَّاسِ فِيْ رَمَضَانَ فَقَالَ إِنَّ النَّاسَ يَصُوْمُوْنَ النَّهَارَ وَلاَ يحسنون أن (يقرؤا) فَلَوْ قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ عَلَيْهِمْ بِاللَّيْلِ فَقَالَ يَا أَمِيْرَ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ هَذَا (شَيْءٌ) لَمْ يَكُنْ فَقَالَ قَدْ عَلِمْتُ وَ لَكِنَّهُ أَحْسَنُ فَصَلَّى بِهِمْ عِشْرِيْنَ رَكْعَةً

 (إِسْنَاده حسن)

Hazrat Umar (رضي الله تعالى عنه) ordered me to lead the people in Taraweeh prayer and Hazrat Umar (رضي الله تعالى عنه) said “that the people are fasting during the day and they are unable to recite the Quran as much, you recite the Quran to them at night.” Then Ubay bin Ka’b (رضي الله تعالى عنه) said, “O Leader of the Believers this has never been done before” Hazrat Umar replied, ” I am aware of this however this is good/excellent. After that Hazrat Ubay bin Ka’b   (رضي الله تعالى عنه) led the people in prayer a total of 20 rakaat.

(الاحاديث المختاره باب آخرج ج3 ص367)

It is derived from this that any good action that is brought about/implemented is a Sunnah(Way) of Farooq e A’dham (رضي الله تعالى عنه). When Hazrat Ubay bi Ka’b (رضي الله تعالى عنه) mentioned that this had never taken place before, whereupon Hazrat Umar answered; even though it did not take place before, it is [something] good, which is why I am implementing it.

20 Rakaat during the Era of Hazrat Umar and Hazrat Uthmaan رضي الله عنهما

Imam Bayhaqi narrates from Saaib bin Yazeed:

كَانُوْا يَقُوْمُوْنَ عَلَى عَهْدِ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ رَضِيَ الله عَنْهُ فِيْ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ بِعِشْرِيْنَ رَكْعَةً” قَالَ: ” وَ كَانُوْا يَتَوَكَّئُوْنَ عَلَى عَصِيِّهِمْ فِيْ عَهْدِ عُثْمَانَ بْنِ عَفَّانَ رَضِيَ الله عَنْهُ مِنْ شِدَّةِ الْقِيَامِ

Hazrat Saaib bin Yazeed (رضي الله تعالى عنه) states,

During the blessed era of Hazrat Umar Farooq (رضي الله تعالى عنه) people would offer 20 rakaat Salah in Ramadaan. Within those Taraweeh they would recite those Surahs which have at least 100 verses. During the blessed era of Hazrat Uthmaan e Ghani (رضي الله تعالى عنه), due to standing for long periods of time, they would lean upon their staffs.

(السنن الكبرى ج2 ص496 رقم الحديث 4393 بيروت)

20 Rakaat in the time of Sayyiduna Ali

Hazrat Imam Bayhaqi has written in his book As Sunan ul Kubra that Hazrat Abu Abdur Rahmaan Sulami has narrated:

”  أَنَّ عَلِيَّ ابْنَ أَبِي طالب دَعَا الْقُرَّاءَ فِي رَمَضَانَ فَأَمَرَ مِنْهُمْ رَجُلًا يُّصَلِّيْ بِالنَّاسِ عِشْرِيْنَ رَكْعَةً  “

In the blessed month of Ramadān Hazrat Ali (كرّم الله تعالى وجهه الكريم) would call all the Reciters of the Qur’aan (Qurraa) and appoint one of them to lead the people in 20 Rakaat.

(السنن الکبری ج2 ص496 رقه الحدیث4396 بیروت )

Saying of Imam Tirmizi

وَ أَكْثَرُ أَهْلِ الْعِلْمِ عَلَى مَا رُوِيَ عَنْ عُمَرَ, وَ عَلِيٍّ, وَ غَيْرِهِمَا مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ عْشْرِيْنَ رَكْعَةً وَهُوَ قَوْلُ الثَّوْرِيِّ وَ ابْنِ الْمُبَارَكِ وَ الشَّافِعِيِّ: وَهَكَذَا أَدْرَكْتُ بِبَلَدِنَا بِمَكَّةَ يُصَلُّوْنَ عِشْرِيْنَ رَكْعَةً

“And most people of knowledge, based upon these Ahaadith which are narrated from Hazrat Umar, Hazrat Ali and other blessed companions رضي الله تعالى عنهم أجمعين , are of the opinion of 20 rakaat. This is also the opinion of Sufyan Thawri, Ibn Mubaarak and Shaafi’i. And Shaafi’i said:

Likewise I have found this in my city of Makkah that they would perform 20 rakaat.

 (سنن الترمذی باب ما جاء في قياو شهر رمضان رقه الحدیث806)

Action of Hazrat Suwayd bin Ghafalah رضي الله تعالى عنه

Imam Bayhaqi has mentioned in his book As Sunan ul Kubra:

أنبأ أَبُو الخَصِيْبِ قَالَ: “كَانَ يَؤُمُّنَا سُوَيْدُ بْنُ غَفَلَةَ فِيْ رَمَضَانَ فَيُصَلِّي خَمْسَ تَرْوِيْحَاتٍ عِشْرِيْنَ رَكْعَةً

Hazrat Abu Khaseeb has stated that Suwayd bin Ghafalah would lead us in 5 Tarweehat (i.e. 20 rakaat) Salah.

(السنن الكبرى ج2 ص496 رقم الحديث 4395 بيروت)

Hazrat Ali’s رضي الله تعالى عنه own action

Allaamah Ibn Abi Shaybah narrated form Hazrat Shutayr:

عَنْ شُتَيْرِ بْنِ شَكَلٍ, وَ كَانَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ عَلِيٍّ رَضِيَ الله عَنْهُ  ” أَنَّهُ كَانَ يَؤُمُّهُمْ فِيْ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ بِعِشْرِيْنَ رَكْعَةً وَ يُوْتِرَ بِثَلاَثٍ

On the authority of Hazrat Shutayr who is amongst the companions of Hazrat Ali رضي الله تعالى عنه that Hazrat Ali (كرّم الله تعالى وجهه الكريم) would lead 20 rakaat salaah of Taraaweeh and 3 rakaat of Witr during the blessed month of Ramadaan.

                                                                            (  مصنف إبن أبي شيبه ج2 ص163 رقم الحديث 7680)

Action of Hazrat Ibn Abi Mulaykah رضي الله تعالى عنه 

Allaamah Ibn Abi Shaybah narrates from Hazrat Nafi’:

عَنْ نَافِعِ بْنِ عُمَرَ قَالَ: “كَانَ ابْنُ أَبِيْ مُلَيْكَةَ يُصَلِّيْ بِنَا فِيْ رَمَضَانَ عِشْرِيْنَ رَكْعَةً , وَ يَقْرَأُ: بِحَمْدِ الْمَلآئِكَةِ فِيْ رَكْعَةٍ

On the Authority of Hazrat Nafi’   رضي الله تعالى عنه he said:
Hazrat Ibn Abi Mulaykah used to lead us in prayer in the month of Ramadaan; 20 rakaat Salaah.

 (مصنف إبن أبي شيبه ج2 ص163 رقم الحديث 7683)

Action of Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood رضي الله تعالى عنه

قَالَ الأَعْمَشُ: كَانَ يُصَلِّيْ عِشْرِيْنَ رَكْعَةً وَ يُوْتِرَ بِثَلاَثٍ

Imam A’amash said: Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood رضي الله تعالى عنه used to pray 20 rakaat (of Taraweeh) and 3 rakaat of Witr.

Based on these Ahaadith it is understood that 20 Rakaat Salah of Taraaweeh is a Sunnah of the Beloved Messenger ﷺ, was the practice of the illustrious companions and Taabe’een  رضي الله تعالى عنهم أجمعين , and remains the practice of the Muslims till this day.

واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری

Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by Bilal Shabir

Read the original answer in Urdu here – [Q-ID0476] What are the proofs for 20 rakaat Tarawih prayer? 

Also see:

[Q-ID0501] Does the non-Fasting person have to pray the Tarawih prayer?

[Q-ID0343] Can I pray the Tarawih prayer at home instead of the Masjid?

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