Taraweeh Salaah 20 0r 8

Taraweeh Salaah 20 0r 8

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The reason for including the discussion around the Taraweeh Salaah in this talk is basically due to the increasing number of people among the masses who are influenced with the ideology of eight Rak’aats Taraweeh only.

Since this is in total contrast to the practice of the Ummah throughout time, and the fact that Tarweeh is Sunnah Muakkadah, the matter may not be treated lightly. A staunch approach to this baseless view needs to be taken.

One needs to mention:

The abhorrence of opposing against the view of the majority,

As well as the sin of habitually abandoning a Sunnan Muakkadah.

Hereunder are a few guidelines pertaining to this matter:

1. The issue of Taraweeh Salaah being 20 Rak’aats is one that even the Sahabah had Ijmaa’ (consensus) upon.

§ Haafidh Ibn ‘Abdil Barr (r.a.) says: “ The Sahaabah Had no dispute rregarding this, -Al-Istidhkaar, vol.5 pg. 157-

§ ‘Allamah Ibn Qudaamah (r.a.) said: “The Sahaabah made Ijmaa’ upon this in the era of Sayyiduna ‘Umar d” –Al-Mughni-

§ Haafidh Al-‘Iraqi (r.a.) states: “ They (The ‘Ulamaa) have considered the approval of the Sahaabah (when ‘Umar ddid so- as Ijmaa’ ”-Tarhu Tahreeb, part.3 pg.88 )

§ Mullâ Ali Qâri states that that the Sahâba (Allah be pleased with them) have made consensus (Ijmâ) on the practice of twenty raka’ât.(Mirqat vol.3 pg.194)

§ Ibn Hajar Al-Haitami (r.a.) and many others have also claimed Ijmaa’ of Sahaabah on this issue –Tuhfatul Akhyaar-.

2. As mentioned above, there exists no view in the four madhaahib that supports 8 Rak’aats Taraweeh.

§ The Hanafis, Shafi’es and Hambalis state that Taraweeh consist of 20 Rak’aats.

§ Imaam Maalik’s view is of 36 (and acc. To one report:41) Rak’aats. Although acc. One of his views he also has approved 20 Rak’aats. ( Some people claim that Imaam Malik (r.a.) also has a view of 11 rakaats. Hazrath Moulana Habibur Rahman Al-A’zami (r.a.) has adequately refuted this claim in his book: Rak’aate Taraweeh, pg. 86-87)

§ From the above, we can deduce that none in the entire Ummah practiced upon 8 rakaats. Since all are followers of the above 4 madhabs.

(Although there may have been certain individuals who may have renegaded…)

§ Moulana Habibur Rahman sahib (r.a.) says: “From after the era of Sayyiduna ‘Umar (r.a.) upto the end of the 13thCentury, You would not find any mention of people observing 8 rak’aats only.” (pg. 6)

§ Hazrath Moulana has also proven how 20 Rak’aats remained the practice of the Ummah up to this very day. (Rak’aate Taraweeh pgs.1-6)

3. Some proofs that support the above:

Sayyiduna Saaib Ibn Yazeed d reports that: “the people would offer 20 Rak’aats in Ramadaan during the era of: Sayyiduna ‘Umar d . (Sunanul Kubraa-Baihaqi, vol.2 pg. 496; Nasbur Raayah, vol.2 pg.154;

Others besides Sayyiduna Saaib Ibn Yazeed d have also reported 20 Rak’aats being introduced by : Sayyiduna ‘Umar d (Rak’aate Taraweeh pg.63-68)

They are: 2) Sayyiduna Yazeed Ibn Rumaan, 3) Yahya Ibn Sa’eed Al-Ansari, 4) Sayyiduna Ubay Ibn Ka’b d, 5) Muhammad Ibn Ka’b Al-Qurazhi .

The following Muhadditheen have accepted these reports (the reports of 20 Rak’aats from sayyiduna ‘Umar (r.a.) to be authentic:

§ Ibn ‘Abdil Barr (r.a.)

§ Al-Nawawi (r.a.)

§ Al-‘Iraaqi (r.a.)

§ Allamah Subki (r.a.) (r.a.)

§ ‘Allamah Suyuti (r.a.)

§ Mulla ‘Ali Qari (r.a.)

§ And a host of others.

3.3 Imaam Baihaqi (r.a.) has narrated from several chains that Sayyiduna ‘Ali (r.a.) also maintained the practice of 20 rak’aats Taraweeh. (Sunanul Kubraa, vol.2 pgs.494-495)

3.4. This has also been reported as the practice of:

1. Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood d (Rak’aate Taraweeh pg.66)

2. Sayyiduna ‘Abdur-Rahman Ibn Abi Bakr d (Fadhaail Shahr Ramadaan-Ibn Abi Dunya, pg.54)

3. Sayyiduna Ubayy Ibn Ka’b d (Ibn Abi Shaybah, vol.2, pg.285)

4. Shutair Ibn Shakl (r.a.). (ibid)

5. Ibn Abi Mulaykah (r.a.). (ibid)

6. Haarith Al-Hamdaani (r.a.) (ibid)

7. ‘Ali Ibn Rabee’ah (r.a.). (ibid)

8. Abul Bukhtari (r.a.). (ibid)

9. Sayyidut Tabi’een: Sa’eed Ibn Jubair (r.a.) (ibid)

10. ‘Ataa (r.a.) says: “ I found the people offering 23 Rak;aats including Witr. (ibid)

11. Sa’ed Ibn Abil Hasan (r.a.) (Mukhtasar Qiyamul Layl – lil Marwazi (r.a.) , pg. 202)

12. ‘Imraan Al-‘Abdi (r.a.) (ibid)

13. Suwaid Ibn Ghaflah (r.a.) (Sunanul Kubra vol.2 pg.495)

3.5. There also exists a Narration that states that Rasulullah j had offered 20 Rak’aats Taraweeh. (Ibn Abi Shaybah vol.2 pg.286 and Baihaqi vol.2 pg.496) The chain for this narration is weak. However, it is a well established principle in Usoolul Hadith and Usoolul Fiqh that if a Hadith that posses a weak chain is supported by the general practise of the ummah (In the era of Sahabah and Tabi’een) then that Hadith will be considered authentic. (There are several examples of this, see Shaykh Isma’eel ibn Muhammad Al-Ansari’s refutation of the view of 8 Rak’aats)

Moulana Habibur Rahman sahib has mentioned that this albeit weak narration is supported by the foll.:

1. The fact that the general practice of the Muslims in th era of Sayyiduna ‘Umar d conforms to it.

2. This remained the practice even in the era of Sayyiduna ‘Ali d.

3. The 4 madhaahib concur with it.

4. The fact that the entire Ummat has been practicing upon it upto this day.

These are sufficient to strengthen this narration and raise it to the level of authenticity. (pg. 60)

Note: One may add: Interestingly, Imaam Ibn Abi Shaybah (r.a.), under the chapter of the number of rak’aats to be offered in Ramadaan” first quotes the practice of 20 Rak’aats from 10 different Sahhabah and Tabi’een. Thereafter he cited the Narration of 20 rak’aats from Rasulullah j. (Musanaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, vol.2 pg.285-286)

(Was he probably alluding to its strength, as explored above…?)

4. Those who prefer 8 Rak’aats generally contest the fact that Sayyiduna ‘Umar d had introduced 20 Rak’aats. They say it was in fact only 8 rakaats that he established.

4.1 This claim is easily refutable in the light of the above quotations.

Furthermore, Imaam Tirmizi (r.a.), has stated the following in his Sunan:

“And most of the ‘Ulamaa have chosen 20 Rak’aats as has been reported from Sayyiduna ‘Ali d and Sayyiduna ‘Umard and other sahaabah d besides them two …” (Sunan Tirmizi, vol.1 pg.99)

The fact that Imaam Tirmizi (r.a.) did not even mention 8 Rak’aats from Sayyiduna ‘Umar d or anyone else, is a clear indication as to which is the proper view.

4.2 Moreover, some ‘Ulamaa have reconciled by stating that probably Sayyiduna ‘Umar (r.a.) first introduced 8 Rak’aats which thereafter became 20. This then became the constant practice in his era as well as those after him. (Baihaqi- sunanul Kubraa, vol.2 pg. 496; Similar statement made by ‘Allamah Baaji (r.a.) in Sharhul Muwatta)

4.3 In Fact Moulana Habibur Rahman saheb (r.a.) and others have challenged the narration of 8 from Sayyiduna ‘Umar d and has classified it as weak (due to Idh-tiraab- i.e, diverse conflict between the narrators-(Pgs.7-8)

4.4 The fact that Imaam Malik (r.a.) is one who narrated this (8 Rak’aats from Sayyiduna ‘Umar d) but still chose either 20 or 36 or 41 Rak’aats further weakens this narration. (IktilaafeUmmat, pg. 498)

4.5 Another weakening factor is that: there are no other quotations from Sahabah and Tabi’een that support this version (of 8 rak’aats) (ibid)

5. This should also be emphasised that the mere fact that Sayyiduna ‘Umar (r.a.) had approved of 20 rak’aats and the other Khulafaa maintained it, it sufficient to prove its importance. This is in the light of the Hadith that says:

عليكم بسنتي و سنة الخلفاء الراشدين

(أبو داود)

In the light of this Hadith the ‘Ulamaa have ruled that the Sunah of the Khulafaa is also part of sunnah Muakkadah (Moulana Abdul Hay Al-lakhnawi (r.a.) in Tuhfatul Akhyaar)

Haafidh Ibn Rajab Al-Hambali (r.a.) says: ” The directive in this Hadith to follow the Khulafaa is as incumbent as following the Sunnah of Rasulullah() himself. (Jaami’ul ‘Uoom, vol.1 pg.774)

This becomes even more clear when one realises that rasulull;ah () said this as part of his last advices.

Infact, the sunnah (practices) of Sayyiduna ‘Umar (r.a.), enjoy an added significance.

This is in the light of narrations such as the following:

§ Rasulullah Sallalahu Allayhi Wassalam said:

§ إن الله جعل الحق على لسان عمر ، وقلبِه

(أبو داود)

§ Sayyiduna ‘Ali (r.a.) would meticulously follow the practices of Sayyiduna ‘Umar (r.a.) and he would say: ” Indeed he (‘Umar (r.a.) ) was always correct in his affairs”

§ Sayyiduna ‘Abullah Ibn Mas’ood (r.a.) said on oath: “The Siraat Mustaqeem (staright path) is that which ‘Umar (r.a) chose.”

§ Khalifah ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abdil ‘Azeez said in one of his addresses to the people: “Behold! Whatever The Messenger of Allah () and his two companions(Abu Bakr and ‘Umar () ) have implemented is a duty that we have to follow and adhere to in our religion.”

(all the above are extracted from: Jaami’ul ‘Uoom wal hikam of: Haafidh Ibn Rajab Al-Hambali(r.a.), vol.1 pgs.776-777.)


a. Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) said the following when asked concerning Taraweeh, and its introduction by Sayyiduna ‘Umar d : “Tarweeh is sunnah Muakkadah. Sayyiduna ‘Umar did not introduce it from his own intellect, neither was it an innovation from his side. He surely did so because of having some knowledge about it from Rasulullah j .” (Shaami, vol.2 pg.493-Ilmiyyah)’Allamah Al-Mausili (r.a.) (Author of; Al-Ikhtiyar) after quoting the above states: “He (sayyiduna ‘Umar (r.a.)did so in the presence of a large group of sahabah d among them were the likes of: Sayyiduna: ‘Uthman , ‘Ali, Ibn Mas’ood, ‘Abbas, Ibn ‘Abbas, Talhah, Zubair , Mu’aadh, Ubayy d and others among the Muhajireen and Ansaar. None of them objected to him, rather they assisted him and concurred with him. Al-Ikhtiyaar, vol.1 pg.95 )

6. Haramain.

The aspect of Taraweeh is really as clear as daylight. Therefore, one will find that in the Haramayn of Makkatul Mukarramah and Madinah Munawwarah up to this day, from the very time of Umar (Radhiallaahu anhu), twenty Rakaats is performed in Jamaa. The Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu anhu), the Taabiéen (those who came after the Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu anhum), the Imaams of Fiqh (jurisprudence) and the entire Ummah, with the exception of the so called Ahle Hadith of recent times, has been unanimous on twenty Rakaats. (Shaykh ‘Atiyyah Saalim (r.a.) -a renown Scholar in the Arab World- has written a book proving 20 rak’aats Tarweeh in the Musjid of Rasulullah jfor over 1000 yrs !)

7. Those who hold the view of 8 rak’aats Taraweeh hold the same belief as the Shî’a regarding taraweeh..

It is an accepted fact among the true scholars of Islam that for centuries, tarâwîh prayer was and is an additional prayer in the month of Ramadân. The Shî’as are the only ones that reject tarâwîh. Similar to them are: the Ahl al-Hadith sect (or Salafis) also reject the fact that there is an additional prayer in Ramadân. Their belief is that tahajjud prayer which is performed during the latter portion of the night was brought forward in Ramadân. Thus there is no addition in Ramadân.

(Ml. E Kadwa, -“Is Taraweeh 20 rak’aats?”)

They claim: since Tahajjud only consists of 8 rak’aats (which is also a wrong claim, as other Ahadith suggest more rak’aats) the same applies to Taraweeh.

8. There are several differences between Tarweeh and Tahajjud some of them are:

1.20 Rak’aats8 Rak’aats
2.Sunnah MuakkadahNafl-Mustahabb
3.Should be offered in Jama’ahIndividually only
4.In Ramadaan onlyThroughout the year
5.Offered at the earlier part of the nightLatter part is more virtues


One may also quote those Ahadith that wherein Rasulullah j had encouraged qiyaam in Ramadaan specifically.

من قام رمضان إيمانا واحتسابا غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه

(البخاري ومسلم)

إن الله فرض صيام رمضان ، وسننت لكم قيامه ، فمن صامه وقامه إيمانا واحتسابا ، خرج من ذنوبه كيوم ولدته أمه

(النسائي ، الترغيب: 2/ 105)

أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ

كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يُرَغِّبُ فِي قِيَامِ رَمَضَانَ مِنْ غَيْرِ أَنْ يَأْمُرَهُمْ فِيهِ بِعَزِيمَةٍ فَيَقُولُ مَنْ قَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ



These Ahadith prove the fact that there is an additional prayer to be offered during the nights of Ramadaan.

§ Furthermore Rasulullah j said:

الصلوة خير موضوع فمن استطاع أن يستكثر فليستكثر

(الطبراني من حديث أبي هريرة، وانظر : مجمع الزوائد: 2/249)

Therefore, the more the better.

§ One should also bear in mind that the month of Ramadaan is a month in which Muslims generally exert themselves in ‘Ibaadah. This concept of 20 rak’aats surely displays more exertion than 8.

§ Infact those who choose 8 only should examine their souls, it should not be that their laziness towards ‘Ibaadah leads them to their conclusion of 8 rak’aats only..?

9. To believe that the twenty rakaats is an innovation of Sayyiduna Umar (R.A.) IS TO UNDERMINE THE INTEGRITY OF Sayyiduna Umar (R.A.) and all the Sahabah who were present at that time.! This is exactly what the Shi’ah generally aim at. In fact they consider it an act of virtue!

10. Lastly, the general advise of ‘Ulama is that whatever a person inculcates during Ramadhan, will remain with him throughout the year that follows. Ramadhan serves as a recharge & training platform. We abstain from Halaal even (during the times of the fast) so that we acquire the ability to shun Haraam as well for the rest of the year.

In this light, note that the number of Fardh Salaah (including the Witr) that are to be offered daily is 20!

Therefore, one who sacrifices during the blessed month by offering these 20 rak’aats of Voluntary salaah, he will insha Allah be punctual the rest of the year with that which is obligatory.

The masses should be cautioned against accepting such innovative views from people who claim to have knowledge but refuse to follow the way of the sahaabah and the general Ummah at large.The issue of Taraweeh is one of many such erroneous views held by these deviant entities. In fact the masses should be advised against even arguing with such people. They should rather refer them to the ‘Ulamaa. والله أعلم

Sheikh Mohammed ibn Moulana Haroon Abasoomer