Is tarawih bida?
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Is Tarawih considered a bidaa? And if so, why is it practiced.. if not, why is it considered one in Bukhari?
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Is tarawih bida?
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It is reported by Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (saws) would encourage people to perform the special prayers during Ramadan without commanding them as obligatory and he said: "Whoever prays during the nights of Ramadan [tarawih] with a firm belief and hoping for reward, all of his previous sins would be forgiven."
Related by Muslim and Bukhari.
Hadrat Aisha (r.a.) reported that The Prophet offered salah (tarawih) in the mosque and many people prayed with him. The next day he (saws) did the same and more people prayed with him. Then the people gathered on the third night but, the Prophet (saws) did not come out to them. In the morning, he (saws) said to them: 'Surely I saw what you did, and nothing prevented me from coming out to you, save that I feared that it [tarawih prayer] would be made obligatory upon you.' And that was during Ramadan."
Related by Muslim and Bukhari.
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 9.393 Narrated by Zaid bin Thabit
The Prophet (saws) took a room made of date palm leaves mats in the mosque. The Prophet (saws) prayed in it for a few nights till the people gathered (to pray the night prayer (Tarawih) (behind him.) Then on the 4th night the people did not hear his voice and they thought he had slept, so some of them started humming in order that he might come out. The Prophet (saws) then said, "You continued doing what I saw you doing till I was afraid that this (Tarawih prayer) might be enjoined on you, and if it were enjoined on you, you would not continue performing it. Therefore, O people! Perform your prayers at your homes, for the best prayer of a person is what is performed at his home except the compulsory (congregational) prayer.
It is also true that during the time of Hadrat Umar, Hadrat Uthman, and Hadrat Ali the people prayed the Taraweeh of twenty rak'at, and this is the opinion of the majority of the jurists of the Hanafi and Hanbali schools. At-Tirmidhi says: "Most of the people of knowledge follow what has been related from 'Umar and 'Ali and other companions of the Prophet, [i.e., that they prayed Taraweeh of] twenty rak'at. And this is the opinion of al-Thauri, Ibn al-Mubarak, and ash-Shaf'i. And so I found the people of Makkah praying twenty rak'at."
Fiqh-us-Sunnah Fiqh 2.28
It is allowed to pray tarawih of the month of Ramadan in a congregation just as it is allowed to pray them on an individual basis. The majority of the scholars, however, prefer to pray them in congregation. The Prophet (saws) himself led the tarawih prayers in congregation with the Muslims for three days, but he discontinued since he feared that it would be made obligatory.
'Umar was the one who convoked the Muslims to pray tarawih behind one imam. Abdurahman ibn Abdulqari reports: "One night during Ramadan, I went with 'Umar to the mosque and the people were praying (tarawih) in different groups. Some were praying by themselves and others were praying in small groups. 'Umar said: 'I think it would be better if I gathered them under one imam .' Then he did so and appointed Ubayy ibn Ka'b as the leader of the prayer. Then I went out with him on another night and all the people were praying behind one imam and 'Umar said: 'What a good innovation (bid'ah) this is,' but, it is better to sleep and delay it until the latter portion of the night." The people (however) prayed it at the beginning of the night. This is related by al-Bukhari, Ibn Khuzaimah, and alBaihaqi.
Dear and Beloved Brother in Islam, the Messenger of Allah (saws) himself led the Tarawih prayers in Ramadan one year for three days and thus established the Sunnah, but discontinued the practice of leading the Tarawih prayers in congregation as he (saws) feared that these prayers would be made obligatory upon the believers. Thus the praying of the tarawih prayers continued throughout the life-time of Prophet Mohamed (saws) and during the reign of Hadrat Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r.a.), but the believers performed it individually. During the reign of the second Khalifah Hadrat Umar (r.a.), since there was no more fear of the tarawih being made obligatory, Hadrat Umar (r.a.) re-started the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws) to pray the Tarawih prayers behind one imam in congregation.
Thus the praying of the tarawih prayers is not an innovation, but rather a Sunnah which was established by the Messenger of Allah (saws). The phrase What a good bidah this is used by Hadrat Umar (r.a.) was no more than an expression of his satisfaction at seeing the believers pray the tarawih behind one imam and the re-starting of the Sunnah established by the Messenger of Allah (saws). The phrase of Hadrat Umar (r.a.) should not be taken out of context to mean anything more than an expression of his joy and satisfaction at seeing the believers perform their prayers in congregation behind one Imam.
Some people or sects who have their own agenda to revile some noble companions of the Prophet (saws) misrepresent this phrase of Hadrat Umar (r.a.), and try to propagate that Hadrat Umar (r.a.) started to bring innovations in the deen of Islam, whereas nothing could be further from the Truth! Although the Tarawih is a Sunnah which the Messenger of Allah (saws) himself established, but just for arguments sake if one were to claim that it was Hadrat Umar (r.a.) who started this practice, it would have been incumbent upon the believers to follow this practice from this command of the Messenger of Allah (saws):
Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 4590 Narrated by Irbad ibn Sariyah
Al-Irbad said: One day the Messenger of Allah (saws) led us in prayer, then faced us and gave us a lengthy exhortation at which the eyes shed tears and the hearts were afraid. A man said: O Messenger of Allah (saws)! It seems as if it were a farewell exhortation, so what injunction do you give us? He (saws) then said: I enjoin you to fear Allah, and to hear and obey even if it (your leader) be an Abyssinian slave, for those of you who live after me will see great disagreement. You must then follow my Sunnah and that of the Rightly-Guided Khalifahs.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,