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Brother,i wanna know if the taraweeh prayer is 20 rakaat(unit) or less.did prophet mohammad(sws) told us to perform this amount of saalat or not?

How many rakaahs in Taraweeh?

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol,  no person,  no grave, no prophet,  no imam,  no dai,  nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

Hadrat Aishah reported that the Prophet (saws) would not pray more than eleven rak`at during Ramadan or otherwise. 

Ibn Khuzaimah and Ibn Hibban have recorded in their sahihs on the authority of Jabir that the Prophet (saws) prayed eight rak`at and the witr prayer with the companions. Then, the next day, the people waited for him but he did not come out to them.

Jabir that Ubayy ibn Ka`b  reported that he came to the Prophet(saws) and said: "O Messenger of Allah, I have done something last night," (i.e., during Ramadan). The Prophet said: `And what was that, O Ubayy?` He said: The women in my house said, `We don`t recite Qur`an [well or much] so can we pray behind you?` I prayed eight rak`at and the witr prayer with them. The Messenger of Allah(saws) was pleased with that and did not say anything."

This is the sunnah that has been related from the Messenger of Allah and nothing besides that is authentic.

It is also true that during the time of `Umar, `Uthman, and `Ali the people prayed twenty rak`at, and this is the opinion of the majority of the jurists of the Hanafi and Hanbali schools as well as that of Dawud.

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] 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."

Some of the scholars are of the opinion that the sunnah is eleven rak`at, including witr, and it is also preferred to pray the remainder [of the twenty rak`at] .

Al-Kamal ibn al-Hamam says: "The evidence indicates that the sunnah of the twenty rak`at is what the Prophet(saws) himself did and then he stopped out of fear that it would become something obligatory (for his followers), therefore, the rest of the rak`at are only preferred.  It is however, confirmed that he only prayed eleven rak`at, including the witr, as is stated in the two sahihs.  According to the scholars, the sunnah is eight rak`at while it is preferred to pray twelve rak`at."

The number of rakahs to be prayed in the Taraweeh prayers is something that the scholars of Islam has differed upon. The most accepted Sunnah of the Prophet (saws) is that he prayed eight rakahs and three of witr,  for a total of eleven.   It is also an accepted practice of the early companions like Hadrat Umar,  Hadrat Uthman and Hadrat Ali,  that they would pray twenty rakahs in the Taraweeh prayer.

The Messenger of Allah (saws) said in an authentic narration: “Upon you (the believers) is my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Khalifas.”

In light of the above hadiths, one can pray either eight rakahs and three witr, or twenty rakahs as was the practice of the early companions.  

Brother, what we must understand is that the Taraweeh prayers are not fard,  but they are voluntary of ‘nafl’ prayers.   And any ‘nafl’ prayer which the Prophet (saws) prayed, becomes the Sunnah for us.  Thus if one prays the Taraweeh prayers, he will get a huge reward from Allah Subhanah for performing voluntary prayers; and if he does not pray, there is no sin.  The most one can say of one who does pray Taraweeh is that he misses the opportunity to earn huge reward from Allah Subhanah.   

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s 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,







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