Permissibility of Praying Taraaweeh - I

Permissibility of Praying Taraaweeh - I
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It was narrated on the authority of ‘Abdul-Rahmaan ibn ‘Abd Al-Qaari’  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him that he said,

I went out in the company of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him, one night in Ramadan to the mosque and found the people praying in different groups: a man praying alone and a man praying with a small group behind him. So, ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, ‘I believe it would be better to collect these (people) under the leadership of one reciter (i.e. let them pray in congregation).’ So, he made up his mind to gather them behind Ubayy ibn Ka’b, may Allah be pleased with him.
Then on another night, I went out again in his company and the people were praying behind their reciter. On that, ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, remarked, ‘What an excellent Bid’ah (innovation) this is! However, the prayer which they do not perform, but sleep at its time is better than the one they are offering now.’ He meant the prayer in the last part of the night as (in those days) people used to pray in the early part of the night.” [Al-Bukhari]
 
Another version reads
‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him, commanded Ubayy ibn Ka‘b and Tameem Ad-Daari, may Allah be pleased with them, to lead people in Qiyaam with eleven Rak’ahs (units of prayer). The reciter would recite a Surah (chapter) that has one hundred verses (or approximately that number in each Rak‘ah), until we had to lean on canes because of the long standing. We would not finish except with the arrival of Fajr (the dawn prayer). [Maalik]
In a third version, ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said
By Allah, I think it would be better if we gathered these (people) behind one reciter. Then he resolved on doing so and commanded Ubayy ibn Ka‘b, may Allah be pleased with him, to lead them in the Qiyaam during Ramadan. Then ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, went out while people were praying behind their reciter, so he said, ‘How excellent this Bid‘ah is! However, the prayer which you do not perform, but sleep at its time is better than the one you are offering.’ He meant the prayer in the last part of the night.
People used to pray at the beginning of the night and curse the disbelievers in the middle (of the night) by saying, ‘O Allah, fight the disbelievers who avert people from Your way, accuse Your messengers of lying and disbelieve Your promise. [O Allah] disunite them, throw terror in their hearts and send down Your punishment on them, You, the Lord of Truth.’ Then he would invoke blessings upon the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) and supplicate for the Muslims as much as he could, then ask Allah to forgive the believers.
After supplicating against the disbelievers, invoking blessings upon the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) asking Allah to forgive the believing men and women and supplicating Allah, he would say, ‘O Allah, we do worship You, pray and prostrate to You, proceed to You and hasten to serve You. We hope for Your mercy, our Lord, we fear Your serious punishment, for definitely Your punishment will be inflicted on Your enemies.’ Then he would make Takbeer and prostrate. [Ibn Khuzaymah] [Al-Albaani: Saheeh]
 
Benefits and rulings:
  • First: The Taraaweeh Prayer (voluntary congregational prayer in Ramadan) is an act of Sunnah (tradition) that was enacted by the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) then he stopped performing it for fear that it would become obligatory for Muslims. People continued to pray it on their own during his time and during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him. During his caliphate, ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, gathered people under the leadership of one Imaam (prayer leader). Thus, he revived the Sunnah of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). Scholars, during and after his time, unanimously agreed that the Taraaweeh Prayer is recommended.
  • Second: A less meritorious person may revive an act of Sunnah and come up with a virtue that a more meritorious person did not come up with. This applies to the case of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him, whom Allah inspired to revive this great act of Sunnah. Allah did not inspire Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, to do so although he was better than ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, and had a greater drive to do good. ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, even said, “By Allah, I will never be ahead of him (in doing good deeds).” [Abu Daawood and At-Tirmithi]
Ali ibn Abi Taalib, may Allah be pleased with him, used to pass by mosques while lanterns were lighting them during the month of Ramadan and say, “May Allah fill the grave of ‘Umar with light as he filled our mosques with light.” [Ibn ‘Asaakir and Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr] “Filled our mosques with light” means with the Taraaweeh Prayer.
This should be the attitude of each Muslim. He should not underestimate his righteous efforts because Allah may open for him a door of goodness that He did not open for someone who is better than him. That is the bounty of Allah which He gives to whom He wills, and Allah is The Possessor of great bounty.
  • Third: It is better for Muslims to be united and shun disunity, and the Muslim rulers should work to achieve that.
  • Fourth: The Ijtihaad (efforts expended to arrive at a Sharee'ah ruling) made by the ruler regarding the acts of Sunnah is binding on people and they must obey him as the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, complied with the order of ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, when he gathered them under the leadership of one Imaam.
  • Fifth: Blessings are hoped to be gained from the consensus of Muslims on reviving the Sunnah and gathering in performing acts of obedience, because the supplication that is made by each of them encompasses the whole group. Hence, the congregational prayer is twenty-seven times better than the individual prayer. Sa‘eed ibn Jubayr  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “Praying behind an Imaam who recites only the chapter of Al-Ghaashiyah is dearer to me than praying on my own while reciting one hundred verses.”
  • Sixth: If an act is overlooked for a certain reason and this reason no longer exists, then there is no harm in resuming that act, as ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, revived the performance of Taraaweeh in congregation in Ramadan.
  • Seventh: People are to be led in prayer by the man who has memorized the greatest part of the Quran. Ubayy, may Allah be pleased with him, had memorized the greatest part of the Quran, hence, ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, asked him to lead people in the Taraaweeh Prayer. This is the best thing to be done, yet it is not obligatory because ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, also asked Tameem Ad-Daari, may Allah be pleased with him, to lead the Companions in the Taraaweeh Prayer though some of them had better command of the Quran.
  • Eighth: It is permissible for women to attend the Taraaweeh Prayer with Muslims in mosques. Also, it is permissible for a man to lead the women in the prayer alone if temptation is ruled out.
  • Ninth: It is permissible to stand behind someone who is praying even if the latter did not intend to be a leader in prayer.
  • Tenth: If it is the habit of the Imaam to have a break after each two or four Rak‘ahs (units) of the Taraaweeh or Qiyaam, then the people who are led by him are not allowed to make voluntary prayer in between. Imaam Ahmad  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him disliked that. Also, three Companions: ‘Ubaadah ibn As-Saamit, Abu Ad-Dardaa’ and ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir, may Allah be pleased with them, were reported to have disliked that too.
  • Eleventh: If someone prayed the Taraaweeh behind his Imaam and left, then reached another congregation praying the Taraaweeh and wanted to join them, he can do so. This act is called the Ta‘qeeb and it was permitted by Anas ibn Maalik, may Allah be pleased with him, who said, “They only return seeking reward or because they fear evil overcoming them.” Imaam Ahmad  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “There is no harm in it.”
  • Twelfth: It is permissible to gather for performing voluntary prayer only in Qiyaam during the month of Ramadan. Gathering for doing so outside the month of Ramadan is a religious innovation, for example, like a congregation made to perform the night prayer throughout the year or on certain nights. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) did not gather his Companions to perform voluntary prayer except in Ramadan. This Sunnah was revived by ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, when the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) overlooked it for fear that it would become obligatory for Muslims.

Permissibility of the Taraaweeh Prayer - II

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