Number of rak'ahs in Taraweeh in Hanafi School
Fatwa No: 309061

  • Fatwa Date:15-1-2016 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 5, 1437
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum shaykh. I am a new follower of ahle-hadith from India. Some hanafi people here argue that only the 20 rak'ah taraweeh is from the Sunnah. I know that there are other hadiths in Al-Bukhaari where the prophet prayed 11 and 13 rakah's Taraweeh/Tahajjud. I also know that here are some hadiths in Muwatta Imam Maalik where Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, ordered Ubay ibn Ka'b and Tamim Ad-Dari to offer 11 rak'ahs and also 20 rak'ahs. The thing is that, at first, the night prayer at the time of Umar was 11 rakahs, then he reduced the length (of the rak'ahs) for them and made it 21 rak'ahs so that it would be easier for them. I just want to know about this hadith of Jaabir only. Please tell me whether this hadith is authentic, weak or good and why? Jaabir, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, led us in prayer in Ramadan and prayed 8 rak’ahs and witr. (Saheeh Ibn Khuzaimah (2/138 no.1070), Saheeh Ibn Hibbaan (4/62,64 no.2401, 2406) Some people say that Eesaa bin Jaariyyah, who is present in this chain, is weak, and Imams Ibn Ma’een, Nasaa’ee, as-Saajee, Uqailee, Ibn Adiyy and Abu Dawood criticized him, and some said that he was munkar al-hadith, i.e. rejected in hadith. I hope that I am clear in my words. Please help me. May Allaah reward you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger. 

First of all, it should be mentioned that the Sunnah about the number of Taraweeh prayers according to the Hanafi School is twenty rak’ahs, but some scholars among them stated that the Sunnah from the twenty rak’ahs is eleven rak’ahs and whatever exceeded this number is recommended, and this is the preponderant opinion of the shaykhs of this School.

Ibn Nujaym said in al-Bahr ar-Raa’iq:

The verifying scholar (Al-Kamaal ibn Al-Humaam) said in Fat-h Al-Qadeer what can be summarized as follows: the evidence implies that the Sunnah from the twenty rak’ahs is the number of rak’ahs that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) had prayed and then left for fear that it would be made an obligation on us, and it is confirmed that it was eleven rak’ahs including the witr, as reported in Saheeh Al-Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim from the hadeeth by ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her. Therefore, the Sunnah according to what is confirmed by our shaykhs is eight rak’ahs and what is recommended is twelve rak’ahs.

As regards the hadeeth that you referred to in the question, it was reported by Ibn Hibbaan and At-Tabaraani and others. At-Tabaraani said, “The only chain of narrators that this hadeeth was reported from Jaabir ibn Abdullaah is this chain of narrators; it was only reported by Ya'qoob, and he is a trustworthy narrator…

Al-Haythami said in Al-Majma’, “The chain of narrators includes ‘Eesa ibn Jaariyah; Ibn Hibbaan and others considered him trustworthy while Ibn Ma’een considered him weak.

The scholars differed in opinion in regard to ‘Eesa ibn Jaariyah, as pointed out by al-Haythami who said, "Ibn Ma’een said about him, “The hadeeth narrated by him is not authentic [i.e. weak]” He also said that his hadeeth includes munkar (denounced) narrations. Abu Daawood and An-Nasaa'i said that his hadeeth is munkar... Abu Dawood further said, "I do not him. He narrated munkar narrations." Al-'Uqaily menioned him in Adh-Dhu'afaa' (i.e. among the weak narrators); and Abu Zur'ah said, 'His is alright.' However, Ibn Hibbaan mentioned him in Ath-Thiqaat (i.e. among the trustworthy narrators).

Therefore, the chain of narrators of this hadeeth is likely to be good. Imaam Ath-Thahabi said in Al-Meezaan about this hadeeth, “The chain of narrators of this hadeeth is medium.Al-Albaani said, “There is a difference of opinion about ‘Eesa ibn Jaariyah; he is medium, as stated by Ath-Thahabi in Al-Meezaan; while Ibn Hajar said in At-Taqreeb, “His narrations involve some kind of weakness.

Allaah knows best.

irst of all, it should be mentioned that the Sunnah about the number of Taraweeh prayers according to the Hanafi School is twenty rak’ahs, but some scholars among them stated that the Sunnah from the twenty rak’ahs is eleven rak’ahs and whatever exceeded this number is recommended, and this is the preponderant opinion of the shaykhs of this School.

Ibn Nujaym said in al-Bahr ar-Raa’iq:

The muhaqiq (verifying scholar of hadeeth) said in Fat-h Al-Qadir what can be summarized as follows: the evidence implies that the Sunnah from the twenty rak’ahs is the number of rak’ahs that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) had prayed and then left for fear that it would be made an obligation on us, and it is confirmed that it was eleven rak’ahs including the witr, as reported in Saheeh Al-Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim from the hadeeth by ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her. Therefore, the Sunnah according to what is confirmed by our shaykhs is eight rak’ahs and what is recommended is twelve rak’ahs.

As regards the hadeeth that you referred to in the question, it was reported by Ibn Hibbaan and At-Tabaraani and others. At-Tabaraani said, “The only chain of narrators that this hadeeth was reported from is this chain of narrators; it was only reported by Ya'qoob, and he is a trustworthy narrator…

Al-Haythami said in Al-Mujamma’, “The chain of narrators includes ‘Eesa ibn Jaariyah; Ibn Hibbaan and others considered him trustworthy while Ibn Mu’een considered him weak.

The scholars differed in opinion in regard to ‘Eesa ibn Jaariyah, as pointed out by al-Haythami. Ibn Mu’een said about him, “The hadeeth narrated by him is not authentic [i.e. weak].” He also said that his hadeeth includes munkar narrations. Abu Daawood and An-Nasaa'i said that his hadeeth is munkar... Al-'Uqaily menioned him among the weak narrators (Adh-Dhu'afaa'); and Abu Zur'ah said, 'His is alright.' However, Ibn Hibaan reported him among the trustworthy narrators.

Therefore, the chain of narrators of this hadeeth is prone to be good. Imam Ath-Thahabi said in Al-Mizaan about this hadeeth, “The chain of narrators of this hadeeth is medium.Al-Albaani said, “There is a difference of opinion about ‘Eesa ibn Jaariyah; he is medium, as stated by Ath-Thahabi in Al-Meezaan; while Ibn Hajar said in At-Taqreeb, “His narrations involve 'leen' (some kind of weakness).

Allaah knows best.

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