Qiyaam during Ramadan (Taraaweeh) - I

Qiyaam during Ramadan (Taraaweeh) - I
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Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) used to encourage us to pray at night in Ramadan, without making it obligatory. Then he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said:‘Whoever prays at night in Ramadan out of faith and the hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.’ When the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) died, this is how things were (i.e., Taraaweeh was not prayed in congregation), and this is how they remained during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, until the beginning of the Caliphate of Umar, may Allah be pleased with him.”

Laylat Al-Qadr and its timing

The best night ever is Laylat Al-Qadr (Night of Decree or Power), because the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Whoever prays at night during Laylat Al-Qadr out of faith and the hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
Scholars hold different opinions as to which of the nights is Laylat Al-Qadr.Some hold the opinion that it is the 21st, some say the 23rd, others say the 25th and still others say it is the 29th.  Some say that it varies from year to year but it is always among the last ten nights of Ramadan.  Most scholars, though, hold the opinion that it is the 27th.
 
According to Ibn‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “He who likes to seek that night (Laylat Al-Qadr) should do so on the 27th.”  [Muslim] Ubayy Ibn K’ab, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I swear by Allah, it is during Ramadan – and He swore to that – and by Allah, I know what night it is.  It is the night of the 27th.  Its sign is that the sun rises the next morning white and without any rays”. 
 
Yet, it is preferred to seek this night during the last ten nights of Ramadan, as the Prophet, sllallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, strove his best in seeking it during that time.  The Prophet would stay up all night during the last ten nights, would wake his wives, and then would remain apart from them to worship.
 
Praying Qiyaam in congregation
 
It is preferred to pray Qiyaam in congregation, because this is what the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) did himself and explained its virtues. Abu Tharr, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “We fasted Ramadan with the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) and he did not lead us in Qiyaam at all until there were only seven days left, when he led us in prayer until a third of the night had passed. When there were six days left, he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )  did not lead us in Qiyaam. When there were five days left, he led us in prayer until half the night had passed. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I wish that you had continued until the end of the night.’ He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said, “If a man prays with the Imaam until he finishes, it will be counted as if he prayed the whole night.” When there were four nights left, he did not lead us in Qiyaam. When there were three nights left, he brought together his family, his wives and the people, and led us in Qiyaam … Then he did not lead us in Qiyaam for the rest of the month.” [Abu Daawood and others]
 
The reason why the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) did not continually lead them in Qiyaam for the rest of the month because he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) feared that it would then become obligatory, and they would not be able to do it.
 
Women can pray Qiyaam in congregation
 
Women can attend the prayers too, as is stated in the Hadeeth of Abu Tharr, may Allah be pleased with him, referred to above. Indeed, it is permissible to appoint an Imaam just for them, apart from the Imaam of the men. It was proven that when ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, gathered the people to pray Qiyaam, he appointed Ubayy ibn Ka’b, may Allah be pleased with him, to lead the men and Sulaymaan ibn Abu Hathmah, may Allah be pleased with him, to lead the women. ‘Arfajah Al-Thaqafi, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “‘Ali ibn Abu Taalib, may Allah be pleased with him, used to command the people to pray during the night in Ramadan, and he would appoint an Imaam for the men and an Imaam for the women. I was the Imaam for the women.”
 
Number of Rak’ahs of Qiyaam
 
The number of Rak’ahs (prayer units) is eleven, and it is preferable not to exceed this number, following the practice of the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, was asked about how he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) prayed in Ramadan. She said: The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) never prayed more than eleven Rak’ahs (of Qiyaam), whether during Ramadan or any other time. He would pray four (Rak’ahs), and don’t ask me how beautiful or how long they were. Then he would pray four, and don’t ask me how beautiful or how long they were. Then he would pray three …. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
Reciting Quran in Qiyaam
 
As regards reciting from the Quran during Qiyaam, whether in Ramadan or at other times, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) did not set a limit or state what was too much or too little. His recitation used to vary; sometimes it would be long, at other times short. Sometimes in every Rak’ah he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) would recite the equivalent of Chapter Al-Muzzammil (73), which is twenty verses; sometimes he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) would recite the equivalent of fifty verses. He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) used to say: “Whoever prays at night and reads one hundred verses will not be recorded as one of the negligent.”
 
When he was sick, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) recited the seven long Chapters in his night prayers, i.e., Al-Baqarah, Aal ‘Imraan, An-Nisaa’, Al-Maa’idah, Al-An’aam, Al-A’raaf and At-Tawbah.
 
According to Huthayfah ibn Al-Yamaan, may Allah be pleased with him, who prayed behind the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )  the  Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) recited Al-Baqarah, An-Nisaa’ and Aal ‘Imraan in one Rak’ah, in a slow and measured tone. When ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, appointed Ubayy ibn Ka’b, may Allah be pleased with him, to lead the people in praying eleven Rak’ahs in Ramadan, Ubayy used to recite verses by the hundreds, so that the people behind him would be leaning on sticks because the prayers were so long, and they did not finish until just before Fajr.
 
It is also reported that ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him,  called the readers during Ramadan, and told the fastest of them to recite thirty verses, the moderate ones to recite twenty-five verses, and the slowest ones to recite twenty verses.
 
However, is a person is praying Qiyaam by himself, he can make it as long as he wishes; if others agree with the Imaam, he may also make it as long as he wishes. The longer it is, the better, but the Imaam should not continually spend the whole night in Qiyaam, following the example of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) who said:If any of you leads the people in prayer, let him make it short, because among them are the young and the old, the weak, and those who have pressing needs. But if he is praying alone, let him make it as long as he likes.” [Al-Bukhari]

Qiyaam during Ramadan (Taraaweeh) – II

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