Islamic prayers specific to Ramadan

Prière de Tarawih dans la Grande Mosquée de Kairouan. Ramadan 2012.jpg
Tarawih prayer at the Great Mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia
Official nameصلاة التراويح (ṣalāt at-tarāwīḥ; literally, 'prayer of the Tarāwīḥ')
Also calledRamadan nightly prayer
Observed by(Sunni) Muslims
TypeSunnah prayer in month of Ramadan
SignificanceA (Sunni) Muslim prayer during the month of Ramadan]
ObservancesSunnah prayer
BeginsIsha prayer
Ends20 rakahs take approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes
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Tarawih prayer at Taipei Grand Mosque, Taiwan

Tarawih (Arabic: تراويح, romanizedtarāwīḥ), also rendered in English as Taraweeh, is derived from the Arabic root ر و ح related to rest and relaxation. Tarawih prayers are special Muslim prayers involving reading long portions of the Quran, as well as performing many rakahs (cycles of movement involved in Islamic prayer). They are exclusive to the Sunni denomination of Islam.

Name variations


Tarawih prayers begin from the first Moon-sighted evening (start of Ramadan) to second Moon-sighted evening (last day of Ramadan). This prayer is performed in congregation during Ramadan of the Islamic calendar, after Isha (and before Witr, which is also prayed following the imam who leads the prayer aloud in one or three rakats unlike how it is done in other eleven months).

Tarawih prayers are prayed in pairs. According to the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi' and Hanbali schools of Sunni Islam, the standard number of rakats is twenty referring it to a narration in Muwatta' Imam Malik which said that "In the time of Umar, the people used to offer 20 raka'āt". But it is clearly mentioned in the Muwatta' before the said narration that when Umar assigned duty to Ubay ibn Ka'b and Tamim al-Dari to lead the Tarawih, he ordered them to offer 11 raka'āt (8 of tarawih and 3 of witr). Sunni Muslims believe it is customary to attempt a takmil ("complete recitation" of the Quran) as one of the religious observances of ramadan, by reciting at least one juz' per night in tarawih.

Tarawih prayers are considered optional (sunnah), or in other words, not obligatory. However, it is believed that the reward for them is great.

Muhammad is reported to have said[by whom?], “Whoever stands with the imam (in Taraweeh prayer) until he finishes, it is equivalent to spending the whole night in prayer.” This hadith was used as a proof by Imam Ahmad.[1][2]


The Sunni prayer Tarawih has been mentioned in traditions as Qiyam al-Layl min Ramadan ("Standing of night in Ramadan") and Qiyam al-Ramadan ("Standing of Ramadan"). Some Sunni Muslims regard the Tarawih prayers as Sunnat al-Mu'akkadah. Other Sunni Muslims believe Tarawih is an optional prayer that may be performed at home. According to this tradition Muhammad initially and briefly prayed the Tarawih in congregation during Ramadan, but discontinued this practice out of concern it would be mandated, yet he never forbade it.[3] During the time when Umar was the caliph, he reinstated the praying of Tarawih in congregation.[4]

Shia Muslims regard Tarawih as bid‘ah, introduced after the death of Muhammad by Umar ibn al-Khattab, according to his own words.[5]

A hadith from (Shia) kitab al-kafi: ‘Abu ‘Abdallah, peace be upon him, has said that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, would increase his prayer during the month of Ramadan. After Al-‘Atmah (late evening prayer, he would perform more prayers. People behind would stand up (for prayer), but he would go inside and leave them. Then, after he came out, they would come and stand up behind him (for prayer), but he would leave them and go inside several times’. He (the narrator) has said that the Imam then said: ‘You must not perform prayer after late evening prayer during the times other than the month of Ramadan’. [ِAl-Kafi by Al-Kulayni, vol. 4, p. 154-155, declared SAHIH by Majlisi in his Mir’ah Al-‘Uqul 16/378a] [6]

Muhammad al-Bukhari narrated regarding the Tarawih prayer in Sahih al-Bukhari:

"I went out in the company of Umar bin Al-Khattab one night in Ramadan to the mosque and found the people praying in different groups. A man praying alone or a man praying with a little group behind him. So, 'Umar said, 'In my opinion I would better collect these (people) under the leadership of one Qari (Reciter) (i.e. let them pray in congregation!)'. So, he made up his mind to congregate them behind Ubai bin Ka'b. Then on another night I went again in his company and the people were praying behind their reciter. On that, 'Umar remarked, 'What an excellent Bid'a (i.e. innovation in religion) this is'.[7]

Instead, Twelvers believe in the Tahajjud prayer or Salat al-Layl ("night prayer"), which is recommended throughout the year, especially during the nights of Ramadan.[8]

See also


  1. ^ "The Taraweeh Prayer and Its Origins". Arab News. Susi Research & Publishing Company. 12 March 2007. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Riyad as-Salihin 1187 - The Book of Virtues - كتاب الفضائل - Sunnah.com - Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم)". sunnah.com. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  3. ^ "The Book of Prayer - Travellers". Book 4, Hadith 1663. Sahih Muslim. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Praying at Night in Ramadaan (Taraweeh)". Book 32, Hadith 227. Sahih Bukhari. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Praying at Night in Ramadaan (Taraweeh)". Book 31, Hadith 3. Sahih al-Bukhari. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Tarawih proven from (12er) Shia books". 22 May 2017.
  7. ^ Muhammad al-Bukhari, Muhammad. Sahih al-Bukhari (in Arabic). p. Book 31, Ch. 1, Hadith 3, Nu. 2010. خَرَجْتُ مَعَ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ لَيْلَةً فِي رَمَضَانَ، إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ، فَإِذَا النَّاسُ أَوْزَاعٌ مُتَفَرِّقُونَ يُصَلِّي الرَّجُلُ لِنَفْسِهِ، وَيُصَلِّي الرَّجُلُ فَيُصَلِّي بِصَلاَتِهِ الرَّهْطُ فَقَالَ عُمَرُ إِنِّي أَرَى لَوْ جَمَعْتُ هَؤُلاَءِ عَلَى قَارِئٍ وَاحِدٍ لَكَانَ أَمْثَلَ‏.‏ ثُمَّ عَزَمَ فَجَمَعَهُمْ عَلَى أُبَيِّ بْنِ كَعْبٍ، ثُمَّ خَرَجْتُ مَعَهُ لَيْلَةً أُخْرَى، وَالنَّاسُ يُصَلُّونَ بِصَلاَةِ قَارِئِهِمْ، قَالَ عُمَرُ نِعْمَ الْبِدْعَةُ هَذِهِ
  8. ^ "Imaam Ali Foundation - Ramadan Moon Crescent 1436". Archived from the original on 17 June 2015.

Further reading

  • John L. Esposito: The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Oxford University Press US 2004, ISBN 978-0-19-512559-7, p. 276 (restricted online version, p. 276, at Google Books)

External links

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