By: Sh.Sajid Umar
In Ramadan, Muslims are encouraged to increase in their good deeds and acts of worship. Now, there is a special prayer which has been prescribed for Muslims, specifically in this blessed month, which carries manifold rewards. This prayer is known as ‘Taraaweeh’ and is performed after the ‘Ishaa night prayer. The word Taraaweeh comes from an Arabic word which means to ‘relax’ or to ‘rest.’ This is something very beautiful as it illustrates to us the soothing and harmonious nature of this prayer.
The purpose of the Taraweeh prayer is to give individuals time to reflect, ponder and contemplate over the verses of the Qur’an which are being recited. To soften hearts through the eloquent speech of God Almighty, so that Muslims may draw closer and attach themselves to the Qur’an. Taraaweeh is one of the most pleasurable acts of worship in the month of Ramadan and carries abundant virtues. Along with being a great means of attaining the pleasure of God Almighty, Taraweeh also offers new Muslims the chance to have all their previous sins forgiven! Now, that’s a deal I would take any day. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) further emphasised this point when he said:
“Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from God, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.”
What an amazing blessing the Taraweeh prayer is!
The prayer is to be performed in the nights, usually straight after the Ishaa’ prayer. It can be performed individually; however it is encouraged for Muslims, both men and women, to pray Taraaweeh in congregation behind an Imaam – the one who leads prayer. Although it is a voluntary act, it is one that is strongly encouraged. Taraaweeh prayer is a lengthy prayer and sometimes can last for an hour or even more. It is prayed in two units, and in each unit a long portion from the Qur’an is recited. The Imaam may recite small portions too, but he also may emphasise certain verses of the Qur’an and recite slowly, so that the listeners may reflect and take heed. After every four cycles of prayer, the Imaam often pauses for a short break, giving time to those praying to reinvigorate themselves for the remaining prayer, and then rises to begin the prayer again. Many Imaams strive to recite 1 out of the 30 parts of the Qur’an every night, so that by the end of the 30 days of Ramadan, recitation of the whole Qur’an has been completed.
The prayer is very beloved to many, as it is performed exclusively in the noble month of Ramadan, in the darkness of the night, and is a voluntary act which means there is much reward to earn. Taraaweeh also increases unity in brotherhood and sisterhood. When you stand feet to feet, shoulder to shoulder in prayer, and listen to the eloquent and melodious speech of God Almighty, it not only humbles you in front of your Creator but increases the love between you and your fellow brother or sister. It boosts your faith and your efforts in trying to understand the verses of the Quran.
Being a new Muslim, it may sound difficult at first to stand in lengthy prayers, so if you have just recently begun praying, then try to take it slowly and only do that which is in your capacity. Taraweeh is great training for you to build up your stamina in prayer.
So, dear new Muslims, rise and stand for this beautiful prayer, hoping and yearning for reward from God and may God shower His mercy upon you.
We ask God Almighty to allow us to reach Ramadan in good health and faith; and to grant us the ability to stand in the Taraaweeh prayers and have our sins forgiven.
1- Taraweeh literally means “to rest”, it means to rest every four raka’at. The ‘rest period’ is what we get after every four raka’at. It is encouraged not to pray too fast and observe the meaning behind “Taraweeh”.
2- Taraweeh was offered during the time of the prophet Muhammad ﷺ It is practiced once every year, in the whole glorious month of Ramadan.
Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmaan, who asked ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), “How did the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) pray during Ramadaan?” She said: “He did not pray more than eleven rak’ahs in Ramadaan or at other times. He would pray four, and do not ask how beautiful and long they were, then he would pray four, and do not ask how beautiful and long they were, then he would pray three. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, will you sleep before you pray Witr?’ He said, ‘O ‘Aa’ishah, my eyes sleep but my heart does not.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1909; Muslim, 738)
3- The Taraweeh prayer is a special prayer so beloved to Allah Almighty. It’s Sunnah to pray the Taraweeh with the Jama’ah (congregation) and this is better than praying individually.
May we spend in prayer together in Jama’ah(congregation) and treasure every moment spent with your loved ones. Ameen.