Friday, 27 August 2010

Taraweeh

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.
Once again this year I have been blessed enough to take part in Taraweeh prayers. The prayers are basically the recitation of the entire Quran which is broken down throughout the 30 days into twenty units (Rakats) of prayer per night. The Taraweeh prayer is approximately 2 hours per evening and takes place in all mosques throughout the globe, with the Sharif of Mecca consisting the largest congregation of worshipers. As over a million people gather to be closer to the Kaaba (the most sacred site in Islam), the beauty of the sight becomes incomparable.

Scholars of Islam have conferred that Taraweeh prayers are an act of honour to the sayings and living habits of Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him), which is better referred to as a Sunnah. Thus, one should make an effort to attend the Taraweeh prayers that are held in the mosques. As for those of us who are unable to read the Quran in Arabic, attending Taraweeh is imperative in completing the noble book. I feel that there is an importance to remain in the same mosque throughout a Taraweeh recitation as a hafiz will differ in recitation speeds which in tern will affect the listener’s ability to appreciate Qur’an in its entirety. As I said, Taraweeh prayers are not compulsory for Muslims, however, it is advised that it is not neglected without good reason; there is spiritual rewards and physical benefits that a Muslim can attain which far outweighs the obvious burden of such a long prayer session.

I have always found it difficult to maintain my concentration during the conventional prayers, let alone an evening of Taraweeh. I obtained some advice which has changed my outlook ever since. Mustaqim Hz, a dear brother who has successfully memorized the Quran (hafiz) and has led the prayers last Ramadan at my local mosque, told me ‘Pray as if it were your last prayer’. I must admit that after obtaining such guidance my sincerity and focus during prayer has changed. Thus I do not find my mind & eyes wondering around as it did before. However, the duration of the Taraweeh prayers per night indeed has potential to take its toll on anyone!

Here are various narrations of the noble prophet of God, Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him) regarding Taraweeh


"The best prayer after the obligatory ones is the night prayer."
Muslim

"Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven."
Sahih Bukhari

"O people! disseminate the salutations of peace As-Salaam 'Alaikum; feed the needy food, and join the blood ties among the next of kin; and observe night prayer while people are at sleep, you will enter paradise peacefully."
Tirmidhi

The final night prayer is called Witr. It's an odd numbered prayer usually performed after all prayers have concluded. The minimum Witr is one rakat and the maximum is eleven rakats. It should be the last prayer performed before retiring normally. Moreover, it is a beautiful virtue to pray Witr during Ramadan as it's also a sunnah.

“Whoever prays Witr with the imam until he finishes, it will be recorded as if he spent the whole night in prayer.”
Tirmidhi

"Whoever wants to pray Witr with one rakaat should do it and whoever wants to pray Witr with three rakaats should do it."
Abu Dawud/Nasa'e