Taraweeh: Eight or twenty ?
Until approximately two hundred years ago there were no two answers to this question. Every person until this time unanimously agreed that it is TWENTY RAKAATS. Around the twelfth century, a group calling itself the Ahle Hadith emerged and began propagating the fallacy that Tarawee is only eight Rakaats. Recently small groups, in order to cast aside the following of one of the four Madhabs, have begun blindly following the so-called Ahle Hadith. Hence not only do they deprive themselves from the rewards of the entire TWENTY RAKAATS, they also mislead others who are unaware of the facts and deprive them as well.
At the same time those of weak Imaan who find the TWENTY RAKAATS difficult due to their fanciful interpretations, their laziness and lack of realization of the tremendous rewards and blessings of Tarawee, have found a scapegoat in the baseless propaganda of the Ahle Hadith and its followers. The reality however, is that TWENTY RAKAATS of Tarawee is Sunnatul Mua’kkadah (a greatly stressed Sunnah, deliberate omission of which is a sin).
During the time of our Beloved Nabee Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam, the TARAWEEH SALAAT was performed individually and in small groups. Our Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam stressed its performance but did not performit with the congregation since he feared that it may become Fard (compulsory) upon the Ummah. In one narration, it is nevertheless mentioned that our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam performed TWENTY RAKAATS of Tarawee and the Witr in Ramadan. (Musannad Ibn Abi Shaiba and Bayhaqi). This practice of performing Tarawee individually and in small groups continued in the time of Sayyidina Abu Bakr Radhiallahu Anhu and in the initial years of the Khilaafat of Sayyidina Umar Radhiallahu Anhu. Thereafter Hadhrat Umar Radhiallahu Anhu appointed Ubayy ibn Kaab Radhiallahu Anhu as the Imaam and gathered everybody in one Jama’ah behind him for the performance of the FULL TWENTY RAKAATS of Tarawee. At that time there were numerous Sahaabah Radhiallahu Anhum present. All of them agreed on this decision of Hadhrat Umar Radhiallahu Anhu. If this decision was contrary to Din, the illustrious Sahaabah Radhiallahu Anhum would never have tolerated it. Their consensus on this matter is itself Sharee proof of TWENTY RAKAATS being a Sunnah. A number of narrations mention the performance of TWENTY RAKAATS by the Shahaabah Radhiallahu Anhum. Therefore, we find that the four great Imaams of the four Madhabs, despite a number of minor differences among them on the interpretation and application of various aspects are unanimous that Tarawee is TWENTY RAKAATS. This is authentically recorded in their books.
The aspect of Tarawee is really as clear as daylight. Therefore, one will find that in the Haramayn of Makkatul Mukarramah and Madinah Al Munawwarah up to this day, from the very time of Hadhrat Umar Radhiallahu Anhu, TWENTY RAKAATS are performed in Jama’ah. The Sahaabah Radhiallahu Anhum, the Taabi’een (those who came after the Sahaabah Radhiallahu Anhum), the Imaams of Fiqh (jurisprudence) and the entire Ummah, with the exception of the so-called Ahle Hadith of recent times, have been unanimous on TWENTY RAKAATS.
Finally, in one Hadith – our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam is reported to have said:
“After me there will be much differences. Hence hold on to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khulafa.” (Mishkaat).
TWENTY RAKAATS of Tarawee with Jama’ah was the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khulafaa. In this latter day difference, whom will you follow? The Sunnah of the rightly guided Khulafaa of our Beloved Nabee Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam or the way of those who contradict them????You make the decision!
A DECEIT CANNOT IMITATE THE SUNNAH
A deceit cannot imitate the Sunnah. The effect of Sunnah is spiritual reality, which the deceit can never acquire. The difference between a deceit and a true follower of the Sunnah will become manifest by observation.