Tarâwîh Salâh is the special salât which the Sharî’ah has ordained for the month of Ramadhân. Tarâwîh Salâh consists of twenty rakâts and its performance is Sunnatul Muakkadah. It has to be performed each night during the month of Ramadhân. Deliberate omission of Tarâwîh Salâh is sinful. The Method of Performing Tarâwîh Salâh Tarâwîh Salâh commences on the first night of Ramadhân and ends on the last night of Ramadhân. The most preferable method is to perform Tarâwîh in units of two rakâts. Tarâwîh Salâh is performed in jama’at (for males) after the Isha Fard and Sunnatul Muakkadah, but before the Witr Salâh. Niyyat of “Tarâwîh” or just “Sunnat” should be made, e.g. say: “I am performing two rakâts Tarâwîh (or Sunnat) behind this Imâm.” There is no specific niyyat formula to recite. The niyyat may be made by uttering it verbally or merely making the intention in the heart. After every four rakâts there will follow a pause which should preferably last as long as it would take to perform four rakâts Salâh. However, it is permissible to shorten the pause. During this interval, which is known as Tarweehah, everyone should engage in some form of Ibâdat e.g. dhikr, tasbeeh, istighfâr, durood, etc. The Ibâdat during the Tarweehah (the pause after every four rakâts) is to be made individually and silently. The Sharî’ah has not ordered any specific and collective form of Ibâdat for the Tarweehah (pause). If one so desires, one may merely remain seated without reciting anything. After the twenty rakâts Tarâwîh Salâh have been completed, a collective dua will be made silently. After the dua, the Witr Salâh will be made in jama’at. It is Sunnatul Muakkadah to complete the recitation of the Qur’ân shareef once during Tarâwîh of the whole month of Ramadhân. If a Hâfizul Qur’ân is not available, the Tarâwîh could be performed by reciting any Surah or Aayât of the Qur’ân Shareef.
Masâ’il Pertaining To Tarâwîh Salâh
Although it is best to perform the Witr Salâh after Tarâwîh, it is permissible to perform it before Tarâwîh.
It is Mustahab for the pause (Tarwîhah) after every four rakâts to be the duration of four rakâts Salâh. During the recitation of the Qur’ân in the Tarâwîh, the Aayat: BISMILLA-HIR RAHMAANIR-RAHIM (In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful) should be recited once aloud in the beginning of some Surah so that the Qur’ân Shareef is properly completed. If this is not done, the recitation will not be complete, but will be one Aayat (verse) less The Sharî’ah does not require that the recitation of the Qur’ân Shareef be completed on the 27th night or any particular night. The Qur’ân in Tarâwîh Salâh can be completed on any night.
The custom of making collective dua after every four rakâts Tarâwîh as well as the custom of reciting aloud in unison some forms of Tasbeeh and Dhikr after every two rakâts and/or four rakâts Tarâwîh are contrary to the Sunnah. Such innovatory (bidah) practices should be shunned. If after having performed Tarâwîh Salâh it transpires that the Isha Fardh was not valid for some reason, e.g. Isha was inadvertently performed without wudhu, then both the Isha and the Tarâwîh will have to be repeated. If a group of people did not perform the Isha Fardh in jama’at for some reason, but performed it individually, then Tarâwîh too must be performed individually. This group cannot on its own perform Tarâwîh in jama’at. However, if they join a Tarâwîh jama’at in which there are people who had made the Isha Fardh in jama’at then their (i.e. those who did not perform Isha in jama’at) Tarâwîh will be valid. If someone arrives in the Musjid after the Isha Fardh has been completed and Tarâwîh commenced, then he should first perform his Isha Fardh and then join the jama’at in Tarâwîh. He should perform the Tarâwîh rakâts which he had missed, after the Witr. This person shall perform the Witr in jama’at. If the Imâm erroneously omitted qa’dah (sitting) in the second rakât and proceeded into the third rakât, the muqtadees (followers) should call his attention by exclaiming “Subhânallâh!” However, if for some reason the Imâm continues, he can and should return to the qa’dah of the second rakât as long as he has not entered the Sajdah of the third rakât. If before making the sajdah of the third rakât the Imâm realises his error, he should return to the qa’dah, make Sajdah Sahw as usual and complete the Salâh. But, if he completes the third rakât (the third rakât will be considered completed with the first sajdah) then he should add a fourth rakât as well, and make Sajdah Sahw and complete the Salâh. In this case, the four rakâts will be considered as only two rakâts for Tarâwîh purposes.It is not permissible to appoint a a child who has not attained puberty to lead the Tarâwîh even if he happens to be Hâfiz of the Qur’ân. Salâh performed behind a minor is not valid.
It is makrooh tahrimi (forbidden act) for women to perform Tarâwîh in jama’at. They should perform it individually and at home; not in the Musjid. In some places Surah Ikhlâs (Qulhuwallâh) is recited thrice in every rakât of Tarâwîh. This is contrary to the Sunnah. This method is Makrooh Tahrimi. A collective dua (i.e. dua by the whole jama’at) will be made only after the twenty rakâts Tarâwîh and not after the Witr Salâh. Niyyat for the twenty rakâts Tarâwîh could be made only once in the beginning when commencing the Tarâwîh. It is not obligatory to renew the niyyat after every two rakâts although it is best to do so (i.e. to renew the niyyat).
The time of Tarâwîh Salâh commences after Isha Fardh and lasts until the expiry of Isha times, viz. until just before Fajr.
Some Detestable Practices In Regard To Tarâwîh
1. Some people, due to laziness, do not join the Tarâwîh Salâh together with the Imâm but delay their entry into the Salâh for a while. After Surah Fâtihah has been recited, at times even after some Aayât have been recited, and even worse, when the Imâm is about to enter the ruku’ they fall into the Salâh. This is an abominable practice. It is Makrooh Tahrimi and sinful to do so.
2. Some people consider the performance of Tarâwîh insignificant after the Qur’ân Shareef has been completed. After completion of the Qur’ân Shareef they feel that they have discharged their obligation, and they absent themselves from Tarâwîh Salâh. This practice is wrong and sinful. Tarâwîh remains of equal importance throughout the month of Ramadhân. It is equally incumbent to perform Tarâwîh before and after completion of the Qur’ân Shareef.
3. Some people believe that it is necessary to complete the Qur’ân Shareef in tarâwîh on the 27th night. There is no Shar’i basis for this custom. In fact the emphasis on this practice has made it innovatory (bid’ah). It is essential, therefore, to discontinue it. The completion of the Qur’ân in Tarâwîh can take place on any night of Ramadhân.
4. The custom of rewarding the Hâfizul Qur’ân on the 27th night for having recited the Qur’ân is not permissible. Payment for reciting the Qur’ân is harâm. By so doing, the reward of the whole Tarâwîh is destroyed. Such payment will not be permissible even if it is given in the form of a gift, for in reality it is no gift because it has been reduced to a customary and near obligatory practice. It is by far superior to recite Tarâwîh from Surah “Alam Tara Kayfa” (i.e. Surah “Feel”) rather than have a Hâfiz who has to be paid for the recitation of the Qur’ân. The purpose of Tarâwîh is Ibâdat – to gain the Pleasure and reward of Allah Ta’âla. Such Pleasure and reward will not be obtained by paying for the Qur’ân’s recital.
5. The practice of reciting the names of the Khulafa-e- Râshidîn after every four rakâts is contrary to the Sunnah, hence innovatory. It is not permissible to do so.