In Islam, every month and every year and every day has blessings and blessings, but some months and some days have importance and superiority over other days and months. For example, Friday is more important than other days, similarly the month of Ramadan is blessed than all other months. In this month, Allah (SWT) bestows special blessings on the followers. In this month, the reward for every good deed is given seventy times more. That is why even a sinful person can fast, pray and perform other prayers in this blessed month with special arrangement of Taraweeh prayers.
The literal meaning of Taraweeh:
Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqalani Shafi’i (RA) says:
Traweeh is the plural of “Taraweeha” and Taraweeha is said to rest once, just as “Taslima” is said to greet once.
Terminological meaning of Taraweeh:
In the term of Shari’ah, Taraweeh is the prayer that is a Sunnat-e-Moqedah and is performed in congregation or alone after Isha prayers in the nights of Ramadan or before pre-dawn.
* Note: According to common practice Taraweeh prayers performed after Isha prayer.
What is Taraweeh?
“Tarweeha” is the seating in which some relief can be taken. Since the four rak’ats of Taraweeh are followed by a brief rest. The four rak’ats of Taraweeh are called a Taraweeha and since there are five Taraweeha in the entire Taraweeh (in 20 rak’ats). So, the combination of the five is called “Taraweeh”.
Allama Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqalani Shafi’i (May Allah have mercy on him) said:
The prayers that are performed in congregation on the nights of Ramadan are called Taraweeh, because when the Companions first gathered for this prayer, they used to rest after every two salams (four rak’ats). [Fatah al-Bari Sharh Sahih Al-Bukhari: Volume 4, Page 317]
Taraweeh is Sunnat-e-Muakkadah:
The Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has declared the “Qiyam” of Ramadaan as a Sunnah. After him, the Khulfa-e-Rashideen and Sahaba-e-Kar’am (Companions) also took care of it as it’s explaine. This proofs that Taraaweeh is a Sunnat-e-Muakkadah. Hazrat Arabad bin Saria narrates the following instruction of the Holy Prophet (PBUH):
“You should follow to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Khulfa-e-Rashideen (RA), The Rashidun caliphs and hold fast to it.” [Sunan Abi Dawood: vol. 2, p. 290]
In this hadith, where the Prophet (PBUH) emphasized on following his Sunnah with the word “it is obligatory upon you” and “hold fast” and so is the Sunnah of the the Rashidun Caliphs. He also emphasized on following the Sunnah of Taraweeh, which is a proof that it is essential Sunnah.
When and how “Taraweeh” started?
In the beginning, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) himself performed Taraweeh and liked it. Then, fearing that it would not be obligatory on the Ummah, he abandoned it. Later, the second caliph Hazrat Umar Farooq (RA) visited the mosque and found the people praying in different ways. Someone was praying alone, with someone. Some people are reciting. He said: I think it is better to combine them all with one Imam, it would be better to all together with one Imam Hazrat Abi Ibn Ka’b (RA). Then the next day when he visited, he saw that people were praying behind Imam Abi Ibn Ka’b. At that time, he said “This is good blessing of innovation.” [Bahar-e-Shariat]
Taraweeh in the current situation:
Human life has been shattered by a deadly epidemic like the corona virus. All around the world mosques are avoiding prayers in congregation. The local government has also instructed to avoid huge gathering and congregations. The people are forced to stay away from their places of worship even during the holy month of Ramadan. Under this circumstances, the scholars instructed the people to perform worship in their homes as much as possible and like other prayers Taraweeh also be performed. Taraaweeh is an Sunnat-e-Muakkadah for both men and women. Taraweeh prayers are offered alone in the house by the women and men are normally in the mosque. However in this pandemic situation, men should also perform Taraweeh prayers at home.
The Taraweeh congregation (Jama’at) is Sunnat-e-Kafayah, it is to say that if all the people of the a locality left, then everyone did bad things and if some people performed with congregation (Jama’at) then the rest of the people can perform alone. It is better to recite Taraweeh in congregation in the mosque. In view of this simplicity of Shariah, the Ulema said that till this pandemic situation is imposed, five persons should arrange for five daily prayers and Taraweeh in the mosque and the rest should arrange prayers, fasting, other acts of worship and Taraweeh in their own homes as much as possible.
Due to COVID-19 people are unable to go to the mosque due to which people are deprived of Friday prayers and Taraweeh congregation and people are looking for new and unique ways to seek blessing of God. One of them is that “Imam should pray in the mosque with a few people and with the help of internet or video conferencing apps, the people of the locality should stay in their homes and follow the Imam through online mediums.”
In this regard, the rule of Shari’ah is that such following is not valid at all. Such following is not valid for any prayer, whether it is Taraweeh prayer, Friday prayer or five daily prayers. Because it is necessary for the Imam and the follower to have a same place for following.
Therefore, It is necessary to abstain from such practices, otherwise you will be among those who do not offer prayers in spite of spending and effort to perform prayers.
Maulana Intekhab is an Educationist and currently doing M.Ed from Maulana Azad National Urdu University Hyderabad. He is very fond of writing on Islamic and Social topics.