By: Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider
7 June 2016
This is a recommended salaah read by our Sunni brothers but in essence it is something new to Islam.
Prophet Muhammad (sawa) never performed taraweeh. This word never existed until the latter part of the first century.
Those who attempt to academically explain it quote an incident when the Prophet (sawa) apparently was in i’tikaaf.
In the middle of the night he came out from his tent and started reading nawafil.
When sahabah saw him do this, they also joined the Prophet (sawa) to do so.
Normally he would read this nafilah inside his camp.
But on this occasion he did it outside and thus they apparently joined him.
It should be noted that while every Muslim is compelled to perform 5 salaah per day, Prophet Muhammad (sawa) MUST also perform Tahajjud as a compulsory obligation.
The Prophet (sawa) apparently performed this salaah outside his tent occurred on a second and third night.
Prophet (sawa) then apparently did not do it anymore with people following him, and this continued until his death.
This continued until the time of the second khalif who found people performing their nawafil seperately. He then suggested that they read it together, though there appears to be no record that he himself (i.e. the second Khalif) performed it in this manner.
When he subsequently realised that this was a “bid’ah”, he commented that it’s a good bid’ah.
There are various nawafil recommended for Ramadaan. In School of Ahlul Bait the nawafil reach 1000 rakaats for the month of Ramadaan at night and even more.
There is no certainty regarding what this “nawafil” was that the Prophet (sawa) is reported to have apparently performed.
Salatul layl for the Prophet ranged from 7 to 11 rakaats. This was performed after midnight until fajr.
The hadith quoted by Sunnis regarding taraweeh is MOST LIKELY Tahajjud that he performed.
People were concerned that they might not wake up and requested if they can perform this after Isha, and the Prophet (sawa) said yes.
This salaah was called Qiyamul Layl (or Tahajjud).
Taraweeh today appears to be a mixure of the original Tahajjud and something else and that’s how you end with 20 rakaats plus witr.
Taraweeh means “relaxation” which refers to the “break” that is taken in between 2 rakaats.
We followers of Ahlul Bait (a.s) do not perform it as we do not find any sound proof for it and furthermore we do not perform any nawafil (recommended) salaah in jama’at.
However, I repeat that there are many nawafil recommended for the nights of Ramadaan and it is the practise of all religious people to observe these recommended nawafil in the privacy of their homes at night.