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 The Tarâwîh Prayer Has no Fixed Number of Units

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PostSubject: The Tarâwîh Prayer Has no Fixed Number of Units   Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:23 pm

The ideal number of units for Tarâwîh prayer is a matter of disagreement among the people of knowledge.

However, there is agreement among the people of knowledge that there is no fixed limit for the number of units of Tarâwîh prayer.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The night prayer is two units then two units then if the one of you expects the falling of morning prayer he can pray one unit to singular what he had prayed”.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) never determined fixed a specific number of units for the Tarâwîh prayer.

It was only related that he used to pray eleven units nightly in Ramadan and at other times.

It is related in Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim that Aishah said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) never prayed more than eleven units, whether in Ramadan or in other times. He used to pray four – do not ask how perfect and long were they – then he would pray four, do not ask how perfect and long were they – then he would pray three.”

The disagreement of the people of knowledge on the number of units of Tarâwîh should ideally be is as follows:

a. The prayer should be performed as twenty units. This to according to the Hanbalî school of thoughts.

b. The prayer should be performed as thirty-six units. This is according to the Mâlikî school of thought.

c. The prayer should be performed as eleven units.

The most balanced opinion on this issue is that the number of units should vary depending upon the length of time given to each unit of prayer. This means that if the imam limits the number of the verses he recites and keeps brief the amount of time he takes for bowing and prostrating, then it is preferred for him to increase the total number of units prayed.

Likewise, if he lengthens his recitation and the time he takes for bowing and prostrating, then it is preferred that he decreases the number of units.

Each and every one of these sayings has evidence. Those who prefer twenty units rely on the act of `Umar gathering the people to pray twenty units as related by al-Sâ’b b. Yazîd in al-Muwatta’. This was also related from Sa`îd b. Jubayr, Abû Mijlad, Abû Ayyûb and others.

No doubt, many of the Companions prayed behind these people. It was never related that any of them had objected or denied the permissibility of such a prayer.

The conclusion is that there is no limit for the number of units that may be prayed in the Tarâwîh prayer. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not determine a specific number. He only said: “The night prayer is two units then two units.” As we said, the might vary according to the length of time alloted to each unit.

Please keep in mind that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever prays with the imam until the imam leaves will have the reward of praying throughout the night.” Therefore, it is better in Ramadan – but not obligatory – to pray with the imam until the imam finishes the prayer.

Also, please note that the night prayer is more general than either Tarâwîh or Tahajjud. It is called Tarâwîh when it occurs in Ramadân and is customarily performed at an earlier time.

http://en.islamtoday.net/node/1453
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