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Subject: [MNET] FW: tarawih prayer and shi`i position. (fwd)

Date: Monday, January 04, 1999 8:43 AM
Salaamun 'alaykum
Many students enquire about the tarawih prayer and it's origins. Hope you
can share this info with your students
Iltimas al-du'a
Liyakatali takim
-----Original Message-----
From: HAJIAH ALI E [SMTP:hajiah@bechtel.Colorado.EDU]
Sent: Thursday, December 24, 1998 5:03 PM
To: Dawa & Tabligh Association
Subject: tarawih prayer and shi'i position. (fwd)
Note that it is a long message.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 24 Dec 1998 05:35:41 -0800
From: muzaffar a khan <>
Islamican Information Service of San Jose
Salaat Taraweeh an excellent Bid'a according to Umar b. Khattab.
Salaat Taraweeh - this was an innovation by Umar b. Khattab.
Therefore, we do not accept this innovation.
The shi'i position is simple ... the nAfilah prayers of ramadan (the
voluntary mustahabb prayers during the nights of ramadan) are very much
encouraged. however, these nawAfil (pl of nAfilah) are to be done
individually, NOT in congregation.
As far as the word tarAwiH is concerned, this is not part of the shi'i
lexicography, to the best of my knowledge. the sunnis make use of this word
to refer to the period of rest between the various segments of their
congregational evening salat during this month. tarAwiH is from the same
root as rAHa meaning rest.
ALL of which is to be found in Bukhari ( I will give you URL references
too, insha'allah).
In Bukhari, you will find the following hadiths:
Hadith No. 1: Umar starting this bid'ah, and openly saying it is a
------------ bid'ah. Also, this hadith makes clear that this practice
was non-existent during the first khalifah's reign.
html#003.032.227 Bukhari: Volume 3, Book 32, Number 227:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever prayed at night the whole month of Ramadan
out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his
previous sins will be forgiven." Ibn Shihab (a sub-narrator) said,
"Allah's Apostle died and the people continued observing that (i.e. Nawafil
offered individually, not in congregation), and it remained as it was
during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr and in the early days of 'Umar's
Caliphate." 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Abdul Qari said, "I went out in the company
of 'Umar bin Al-Khattab one night in Ramadan to the mosque and found the
people praying in different groups. A man praying alone or a man praying
with a little group behind him. So, 'Umar said, 'In my opinion I would
better collect these (people) under the leadership of one Qari (Reciter)
(i.e. let them pray in congregation!)'. So, he made up his mind to
congregate them behind Ubai bin Ka'b. Then on another night I went again in
his company and the people were praying behind their reciter. On that,
'Umar remarked, 'What an excellent Bid'a (i.e. innovation in religion) this
is; but the prayer which they do not perform, but sleep at its time is
better than the one they are offering.' He meant the prayer in the last
part of the night. (In those days) people used to pray in the early part of
the night."
For the arabic text of this hadith, see:
if you scroll down the url above, you will see others that shed more light.
Hadith No. 2: The Prophet (s) explicitly states that the
------------ supererogatory prayers ought to be performed in the home
and not in the masjid, i.e., individually, not in congregation.
This hadith and the third one, which i will list after this, are
particularly significant, not only because of their content, but also
because of the locations in which bukhari inserted them in his book. you
will be amazed. here goes ...
Bukhari has placed this hadith, which is of direct relevance to
taraweeh, not in the section of his book titled tarawih, but rather in
Book 73: Good Manners and Form (al-adab) !!!!!!!!
Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 73, Number 134:
Narrated Zaid bin Thabit:
Allah's Apostle made a small room (with a palm leaf mat). Allah's Apostle
came out (of his house) and prayed in it. Some men came and joined him in
his prayer. Then again the next night they came for the prayer, but Allah's
Apostle delayed and did not come out to them. So they raised their voices
and knocked the door with small stones (to draw his attention). He came out
to them in a state of anger, saying, "You are still insisting (on your
deed, i.e. Tarawih prayer in the mosque) that I thought that this prayer
(Tarawih) might become obligatory on you. So you people, offer this prayer
at your homes, for the best prayer of a person is the one which he offers
at home, except the compulsory (congregational) prayer."
Please do note the mention above that the holy prophet (s) came out to the
people in a state of anger. this is significant.
Hadith No. 3: Similar to the Hadith No. 2, and AGAIN classified in a
------------ strange section, i.e., in
Book 92: Holding Fast to the Qur'an and Sunnah !!!
somewhat of an irony here, ain't it? ... :)
Bukhari: Volume 9, Book 92, Number 393:
Narrated Zaid bin Thabit:
The Prophet took a room made of date palm leaves mats in the mosque.
Allah's Apostle prayed in it for a few nights till the people gathered (to
pray the night prayer (Tarawih) (behind him.) Then on the 4th night the
people did not hear his voice and they thought he had slept, so some of
them started humming in order that he might come out. The Prophet then
said, "You continued doing what I saw you doing till I was afraid that this
(Tarawih prayer) might be enjoined on you, and if it were enjoined on you,
you would not continue performing it. Therefore, O people! Perform your
prayers at your homes, for the best prayer of a person is what is performed
at his home except the compulsory congregational) prayer." (See Hadith No.
229,Vol. 3) (See Hadith No. 134, Vol. 8)
Hadith No. 4: The Moment the Prophet Realized that people are praying
------------ behind him, he stopped and put an end to it. this
detail, explicitly stated in this hadith, is important ... "when he came to
know about it" ... which i have capitalized below. it makes it clear
he did not like the practice.
This hadith, too, has been classified in a very strange place:
Book 11: Call to Prayers (Adhaan) !!!!!!!!
Bukhari: Volume 1, Book 11, Number 698:
Narrated Zaid bin Thabit:
Allah's Apostle made a small room in the month of Ramadan (Sa'id said, "I
think that Zaid bin Thabit said that it was made of a mat") and he prayed
there for a few nights, and so some of his companions prayed behind him.
out to them and said, "I have seen and understood what you did. You should
pray in your houses, for the best prayer of a person is that which he prays
in his house except the compulsory prayers."
Hadith No. 5: Similar story, except the little tidbit in Hadith 4
------------ above is missing, namely, that it was not out in the
open in the masjid that the prophet (s) was praying, but
rather, he had made a room in the masjid and praying
Bukhari: Volume 2, Book 21, Number 229:
Narrated 'Aisha, the mother of the faithful believers:
One night Allah's Apostle offered the prayer in the Mosque and the people
followed him. The next night he also offered the prayer and too many people
gathered. On the third and the fourth nights more people gathered, but
Allah's Apostle did not come out to them. In the morning he said, "I saw
what you were doing and nothing but the fear that it (i.e. the prayer)
might be enjoined on you, stopped me from coming to you." And that happened
in the month of Ramadan.

Notice how the wordings of the above ahAdith are different. one can only
take them to be complementary, because it is clear that this incident, if
indeed it happened based on what the sunnis claim, could not have taken
place on more than one occasion. so if in one hadith the detail about the
prophet (s) having prayed in a small room within the masjid is missing,
another one complements it and clarifies it.
The question you can ask, "how can there be a congregational prayer, when
there is a complete separation between the imam (in this case, allegedly
the prophet) and the rest of the people?" Congregational prayer does not
even take place if the imam is in a small room separated from everyone
Also, what do they have to say about the very clear and unequivocal hadiths
in which the prophet (s) says that the nafilah prayers ought to be
conducted at home?
Next, I will list a couple of more hadiths in which a'ishah describes how
the prophet fasted during the nights of ramadan. i want to know how the
sunnis reconcile this with their practice.
Hadith No. 6:
Located in the section:
Book 32: Praying at Night During Ramadan (Taraweeh)
Bukhari: Volume 3, Book 32, Number 230:
Narrated Abu Salama bin 'Abdur Rahman:
That he asked 'Aisha "How was the prayer of Allah's Apostle in Ramadan?"
She replied, "He did not pray more than eleven Rakat in Ramadan or in any
other month. He used to pray four Rakat ---- let alone their beauty and
length----and then he would pray four ----let alone their beauty and length
----and then he would pray three Rakat (Witr)." She added, "I asked, 'O
Allah's Apostle! Do you sleep before praying the Witr?' He replied, 'O
'Aisha! My eyes sleep but my heart does not sleep."
This hadith also occurs elswhere in bukhari; for economy
of bits and bytes, I will not include the text, but just the url
reference and section titles within bukhari where the hadith
html#004.056.769 (Book 56: Virtues and Merits of the Prophet and His
(Book 21: Prayer at Night (Tahajjud))

So the obvious question is, where is the taraweeh? last, before I close,
there is an arabic article by sayyid sharaf al-din that is residing at:
Thanks to Br. Mustafa Fazel in putting this article together.
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