THE 8 RAKAAT RACKET
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THE 8 RAKAAT RACKET

 

The Azaan for the Eshaa salaah echoes over the rooftops and between the buildings. Within minutes of this the Masaajid begin filling up with Musalees. A sight not just beautiful, but also inspiring. However as soon as the salaam marking the end of the Fard salaah is made another scenario begins to play out. The masjid begins to drain out of musallees. As the Takbeer for the first Rakaat denoting the commencement of the 1st rakaat of Salaatut Taraaweeh, the masjid drains out even further. Now it is reduced to over half the amount of Musalees who attended the Eshaa Salaah. Most of these people don’t attach much importance to Salaatut Taraweeh simply because it is ‘just a sunnah’.

And then after the salaam denoting the end of the 8th Rakaat of Salaatut Taraaweeh is made the Musjid drains out a little more. These are the 8 Rakaat Racketeers who belief that Taraweeh salaah is but 8 rakaats and the 20 rakaats is nothing but an innovation in Islaam. Of course their half-baked knowledge is the result of this belief. Somehow they forget that a practice that was not just carried out for centuries but upheld rigidly by those who were regarded as the beacons of Islaam can never be wrong. Sadly, on this misconception they leave the Masjid quite content with themselves that not only have they done no wrong but proud that they are ‘reviving’ a sunnah. The intent of this article is to prove 20 rakaats of taraweeh.

Below is the full download on the subject.

In the unanimous opinion of all the Imams i.e. the four schools of thought, Taraaweeh consists of twenty rakaats.

No Imam agreed upon less than twenty rakaats. In fact Imam Malik holds the opinion of 32 rakaats.

Hadrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas Radiyallaahu Anhu led taraaweeh for two or three nights during which he offered twenty rakaats. The companions of the holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam were those who followed him to the minutest detail in every action and thus became the perfect examples to be followed. They had not only recorded the actions of the holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa sallam but also went on imitating his actions. It is for this very reason that the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam gave them the appellation of ‘guiding stars’. After this can we even imagine them doing something which the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam did not do or even worse introducing something in the religion?

The variation in the number of rakaats in the section of Taraaweeh is only due to the misinterpretation of Qiyaamul lail as Tahajjud and not Taraaweeh and the premise that, “as the holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam has most probably offered tahajjud in 8 rakaats, therefore, Taraaweeh should also be offered in 8 rakaats.”


 

To eliminate the misconceptions held by some people, we shall present here the routines followed by the holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam himself, the rightly guided Khulafaah and other companions during the month of Ramadaan. We shall provide some information regarding the reinstatement of the congregational Taraaweeh during the Khilaafat of Hadrath Umar Radiyallaahu Anhu so that the fact that the only reason that stopped the Holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi wa Sallam from leading the congregational Taraaweeh was that he was afraid that praying Taraaweeh in congregation might become obligatory upon his nation which might lead to hardship upon his ummah become known.

It is a sheer error in concluding that the congregational Taraaweeh is not at all proven by the practice of the holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam just because he did not lead it with regularity.

Below are some of the narrations with their corresponding references.

The Practice (of Muslims) during the period of the holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam and his companions Radiyallaahu Anhum.

Hadrath Abdullah bin Abbaas reported, “The holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa sallam led us in twenty rakaats congregational prayer of Taraaweeh. [musannaf ibn abi shaiba page 293 volume 2]

 

After the demise of the holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam Hadrath Abu Bakr Radiyallaahu Anhu was the first khaleefah and in the Taraaweeh section, none of his acts is recorded nor has he left anything for the ummah concerning this. Moreover the Khilaafat of Hadrat Abu Bakr Radiyallaahu Anhu was of very short duration and a great portion of his efforts were harnessed in curbing the revolt of the apostates [khaarijeen]. Therefore he did not consider it necessary for Taraawee’h to be offered in congregation. After him Hadrat Umar Radiyallaahu Anhu with the intention of protecting the ummah against the forthcoming circumstances and confusion appointed Hadrath Ubai bin Ka’b Radiyallaahu Anhu as the Imam and reinstated this excellent form of congregation that conformed exactly with the will of the holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam which was 20 rakaats of taraweeh. This was upheld by the succeeding Khulafaa namely Hadrat Uthmaan and Hadrat Ali Radiyallaahu Anhuma.

Hadrat Ubai bin Ka’b Radiyallaahu Anhu said that he used to lead twenty rakaats of congregational prayer of Taraaweeh on the command of Hadrat Umar Radiyallaahu Anhu.[Kanzul ‘ummaal page 315 volume 3]

During the month of Ramadaan Hadrat Suwaid bin Ghaflah Radiyallah Anhu used to lead twenty rakaats of taraaweeh in which he took five (pauses). [Baihaqi page 496 volume 2]

Hadrat Ali Radiyallaahu Anhu commanded a companion to lead twenty rakaats taraaweeh with five intervals. [Mu’sannaf ibn abi shaiba page 393 volume 3]

There is a narration related to Hadrat Ali Radiyallaahu Anhu himself that he gathered all the reciters and commanded them to lead twenty rakaats Taraaweeh and after the congregational Taraaweeh, he himself led them in witr. [Baihaqi page 496 volume 2]

Hadrat Saa-ib bin yazeed Radiyallaahu Anhu said that during the khilaafat of Hadrath Umar Radiyallaahu anhu twenty rakaats Taraawee’h was offered .[baihaqi page 496 volume 2]

The practice of the second and third generation Muslims

Allaamah Nawawi Rahmatul laahi Alaihi of Shari’h Muslim (Commenatary to Muslim Shareef) stated that only twenty rakaats Taraaweeh is proven because there is a tawaatur (Having numerous chains of narrators) and tasalsul (Continuity) about “offering 20 rakaats. [Mirqaat page 169 volume 2]

The renowned scholar, Haafiz ibn Hajar al asqalaani rahmatul Laahi Alaihi of Shari’h Bukhari (Commentary to Bukhari Shareef) said that twenty rakaats in taraaweeh are proven by the actions of all the companions of the holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi wa Sallam [Baihaqi volume 2 page 170]

Therefore scholars have written that since the companions of the holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam (Both Muhajireen and Ansaar) kept offering twenty rakaats of taraaweeh with regularity, this act is considered to be in Ijma’ (consensus) and should be adhered to. Going contrary to this only tantamount to deviation from the truth. [al-mughni libn qudaamah page 456 volume 1]

Does one need any further convincing after reading the above?

At the end all those who still want to hold on to the deviated belief in 8 rakaats of taraweeh should sincerely ask themselves if the intention is really upholding the ‘sunnah’ or is it looking for loopholes. If the answer is the former then by all means they should perform 8 rakaats of Qiyaamul Layl as the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam did! His 8 rakaats lasted right up to the time of sehri!

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