20 Rakaat Taraweeh
Author: MUFTI HAFIDH SYED ZIAUDDIN NAQSHBANDI,
Professor of Islamic Law JAMIA NIZAMIA, Founder of Abul Hasanaat Islamic Research Centre
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Category List

>> Introduction
>> The excellence of Taraweeh
>> Salaat Ut Taraweeh in Sahih Bukhari
>> First Hadith
>> 20 Raka’at Taraweeh – The custom of the Sahabah
>> Second Hadith
>> Third Hadith
>> Fourth Hadith
>> Fifth Hadith
>> Sixth Hadith
>> Seventh Hadith
>> Eighth Hadith
>> Ninth Hadith
>> Tenth Hadith
>> Eleventh Hadith
>> The Sahabah's consensus on 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh
>> None of the Sahabah objected to 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh
>> The Tabi'en too offered 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh
>> 20 Raka’at Taraweeh – Practice of the majority of the Hanafi, Shafa‘ee and Hambali scholars
>> 20 Raka’at Taraweeh – Opinon of the Imams of the Ummah
>> Taraweeh is 20 Raka’at – Opinion of Hanafi scholars
>> 20 Raka’at Taraweeh in Maliki school of Fiqh
>> 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh in the Hambali school of Fiqh
>> 36 Raka’at – A distinction of the people of Madina
>> 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh From the time of Hadhrat Muhammad Rasulullah...
>> Wisdom behind 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh
>> A compelling analysis

 
 
20 Raka’at of Taraweeh From the time of Hadhrat Muhammad Rasulullah...

20 Raka’at of Taraweeh ‑ From the time of Hadhrat Muhammad Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) to the time of the Muhaddith-e-Deccan Hadhrat Syed Abdullah 

The above mentioned Hadith, sayings of the Sahabah, sayings of the Imams and the clarifications of the Jurisprudents (Fuqaha-Islamic Law experts) and the Hadith-Experts (Muhaddithin) and other elders of the Ummah make it crystal clear that Taraweeh is of 20 Raka’at only.  The names of the above mentioned Fuqaha and the Muhaddithin mentioned in the book are being mentioned here in chronological order, so, that it becomes all them more clear that in every age and era Taraweeh has been offered as 20 Raka’at only and it was never discontinued.

Hadhrat ‘Umar (May Allah be well pleased with him) 23 Hijri

Hadhrat ‘Uthman (May Allah be well pleased with him) 35 Hijri

Hadhrat ‘Ali (May Allah be well pleased with him) 40 Hijri

Hadhrat ‘Abdullah Bin Mas‘ud (May Allah be well pleased with him) 32 Hijri

Hadhrat Ubai Bin Ka‘ab (May Allah be well pleased with him) 30 Hijri

Hadhrat Tameem Dari (May Allah be well pleased with him) 40 Hijri

Hadhrat ‘Abdullah Bin ‘Abbas (May Allah be well pleased with them) 68 Hijri

Hadhrat Saib Bin Yazid (May Allah be well pleased with him) 80 Hijri

Hadhrat Shaitar Bin Shakal Kufi (May Allah be well pleased with him) 69 Hijri

Hadhrat Harith Bin ‘Abdullah Hamdani (May Allah be well pleased with him) 65 Hijri

Hadhrat Abu ‘Abdur Rahman ‘Abdullah Bin Habeeb Kufi (May Allah be well pleased with him) 74 Hijri

Hadhrat Suwaid Bin Ghafla (May Allah be well pleased with him) 81 Hijri

Hadhrat Zaid bin Wahb (May Allah be well pleased with him) 83 Hijri

Hadhrat Abul Bakhtari (May Allah be well pleased with him) 83 Hijri

Hadhrat Sa‘eed Bin Jubair (May Allah be well pleased with him) 95 Hijri

Hadhrat Hasan Basri (May Allah be well pleased with him) 110 Hijri

Hadhrat ‘Ata Bin Ribah (May Allah be well pleased with him) 114 Hijri

Hadhrat Ibn Abi Mulaika (May Allah be well pleased with him) 117 Hijri

Hadhrat Yazid Bin Rooman (May Allah be well pleased with him) 130 Hijri

Hadhrat ‘Abdul Bin ‘Aziz (May Allah be well pleasedwith him

Hadhrat Abu Sa‘eed Yahya Bin Sa‘eed Ansari (May Allah be well pleased with him) 143 Hijri

Hadhrat Imam A‘amash (May Allah be well pleased with him) 148 Hijr

Hadhrat Imam Azam Abu Hanifa (May Allah be well pleased with him) 150 Hijri

Hadhrat Sufyan Thauri (May Allah be well pleased with him) 159 Hijri

Hadhrat Imam Malik Bin Anas (May Allah be well pleased with him) 179 Hijri

Hadhrat ‘Abdullah Bin Mubarak (May Allah be well pleased with him) 181 Hijri

Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad Bin Idrees Shafa‘ee (May Allah be well pleased with him) 204 Hijri 

Imam Abdur Razzaq San‘ani (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 211 Hijri 

Imam Abu Bakr Bin Abi Shayba (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 235 Hijri 

Imam Ahmed Bin Hambal (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 241 Hijri

Imam Abu Muhammad Abdul Hameed Bin Humaid (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 249 Hijri

Imam Abu ‘Isa Muhammad Bin ‘Isa Tirmidhi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 279 Hijri

Imam Muhammad Bin Nasr Marwazi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 294 Hijri

Imam Ja‘afar Bin Muhammad Faryabi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 301 Hijri 

Imam Ahmed Bin Sh‘uaib Nasai (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 303 Hijri 

Imam Suleman Bin Ahmed Tabarani (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 360 Hijri

Imam Abul Hasan ‘Ali Khalaf Ibn Battaal 449 Hijri

Imam Abu Bakr Ahmed Bin Hussain Baihaqui Shafa‘ee (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 458 Hijri

Allama Ibn Abdul Barr (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 463 Hijri

Allama Abul Waleed Maliki (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 472 Hijri 

Imam Abu Bakr Muhammad Bin Ahmed Sarkhisi Hanafi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 483 Hijri 

Imam Qazi Abul Fadhl ‘Iyaz Maliki (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 544 Hijri 

Hadhrat Ghouse Azam Abu Muhammad Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (May Allah be well pleased with him) 561 Hijri 

Imam Abu Bakr Bin Mas‘ud Kasani (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 587 Hijri 

Allama Abu Al Walid Muhammad Bin Ahmed famously known as Ibn Rushd Hafeed Maliki (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 595 Hijri

Allama Mubarak Bin Muhammad Jazari famously known as Ibn Atheer (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 606 Hijri 

Allama Abu Muhammad ‘Abdullah Bin Ahmed Bin Qudama Maqdasi Hambali (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 620 Hijri 

Imam Abu Zakaraiyya Sharfuddin Nawawi Shafa‘ee (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 676 Hijri 

Abul Barakaat Abdullah bin Ahmed Nasafi Hanafi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 710 Hijri 

Allama Taqiuddin Ibn Taimiya 728 Hijri 

Imam Abu Muhammad ‘Uthman Bin ‘Ali Zail‘ai Hanafi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 743 Hijri 

Allama Hafidh Nooruddin ‘Ali Bin Abu Bakr Haithami (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 807 Hijri 

Allama Hafidh Ahmed Bin ‘Ali Ibn Hajr ‘Asqalani (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 852 Hijri 

Allama Badruddin Abu Muhammad Mahmood Bin Ahmed ‘Aini Hanafi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 855 Hijri 

Allama Kamaluddin Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahid famously known as Ibn Hamam Hanafi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 861 Hijri

Imam Jalaluddin Abdur Rahman Bin Abu Bakr Suyuti (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 911 Hijri

 

Allama Muhammad Bin Yousuf Salhi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 942 Hijri

 

Allama Zainuddin Bin Ibrahim famously known as Ibn Nujaim Hanafi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 970 Hijri 

Allama Abul ‘Abbas Ahmed Bin Muhammad Ibn Hajr Makki Haithami Shafa‘ee (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 973 Hijri 

Allama Alauddin ‘Ali Muttaqi Hanafi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 975 Hijri

Allama Muhammad Bin Sultan Qari Hanafi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 1014 Hijri

Allama Abdur Rahman Muhammad famously known as Shaykh Zada Hanafi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 1078 Hijri 

Hadhrat Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlvi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 1176 Hijri 

Allama Syed Muhammad Ameen Ibn ‘Abidin Shaami Hanafi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) 1252 Hijri

 ‘Allama Doctor Wahba Zuhaili (still living)

The Pride of the Muhaddithin, the essence of the A’arifeen, Hadhrat Abul Hasanaat Syed Abdullah Shah Naqshbandi Mujaddidi Qadri (May Allah shower His Mercy on him) (Deceased-1384 Hijri) has recorded Hadith and Traditions on the authority of Baihaqui, Ibn Abi Shaiba, Baghawi and Abd Bin Humaid in in his great book of Hadith, Zujajatul Masabeeh.

He has mentioned the following Hadith on the authority of Imam Baihaqui:

Translation: It has been narrated on the authority of Hadhrat Shabrama (May Allah be well pleased with him) who is a student of Hadhrat ‘Ali (May Allah be well pleased with him) that he would lead the people in Taraweeh with 5 breaks.

The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) offered 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh as given in the Marfu’ Hadith narrated on the authority of Hadhrat ‘Abdullah Bin ‘Abbas (May Allah be well pleased with him), which has been related in the previous pages with references of various books of Hadith.

Those people who believe Taraweeh to be 8 Raka’at declare this Hadith as Dha‘eef (weakly authenticated).  They say that in the chain of narration of this Hadith, there is a narrator Abu Shayba Ibrahim Bin ‘Uthman who is an unreliable narrator.  To answer to this objection, some necessary clarifications are being done here.

 

Abu Shayba – The opinion of the Muhadditheen

Some Muhadditheen (Hadith experts) have some reservations about Abu Shayba but others have declared him as reliable as well.  Imam Tirmidhi and Imam Ibn Maja have narrated on his authority.  ‘Allama Mizzi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) writes in Tahzeeb Ul Kamal about Abu Shayba:

Translation: Hadhrat Abu Ahmed ‘Adi said:  There are many authoritative Hadith of Abu Shayba.  (Tahzeeb Ul Kamal, Bab Ul Alif)

Hafidh Ibn Hajr ‘Asqalani (May Allah shower His mercy on him) has written in Tahzeeb Ut Tahzeeb:

Translation: Yazid Bin Harun has said that no one more just than Abu Shayba was appointed to judgeship in that time.  (Tahzeeb Ut Tahzeeb, Harf Ul Alif)

These clarifications by the Imams of the Hadith criticism show that Hadhrat Abu Shayba is not unreliable to such an extent that Hadith narrated by him should be summarily rejected.  For this reason, Hadhrat Shah ‘Abdul ‘Azeez Muhaddith Dehlvi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) has written:

Translation: The grandfather of Muhaddith Abu Bakr, Abu Shayba is not so unreliable that his narrations should be rejected altogether.  (Al Fatawa Al ‘Azeeziya)

 

The unreliability of the later narrators does not affect Imam Azam Abu Hanifa’s opinion

This research is necessary for those who have deduced from those Hadith in whose chain of narration Abu Shayba is present.  If some Muhadditheen consider Abu Shayba as unreliable, even then the deduction of Imam Azam Abu Hanifa is not affected by this, because Imam Azam (May Allah shower His mercy on him) is among the 5th class of the narrators (Sighar Taba‘een).  He passed away in 150 Hijri whereas Hadhrat Abu Shayba is included in the 7th class who passed away in 169 Hijri.  This shows that Imam Azam (May Allah shower His mercy on him) is the predecessor of Hadhrat Abu Shayba.  It is obvious that the unreliability that seeps in the later ages does not affect the opinion of the earlier masters.

Imam Abdul Wahab Sha’araani (May Allah shower His mercy on him) says:

Translation: If any deduction of Imam Azam’s (May Allah shower His mercy on him) school of thought is considered unreliable, then this unreliability is of the narrators who come into the chain of narration after Imam Azam.  (Meezan Ush Shariah)

 

A Dha‘eef Hadith becomes “Hasan Lighairhi” because of multiple chains of narration

None one from among the Imams of Hadith criticism have declared this Hadith to be false or fabricated.  On the other hand, these Imams have clarified that when there are other Hadith supporting a Dha‘eef Hadith, then this Hadith does not remain Dha‘eef anymore, but becomes Hasan Lighairihi, which is worthy of being acted upon.

Hadhrat Mulla ‘Ali Qari (May Allah shower His mercy on him) says:

 

Translation:  Multiple chains of narration make a Dha ‘eef Hadith Hasan.  (Mirqaatul Mafateeh, Vol. 2, Pg. No. 42)

Allama Zainuddin Muhammad Abdur Raoof (May Allah shower His mercy on him) writes:

Translation: If all these Hadith are considered to be Dha‘eef then because of the multiplicity of the chains of narration, a Dha‘eef Hadith becomes strong and reliable.  Only a person who is unaware of the science of Hadith or is prejudiced can deny this.  (Faiz Ul Qadeer)

Hadhrat Shah ‘Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlvi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) writes:

Translation: If there are multiple chains of narration of a Dha‘eef for a Hadith, which compensate for its unreliability, then that Hadith will be known as Hasan Lighairihi.  (Muqaddima Fi Usool Il Hadith Lish Shaykh ‘Abdul Haq Dehlvi)

 

The Ummah’s acceptance of a Hadith is a sign of the Hadith’s authenticity

In every era, Muslims have been offering 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh.  The Ummah has accepted this and the Imams of Hadith have written that because of Talaqqi Bil Qubool, the Hadith is strengthened.  Allama Abu Abdullah Muhammad Bin Jamaluddin (May Allah shower His mercy on him) has written in An Nukta ‘Ala Muqaddima Ibn Salah:

Translation: A Hadith which the Ummah has accepted is sure to rigorously authenticated (Sahih).  (Tambeeh, An Nukta ‘Ala Muqaddima Ibn Salah)

‘Allama Ibn Salah has written at another place in the same book:

Translation:  When a Dha‘eef Hadith is accepted by the Ummah, then it will be acted upon as is the authoritative opinion.

 

Imam Suyuti (May Allah shower His mercy on him) has written in Tadreeb Ur Rawi:

Translation:  When people accept a Hadith, then it will be judged to be rigorously authenticated (Sahih) even though its chain of narration may not be rigorously authenticated.  (Tadreeb ur Rawi Lis Suyuti Al Awwal Us Sahih)

When the Ummah all over the world has accepted 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh and has been acting upon it then in spite of the chain of narration being not rigorously authenticated it will be accepted as per the clarifications of the Imams of the Ummah and the Muhadditheen.

Thus after reaching the status of Talaqqi Bil Qubool, talking about its reliability or unreliability and investigation about its narrators is entirely unnecessary.  For this reason, the unreliability of Abu Shayba (May Allah be well pleased with him) will not affect the deduction from this Hadith.

Imam Shamsuddin Sakhawi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) has written in “Fathul Mughees Sharahul Alfiyatil Hadith”:

Translation: When the Ummah accepts a Dha‘eef Hadith, then as per the authoritative opinion, it will be acted upon, so much that it is of the status of a Mutawatir (frequently occurring) Hadith, which can abrogate the Nas Qata‘ee (the canonical proofs)

 

The deduction of a Mujtahid is a proof of the authenticity of the Hadith

The 4 Imams have deduced from the previously mentioned Hadith.  If a Mujtahid (Jurist) performs a deduction based on the Hadith, then this is a sign of the Hadith’s authenticity and reliability.  ‘Allama Ibn Nujaim Misri (May Allah shower His mercy on him) has written in Al Bahr Ur Raiq Kanz Ud Daqaaiq:

 

Translation: When a Mujtahid performs a deduction from a Hadith, then this deduction is a sign that this Hadith is rigorously authenticated (Sahih).  Therefore, after a deduction of a Mujtahid, no other proof is needed for the reliability of a Hadith.

 

The Traditions of the Sahabah support this

That the Sahabah offered 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh is proof enough that some order or custom of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) was their guide here.  ‘Allama Ibn Nujaim Misri (May Allah shower His mercy on him) has written:

Translation: When Imam Abu Yousuf (May Allah shower His mercy on him) asked Imam Azam (May Allah shower His mercy on him) about Taraweeh, he said:  Taraweeh is a Sunnah Moukkada (compulsory Sunnah).  Hadhrat ‘Umar (May Allah be well pleased with him) did not do so on his own and neither is he one to invent a new custom.  He gave this order because of some proof that he had with him or because of the order of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam).

The Sahabah would be waiting for the command of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) that they could perform it.  They would gaze at every action of His to act upon it and take it to their hearts.  Can we even think about them that they disobeyed the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)?  When they offered 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh, certainly they must have had some unassailable proof, which is in turn a beacon of guidance for us.

 
 
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