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

 
 
A compelling analysis

A compelling analysis

 We ask those who insist Taraweeh is 8 Raka’at, is there any Marfu’ rigorously authenticated Hadith in support of this in which it is clearly mentioned that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) offered 8 Raka’at of Taraweeh and there are no complexities and reservations about that Hadith?

 These people insist that a rigorously authenticated Marfu’ Hadith be presented in support of 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh, which we have done at the beginning of the book.  Now, we ask them some questions.  If possible, then as per their own insistence, they should answer it with a rigorously authenticated Marfu’ Hadith.

 (1)  The congregation for Taraweeh is established from the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) only for 2 or 3 days, as learnt from the Hadith of Sahih Bukhari.  When the non-followers demand a rigorously authenticated Hadith on every issue from Hanafi and followers of other Imams, then the question is which rigorously authenticated, Marfu’ Hadith proves that Taraweeh should be offered with congregation for the whole month of Ramadhan?  Acting on which Hadith do they have congregational Taraweeh each night of Ramadhan?  They should present a rigorously authenticated Hadith of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) for this.

 (2)  These people also finish the recitation of 1 complete Holy Quran in Taraweeh.  Did the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) finish 1 full recitation of the Holy Quran in Taraweeh?  Is this established by a rigorously authenticated Hadith?  Then based on which Hadith do they finish 1 complete recitation of the Holy Quran in Taraweeh?

 (3)  Is there any rigorously authenticated Hadith which says that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) offered congregational Taraweeh every year?  Although the non-followers offer congregational Taraweeh every year in Ramadhan.

 There are no rigorously authenticated Marfu’ Hadith about the above 3 issues.  Then as per their own principles, are not these 3 customs Bida‘ah?

 Having Taraweeh with congregation for the whole of Ramadhan, finishing 1 complete recitation of the Holy Quran and having congregational Taraweeh every year are things which are established only by the Traditions of the Sahabah and have been their custom.  They are not established by the practices of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam).  They way these people follow the Traditions of the Sahabah in these 3 issues, in the same way what is stopping them from following the Sahabah in the number of Raka’at of Taraweeh?  If the number “20” is Bida‘ah (innovation in religion), then how can the aforementioned 3 issues be Sunnah?  If the above 3 issues are Sunnah, then how is 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh, a Bida‘ah?

 

Calling 20 Raka’at a Bida’ah is not at all justice


It is not correct to make a deduction from the 8 Raka’at Hadith and call 20 Raka’at a Bida’ah.  Even if it is accepted that Taraweeh is of 8 Raka’at, then the one offering 20

Raka’at is offering 12 Raka’at extra and Ramadhan is the month of good deeds and virtuous acts.  It is established by the Hadith that in this month extra prayers should be offered.  Although we have been generally ordered to hasten towards virtuous deeds and this has been declared to be a special characteristic of the Prophets and those who are close to Allah Ta'ala.  Also, success has been promised on doing so.

 

Surah Baqarah-148

Surah Mominon 61

Surah Haj 77

 

The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) has given glad tidings of the reward for offering Nafl prayers being equal to the reward of offering Fardh Salaat in other months.  There is a lengthy Hadith in Imam Baihaqui’s Shu’ab Ul Iman.  Please see a small part out of it:

 

من تقرب فيه بخصلة من الخير كان كمن أدى فريضة فيما سواه-

 

Translation: The person who does a Nafl good act in this month is like a person doing a Fardh act in other months.  (Baihaqui Shu’ab Ul Iman, Hadith No: 3455, Zujajatul Masabeeh Vol 1, Pg No: 541/542, Kitab Us Saum)

The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) would offer more worship in this month than other months.  It is given in a Hadith in Sahih Bukhari:

ا دَخَلَ الْعَشْرُ شَدَّ مِئْزَرَهُ وَأَحْيَا لَيْلَهُ وَأَيْقَظَ أَهْلَهُ

 

Translation: It has been narrated on the authority of Ummul Momineen Hadhrat Aisha Siddiqua (May Allah be well pleased with her) that when the last 10 days of Ramadhan came, the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) would worship more than before, would spend the nights in worship and would wake up the members of the household.  (Sahih Bukhari, Kitabul Fadhli Lailatul Qadr, Hadith No: 2044, Sahih Muslim Hadith No: 1174)

The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) has declared Taraweeh as a special Sunnah, as already mentioned in the Hadith from Sunan Nasai, Sunan Ibn Majah and Kanzul Ummal.

In this Hadith, the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) has declared extra Salaat in Ramadhan as His Sunnah and encouraged the Ummah to perform more good deeds than other months.

If Taraweeh is accepted as 8 Raka’at, then it should be said that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) encouraged the Ummah to offer more good deeds and perform more worship, but He Himself did not do so.  May Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) protect us from this. 

The mentioned Hadith establish that in Ramadhan more and more worship should be offered.  Even then calling 20 Raka’at as a Bida’ah is no justice.

It is a matter of shame that that act which is completely against the Sunnah is termed Sunnah and what the Hadith really demand is called Bida’ah.

 

The non-followers acting upon Dha‘eef Hadith

The non-followers claim to act only upon rigorously authenticated (Sahih) Hadith and if there is even a slight degree of unreliability in a Hadith, they don’t accept it and demand a Sahih Hadith.  However, they also act upon Dha‘eef Hadith.  We are presenting some examples here, which will show the truth about their claim of acting “only” on Sahih Hadith.

 

(1)  Hadith about having 2 witnesses for Nikah is Dha‘eef

The Hadith from which the non-followers deduce the necessity of having 2 witnesses for Nikah is not rigorously authenticated with respect to its chain of narration, but is weakly authenticated (Dha‘eef).  The necessity of having 2 witnesses is deduced from the following Hadith:

Translation:  Nikah is valid only with the permission of the guardian (Wali) in the presence of 2 witnesses.

Imam Daraqutni has mentioned this Hadith in his Sunan.  In the chain of narration of Imam Daraqutni, there is ‘Abdullah Bin Muhriz about whom Imam Ibn Hajr ‘Asqalani has written:

Translation: ‘Abdullah Bin Muhriz is a very unreliable narrator.

A very famous and authoritative scholar of the non-followers Siddiq Bin Hasan Qunuji writes in Ar Rauzatun Nadiyya after mentioning this Hadith:

Translation: In the chain of narration of this Hadith, there is ‘Abdullah Bin Muhriz who is a Forsaken narrator (Matruk Rawi, from whom narration of Hadith has been abandoned)  (Ar Rauzatun Nadiyya, Vol. 2, Pg. No. 22)

In another chain of narration of this Hadith, there is ‘Adi Bin Fadhl about whom Imam Baihaqui (May Allah shower His mercy on him) writes:

Translation: ‘Adi Bin Fadhl has narrated this although he is unreliable.  With a rigorously authenticated chain of narration, this is a Mauquf Hadith.  (Sunan Kubra Lil Baihaqui, Vol. 7, Pg. No. 202, Hadith No. 13494)

Imam Ibn Hajr ‘Asqalani (May Allah shower His mercy on him) has written in Talkhees Ul Habeer about the same narrator:

Translation: ‘Adi Bin Fadhl is an unreliable narrator.

‘Allama Haithami (May Allah shower His mercy on him) writes after mentioning 2 Hadith of the same meaning from Imam Tabarani’s M‘ojam Ausat:

Translation: In the chains of narration of both these Hadith, Rab‘ee Bin Badr is there who is a forsaken narrator.

Also Imam Ibn Hajr ‘Asqalani (May Allah shower His mercy on him) has declared Rab‘ee Bin Badr as forsaken narrator.

‘Allama Abu Ja‘afar ‘Aqeeli (May Allah shower His mercy on him) has written in his book “Dhu‘afaa” about Rab‘ee Bin Badr:

 

Translation: Imam Qutaiba has declared him unreliable.

‘Allama Haithami (May Allah shower His mercy on him) writes after mentioning another Hadith of M‘ojam Tabarani:

Translation: In this chain of narration, Suleman Bin Arqam is there who is a forsaken narrator.

Imam Nasai has included Suleman bin Arqam in unreliable narrators.

Imam Dhahabi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) has mentioned the opinion of the experts of Hadith criticism about Suleman Bin Arqam in Meezan Ul ‘Itidaal:

Translation: The Muhadditheen have stopped narrating from him

Translation: Imam Ahmed says:  We don’t narrate on his authority.  Imam ‘Abbas and Imam ‘Uthman have narrated on the authority of Hadhrat Yahya Bin Ma‘een that he is unreliable.  ‘Allama Jauzjani said:  Suleman Bin Arqam is Saqit Ul ‘Itibaar (totally unreliable).  Imam Abu Dawood and Imam Daraqutni have said that he is a forsaken narrator.

In spite of so many objections and reservations on this Hadith, the non-followers deduce from it.  The question is if the Marfu’ Hadith of 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh is Dha‘eef and thus unacceptable, then how does the Hadith of 2 witnesses for Nikah become acceptable to them in spite of being Dha‘eef?

(2)  The Hadith of a year having to pass before giving Zakaat on wealth is not rigorously authenticated

Among the conditions for the Zakaat to become Wajib is that a year should pass on the wealth.  This condition is compulsory for the non-followers as well.  The Hadith used to prove this is weakly authenticated.  Imam Baihaqui has written:

Translation:  Zakaat does not become Wajib on any wealth until a year has passed on it…………….In the chain of narration of this Hadith, there is Haritha, on whose narrations deductions cannot be based.  In this issue, the Traditions narrated on the authority of Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq, Hadhrat ‘Uthman, Hadhrat ‘Abdullah Bin ‘Umar and other Sahabah are considered.  (Sunan Kubra Lil Baihaqui, Vol. 4, Pg. No. 160, Hadith No. 7274)

Another Hadith of the same meaning has come from A’asim Bin Dhamra and Imam Baihaqui writes about him:

Translation: A’asim Bin Dhamra (i.e. his narrations) are not worthy of being deduced from.

 

He also said:

Translation: Hadhrat ‘Abdullah Bin Mubarak (May Allah shower His mercy on him) has declared him unreliable.

Another Hadith in this context is narrated on the authority of Harith Bin ‘Abdullah.  Imam Baihaqui (May Allah shower His mercy on him) clarifies about this:

Translation: Harith A’awar is unreliable.

It has been mentioned on the authority of Imam Sha’abi:

Translation: Imam Sha’abi has said that Harith is a liar.

‘Allama Haithami writes after mentioned a similar Hadith in M‘ojam Tabarani:

Translation: In the chain of narration of this Hadith, there is ‘Ambasa Bin Abdur Rahman who is an unreliable narrator.

Thus, the Marfu’ Hadith of 1 year having to pass for the Zakaat to become Wajib is not free of unreliability, but still the non-followers base their deductions on it.

 

(3)  All Hadith about the minimum measure of gold for Zakaat are weakly authenticated

The Hadith mention 20 Mithqaal as the minimum amount of gold on which Zakaat becomes Wajib.  Even the non-followers accept this, as given in Maqalat Wa Fatawa Abdul Aziz Bin Baz, Pg. No. 257 although there is no Sahih Hadith about this.  Imam Nawawi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) writes:

Translation:  In the Sahih Hadith, there is no clarification of the minimum amount of gold.  There are Hadith about this which give it as 2o Mithqaal.  However, they are all unreliable.  However, reliable Fuqaha have accepted it.  (Sharh Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1, Pg. No. 316)

For this, there is no Marfu’ Hadith with a rigorously authenticated chain of narration.  In spite of it, the non-followers declare the minimum amount of gold to be 20 Mithqaal.  Is this not acting upon a Dha‘eef Hadith?

These 3 issues have been presented as an example to show that in spite of a Sahih Marfu’i Hadith not being there for them, the non-followers still act upon these Hadith.

(1)  The Marfu’ Hadith about 2 witnesses for Nikah is narrated with a weakly authenticated chain of narration.  There is no Hadith with a rigorously authenticated chain of narration.  So, in this issue, is deduction based on the Traditions of the Sahabah enough?  When the Traditions can become a proof for this issue, then why cannot the rigorously authenticated Traditions of the Sahabah become a proof apart from the Marfu’ Hadith for 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh?

(2)  The Muhadditheen have clarified that there is no Sahih Marfu’ Hadith about 1 year having to pass on the wealth for Zakaat to become compulsory on it.  The narrations from the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) have weakly authenticated chains of narrations.  However, there are Traditions of Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq and other Sahabah, because of which this issue becomes authoritative.  Our question still remains.  When the Hadith about this are weakly authenticated, then how is the deduction performed on the basis of a Dha‘eef Hadith?  If deduction from the Traditions of the Sahabah in support of a Dha‘eef Hadith is correct, then even if we consider the Marfu’ Hadith of Taraweeh to be Dha‘eef, why aren’t the Traditions of the Sahabah about it acceptable?

(3)  That the minimum amount of gold on which Zakaat becomes Wajib is 20 Mithqaal is not mentioned in any Sahih Hadith.  As per the clarification of Imam Nawawi, all the Hadith which say this are Dha‘eef.  However, the Fuqaha have a consensus about it.  Their consensus strengthens this Hadith.

Although Sahih and Marfu’ Hadith about these issues are not there, the non-followers have accepted these.  In their books, these issues are written in this manner only.  They issue Fatwas on this only.

This shows that they accept the Traditions of the Sahabah although they don’t acknowledge it.  The consensus of the Fuqaha has weight with them as a proof though they don’t admit it.  If it is not so, then what proof do they have to follow the aforementioned rules?  As per their principles, what is the justification for doing so.\?

Can they present a clear and Sahih Hadith of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) without needing to recourse to the Traditions of the Sahabah and the consensus of the Fuqaha? 

The literature of the non-followers is silent about present a Marfu’ Hadith about these issues.


A sincere advice to the non-followers

We don’t ask the non-followers why they act upon the Traditions of the Sahabah in these matters nor why do they support themselves with the consensus of the Fuqaha.  We will say that the way these issues are established by the Traditions of the Sahabah and they themselves are already following them, in the same way the issue of 20 Raka’at Taraweeh and they themselves are already following them, in the same way the issue of 20 Raka’at Taraweeh is established by the Traditions of the Shabah.

The way the Fuqaha agree on 20 Mithqaal to be the minimum amount of gold for Zakaat to become Wajib, in the same way the Fuqaha agree that Taraweeh is 20 Raka’at.

We advise them that the way in the earlier mentioned issues, the Traditions of the Sahabah and the consensus of the Fuqaha has been accepted, the same stance can be held for 20 Raka’at Taraweeh.  Also due to Talaqqi Bil Qubool, the Hadith of 20 Raka’at is strengthened.

If they cannot follow these basic principles, the path of moderation, then at least they should not say that 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh is wrong.

The practice of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is 20 Raka’at.  The Sahabah agreed on the number of Raka’at to be 20 and not one of them objected to it.  The expositors of the Islamic Law, the Fuqaha (jurists) have also clarified the same in canons of Fatawa and Fiqh.  The Muhadditheen who hold the treasures of Hadith in their bosoms acted upon this.  This was acted upon in each age.  In Makkah and Madina, even today 20 Raka’at Taraweeh is the custom.

After knowing all these details, no just person will deny 20 Raka’at Taraweeh.  If someone still deludes himself that Taraweeh is 8 Raka’at, at least they should not taunt those who offer 20 Raka’at of Taraweeh.

May Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) for the sake of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) guide us and all Muslims on to the path of guidance and guide us to perform good deeds in this blessed month.  Aameen.

 *******

 
 
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