Sunday, 3 April 2022

Should Taraweeh Be Prayed In Congregation?

The basic demands of any Muslim, who believes in Allah (swt) and his Messenger (saw), are that their own opinions can never supersede the decree of Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw). The Muslims are not to should adopt an independent opinion in matters, and put precedence on their own judgments without any care as to whether it defies Allah and His Messenger and is contrary to the given guidance in these matters. The Muslim should submit entirely to the commands of Allah and his Messenger, and if they have given guidance on any said topic, a Muslim should submit and obey it with absolute totality.

‏فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا۟ فِىٓ أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًۭا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا۟ تَسْلِيمًۭا ‎

By your Lord, they do not really believe unless they make you [Prophet] judge their disputes, and then find no resentment to accept your decision, fully submitting.


Holy Qur'aan

وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّ‌سُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain. And have Taqwa of Allah. Verily Allah is severe in punishment.” 


Holy Qur'aan

قُلۡ يٰۤـاَهۡلَ الۡـكِتٰبِ لَا تَغۡلُوۡا فِىۡ دِيۡـنِكُمۡ غَيۡرَ الۡحَـقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوۡۤا اَهۡوَآءَ قَوۡمٍ قَدۡ ضَلُّوۡا مِنۡ قَبۡلُ وَاَضَلُّوۡا كَثِيۡرًا وَّضَلُّوۡا عَنۡ سَوَآءِ السَّبِيۡلِ

Say: 'People of the Book! Do not go beyond bounds in your religion at the cost of truth, and do not follow the caprices of the people who fell into error before, and caused others to go astray, and strayed far away from the right path.


Holy Qur'aan  

يٰۤاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تُقَدِّمُوۡا بَيۡنَ يَدَىِ اللّٰهِ وَرَسُوۡلِهٖ​ وَ اتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ​ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ سَمِيۡعٌ عَلِيۡمٌ‏ 

Believers, do not advance before Allah and His Messenger, and fear Allah. Verily Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing


Holy Qur'aan

The defenders of Taraweeh in congregation are selective in their reading of the Hadeeth, and conveniently skip the important part of his words. Let's present the narration under discussion;


Narrated Zaid bin Thabit: Allah's Messenger (saw) made a small room (with a palm leaf mat). Allah's Messenger (saw) 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 Messenger (saw) 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.

Source: Saheeh Al-Bukhari. Pg. # 1528. H. # 6113.

Ibn Hajar Asqalani:

What is related to this interpretation of this hadeeth is what is understood from his (peace and blessings of God be upon him) rejection of what they did in the matter of what they are not permitted to gather in the mosque for the night prayer.

Source: Fath Al-Bari fi Sharh Saheeh Al-Bukhari. Vol. 13, Pg. # 269.

Badr Al-Din Al-Ayni:

It is his (may God’s prayers and peace be upon him) rejection for what they have done of imposing what they did not have permission for it from gathering in the mosque over the night prayer.

Source: Umdat Al-Qari Sharh Saheeh Al-Bukhari. vol. 25, Pg. # 33.


Narrated Zaid bin Thabit: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) 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. When he came to know about it, he kept on sitting. In the morning, he went 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."

Source: Saheeh Al-Bukhari. Pg. # 181. H. # 731.


(He the Prophet sat down) that is, he prays while sitting so that people do not see him and then follow him.

Source: Nayl Al-Awtar. Vol. 5, Pg. # 470.

Therefore, from the Hadeeth - we can conclude that; 

- Prophet (saw) went to the Masjid to pray during Ramadan

- Certain Individuals From The Companions Imitated Him In The Masjid 

- He showed his obvious disproval and remained seated during the prayers 

- Next night the Prophet (saw) didn't attend the Masjid

- Companions then created a fuss and gathered outside his home and threw stones

- The Prophet (saw) came out of his house in the state of anger

- The Prophet (saw) instructs the Muslims to offer optional prayers at home

- Optional prayers are to be done individually at home, and not in congregation

Now as we have seen from the above Hadeeth, it strongly recommends to pray Nawafil (optional prayers) at hom, whereas congregational Taraweeh directly contradict with the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw); when the prophet obviously instructed the Muslims to pray nawafil at home. This is an undeniable fact but the advocates of Taraweeh will argue; why did the Prophet (saw) offer the Nawafil in congregation over three nights?

However, the Prophet (saw) didn’t offer any optional prayers during those three nights - he offered the compulsory prayers. This is why others were permitted to pray behind him (saw) in congregation. Nawafil (optional) prayers cannot be offered in Congregation (Jammah), and this is why the Prophet (saw) instructed the Muslims to perform it alone.

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