Taraweeh Prayer is one of the notable practices done during Ramadan. For an entire month, Muslims gather to observe several Rakat and hear and reflect on the recitation of the Quran. It is one of the most highly spiritual and blissful experiences. The word Taraweeh is derived from an Arabic word that means to rest and relax. These prayers are performed after Isha during the month of Ramadan. They are called Taraweeh because ancestors used to rest after every Rakat. After all, the prayers used to be extensive. These prayers are also known as “Qiyam-Ul Layl” (night prayers) as they can be performed till midnight. It comprises twenty Rakats that are performed every day during Ramadan between the night prayer (Salat-Al-Isha) and the odd-numbered prayer (Salat-Al-Witr).
How did it start?
In the final year of his life, one night Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) came out and prayed Taraweeh, some people accompanied him. On the second and third night as the word spread, more people joined in for Taraweeh. During the fourth day, the mosque was crowded, and everybody waited for the Prophet’s arrival.
However, he prayed at home by himself and said, “Nothing prevented me from coming out to you except the fact that I feared that it would be made obligatory for you.”
Taraweeh Prayer Benefits
There are many rewards achieved by people who pray Taraweeh prayers. It has been mentioned in the Hadith, as said by the Prophet,
“Whoever stands for prayer (the night prayer) during Ramadan with iman (faith), hoping for rewards, all his/her previous sins will be forgiven.”
“Whoever draws nearer (to Allah) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month) shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time, and whoever discharges an obligatory deed in (this month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time.”
Besides spiritual rewards, offering Taraweeh also yields many physical benefits such as:
Enhanced Physical and Emotional Health: The gentle shifting movements that are done during performing Sajdah and Raku enhance physical and emotional health as well as increase the life expectancy of the person praying. It has also been seen that those who fast the entire day and then perform Taraweeh prayers feel strong at night.
Better Muscle Strength in Elderly: With the age increasing every day, physical movements tend to decrease in elderly people which often leads to many medical problems. The constant movement that happens during Taraweeh prayers gives muscle strength, improves joint flexibility as well as reduces tiredness. It also helps in restoring mineral content deficiency and acts as a lubricator for joints.
Enhanced Mental Health: Exercise is beneficial not only for physical health but for mental health as well. It improves the quality of life as it makes a positive impact on behaviour and thought processes. The gentle up and down movements are not only a source of physical exercise but also a source of relaxed mood and mindset.
How to perform Taraweeh Prayer?
The majority agrees that Taraweeh prayer should be offered at the congregation in the mosque as it is more fruitful, but the congregational worship can be done at home as well. The prayer can be performed in two and four Rakats. When it is performed in four Rakats, it is like the sunnah of the late afternoon prayer (Salat-Al-Asr).
Choice of Prayer
Before beginning, certain things should be ensured like deciding how many Rakat prayers you would like to perform. If the prayer is done two by two and is concluded with Witr prayer, it would be considered following the Sunnah. After that, it should be ensured that the area is clean and free of impurities.
If you are not pure for the ritual, Wudu must be performed. When entering the Mosque, you must stand quietly away from the entrance/exit, so you do not disturb others. If required, one must perform Ghusl (full shower) instead of Wudu. Men must cover the area between their navel and knees while women must cover everything except their face and hands.
Suggested Read: A Complete Guide To Ghusl
Niyyat for Taraweeh
The prayer begins by setting the intention that you are praying for Taraweeh. Then you must raise your hands to your ears and say Allahu Akbar which means Allah is the greatest. After that, you must put your hand either on your navel or on your chest. You should not be distracted so it is suggested that you fix your eyes on the place of prostration. Then you must recite the opening dua which is Du’a al Istifah and after that Surah al Fātiḥah which must be recited in every two Rakats of Taraweeh. You have to say Allahu Akbar and then bend down which is known as the Ruku position. While bowing, you have to say Subhana Rabbiyal Adheem thrice. Then you must rise from your Ruku position and recite Sami-Allah Huliman Hamidah.
In the next step, you have to say Allahu Akbar and prostrate to take the Sajdah position. Then rise from the Sajdah position and sit on your knees and recite duas. Say Allahu Akbar and stand up and this will mark the completion of one Rakat. The second Rakat is supposed to be done the same way. After the second prayer, finish with tasleem. You can pray if you want in the pair of two-by-two.
Is it compulsory to perform Taraweeh at the Mosque?
Taraweeh should be performed at the mosque as it is more fruitful, but it can be performed at home as well.
How many Rakats are commonly prayed by people?
Commonly nine, eleven, or thirteen Rakats are performed but they can be reduced or increased accordingly.
Can women pray Taraweeh at home?
Yes, you can pray both at the Mosque or at home.