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Discussing a few things that I have learnt over the past few years of attending Taraweeh prayers, masha'Allah. Seven great tips for an enjoyable experience!

Tips for Ramadan Taraweeh (Tarawih) Prayers

Gateway to all Ramadan related posts on MM

Here are a few things that I have learnt over the past few years of attending Taraweeh prayers, māshā'Allāh:

Tip number one: Do not fill your belly to bursting point at iftaar time! I'm sure you've heard that many times already, but it's worth repeating; it's that important to remember. If the masjid is too warm, you'll get sleepy during Qiyam. If you go for all 20 rakaat, you'll likely get a stitch! Would you eat a full meal an hour before swimming? The same logic applies here.

Tip number two: Try to avoid spicy/smelly foods at iftaar time. Instead, indulge your chilli and garlic tastebuds when you return home. Even if you brush your teeth real well before leaving for the masjid, your breath will still smell of digesting curry, and it's simply not good manners to inflict others with that kinda hardship! Especially when they're trying to worship Allāh in peace.

Tip number three: Don't sit or lie down after Iftaar. Get ready to leave for the mosque straight away, as otherwise you'll just get lazier, and more tired as the seconds tick by. Also, leave the dishes and cleaning until you return home, because it's just a waste of your precious time at that moment, and it will make you late to get that good spot in the front row!

Tip number four: Take someone with you to the mosque. Having company on your journey has many benefits: one, there is safety in numbers (especially important for sisters travelling late at night); second, if you're car-pooling, you'll get the reward of helping fellow Muslims in their worship (and of course, saving the environment); third, it may give you, or your companion, greater encouragement to fulfil the Sunnah of attending the Taraweeh prayers. Basically, it's all good, inshā'Allāh!

Tip number five: Read an English translation of the Qur'an, bit by bit, every day. I, personally, do not know very much Arabic; just a few words that are oft-repeated in the Qur'an. Therefore, I tend to easily lose concentration during the recitation, and more importantly, I do not fully appreciate the wisdom, warnings, and lessons that are being shared with me through Allāh's words. IMO, that's like, 70% of the value of Taraweeh lost, right there! Therefore, this year I decided to take a few minutes out in my day to read the English translation of the part of the Qur'an that I predict the imām will recite the same evening. I've asked around, and most imams usually get through a Juz n' a bit per night, in their aim to complete the Qur'an by the 27th night.

So with this new plan in mind, for the first four nights of Ramadan, I simply read the translation, and went to the mosque empty-handed, and waited for random familiar words to jog my memory. Alḥamdulillāh, it worked around 50% of the time, and my concentration improved greatly as I intensely listened out for my 'cues'. However, there were still chunks of recitation where my face was all screwed up in confusion, as I had little idea of what was being said. On the fifth night, I decided to take the translation with me, so I could read short passages during the breaks in between each prayer unit. Alḥamdulillāh, this drastically improved my rate of recall, and I felt I had a good idea of what was being recited about 90% of the time! Though, admittedly, it does depend on the speed of the reciter.

For best results, calmly read the entire portion that you think will be recited (or as much as you can) before arriving at the mosque. Then, during the rest breaks, speed-read through the few paragraphs that you predict will be recited in the following two rakat.

Of course, if you're 'in' with the imām, you could simply ask him for the exact bits of the Qur'an that he will be covering each night – I don't have that luxury, hence all the 'predictions'. :)

If you're already blessed with a working knowledge of Arabic, māshā'Allāh, then try to read the tafseer regularly instead, for a deeper appreciation of the recitation.

Tip number six: Save up some du‘ā’. Depending on how many rakat your mosque completes per night, you will have multiple opportunities to make du‘ā’ during the blessed moments of sujood. Pick a few 'faves' and try to fit them in when you can.

Tip number seven: A special one for the laydeez. If you're not in a state to pray Taraweeh due to menses or nifaas (post-childbirth bleeding), you can still benefit from the community spirit of worship, by sitting in a place away from the masallah (i.e., the place where people make sujood), with a copy of the English-Arabic Qur'an, and silently follow the imām as he recites. Make sure not to touch the words of Allāh directly in an impure state – wear gloves, or use some other clean barrier to touch the pages.

Disclaimer: I am aware of differences of opinion in this matter, so please consult with your imām or other local knowledgeable person if you're not sure. If you don't wish to attend the masjid, then you can always watch an online transmission of the Taraweeh from masjid-al-Haram in Mecca Mukarramah.

I haven't been attending Taraweeh for very long, but I aim to make it my own Ramadan tradition, inshā'Allāh. Employing such small tips helps make the experience more productive and enjoyable. I invite the more seasoned Taraweeh-goers to add your own tips below, for the benefit of all. JazakumAllah khair in advance!

alhamdulillah allah dua imam insha'allah makkah masha'allah masjid

About iMuslim

Mehzabeen (iMuslim) is a UK born n' bred sister of Gujarati Indian descent. She has spent a good chunk of her life trying to scrape together a formal education in the Biological Sciences, and in 2008, was awarded a doctorate for research conducted at Imperial College London, masha'Allah. Her interests include all things Apple Mac, all things chocolate-based, and all things Islam (not necessarily in that particular order). Other online projects include iMuslim.tv, SignLabs.org, and the Muslim Bloggers Directory.

35 comments

  1. Jazakallah for the advice! Sometimes you get into so much of a routine, it’s good to shake things up a bit.

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  2. Great, practical advice!

    My biggest source of irritation is the constant belching that is heard during tarawih – and if you’re unlucky to be next to the guilty party, Allahul musta`an

    Actually, to each his own I guess; sometimes I do lie down for half an hour after iftar, to feel more energized for tarawih. I find that it gives me that ‘boost’ that I need (but only do this if you have had a light iftar!)

    Also, when I was a kid (and didn’t understand Arabic), one of the best ways that I found to retain my concentration was to follow along with the Imam, holding a Quran in hand. There is no problem doing this in tarawih prayer, insha Allah. But holding a translation would present other problems – because then you would begin to read the English and divert your attention away from the Arabic Quran. Your solution would work best (to read in between); or you could combine and read the English before the salat begins and then follow along with the Arabic.

    But for me, the single best way to enjoy tarawih is to find an Imam who recites Quran flawlessly, with a beautiful voice. There is no substitute for that!

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    • But for me, the single best way to enjoy tarawih is to find an Imam who recites Quran flawlessly, with a beautiful voice. There is no substitute for that!

      Agreed!

      I used to lie down, but it’s only because there is so little time here between Iftar and Isha, that I feel the need to get ready straight away; I find that I only have 30-40 minutes in between the two – and I only live a few mins away from the masjid. Plus, this year the sisters’ section of the small mosque I attend is packed – if you don’t get in early, you’ll be suffering all night. Though alhamdulillah that more and more sisters are attending the Taraweeh prayers.

      Btw, it is hard to avoid burping a little when you pray straight after eating – even a light meal – but belching?! That sounds like they’re not even trying to cover it up. Don’t they feel embarrassed? I’d be mortified! Or is this a guy thing?

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    • Perhaps the advice can be read not necessarily as don’t lie down (energy boost), but rather don’t lie around (set up for laziness).

      JAK for the article!

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      • Well, in the end, they’re ‘tips’ not ‘rules’, so apply whichever you find beneficial for you, insha’Allah. (I actually was originally going to label each point “Rule number 1, 2, 3 before I realized that not everything applies to everyone, hehe)

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    • I grew up doing this in Saudia but I realised later (in US), not to do so in a masjid where the Imam is Hanafi. He’s likely to be frustrated at u, especially if u give him luqma by reading from the Quran.

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  3. If you really want to be able to understand more of the recitation, I’d suggest you go over what ever is to be recited on a particular day – not just the translation, but go over it on a word-to-word translation, whilst listening to your favorite qari reading the same verses. Since it’s just over one chapter a day, it’d take 45-50 mins max.

    This gives you a more in-depth understanding of the words themselves, and you’re struck with just how beautiful the qur’an is – in terms of depth, and yes, even just to listen to.

    Plus, it’d be a real treat. Personally for me, any reason to listen to Sh.Mishary al-Afasy!

    On a serious note, it makes a HUGE difference – whether you read the translation verse-by-verse or word-by-word.

    Check out http://www.emuslim.com/Quran/Translation_English.asp

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    • Jazakallah khair for the link to the word-to-word translation resource. I was thinking about it just the other day, so alhamdulillah, my inner prayers have been answered! :)

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  4. A great tip for taraweeh: start learning Arabic and its application to Qur’an starting today so that by next Ramadan, so the need for a translation is not there. Alhamdulillah, this is THE best preparation for Ramadan.

    See http://www.lqtoronto.com for a great Arabic language course.

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    • JAK soo much

      i just check out the link , its a great tool for beginners. Learning Arabic for me at this point is very important

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  5. Assalamualikum,

    Excellent suggestions. Some extremely handy tips and tools on concentrating in Taraweeh also exchanged here:

    Do you concentrate in Taraweeh?
    http://forums.alkauthar.org/showthread.php?t=6987

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  6. Jazakom Allah Khairan for these suggestions

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  7. SubhanAllah there is nothing to lift your eman like a beautiful recitation from someone who you can tell himself is feeling the verses he is reciting in taraweeh.

    My biggest external distraction BY FAR is kids gone wild during taraweeh and handling this delicate issue without offending is very challenging in many masajid I am sure. Perhaps someone can put up a post giving tips on how different masjids deal with this issue.

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  8. jazakAllah kheir : ) there’s also http://muslimco.com

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  9. Salam aleikum,

    One thing I really appreciated about tarawih at Abu Huraira masjid in Scarborough was the fact they were handing out water bottles to everyone because it was getting so hot! I know some other masajid do this but may Allah bless these brothers, to put in such ikhlas into the house of Allah. Really these small things make you really feel welcome and valued as a brother in Islam. They have daily halaqas too, and they record it and stream it online for the sisters! I also like their idea of a Parking pass to deal with Jumuah parking congestion- coordinated with the other buildings in the neighborhood. This is what I call ihsaan! A great example for other masajid! Ma sha Allah la quwatta illah billah, very impressive!! Here is there website: http://www.abuhuraira.org/

    One other tip for tarawih: SMILE LOTS! Its contagious. People get pooped out and tired in Ramadan–headaches, hunger, long worship so you need to smile and be amicable with everyone, just to keep the spirits high, even with strangers– if all they see of you is you smiling goofily from far, it will improve their tarawih experience. Otherwise, everyone seems to look like they are attending a Janaza so put your positivity on steroids! :P

    Baraka Allahu feek
    Jazaka Allahu khayran for the article and alhamdulillah, good to see this sort of discussion happening on bettering ourselves in small, but practical ways that reflect proper intentions.

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    • Jazakallah khair bro for the great tips!

      Parking coordination would be great in general. In my area of London, there are many mini-mosques, masha’Allah (about five in the same high street, and more scattered in side streets). So most brothers walk from home, alhamdulillah. Unless they are bringing female family members, and of course sisters drive themselves for security reasons.

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  10. Aha! And my tip for attending Taraweeh…

    Leave your negativities at home!

    What do I mean by negativities? Scowling, rude behavior, turning people off from your “exclusive” prayer spot, arguing with people whose children are creating nuisance. The whole experience can go a bit sour when you witness people scowling and telling off others for what can be managed with a lot less negative reaction!

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    • Tell me about it! And the way the places right in front of the pedestal fans are fought over! Astaghfirullah!

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    • SubhanAllah, thinking about your comment makes me laugh now that I remember the times people at the masjid I attended got upset.

      I remember I accidently turned off the ceiling fan once thinking that I put it at max and boy did I getting an ear full of yelling from sisters dripping of sweat. I apologized profusely but they wouldnt even accept it.

      At the end of the day- I totally love the masjid during Ramadan even with the drama (apparently it prevalent in the sisters side). Smiling back at people who are yelling at you, or even those people who came in with just a negative mood is interesting/fun.. mostly after the fact though.

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  11. i usually drink water to relief dehydrated muscles, use bathroom to answer call of nature, so that i feel much lighter. Brush my mouth 4 dat extra freshness – and go to a mosque where tajweed is sweet and rakats are not too long. Thats me. I guess ppl use their own techniques. Prepare body and spirit.

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  12. Jazzak Allah for sharing this helpful article during this blessed month. I love the tip about “saving some duas for sujood” I always try to keep that in mind.

    I came across this website today and MashahAllah very impressed. Keep up the good work–May Allah bless your efforts. Ameen!

    I’m new to the blog world and would like to invite you all to visit my blog: http://everydaymuslimah-everydaymuslimah.blogspot.com

    I’m looking for followers so please do subscribe. Thank you!

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  13. niice, I liked the “save up du’a” part.

    It’s so much easier said than done eh? Allahumusta’an.

    ————————–
    Here’s a burp tip: (i know, it’s weird we’re discussing this but I smelt the other end of 12 biryani belches few days ago. I avoided looking the brother in the face to not know who it was)

    –> Eat IT
    ————————–

    Instead of blowing it all out and polluting the place, ‘swallow’ the air back — exhale thru nose — inhale with your mouth to ‘swallow’ it further.

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  14. Abu Ayesha Al Emarati

    Praying behind an Imam whose recitation is melodious always helps.

    Tajweed is important, at least for me.

    Slow, measured recitation is what I prefer.

    Another Taraweeh tip I have is don’t burn yourself out if you aren’t used to long qiyaam.

    Pace yourself so that once the last 10 are here you can give it your all.

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  15. JazakAllah khair for the tips.
    I gotta agree on getting a qari you really love to hear so it can better help you concentrate.
    One thing I’d do differently is wash the dishes before leaving. If you divide up your time accordingly, you’ll have enough inshaAllah. It’s better to go to the masjid stress free and then you can come home without dreading to do dishes when yo’re so tired.

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    • Assalamo elikuim
      I agree with Sr.Saleha to do dishes before you leave for taraweeh .
      By the time we come back from taraweeh its a mad rush to get everybody to sleep for suhoor , school and job next day.

      Wasalam
      UmmOsman

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  16. Aslamaleikum wrwb

    Personally I would suggest something that is rarely done by people which is to follow the recitation with the quran in your hand. Read the quran as it is being recited for ultimate focus, for learning tajweed (if it is being recited properly) and for memorisation (hifz). I’m not sure if there is a difference in opinion on this matter but I know some people do it and I wouldn’t see anything wrong with it because you are doing it with intentions of learning.

    The question may arise about what to do with the quran when in sujood and the solution is to simply hold the quran in one hand without having to place it on the floor. I know for a fact that when a person is learning to pray – salaah, it is permissable for the person to have the text written in transliteration or otherwise on a piece of paper which they can hold and read while praying to help them learn.

    Take a compact version of the quran for ease when holding.

    Waleikumaslam wrwb

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