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Guidance For Praying Tarawih At Home

We are definitely living in unusual and unprecedented times. I don’t think any of us ever imagined that we would live through a time when the doors of our masājid are closed. There is no five-time daily congregational prayer, no Friday prayer, and most likely no Tarāwīḥ prayer in the masjid this year. This is something that definitely weighs heavily upon the heart and is a genuine reason to be sad. It is a time for introspection and turning back to Allah ﷻ.

Alḥamdulillah, Ramaḍān, the month of unimaginable mercy, grace, and forgiveness is right around the corner. It is an opportunity for us to refocus, renew our faith, and strengthen our relationship with Allah ﷻ through various forms of worship. We’re going to be spending our days fasting and our nights praying. One of the special acts of worship we engage in during this beautiful month is praying tarāwīḥ.

However, this year Tarāwīḥ is going to be different. We aren’t going to feel that same excitement and energy of our masājid being full and standing shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters (separately of course) listening to the Imām recite the eloquent, profound, and beautiful words of Allah ﷻ. To be honest, this is one of the things I look forward to and enjoy most in the month of Ramaḍān. Seeing the masjid full on a nightly basis is an extremely beautiful sight and fills my heart with true joy. This year we will find new ways of experiencing the beauty of Ramaḍān. The purpose of this  brief article is to provide some guidance for praying tarāwīḥ at home. If you want to skip the Fiqh details and want direct answers please skip to the summary at the end.

Pray Tarāwīḥ at Home

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Jurists from all four schools of thought agree that tarāwīḥ prayer is a Sunnah for both men and women. According to the Ḥanafīs, Ḥanbalīs and some Mālikīs it’s an emphasized Sunnah. The Prophet ﷺ established it as a practice and encouraged his companions to do so as well. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʿAwf (ra) narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said, “Allah has made fasting the month of Ramadān obligatory upon you and I have made standing in prayer during its nights a practice.” Abū Hurairah narrated that the Prophet ﷺ would encourage his companions to stand in prayer at night without commanding them to do so. He would say, “Whoever stands in prayer at night during Ramadān with faith and expecting reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” The commentators on this narration mention that it’s referring to tarāwīḥ prayer. This Sunnah can be practiced and fulfilled by praying at home. Under these circumstances, where the masājid are closed, we shouldn’t feel that our practice or performance of tarāwīh at home is in some way deficient. The narrations mentioned above are general and absolute and do not specify where tarāwīḥ should be performed. Allah’s mercy is infinite and inshAllah we will receive unimaginable rewards for praying at home. 

As a matter of fact, there is a discussion among the jurists regarding which is more virtuous; praying tarāwīḥ in the masjid or praying tarāwīḥ at home. The majority of scholars (al-jumhūr) are of the opinion that praying tarāwīḥ in congregation at the masjid is Sunnah while others are of the opinion that it is recommended to pray at home.

 According to the Ḥanafīs, praying tarāwīḥ at the masjid is a communal Sunnah (Sunnah ʿalā al-kifāyah). If some members of the community are praying in the masjid they will be fulfilling the Sunnah on behalf of the entire community and if the entire community abandons it they would be blameworthy. If an individual decides to pray at home they would be missing out on some virtue. If they pray in congregation at home they would miss out on the virtue of praying in congregation at the masjid. According to the Shāfiʿīs and Ḥanbalīs, praying tarāwīḥ in congregation at the masjid is also more virtuous. According to the Mālikīs, it is recommended to pray tarāwīḥ at home as long as the masājid are not abandoned and the individual will pray it at home and not skip it. All of this is under normal circumstances. In our current situation, the only option we have is to pray at home and by doing so we will, inshAllah, be fulfilling the Sunnah and deserving of the full virtue and reward of having our previous sins forgiven.

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Can I Pray Tarāwīḥ while Reading from the Muṣḥaf?

The short answer, yes. According to the Mālikīs, Shāfiʿīs, and Ḥanbalīs it is permissible for the Imām to recite from the muṣḥaf while praying voluntary prayers, including tarāwīḥ. According to the Ḥanafīs, specifically Imām Abū Ḥanīfah (r), it is impermissible for the Imām to recite from a copy of the muṣḥaf and doing so will invalidate the prayer.  The rationale mentioned behind this ruling is that reading from the muṣḥaf entails excessive movement (ʿaml kathīr) or learning (talaqqun), and both invalidate the prayer. 

However, the two students of Imām Abū Ḥanīfah (r), Abū Yūsuf and Muḥammad (r), disagreed with their teacher and were of the opinion that it doesn’t invalidate the prayer, but is still disliked. They argue that looking in the muṣḥaf itself is a form of worship and does not invalidate the prayer. However, it is disliked because it resembles the worship of the People of the Book (tashabbuh bi Ahl al-Kitāb).

As understood from the above, this is an issue in which there is a valid and legitimate difference of opinion. As someone who ascribes to the Ḥanafī School of thought in issues of jurisprudence, studied it, and has been teaching it for the past nine years, under these circumstances I would argue that there is absolutely nothing wrong with acting upon the opinion of the Mālikīs, Shāfiʿīs, Ḥanbalīs, and the Ṣāḥibān, Abū Yūsuf and Muḥammad (r). 

Building off the position of the Ṣāḥibān, I would also argue that it is not disliked for the imām to read from the muṣḥaf in tarāwīḥ because it doesn’t entail tashabbuh. The disliked nature of tashabbuh is derived from the statement of the Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever [intentionally] copies a people, he is from them.” There is a difference between resembling (mushābahah) a people and intentionally resembling (tashabbuh) a people. Our Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī teacher when explaining this ḥadīth provided very important clarification regarding the intended meaning of the ḥadīth. He mentioned that, first and foremost, linguistically the verb “tashabbaha” is on the pattern tafaʿala (verb form v) that conveys the meaning of intentionality (takalluf). Based on this, tashabbuh is intentionally trying to imitate, copy, or resemble the practice or dress of someone. Secondly, the dress or act that is being copied or imitated has to be a dress or act that is exclusive to a particular group of people or religion. Third, tashabbuh can vary based on time, place, context, and custom. What is considered tashabbuh in one generation, society, or locality may not be tashabbuh in a different generation, society, or locality. With this understanding of the ḥadīth, an imām reading from a muṣḥaf during tarāwīḥ would not be considered tashabbuh because they are not trying to intentionally imitate the religious practice of another community. 

Practical Guidelines for Tarāwīḥ at Home

1) Dedicate a clean and comfortable space for prayer in your home. 

2) Set a time to pray ʿIshā’ nightly. Give the adhān, iqāmah, and pray with those at home with you in congregation. If you live by yourself or are the only Muslim in your household still give the adhān and iqāmah as you will be leading a noble congregation of Angels.

3) Recite the adhkār for after prayer and make duʿā’. 

4) Pray the two emphasized units of sunnah prayer after ʿIshā’.

5) Pray tarāwīḥ as you would in the masjid with anywhere from 8-20 units. In these units you can recite however much Quran you know from memory or, if you prefer, you can read from the muṣḥaf. 

6) If you are reading from the muṣḥaf try your best to complete a recitation of the Quran by reciting one juz’ a night. If not, no worries, simply recite as much as you can.

7) Try your best to engage with whatever portion of the Quran you are reciting by reading the translation, commentary (tafsīr), and reflecting upon the meanings.

8) Pray Witr.

9) During this time remove distractions such as your cell phone and other electronic devices.

May Allah ﷻ allow us to reach Ramaḍān, take advantage of its amazing blessings and opportunities, and earn the mercy and forgiveness of Allah ﷻ. May Allah ﷻ keep all of us safe and healthy and return life back to normal as soon as possible. 

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Shaykh Furhan Zubairi serves as the Director of Religious Education at the Institute of Knowledge in Diamond Bar, CA. He regularly delivers khutbahs and lectures at various Islamic Centers and events in southern California.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Samir

    April 14, 2020 at 11:27 AM

    BarakAllahu Feeka Sheikh for the wonderful breakdown and explanation of the Taraweeh prayer. I was wondering whether Qiyaam Al Layl constitutes a substitute for Taraweeh, or are they entirely different? Could I go to sleep after Isha and pray Taraweeh an hour or two before the Fajr Athaan?

    • Avatar

      Shamim Ahmed

      April 20, 2020 at 6:19 PM

      Salam alaikum. This is what I found in the book Riyad-us-Saliheen (https://islamhouse.com/en/books/290639), Chapter 198:

      “The Tarawih (optional night prayer) performed in the month of Ramadan is this Tahajjud prayer which is also termed as Qiyam-ul-Lail For the sake of convenience and benefit of congregational prayer, it is offered soon after `Isha’ prayer in the month of Ramadan”

      Based on the above, the answer to your question is YES. Of course, there are scholars who say that Tarawih is different than Tahajjud. Allah knows best.

  2. Avatar

    Andrew Booso

    April 14, 2020 at 12:30 PM

    Jazak Allah khayran. This is an excellent concise and profound article. It is also so heartwarming to see the scholarly tradition being engaged in a meaningful way, masha Allah.

  3. Avatar

    Js

    April 14, 2020 at 4:26 PM

    JazakAllah khair for this. I had a question. Is it permissible for a woman to lead her household in salah? This includes her mahrams llike her brother and father. The reason being that she is the only one who can recite properly.

  4. Avatar

    Brother

    April 17, 2020 at 3:36 AM

    Salam. BarakAllahu feek. While praying with immediate family, is it ok for the wife to correct the husband/son if there’s a mistake in his recitation or if they forget?

    Wassalam

  5. Avatar

    MC

    May 1, 2020 at 11:17 PM

    Asalaamu Alaikum
    Great article masha Allah
    May Allah accept our intentions and prayers.
    I have a question,if the husband doesn’t pray taraweeh, should the wife make the Sunnah prayers alone?

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#Islam

30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 10: The Dua’ of Umm Salama

Now that we have learnt about a good word, let’s talk about the dua’ of Umm Salama.

Today I’m going to share with you a story of a very important woman in Islamic history named Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her). She was a female companion, which means she was a sahaabiya (female companion)

Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was one of the first people to embrace Islam and she was one of the few Muslims who actually performed the hijrah twice. 

Question: Who can tell me what a hijrah is?

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A hijrah is when someone leaves a place they are in for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The first hijrah was to Ethiopia, where a just Christian ruler named Najashi took in a group of Muslims and took good care of them. 

So Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and Abu Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) went to Ethiopia. After some time living there, they really wanted to go back to Mecca so that they could be next to the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and learn everything about Islam. As they waited patiently, news traveled all the way to Africa saying that the Muslims were no longer getting persecuted because Umar ibn al-Khattab raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and Hamza raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), the uncle of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), had embraced Islam. 

Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and Abu Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) decided to return back to Mecca, and when they did, they realized that it was only a rumor and that the Muslims were still being tortured by Quraysh. So, when the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) instructed all of the Muslims of Mecca to leave to Madina for the second hijrah, they wasted no time getting ready. 

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Question: Do you see how they were so active and didn’t take their Islam for granted?

As Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was about to mount her camel, her tribe, the Banu Makhzum, came and told Abu Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) that they would not allow him to take Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) to Madina. Then Abu Salama’s tribe, the Banu Asad, takes Salama, his child, away.  Abu Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) could not defend himself against all of these men, so he sets off to Madina.

In just one day Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) lost her husband and her child, and she suffers so much because of it. She is in a lot of pain. After some time her cousin starts to feel sorry for her and speaks to the tribes on her behalf. He is then able to reunite her with her son. Then after a year of waiting, Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) is finally able to meet her husband in Madina. 

Abu Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was known to be a very caring husband and courageous man. He fought in the Battle of Badr as well as in the Battle of Uhud. In Uhud, he received a wound that he wasn’t able to recover from. 

Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was so sad the day Abu Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) died, but the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) taught her to recite a beautiful dua’:

إِنَّا لله وإنا إليه راجعون اللهم أجرني في مصيبتي وأخلف لي خيرا منها 

“We belong to Allah and to Allah is our return. Oh Allah, reward me for my calamity, and replace my loss with something better.”

Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) recited this dua’, but in her mind she thought, “Who can be better than Abu Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)?” 

After a few months passed, Umar ibn al-Khattab raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) proposed to Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her), but she said no. 

Then, Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) proposed to Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her), but again she said no. 

Then, the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) proposed to Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and she accepted. So now, she was not only the mother of Salama, but the mother of all of the believers until the end of time! 

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This Eid And Beyond Boycott Goods Made With Enslaved Labor Of Uyghurs Even If It Is Your Favorite Brand

Bidding farewell to Ramadan, celebrating Eid?

Well, the Muslims of East Turkestan under Chinese occupation had neither Ramadan nor will they have Eid…

Not only that, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) run government has transferred Uyghurs and other ethnic minority citizens from East Turkestan to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Nike, Gap, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Carters and others. Read Uyghurs for Sale for more information

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CCP is also pressuring governments across the world to extradite Uyghurs back to occupied East Turkestan.

Here is what you can do to help them:

Action Items

  1. Keep making dua for the oppressed of East Turkistan and the world.
  2. Boycott Chinese products! Do not be complicit in slave labour. Start with focusing on the companies in the graphic. Share it with #SewnWithtTears, #StopChina, #BoycottChina. Write to them and demand that they do better.
  3. Raise awareness on the plight of Uyghurs and the East Turkistani cause. Learn more at SaveUighur.org
  4. Work towards reducing your country’s economic dependence on China.
  5. Build alliances with all people of conscience to demand a cessation of China’s oppression of all faith groups, be it Muslim Uyghur, Hui; Chinese Christian; or Tibetan Buddhist.
  6. Encourage and promote fairer trade and commerce with Muslims and others rather than China.
  7. Inquire about Uyghur diaspora members in your area. Organize to help out orphans, widows, and students.
  8. Pressure governments to provide legal protection to Uyghur refugees-exiles by granting either citizenship or refugee/asylee status. Stop the “extradition/repatriation” of Uyghurs to China!
  9. Get your universities/endowments to divest from China. Raise awareness about Chinese espionage and hired guns in academia. Demand academic and financial support for Uyghur scholars and students. Request more academic attention and funds for Central Asian, Uyghur, Turkistani studies. 

Read a greater discussion of action items in A Response to Habib Ali Al-Jifri’s Comments on the Uyghurs, which also contains a greater discussion on East Turkistan’s history and its current situation. A condensed Arabic version of the article can be found here

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30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 9: A Good Word

Now that we have learnt about the life of this world, let’s talk about a good word.

I want you all to close your eyes and think of a beautiful tree. 

Question: Who can tell me what their tree looks like? Is the tree big and strong? Does it have lots of branches and leaves? Does it have fruit?

Now, I want you to think of a time when someone said something really nice to you.

Question:  What are some of the nice statements you remember people telling you?

Question: How did those statements make you feel?

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Yes, they fill us up with a warm feeling. We may have felt proud of ourselves and we may have felt loved. Do you know that Allah [wt] describes a good word to a good tree? 

In Surah Ibrahim, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَةً كَشَجَرَةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْعُهَا فِي السَّمَاءِ 

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تُؤْتِي أُكُلَهَا كُلَّ حِينٍ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهَا ۗ وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ 

Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky? [Surah Ibrahim; 24]

It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded. [Surah Ibrahim; 25]

Question: Now, I want you to think of a time when someone said something mean to you. How did that make you feel?

It’s not fun to remember the mean stuff right? Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) continues in Surah Ibrahim and says:

وَمَثَلُ كَلِمَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ كَشَجَرَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ اجْتُثَّتْ مِن فَوْقِ الْأَرْضِ مَا لَهَا مِن قَرَارٍ

And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability. [Surah Ibrahim; 26] 

Question: What do you think are good words we can use to build strong, firmly rooted trees?

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