The Holy Month of Ramadan is a month of great blessings. Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. After the fast, they perform Taraweeh prayer at night. Many have confusions about how many rakat in Taraweeh are there in the prayer 8 or 20? Recommended: How do Muslims fast in the countries where the Sun does not set?
What is Taraweeh?
The Taraweeh is a non-obligatory prayer that is to be offered with the night prayer (Isha). It is also called Qiyam-ul-Lail. Most Muslims go to the mosque where Taraweeh prayer is organized, while some prefer to offer it at home.
How many rakat in Taraweeh prayer 8 or 20?
Most Muslims are seen arguing about How many Rakats of Taraweeh prayer should we pray 8 or 20?. In view of some, 8 are better while others believe 20 are preferred. This is the most popular dispute among the Muslim Ummah.
The same question when asked from Dr. Zakir Naik, he said that the Taraweeh prayer shall be offered in the form of 2 rakats. According to our beloved Prophet PBUH, the Qiyam ul Lail shall be offered in 2 rakats that are to be followed by another 2 rakats and so on. When one fears that dawn is approaching he shall offer 1 rakat.
Narrated Nafi`: Ibn `Umar said, “While the Prophet (ﷺ) was on the pulpit, a man asked him how to offer the night prayers. He replied, ‘Pray two Rakat at a time and then two and then two and so on, and if you are afraid of the dawn (the approach of the time of the Fajr prayer) pray one rak`a and that will be the witr for all the rak`at which you have offered.” Ibn `Umar said, “The last rak`at of the night prayer should be odd, for the Prophet (ﷺ) ordered it to be so. – Sahih al-Bukhari 472
The Holy Prophet PBUH did not mention the number of rakats to be offered, yet has only briefed about the manner the rakats shall be offered. One can pray as many raka’ats as he wishes to. There is no obligation on the number.
Prophet Muhammad used to offer 8 rakat of Taraweeh
However, if we want to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet PBUH, we shall know how he PBUH used to offer Taraweeh. According to Hazrat Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) the Prophet PBUH always used to offer 11 rakats of Qiyam ul Lail. He always used to offer 11 rakats in Qiyam ul Lail, either be Ramadan or any other month.
Narrated `Aisha: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) used to offer 11 rakat and that was his prayer. He used to prolong the prostration to such an extent that one could recite 50 verses (of the Quran) before he would lift his head. – Sahih al-Bukhari 1123
11 rakat here mean 8 rakat of Tarweeh and 3 witr. All hadith either be narrated in Sahi Muslim or Sahih Bukhari, reveal that Prophet PBUH used to offer 8 Rakats in the Taraweeh prayer.
How many rakat of Taraweeh in Makkah and Madina?
Here a question arises if it is a Sunnah to perform 8 rakat of Taraweeh, why 20 rakat of Taraweeh is performed in Masjid al-Haram in Makkah and Masjid al Nabawi in Madina. Actually, it was Hazrat Omer R.A. who started the 20 rakat of Taraweeh.
After this, it was continued during the reign of Hazrat Usman R.A as well. This is the reason, 20 rakat of Taraweeh is performed in Makkah and Madina.
Can we pray 8 Rakat of Taraweeh?
As we have already mentioned that Prophet Muhammad S.A.W used to offer 8 rakat of Taraweeh, therefore, it is absolutely fine if you offer 8 rakat of Taraweeh instead of 20.
How many rakats in Taraweeh for ladies?
Ladies can also pray as many rakat of Taraweeh as they want. There is no set limit for that. There is no specific number quoted by Islam with reference to how many rakat in Taraweeh ladies should pray.
In fact, Muslims can offer as many rakats as they wish. The number is certainly not an issue. However, what we shall bear in mind is the commandment of the Prophet PBUH to offer in multiples of 2. As per sunnah of the Prophet PBUH, he used to offer 8 rakats followed by 3 to make it odd (witr). May Allah guide us to the right path!