Monday, 15 June 2015

Imam Tirmidhi and Ata ibn Abi Raibah's reply to Ghulaat on Taraweeh

One should not blame the manhaj or methodology due to the handy works of the laymen who claim adherence to that manhaj. Even scholars make certain mistakes. Nevertheless, it is well known and established that the prophet (sallalahu `alayhi wa sallam) never prayed more than 8 or atleast it is affirmed he never prayed 20 . This is near my research , if you happen to differ in your research due to whatsoever reasons be it academic or secterian then no need to kill each other. But it is proven that the sahaaba's era and the 1st three generations prayed way more than 8 rak`ah so restricting it to 8 or making tabdee` of those who call for more than 8 is unwarranted. 

Imam tirmidhi (D. 279 - a 3rd century scholar's ) Fatwa on taraweeh 

It would be foolish of anyone to say imam Tirmidhi spoke this without a daleel or on his own without having any "salaf" to back it up with. 

وَاخْتَلَفَ أَهْلُ الْعِلْمِ فِي قِيَامِ رَمَضَانَ فَرَأَى بَعْضُهُمْ أَنْ يُصَلِّيَ إِحْدَى وَأَرْبَعِينَ رَكْعَةً مَعَ الْوِتْرِ . وَهُوَ قَوْلُ أَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ وَالْعَمَلُ عَلَى هَذَا عِنْدَهُمْ بِالْمَدِينَةِ . وَأَكْثَرُ أَهْلِ الْعِلْمِ عَلَى مَا رُوِيَ عَنْ عُمَرَ وَعَلِيٍّ وَغَيْرِهِمَا مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم عِشْرِينَ رَكْعَةً . وَهُوَ قَوْلُ سُفْيَانَ الثَّوْرِيِّ وَابْنِ الْمُبَارَكِ وَالشَّافِعِيِّ . وَقَالَ الشَّافِعِيُّ وَهَكَذَا أَدْرَكْتُ بِبَلَدِنَا بِمَكَّةَ يُصَلُّونَ عِشْرِينَ رَكْعَةً . وَقَالَ أَحْمَدُ رُوِيَ فِي هَذَا أَلْوَانٌ . وَلَمْ يَقْضِ فِيهِ بِشَيْءٍ . وَقَالَ إِسْحَاقُ بَلْ نَخْتَارُ إِحْدَى وَأَرْبَعِينَ رَكْعَةً عَلَى مَا رُوِيَ عَنْ أُبَىِّ بْنِ كَعْبٍ . وَاخْتَارَ ابْنُ الْمُبَارَكِ وَأَحْمَدُ وَإِسْحَاقُ الصَّلاَةَ مَعَ الإِمَامِ فِي شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ . وَاخْتَارَ الشَّافِعِيُّ أَنْ يُصَلِّيَ الرَّجُلُ وَحْدَهُ إِذَا كَانَ قَارِئًا . وَفِي الْبَابِ عَنْ عَائِشَةَ وَالنُّعْمَانِ بْنِ بَشِيرٍ وَابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ .

The people of knowledge have differed over the rak`at for standing in Ramadan, Some held the view that one prays 41 rak`ah with the Witr, and it is the saying of the people of madeenah and such is their practice likewise. The majority of the people of knowledge held it to be 20 rak`at as it is related from `Umar, `Ali and other sahaaba of nabi sallalahu `alayhi wa sallam and it is the saying of (Sufyan) ath-thawri, Ibn al-Mubarak, and Ash-Sha`fee. Ash Sha`fee said : i found the people of our city praying 20 rak`at. Ahmad (ibn Hanbal) said :" there are various reports concerning it, but no specific number is agreed upon. Ishaaq (ibn rahaawy) said : we prefer 41 rak`at according to what has been reported from Ubay ibn Ka`b. Ibn al-Mubarak , ahmad, ishaaq preferred praying with the Imaam in the month of ramadan while al-sha`fee prefered a man pray by himself if he was a qaari...... 

why am i sharing this fatwa? 

- so that those who out rightly reject the EXISTENCE of 20 or more rak`ah from the salaf should start reciting rabbi zidni` ilman asap 

What about 8 rak`ah of taraweeh being the sunnah? 

Well that is something undeniably established. From bukhaari to Tabaraani: 1/190 to Musnad Abu Ya’ala 2/362 to Ibn Hibban to Bayhaqi 2/492 to Muwatta to Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah (2/391) to many more but this doesn’t make 8+ haram or makrooh. Rather in Ramadan majority of the scholars agree the more you pray (with khushoo`) the better. 

What is the point in mentioning this fatwa? 

The point is that even if the narrations of 20 rak`at can be argued over (in authenticity) it is an established fact that the salaf did pray 20 and even more either due to believing those ahadeeth were saheeh near them or due to the agreed upon act of their scholars of a city or one area or two. So to use a very harsh word such as calling 20 rak`ah a bid`ah or to debunk the adherents of a valid school within Islam  (ahnaaf) and insult them or say they are bid`ati OR RESTRICT TARAWEEH ONLY ON 8 RAK'AH is far-fetched from intelligence.  I understand the proverb " you need two hands to clap" and i also know the ghuloo from the modern day hanfis but remember this that the Prophet (sallalahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:  

When two men insult one another, what they say is mainly the fault of the one who began it, so long as the one who is oppressed does not transgress. 

[Saheeh Muslim (6263) So if you consider yourself in the oppressed know that the second you transgress the angel on the left shoulder is watching.]

The only valid reason to debate on this issue is when someone attributes 20 to the prophet. that is when we object to defend the prophet’s actions. But otherwise it should be all cool. 

Ibn `Abd al-Barr said in al-Istidhkaar (2/69):

Twenty rak’ahs was narrated from ‘Ali, Shateer ibn Shakl, Ibn Abi Mulaykah, al-Haarith al-Hamadaani and Abu’l-Bakhtari. It is the view of the majority of scholars and it is the view of the Kufis, the Shaafa’is and most of the fuqaha’. It was narrated in saheeh reports from Ubayy ibn Ka’b, and there was no difference of opinion among the Sahaabah. `Ata ibn abi Raibah (who is a senior taba`I and has seen and studied from sahaaba) said: 

: حدثنا ابن نمير عن عبد الملك عن عطاء قال أدركت الناس وهم يصلون ثلاثا وعشرين ركعة بالوتر .

I GREW UP at a time when the PEOPLE prayed twenty-three rak’ahs including Witr.

[Ref: see the athar of ata that in Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah (2/163) or فقال ابن أبي شيبة في المصنف [2/285]. `Abdul Malik ibn Jurayj’s `an from Ata` is acceptable and if this is `Abdul Malik ibn Abi Sulaiman - is also thiqah]

The very next Athar in Ibn Abi Shaybah says, Dawood bin Qays said: "I caught the era of people in Madeenah at the time of Umar bin Abdul Azeez and Abaan bin Uthmaan when they would pray THIRTY SIX rak'ahs and three witr"

The next Athar says, Ali bin Rabee'ah used to pray FIVE tarawehaat (i.e same as 20) plus three rakah witr 

The Next Athar says, Sa'eed bin Jubayr led people for twenty nights in SIX rak'ahs and the last of them, he observed I'tifkaaf and prayed SEVEN rak'ahs

Abdur Rahmaan bin al-Aswad prayed FORTY rak'ahs of Taraweeh


1. Parking spot during taraweeh 

2. To defend the prophet's behavior when falsely attributed to 8+ rak`ah in an academic and appropriate manner. 


Conclusion : any number of rak'ah is allowed and permissible by the salafus saliheen and even general ahadeeth. 

Ps: The discussion about if 20 rak'ah are proven from the sahaba directly with them being mentioned in the matan then this can be referred to on and and (of br abu khuzayma) 

As for it being proven indirectly via the testimony of the tab`ioon (such as `ata ibn abi raibah above) then yes it is proven with an authentic chain. 

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