THE TARAWEEH PRACTICE OF THE SALAF-US-SAALIHEEN
Imam Ishaq bin Rahwayh, one of the senior teachers of Imam Bukhari (rahmatullah alayhimaa), was known as Ameerul Mu’mineen fil Hadeeth which was the highest pedestal in the field of Hadeeth during the era of the Salaf-us-Saaliheen who were the most blessed and superior of generations according to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) himself.
The following authentic and direct eye-witness testimony of Imam Ishaq bin Rahwayh portrays without the slightest ambiguity the unanimous practice of the Salaf-us-Saaliheen and their understanding (fahm) of the Hadeeths pertaining to the Taraweeh prayers – which is the ONLY correct practice and understanding:
وأما الإمام إذ صلى بالقوم ترويحة أو ترويحتين، ثم قام من آخر الليل فأرسل إلى قوم فاجتمعوا فصلى بهم بعد ما ناموا فإن ذلك جائز، إذا أراد به قيام ما أمر أن يصلي من التراويح، وأقل من ذلك خمسة. مع أن أهل المدينة لم يزالوا من لدن عمر رضي الله عنه إلى زماننا هذا يصلون أربعين ركعة في قيام شهر رمضان، يخففون القراءة. وأما أهل العراق فلم يزالوا من لدن علي رضي الله عنه إلى زماننا هذا على خمس ترويحات، فأما أن يكون إمام يصلي بهم أول الليل تمام الترويحات ثم يرجع آخر الليل، فيصلي بهم جماعة فإن ذلك مكروه. ألا ترى إلى قول عمر رضي الله عنه حيث قال: التي تنامون عنها خير من التي تقومون فيها، فكانوا يقومون أول الليل، فرأى القيام آخر الليل أفضل.فإنما كرهنا ذلك لما روى عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه وسعيد بن جبير- رحمه الله تعالى-١ كراهية التعقيب
“As for when the imam leads the people in one or two Tarweehahs (sets of 4 raka’ts) and then he gets up at the end of the night and sends for the people and they assemble and then he leads them after they have slept – that is permissible, when he intends thereby to perform what has been ordered to pray of the tarweehahs, and THE MINIMUM OF THAT IS 5 (TARWEEHAAT i.e. 20 RAKATS); considering the fact that the inhabitants of Madinah have not ceased, from the time of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) to this time of ours, to pray 40 raka’ts [i.e. 20 + 16 + 4 – without the extra one rakats of Witr] in the vigil of the month of Ramadan, while lightening the recitation. As for the inhabitants of Iraq, they have not ceased to be upon 5 Tarweehahs [i.e. 20 raka’ts] from the time of Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) till this time of ours. And as for when the Imam prays with them (the congregation) ALL THE TARWEEHAAT in the beginning of the night, and then he returns at the end of the night and he prays with them in congregation, then that is Makrooh (reprehensible). Do you not see the saying of Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) where he said: “That (salaat) which you sleep upon [i.e. Tahajjud] is more virtuous than that (salaat) which you are standing in [i.e. Taraweeh].” For, they would stand (for salaat) in the beginning of the night, and he saw their standing (for salaat) at the end of the night as more virtuous. We only consider that Makrooh [i.e. another Jama’at after completion of Taraweeh] due to what was narrated by Anas bin Malik (radhiyallahu anhu) and Sa’eed ibn Jubair (rahimallahu ta’ala) on the reprehensibility of Ta’qeeb [praying another supererogatory Salaat in Jama’at in the night].” [Masaa-il al-Imam Ahmad wa Ishaq ibn Rahwayh]
The following points become clear from this quote:
1) The unanimous Taraweeh practice of the Salaf-us-Saaliheen consisted of a minimum base of 20 rakats.
2) The only ikhtilaf present amongst the Salaf-us-Saaliheen – which is the ONLY valid ikhtilaf – pertained to amounts above and beyond the minimum base of 20 rakats. Thus, the so-called ikhtilaf propounded by deviates today, between 8 and 20 rakats, is an innovated (i.e. evil Bidah) ikhtilaf which did not exist amongst the Salaf-us-Saaliheen.
3) According to Imam Ishaq bin Rahwayh, while the continuation of Taraweeh in congregation in a later part of the night is permissible, the praying of Tahajjud in congregation in the same night is not permissible. Thus, Taraweeh and Tahajjud are two completely distinct and different prayers.
For authentic and direct eye-witness testimonies of Imam Malik, Imam Shafi’i, Imam Ahmad, and other undisputed Imams of the Salaf-us-Saaliheen, which further affirm the points above, refer to the article “The Bid’ah of 8 rakats of ‘Taraweeh'” which is freely available online.
Take note that it is SATANIC to even insinuate that the most blessed and superior of generations, the Salaf-us-Saaliheen, en masse, had somehow lost or even worse, intentionally abandoned, the Sunnah and Afdhal (infinitely superior) practice of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
It is SATANIC to even insinuate that the Salaf-us-Saaliheen, including the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum), had institutionalised a particular number of Rakats (i.e. 20) not found in the Sunnah, which amounts to accusing the most blessed and superior of generations of colluding, en masse, in instutionalising a Bid’ah Sayyi’ah (evil innovation).
It is SATANIC to scavenge for Shadh (isolated, anomalous and rejected) rulings in our tradition, in order to justify a position that contradicts the understanding and practice of the Salaf-us-Saaliheen.
Those who dwell under the self-deception that they are able to arrive at a “better” understanding of the Quran and Sunnah than the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) should take lesson from the Khawarij sect who likewise gave preference to their own understanding of the Quran and Sunnah over Taqleed of the Fuqaha of the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum).
A whole article can be written on the sterling qualities and superiority of the Khawarij “Jihadis” over the modern-day deviates who delude themselves into believing that they are authentic followers of the Salaf-us-Saaliheen, whilst following a “Deen” (false religion) which is not fully subservient and rigidly bound to the Fiqh rulings of the Four Madh-habs which are the ONLY authentic mass-transmissions of the Deen of the Salaf-us-Saaliheen upon whom exclusively the authentic mass-transmission of the teachings of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is fully dependent.
Despite the Khawarij “Mujahideen” devoting their entire lives in the path of Allah for what they sincerely believed to be Jihaad, for raising the word of Allah, and for the political dominance of Islam; despite their exemplerary Zuhd (abstinence from the Dunya) and superlative exertions in Ibaadah which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had foretold would make even the Ibaadah of the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) appear paltry; despite their sincere belief that all those whom they fought were Kuffaar, Mushrikeen, Murtaddeen and other Enemies of Islam whose fighting is obligatory; despite their honesty and truthfulness which led even the most rigorous of Muhadditheen to repose trust in the Hadeeths narrated by them; and despite numerous other stellar traits, the Khawarij “Mujahideen” and “Shuhadaa” are bound to find out to their horror that they were all along, in reality, the “Dogs of Hell-fire” (Kilaabun Naar) and the “Worst of Creation” (Sharrul Khalq) as they are explicitly branded in numerous authentic Hadeeth narrations.
From this, one can understand the wasted effort, utter loss, and potentially accursed status of the multitude of deviates who dominate the landscape of “Deeni” activism today – as entirely expected in these worst of eras – who are all unfettered from Rigid Taqleed to the Fiqh of the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) as authentically transmitted only by the Four Madh-habs, and who masquerade as Mujahideen, Tableeghis, Daa’ees, Sufis, etc., whilst not possessing even a fraction of any of the laudable characteristics of the Khawarij.
Any “Deen” which differs even slightly with the Deen of the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) which was mass-transmitted exclusively by the Salaf-us-Saaliheen and eventually compiled and recorded authentically only by the Fuqaha of the Four Madh-habs, will be Mardood (rejected) on Yaum ul-Qiyaamah.