Taraweeh Prayer in Ramadan: The Taraweeh prayer is a special prayer that is performed by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan. It holds great spiritual significance and forms an integral part of the rituals and worship during this blessed time.
What is the Taraweeh Prayer?
The Taraweeh prayer is performed in the congregation after the compulsory Isha prayer in the evenings during Ramadan. It derives its name from the extended periods of standing (Qiyam) in the prayer as the worshippers stand in devotion before God. Along with fasting during the daytime, the Taraweeh prayers are considered among the highlights of worship and spiritual reflection during Ramadan.
The taraweeh is made up of twenty Rakats of prayer which are performed in sets of two each with a short period of sitting and reciting invocations in between. After each four Rakats, the congregation stands up for the fifth time to observe a slightly longer recital from the Quran before returning to complete the remaining sixteen Rakats.
The Significance of Taraweeh
The Taraweeh prayers hold deep spiritual meaning and significance for Muslims during Ramadan for the following reasons:
It Follows the Example Set by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
Muslims believe that the Taraweeh prayer revives the example demonstrated by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself when he led the faithful in extended night prayers during Ramadan. He later indicated that the extra prayers should be offered individually during the last days of this month. However, his companions and later followers continued the congregational Taraweeh prayer as confirmation of the Prophet’s spiritual guidance on additional worship during Ramadan.
It Provides Extended Time for Quranic Recitation and Reflection
Each session of the Taraweeh prayer contains long segments of Quranic recitation which allows the faithful to reflect deeply on the words and meanings of the Holy Book. This serves as a source of spiritual guidance and enlightenment as worshippers stand in front of God and gain insights that they can incorporate into their own lives from the divine revelations. The recitation also helps strengthen the bonds of communities in the Muslim faithful.
It Reinforces Gratitude for Blessings Bestowed by God
By standing for extended periods before God and seeking His divine mercy and blessings, Muslims are reminded of the favors God has already bestowed. This instills a deep sense of gratitude in the hearts of the faithful and spurs them to be thankful and loyal in their submission to His greater glory and majesty. The physical rigors of the prayer also serve as a means of atonement and purification of sins.
Etiquette and Norms Surrounding the Taraweeh Prayers
There are certain Islamic etiquette and approved norms associated with the performance of Taraweeh prayers:
Worshippers must be in a state of ritual purity before commencing the prayers which is achieved by performing wudhu (ablutions).
All Muslims should be modestly dressed in clean, respectful attire that covers them fully.
Congregating Behind the Imam
The faithful pray in rows behind the imam who leads the worship by calling out Allah’s greatness, verses from the Quran, and supplications for mercy.
It is incumbent upon those praying in the congregation to listen carefully during the recitation of verses from the Quran and make the appropriate responses when required.
Completing the Full Rakats
It is considered meritorious to complete the entire twenty cycles of Rakats during the Taraweeh prayers. However, those who have to leave early due to unavoidable circumstances are permitted to do so.
The Blessings and Benefits of Taraweeh
Along with its core spiritual essence, Muslims also believe that the Taraweeh prayer comes with multiple blessings and benefits, both in this world and in the eternal afterlife. These include:
Forgiveness of Sins
It is believed that the earnest performance of Taraweeh leads to the attainment of God’s mercy and forgiveness of transgressions. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said that God descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of every night to announce: “Is there anyone praying so I may answer them? Is there anyone seeking forgiveness so I may forgive them?”.
Acceptance of Duas (Supplications)
Ramadan is considered an opportune time for the acceptance of duas before God. The Taraweeh prayers are an especially blessed time for seeking God’s mercy through personal supplications which He readily accepts.
Protection from Hellfire
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has prophesized that observing the Taraweeh prayer patiently and sincerely serves as an assurance of protection from hellfire and a gateway to Heaven in the eternal afterlife.
The communal aspects of congregation provide an impetus for strengthening the Brotherhood between believers and commitment to the faith. Brothers in Islam take the opportunity to build understanding and inspire each other on the path of righteousness.
The Taraweeh prayer forms the cornerstone of spiritual devotion during the holy month of Ramadan. Its significance is deepened by the fact that it revives the Prophet’s example and brings immense divine blessings to the faithful. Muslims anticipate and welcome this beautiful form of nocturnal worship as it allows them to reinforce their faith while seeking the forgiveness, mercy, and favor of God Almighty. The passing of each nightly prayer session also signifies a countdown towards the commemoration of the divine revelation of the Holy Quran during the sacred ‘Night of Power’ towards the end of Ramadan.