Source, http://www.islamonline.net/livefatwa/english/Browse.asp?hGuestID=Tg3TuH by Sheikh Ahmad Kutty (A Senior Lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.) (1)?As far as taraweeh is concerned, it is a nafl or a recommended prayer and there is no fixed number for it. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked about optional night prayer he replied: “One should perform the night prayer two rak`ahs, then two rak`ahs, etc. And when he feels the arrival of the dawn he should close it off by offering witr even if is by praying one rak`ahs.? Traditionally, Muslims have prayed 8 rak`ahs or 20, or 30, or 40 rak`ahs in various circumstances. So, (2) as Imam Ibn Taymiyyah said, it is up to the decision of the Imam and the worshippers; if they can perform 8 rak`ahs while reading the same portion of the Qur’an that one would read while praying 20 rak`ahs, they may do so. Also??.. We know from the traditions that the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and other companions often used to pray taraweeh at home.(3) Some of them even opened the Qur’an and read from it while performing taraweeh. Therefore, if you are not able to go to the mosque, you would not be deprived of the reward or blessings if you were to perform it at home.”
1.Taraweeh is a Sunnah Muakadah salah, not just a nafl salah and thus there is a set number of Rakaats for it, just as the number of Rakaats are set for other Sunnah Muakadah salaat eg. 2 before fajr, 2 after Zuhr, 4 before Zuhr etc.
2.While ibn Taymiyyah is of the view that no amount has been stipulated, there exists ijmaa of the Ummah that taraweeh is not less then 20 rakaats. From the time of Umar(RA) until the fitnah of not following a mazhab(Salafism/Wahabism etc) started (Approx.. 2 hundred years ago), there was no masjid in the world were less than 20 rakaats of Taraweeh was performed. This was the practice of the Ummah for about 1200 years.
3.According to the Hanafi Mazhab, no salah is permissible, reading from the Quran. According to other Mazhabs it is permissible. This doesn’t prove that it is not a sunnah Muakadah salah.
and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Ml. Husain Kadodia
CHECKED & APPROVED: Ml. Imraan