Can Tarāwīh be Performed in Sets of Four Units?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Mathabah.org
Answered by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt

Question:

Can we offered tarāwīh in combination of 4×4 sets or its must to offer them in sets of 2, 2, 2 rakaʾahs? Is it necessary to recite Qurʾān from starting to onward in tarāwīh? Can we offer 10 rakaʾahs for tarāwīh?

Answer:

In the Name of God, Most Merciful, Most Kind

Jazāk Allāh Khayr/ Thank you for your question.

The preferred method of tarāwīḥ is to offer units of 2 raka’ahs. Reciting the entire Qurʾān is praiseworthy but not mandatory in tarāwīḥ. 10 raka’ah in tarāwīḥ is allowed but the truth of the matter is that this is an issue that is extensively discussed with varying opinions based on interpretation of source texts. Respecting all intellectual discussions on the matter, our perspective is as follows:

Since there is no authentic ḥadīth available that reports the exact number of rakā’at observed by the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) in the tarāwīḥ prayer, one must examine the actions of his loyal Ṣaḥābah (Companions – may God be pleased with them) in order to obtain the correct guidance. The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) himself has stated,

“Hold fast to my way and the way of the rightly guided Companions, hold very firm to it.” (Musnad Aḥmad and Ibn Mājah)

The Ṣaḥābah (may God be pleased with them) observed twenty rakā’at for the tarāwīḥ prayer. The Ṣaḥābah were of the consensus that tarāwīḥ should be no less than twenty rakā’at. ‘Alī ibn Sulṭān Al Qārī has written, “Hāfidh Ibn Ḥajar said, “The Ṣaḥābah developed a consensus on tarāwīḥ being twenty rakā’at” (Mirqāt Al Mafātīḥ)

Abū Bakr ibn Mas’ūd Al Kāsānī has written, “`Omar (may God be pleased with him) gathered the Companions of God’s Messenger during the month of Ramadhān behind Obay ibn Kā’ab (may God be pleased with him), who lead them every night for twenty rakā’āt and nobody objected to this practice. Therefore, this will be considered a consensus on their behalf on this issue!” (Badāi’ Al Sanāi’)

The four jurists, Abū Ḥanīfah, Mālik, Shafi’ī and Aḥmad (may God’s mercy be upon them), who are regarded as academic giants are unanimous that the tarāwīḥ is twenty rakā’at.

The Ummah’s practice for generations over the last 1400 years has also been of twenty rakā’at.

The blessed month of Ramaḍān is also an occasion to increase worship.

We pray God bless the entire Ummah.

And Allāh Knows Best

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