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Tarawih: What if I can’t pray 20? Is 8 or 12 enough?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

If I cannot pray 20 rakat everyday consistently… but I am able to perform 12 consistently everyday… wouldn’t it be better for me to pray the 12 rakats of tarawih? Or would I still have to follow the rulings of the confirmed sunna of 20 rakat? And why does my local Egyptian masjid pray only 8 rakats of tarawih?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam,

Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said,

“The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, though there is good in both. Be avid for that which benefits you. Rely on Allah and do not deem yourself incapable…”[Muslim 4816, Ibn Majah 76, Ahmad 8436]

Imam Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) explained that the strength in this hadith refers to, “One’s determination and ability in matters of the next life.” [Sharh Sahih Muslim]

If you cannot pray 20 lengthy rakats, pray 20 brief rakats. The important thing is: pray them. Do it out of love for Allah, and out of thanks for the gift of guidance, faith, and clarity of vision in life. Do it out of gratitude for the gift that is al-Mustafa [the Chosen One, our Prophet Muhammad] (Allah bless him & give him peace), and his sunna, which is the clear path to success in this life and the next.

As for why many only pray 8, this is part of the salafi/modernist attack on the worship of Muslims. There are a number of excellent articles about Salafism on Sidi Mas’ud Khan’s site: http://www.masud.co.uk

The early Muslims (salaf) used to warn, “This matter is your deen [religion or way of life], so be careful as to whom you take your deen from.”

At the same time, if one is absolutely unable to pray 20 rakats, then one should do what one can, because, “That which one cannot do completely should not be left completely,” as the scholars explain. However, one should be remorseful, because one is leaving a confirmed sunna of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace).

And Allah alone gives success.

Walaikum assalam,

Faraz Rabbani.

This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.

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