Proof of the 20 rakaat Taraweeh Salaah



Performing 20 rakaats Taraweeh Salaah is Sunnat, and performing only 8 is contrary to it. Insha-Allahعزوجل, we will prove this from the setting of the Holy Quran, Sahih Ahadith, rulings of the Ulama and even rationally.

1. The Holy Quran is made up of Ayats, Surahs and Rukus. The article which has been given a name is known as a Surah, and sentences in the Quran which have no separate name are known as Ayats (verses). But what is a Ruku? Surah means something that surrounds (i.e. it surrounds one subject, e.g. Surah Balad), and Ayat means a sign (i.e. a sign of the power of Allahعزوجل). Ruku, however, means to bend. Why have they been called so?

From the books of Qiraat (Quranic Recitation), it is known’that the amount of Quran recited before going into the Ruku position in Taraweeh by Hadrat Umar and Uthman رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ was called 1 Ruku. In other words, it was the amount they recited before going into that position. Based on Taraweeh being read as 20 rakaats, and the Holy Quran being completed on the 27th of Ramadaan, there should be 540 RakaatslRukus to complete the Holy Quran. However, 557 were appointed because on the last day, many short Surahs are read in the final rakaats. If Taraweeh was 8 rakaats, there should only be a total of 216 Rukus. The amount of Rukus in the Holy Quran establishes that Taraweeh should be 20 rakaats. Can the Wahabies, after accepting Taraweeh to be 8 rakaats, explain the reasoning of the Quranic Rukus?

2. Taraweeh is the plural of Tarweeha, which means giving the body a rest. After every 4 rakaats, we sit for recuperation and comfort. This sitting is called Tarweeha, and it is for this reason that this namaaz is called Taraweeh (i.e. the collection of comforts). Taraweeh is plural, and the plural form of a word is used (in Arabic) for a minimum of three. If Taraweeh was 8 rakaats, there should be only one Tarweeha between these 8 rakaats. So, it shouldn’t even be called Taraweeh. For three Tarweehas, a minimum amount of 16 rakaats are needed. After every 4 rakaats, one Tarweeha will occur (and there is no Tarweeha before the Witr). Thus, the name “Taraweeh” itself refutes the 8 rakaats theory.

3. Also, there are 20 rakaats of Salaah necessary to be performed every day -­l7 Fardh (2, 4, 4, 3 and 4 for the five daily Salaah) and 3 Witt. In Ramadaan Sharif, Allahعزوجل instituted these 20 rakaats of Taraweeh to compliment and perfect the 20 daily rakaats of namaaz.” Every rakaat has to be performed. Ghair-Muqallids (those who reject the Four Imams, e.g. Imam Abu Hanifa رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ etc.) probably only read 8 as compulsory Salaah daily. Otherwise, what connection do these 8 rakaats of Taraweeh have with the compulsory 20?


It should be bared in mind that at first, the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم performed Taraweeh Salaah with jamaat (congregation), but after performing it for two days, he said, “If I regularly perform Taraweeh, I fear it becoming Fardh, and this will be difficult on my Ummah. For this reason, you people perform it in your homes.”

Some say that it was Tahajjud Salaah which was performed in Ramadaan with much preparation. This is why the Sahaaba used to complete it at the end-time of Sehri. In the time of Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddique رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ, still no formal arrangement was made for Taraweeh, and people used to read it individually. It was Hadrat Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہwho was responsible for formalizing this Salaah and appointing 20 rakaats to it. He also arranged it to be performed with jamaat. Thus, it is correct that the Taraweeh Salaah is the Sunnah of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم but its formal jamaat is the Sunnah of Hadrat Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ. The Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم didn’t order 8 rakaats to be performed nor did he regulate that many. In truth, 8 rakaats being performed by him is not explicitly proven anywhere, and so is it the agreement of the Sahaaba that 20 rakaats is not against the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم. We have been commanded, “علیکم بسنتی وسنۃ الخلفاء الرشدین”-Hadtth Sharif

Thus, we now present the practices of the Sahaaba, Ghair-Muqallids must produce a Sahih, Marfoo Hadith that explicitly establishes Taraweeh being 8 rakaats. Insha-Allah, they will never be able to do so. Now follows our Ahadith,

1. Hadrat Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ formally organized and instituted 20 rakaats of Taraweeh with jamaat in his Khilaafat, and the Sahaaba agreed (ijrnaa) on this. Hadrat Saib ibn Yazid رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ states, “قال کنا نقوم فی عھد عمر بعشرین رکعۃرواہ البیھقی فی المعرفۃ باسناد صحیح” Mu’atta Imam Maalik رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ

2. Ibn Manee رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ reports from Hadrat Ubai ibn Ka’ab رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہفصلّٰی بھم عشرین رکعۃ”.

3. Baihaqi states, “عن ابی الحسناء ان علی ابن ابی طالب امر رجلا یصلی بالناس خمس ترویحات عشرین رکعۃ”.

4. Ibn Abi Shaiba رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ, T’ibrani in Kabeer and Baihaqi record, “عن ابن عباس ان النبی صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کان یصلی فی رمضان عشرین رکعۃ سوی الوتر”.

This proves that the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم himself used to perform 20 rakaats of Taraweeh.

5. Baihaqi has the following, “وعن ابن شکل وکان من اصحاب علی انہ کان یومھم فی شھر رمضان فیصلی خمس ترویحات عشرین رکعات”.

6. The same book further states, “وعن ابی عبدالرحمٰن السلمی ان علیا رعی القراء فی رمضان فامر رجلا یصلی الناس عشرین رکعۃ وکان علی یوتربھم”.

7. A Hadith with a sound Chain of Narration (Sahih Sanad) is also reported in Baihaqi, “عن السائب ابن یزید قال کانوا یقومون علٰی عھد عمر فی شھر رمضان بعشرین رکعۃ”.


Refer to Sahihul-Bihaari, Baabu kam Yaqru fit-Taraweeh, for insight into this. These narrations confirm that the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم, used to perform 20 rakaats of Taraweeh, the same amount continued and stipulated. Hadrat Ibn Abbas, Ali, Ubai ibn Ka’ab, Umar, Saa’ib ibn Yazeed رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ etc. and all other Sahaaba practiced this.


“The Learned act upon that which is narrated from Hadrat Ali, Umar and other Sahaaba رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ (i.e. 20 rakaats). This is the ruling of Imam Sufyaan Thouri, Ibn Mubarak and Imam Shafee رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ. Who found the practice of 20 rakaats of Taraweeh prevalent amongst Muslims in his city of Makkah Sharif.” 26.73a

– Tirmidhi, Abwaabus-Sawm, Baabu Maa Ja ‘a fi Qiyaami Shahri Ramadaan

2. “روٰی محمد ابن نصر من طریق عطاء قال ادرکتھم یصلون عشرین رکعۃ و ثلٰث رکعات الوتروفی الباب اٰثار کثیرۃ اخرجھا ابن ابی شیبۃ وغیرہ و قال ابن قدمۃ وھٰذا کالا جماع” -Fathul-Mulhim, Sharah Muslim, Vol. 2, Pg. 291

This proves that it is as if Muslims have consensus (ijmaa) on Taraweeh being 20 rakaats.

3. “وروی الحارث ابن عبیدالرحمٰن ابن ابی زباب عن السائب ابن یزید قال کان القیام علٰی عھد عمر بثلٰث و عشرین رکعۃ قال ابن عبداللہ ھٰذا محمول علٰی ان الثلٰث للوتر”.- Umdatul-Qoari Sharah Bukhari, Vol. 5, Pg, 307

And this further verifies that Taraweeh and Witr was performed as 20 and 3 rakaats respectively in the time of the Sahaabah.

4. “کان عبداللہ ابن مسعود یصلی بنا فی شھر رمضان فینصرف و علیہ لیل قال الاعمش کان یصلی عشرین رکعۃ”.-Ibid

5. “قال ابن عبدالبر وھو قول جمھور العلماء وبہ قال الکوفیون والشافعی واکثر الفقھاء وھو الصحیح عن کعب من غیر خلاف من الصحابۃ”.

“Ibn Abdul-Bir states that Taraweeh being 20 rakaats is the ruling of the general body of Ulama. It is the opinion of the people of Kufa, Imam Shafee رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ and the majority of the Jurists, and this is what has been narrated from Hadrat Ubai ibn Ka’ab رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ, No Companion of the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم (Sahaabi) differs with this. Umdatul-Qaari, Vol. 5, Pg. 355

6. “فصار اجماعا لما روٰی البیھقی باسناد صحیح انھم کانوا یصلون علٰی عھد عمر بعشرین رکعۃ وعلٰی عھد عثمان وعلی”.

Mulla Ali Qaari رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ states in the time of Hadrat Umar, Uthman and Ali رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ, the Sahaaba used to perform 20 rakaats of Taraweeh. For this reason, it has been agreed upon (ijrnaa) this amount.” – Sharah-Niqaaya

7. اجماع الصحابۃ علٰی ان التراویح عشرون رکعۃ”.

Quoting the ruling of Allama Ibn Hajar Makki Haithami رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ , Maulwi Abdul ­Hayy رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes in his Fataawa, “There is consensus of the Sahaaba on Taraweeh being 20 rakaats.,,27.1- Vol. 1. Pg. 182

8. “واما القائلون بہ من التابعین فشبر ابن شکل وابن ابی ملیکۃ والحارث الھمدانی وعطاء ابن ابی رباح وابو البختری و سعید ابن ابی الحسن البصری اخوالحسن و عبد الرحمٰن ابن ابی بکر وعمران العبدی”. – Umdatul-Qaari, Vol. 5, Pg. 257

These extracts prove that the Sahaaba, Taba’een, Taba-Taba’een, Fuqahaa and Muhadditheen are agreed upon Taraweeh being 20 rakaats. None of them ordered it as 8 or performed it so.

In actual fact, Ghair-Muqallids (those who reject the Four Imams) are followers of their lusts and the desires of their nafs. Their religion is that which is easy for them.

This is why they read 8 instead of 20, so that they may go to sleep earlier.



OBJECTION 1: Hadrat Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہordered Hadrat Ubai ibn Ka’ab رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ and Hadrat Tamim ibn Daari رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ to lead people in 11 rakaats. -Mishkaat, Baabu Qiyaami Shahri Ramadaan & Muatta Imam Maalik رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ.

This proves that there were 8 rakaats of Taraweeh (the rest were Witr).

Answer – There are a few replies to this,

1. This Hadith is disordered (muztarib) and you cannot extract a proof from this category of Hadith. Its narrator is Muhammad ibn Yusuf. In the Muatta, the narration is of 11 rakaats and Muhammad ibn Nasr, through the chain of Muhammad Ishaaq, narrates 13 rakaats from this very Muhammad ibn Yusuf.

Muhaddith Abdur-Razaaq رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ through different chains of narrations, also reports 21 rakaats from Muhammad ibn Yusuf Refer to Fathul-Baari Sharah Bukhari, Vol. 4, Pg. 180 for study into this. The narration of just one narrator having this much contradiction is known as Iztiraab. Therefore, all of these narrations are not credible and to use them as proof is incorrect.

2. Even if this Hadith was Sahih, Taraweeh would be established as 8 rakaats and Witr 3. So why do you perform only one rakaat of Witr? Based on your view, the narration should state 9 rakaats. Do you accept one half of a Hadith and reject the other?

3. In the time of Hadrat Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ Taraweeh was first ordered as 8 rakaats, then 12, and finally 20. After this Hadith in Mishkaat, the following has been said, “In the 8 rakaats, the Qaari (reciter) used to recite Surah Baqarah, and when he read this Surah within 12 rakaats, people felt ease.” 27.2

Mulla Ali Qaari رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes under this Hadith, “These Ahadith have been explained in the following manner, that 8 rakaats were originally ordered and thereafter consensus was reached on 20 rakaats. It is these 20 rakaats which became the transmitted amount of Taraweeh.” 27.3 – Mtrqootul-­Mafateeh.

4. Taraweeh is originally the Sunnat of Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم while three other things are the Sunnah of Hadrat Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ.

1. To always perform it.

2. To performing it with jamaat.

3. To read 20 rakaats.

The Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم didn’t always perform 20 rakaats nor did he order the Companions to read it with jamaat. Now, if only 8 rakaats are performed, the Sunnah of Hadrat Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ would not be practiced upon.

However, if 20 rakaats are read, all will be practiced upon because 8 is included in 20 but 20 isn’t in 8. The Hadith states, “Practice my Sunnah and the Sunnah of my Khulafaa.” The opposition also performs Taraweeh formally with jamaat whereas both of these things are not proven from the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم at, They are the Sunnah of Hadrat Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہSo, perform 20.

OBJECTION 2: Hadrat Abu Salma رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہا once asked Sayyidah Aisha رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہا, “How many rakaats did the Prophet perform in Ramadaan?” She answered, “ما کان رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم یزید فی رمضان و لا فی غیرہ علی احدی عشر رکعات”. Bukhari Sharif

This proves that Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم would ever read anything more than 8 rakaats of Taraweeh, The rest was witr. Performing 20 rakaats of Taraweeh is a False Innovation (Bidat-e-Sayyi’a).

Answer – There are a few replies to this as well,

1. Tahajjud Salaah is what is being referred to in this Hadith, not Taraweeh, because Hadrat Aisha رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہا said, “The Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم never read more than 8 rakaats in Ramadaan and out of it,” proving that this matter concerns the very namaaz which is read at all times (i.e. Tahajjud), not Taraweeh which is only in Ramadaan. Also, Imam Tirmidhi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ has written a chapter for this very Hadith named ‘Baabu maa Ja’a fi Wasfi Salaatin-Nabi”. It is known from this that Salaatul-Lail here means Tahajjud Salaah, not Taraweeh.

In the end of this Hadith, Sayyidah Aisha رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہا asked, “Ya Rasoolallah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم why do you sleep before Esha?” He replied, “Aisha رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہا my eyes sleep but my heart remains awake,” proving that the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم used to perform these rakaats after waking up. Witr should also be performed with these rakaats, which is why Sayyidah Aisha رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہا was surprised that Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم orders us to perform Witr and then sleep while he used to first sleep and then perform it with Tahajjud. He answered that he has complete certainty that he will wake up. Those who don’t should read the Witr and sleep after. Likewise, Taraweeh is performed before sleeping and Tahajjud is read after.

2. If 20 rakaats Taraweeh was a Bad Innovation, why did Hadrat Umar رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہand other Sahaaba authorize it? Why didn’t Sayyidah Aisha رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہا oppose them? What verdict will you pass on all of them? Today, those people who reject being Hanafi, Shafee, etc. perform Taraweeh with Jamaat during the entire month of Ramadaan. Isn’t this also a Bad Innovation?

If the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم read 8 rakaats of Taraweeh, he did so only for a couple of days. You [the opposition] perpetually perform it. Who are you to do so, evading the Prophet’s صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم Hadith? If you are true followers of the Hadith, perform Taraweeh only a couple of days in the entire month of Ramada an.

According to the narration of Tirmidhi Sharif, it is shown that the people of Makkah agreed upon Taraweeh being 20 rakaats and the people of Madina on 41. None of them practiced 8.

Are all these people Innovators (Bidaties) and sinners or not? If they are, can we accept Hadith from them? It must be remembered that the narration of a sinner isn’t credible. Also, have Muslims in any country performed 8 rakaats of Taraweeh?

3. Even if 8 rakaats of Taraweeh are proven from this Hadith, then 3 rakaats of Witr are also established from it. Only then will the amount of It be reached. Why do you then read one rakaat of Witr? Do you do so for ease? The truth is that there is no elucidation of Taraweeh being 8 rakaats anywhere, because wherever the

Qiyaam of Ramadaan is mentioned, there is silence on the amount of rakaats. Those Ahadith which mention II rakaats do not refer to Taraweeh’s rakaats, but Tahajjud Namaaz. Present a Hadith that clearly proves 8 rakaats of Taraweeh.

Insha-Allah, you will never be able to do so.

One response to “Proof of the 20 rakaat Taraweeh Salaah”

  1. sikandar khan says:

    assalam o aalaikum
    agar roman english me ya hindi me bhi reference mil jata to bahot hi acha hota q ki bahot se log ko urdu aur english nahi aata

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