Night Prayer in Ramadan
Excerpted from: Ahadith al-Siyam
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Whoever prays at night in Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven."1
This hadith is indicative of the virtue of praying qiyam in Ramadan, and shows that this is one of the means of forgiveness of sin. Whoever prays Taraweeh as it should be prayed has prayed at night (qiyam al-layl) in Ramadan.
Forgiveness is conditional upon "faith and hope of reward," as stated here. What is meant by "faith" is that when the person stands to pray qiyam, he believes in Allah, may He be exalted, and believes in His promise and in the virtue of praying qiyam, and in the greatness of its reward with Allah. "Hope of reward" means that he is seeking the reward from Allah and is not doing it for any other purpose such as showing off, etc.
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to encourage them to pray qiyam during Ramadan, without commanding them to do it. Then he said: "Whoever prays at night in Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven."
So the Muslim should be keen to pray Taraweeh, and should be patient in completing the prayer with his imam. He should not neglect any part of it, or leave before his imam, even if his imam does more than eleven or thirteen rak'ahs, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Whoever prays qiyam with the imam until he finishes, it will be recorded that he spent the night in qiyam." It is only a few nights, which the wise man makes the most of before they are gone.
Abu Dawud said: It was said to [Imam] Ahmad while I was listening: "Can qiyam - i.e., Taraweeh - be delayed until the end of the night?" He said: "The way of the Muslims is dearer to me."
If a person is keen to pray whatever rak'ahs he wants to at the time of the pre-dawn (suhoor time), then he should not pray witr again at the end of his prayer, rather it is sufficient for him to pray witr with his imam in Taraweeh, because of the hadith of Talq ibn 'Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "There cannot be two witrs in one night."
With regard to the hadith of Ibn 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) - according to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Make the last of your prayers at night witr" - this is to be understood as referring to one who prays at the end of the night and did not pray witr at the beginning of the night.
The command here is to be understood as a recommendation, not an obligation. It is not essential to conclude the prayer at the end of the night with witr, based on the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prayed at the end of the night, after his witr.
Abu Dawud said: I said to Ahmad: "Does praying after witr invalidate witr?" He said: "No." Abu Dawud said: I heard Ahmad say concerning one who prayed witr at the beginning of the night then got up to pray qiyam: "He should pray two rak'ahs."
It was said: "Does he not have to pray witr?"
He said: "No."
He said: I heard someone ask him about someone who wanted to pray after witr: "should he pray two by two?"
He said: "Yes, but after witr he should lie down."
The imam should take care to pray properly in Taraweeh. He should pray with proper focus and humility, reciting in a proper manner and being at ease in ruku' and sujud. He should beware of rushing lest he fails to attain the proper level of khushu' (focus and humility) and lest he make the weak, elderly and sick among the people behind him get too tired.
Al-Sa'ib ibn Yazeed said: 'Umar ibn al-Khattab commanded Ubayy ibn Ka'b and Tameem al-Dari to lead the people in praying eleven rak'ahs of qiyam. He said: The reciter used to recite the surahs that contain more than a hundred verses, until we would lean on sticks because of having to stand for so long, but we did not leave until dawn was approaching.
When the worshipper has said the tasleem at the end of witr, he should say: Subhan al-Malik al-Quddus (Glory be to the Sovereign, the Most Holy) three times, elongating the vowels and raising his voice the third time, because it is proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did that.
O Allah, accept this (worship) from us, for You are the All-Hearing, All-Knowing, and accept our repentance, for You are the Acceptor of Repentance, the Most Merciful
Thanks to Brother Zaheer Latib
1. Narrated by al-Bukhari, 37; Muslim, 759.