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DateLine Sunday, 30 September 2007

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Ramadhaan Nightly Prayer (Taraweeh)

Continued from last week...

Allah(SWT) has mandated to his servants acts of Ibadah and made them of various kinds so as to provide them with means to pick and choose and not to be bored with. Taraweeh prayers in Ramadhaan is an optional(sunnah) act.

Allah has indicated in His book the basis for nightly prayers and the good return awaiting those who observe it." Those who spend the night in adoration of their Lord, prostrate and standing"; 25:64

"Their limbs do forsake their beds of sleep, while they call on their Lord in fear and hope and they spend(in charity) out of the sustenance which we have bestowed on them; 32:16

Messenger(sal) of Allah says in a Hadith narrated by Muslim that "The best prayer after the obligatory ones is the night prayer"

He also says "O, people! disseminate the salutation of peace As-Salaam 'Alaikum; feed the needy food, and join the blood ties among the next of kin; and observe night prayer while people are at sleep, you will enter Paradise peacefully"(Tirmidhi)

The Ramadhan nightly prayer has a special merit over other nights. The messenger(sal) of Allah said in a Hadith that "Whoever observes night prayer in Ramadhan as an expression of his faith and to seek reward from Allah, his previous sins will be blotted off.(Muslim)

Taraweeh is derived from the Arabic root word Raaha,means to relax and use as recreation. It's also called because the believer used to prolong it. After every four Raka'ats they should stop for rest and relaxation and resume until Taraweeh was complete.

Taraweeh in Jama'ah

The Sunnah of congregational, Jama'ah prayer of Taraweeh in the Masjid(mosque) was first established by our beloved prophet(sal).

Aisha(ral) the wife of the last messenger(sal) said as Bukhari and Muslim reported that "The messenger of Allah(sal) observed Taraweeh prayer in the Masjid one night and people prayed with him".

Number of Raka'ats in Taraweeh

The ideal number of Raka'ats is eleven Raka'ah as one of our worthy ancestors, Salaf as-Saalih agreed. Some body asked Aisha(ral) how was the prayer of the prophet(sal).She replied "He didn't pray in Ramadhaan or some other times more than eleven raka'ats".(Bukhari,Muslim)

However, there's nothing wrong with praying more than eleven Raka'ats.Perhaps that's why different numbers are observed.

The prophet(sal) himself was asked about night prayer and then said "It may be done in two Raka'ats, and if anyone fears the appearance of morning, he should pray one raka'ah as a Witr for what he has already prayed", (Bukhari/ Muslim)

According to this Hadith, if a person is to pray individually at night, by day break he would have prayed one hundred and one Raka'ats, or more.

In the intention of praying more Raka'ats one should not make Taraweeh in exrteam speed.

That's wrong because it may breach some rules with regards to Salaah. In that case the prayer will be invalid. Similarly it's not recommended for an Imam to conduct Salaah in such a speed where the followers may find it difficult to observe the essential parts of the Salaah.

Witr prayer

Al- Witr is the last prayer of the night and normally performed in odd numbers. Witr begins after the night prayer and lasts till dawn.However if one misses that it should be made up.Witr is Sunnah Muakkadah(emphatic sunnah).

The messenger(sal)reported to have said "People of Al-Quran observe Witr,because Allah is Witr(Allah is one and it's an odd number)and He loves Witr". Uually Witr is prayed in three Rakaats.

Neglecting Taraweeh

No one should neglect Taraweeh out of lazyness without an irresistible reason, for it's part of physical and spiritual training, for its observation after Iftaar ensures timely and proper digestion of food.

Everybody should attend the Masjid prayers, including women, provided they are properly covered. The messenger of Allah(sal) said "Prevent not the women servants of Allah from going to the Masjid of Allah" How ever when they attend Masjid they shouldn't wear perfume. And also shouldn't raise their tone or show their beauty.

It's Sunnah that they pray behind the men in rear lines. The messenger(sal) has been reported as saying "The best lines for men are the front lines and the best lines for women are the rear lines and the worst lines for men are the rear lines and the worst lines for women are the front lines".(Muslim)

Women should leave the Masjid as soon as the Imam gives Salaams. They shouldn't delay without a valid reason. It's mentioned in a Hadith said by Umm Salama." When the messenger of Allah(sal) saluted to end prayer, women would stand up to leave the Masjid"(Bukhari).

Benefits of Taraweeh

The gentle exercises performed in Taraweeh prayers help to improve one's physical fitness and emotional well being. The number of Raka'at is greater than that of the ordinary Salah we perform therefore there will be a betterment in the endurance, stamina, in flexibility and strength.

It has been observed that those who fast and perform the Taraweeh prayers report feeling much convalescing and robust.

The Taraweeh prayer is considered to be gentle exercise. This gentle exercise also enhances endurance and reduces weariness. It helps greatly in loosing weight through burning off calories. Improves respiratory efficiency thus enhances gas exchange and deeper breathing and maximal consumption of Oxygen.

It also helps to maintain muscle tone and body composition and improves joint flexibility. During the prayer the blood circulation for the muscles is high. It decreases heart disease risk profile. After age 40,the bone mineral level starts to decrease. Taraweeh prayer increases the density of bone mineral level and prevents osteoporosis.

Taraweeh prayer, the gentle exercise improves mood, thought and behaviour. It reduces the depression, stress and tension and improves self esteem, self confidence and self reliance and thus ensures a sound mental health. The Taraweeh prayer puts the mind in a relaxed state thus the believer can be spiritually get closer to Allah.

Growth hormone is secreted more during the time of Taraweeh prayer so that it helps to collagen formation which prevents skin wrinkles. Taraweeh prayer also improves the appearance of a believer.

The constant repetition of the Ayaat(verses) of the glorious Quran helps preventing incoming vain thoughts and improves memory.

The Taraweeh prayer puts one's mind in a relaxed state. So that one can improve one's ability to concentrate.

Thus, If a student constantly perform Taraweeh during the month of Ramadhaan the benefits are immense. The believer should perform Salaat regardless they're Sunnah, Farl or Waajib. The Salaah is necessary to preserve life and their desirable qualities in to old age.

May Allah accept all your Duas and fasts. Hope you would make Duas in this blessed month for all the brethren in Islam in order to endure all the hardships they undergo and to receive Allah's blessings...INSHA ALLAH..

To be continued next week...

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