How To Pray Taraweeh. When the month of Ramadan approaches, we are all geared up to celebrate the month of blessings with extra worship and devotion. Some people devote themselves to feeding the ones who fast in Ramadan, some to completing multiple Qur’ans, and some to quiet individual worship during the night.
Another beautiful practice in Ramadan is the Taraweeh – the night prayer that is particular to the month of Ramadan. Not long after the maghrib prayer, you see people rushing to their local masajid to join the Taraweeh. There is a feeling of excitement in the air and everyone is determined to turn over a new leaf. The Prophet SAW said, “Whosoever performs optional Taraweeh prayers at night during the month of Ramadan, with faith and in the hope of receiving Allah’s reward, will have his past sins forgiven.” (Muslim)
How To Offer Taraweeh At Home?
The consensus on the Taraweeh prayer is that men should offer it in congregation in the mosque while women may pray individually at home or in mosques where suitable arrangements for females are made. The difference of opinion, however, is in the number of rakahs that are offered. Some schools of thought say that 20 rakahs of Taraweeh should be offered while others say 8 rakahs. In any case, all agree that this is a very special form of worship and should not be neglected.
This year, however, with the unfortunate spread of the coronavirus, all congregational worship has to be offered at home. Ramadan during corona is a heartbreaking event, but we have compiled a list of do’s and don’ts for you which will help you offer Taraweeh at home. Let’s start with this excellent video tutorial:
↓ 7. DO Set a Time for Taraweeh
Just because you’re not praying in the masjid doesn’t mean that you slack off! To keep yourself in as much of a pre-corona mode as possible, make sure that you set a time for the Taraweeh to be offered at home just like you would have done if you were praying in the mosque. That will help to keep you disciplined and accountable. If you think you might forget, set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself that you shouldn’t be delaying your prayer. The sooner you start, the sooner you’re finished and can either rest or focus on other ibadah.
↓ 6. DO Understand the Rules of Congregation at Home
With a mosque, it’s very simple to understand how men and women are supposed to be positioned. But with praying at home, and with each family having a different combination of male and female members, it’s important to understand how jama’at (congregation) will be offered. The image below shows how male and female members are supposed to pray, given each unique combination of men, women, and children. Remember: a prayer offered in jama’at, particularly for men, is 27 times better than the prayer offered alone. So, support the men of your family in gaining that reward!
↓ 5. DO Use the Toilet Before Taraweeh
It’s easy to get distracted when you’re doing something at home. To help yourself remain focused, minimize all sorts of distractions as much as possible. Make sure you use the toilet before Taraweeh starts (especially if you’ve drunk a lot at iftar) so that you don’t have to rush off in the middle. An imam at the masjid will not wait for you so you know you have to hurry to make it back in time, but at home, it’s easy to be more leisurely when you know it’s just your family praying with you. Try not to sacrifice your time and the time of others – moments in Ramadan are very precious!
↓ 4. DO Review the Verses Beforehand
Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an so use this month to establish and deepen your connection with the Holy Book. Before you stand for Taraweeh, open a translation or tafseer and ponder over the words, understand what Allah SWT is saying to you, and renew your love for Allah SWT. Not everyone is a hafiz, so many people will be praying shorter Taraweeh at home with the surahs they already know and not one complete juz. That makes it all the easier to review the verses before the prayer. And even if one juz is recited, it really isn’t that hard to go through a few pages of translation.
↓ 3. DON’T Overeat at Iftar
A heavy iftar makes it harder to stand for Taraweeh because your stomach is so full and that’s going to make you sleepy. It’s very easy to overeat at iftar after a whole day of fasting, but you should remember that you’re not fasting to feast. Have a light iftar – you can always eat more after Taraweeh. So make sure that you eat enough to energize you but not so much that it makes praying Taraweeh difficult. It’s also a good idea to stretch your legs and back after wudu/ghusal to prepare yourself for Taraweeh. You can do this by doing a few sit-ups, walking for 15-20min after iftar or doing other exercises like squats, push-ups or sit-ups.
Here are some things you can have for iftar apart from dates and water:
- Fruits – not only do they provide you the essential sugars, but they are also refreshing.
- Smoothies – this will energize you and help sustain energy for longer.
- Soups – bone broth is packed with nutrients and is rich in collagen and minerals.
- Porridge & Other Whole Grains – these items are not only rich in fibers which help you feel full, they also break down slowly and keep the hunger away for longer by giving you boosts of energy at intervals.
↓ 2. DON’T Pray Absently
We can understand how hard it can be to stand for 20 rakahs (or 8, depending on your school of thought) of Taraweeh every day. But think of the reward! Ramadan is the perfect time to practice khushu (mindfulness) in your prayer because the distracting devils are all locked up. Focus on the recitation and try to feel it. Even if you don’t know Arabic, pick certain words out like ‘fire’ and ‘garden’ and imagine how hot the hellfire will be and how beautiful the gardens of heaven will be. This is called striving for ihsan (excellence).
↓ 1. DON’T Keep Phones Around
To avoid any form of distractions, make sure your phone is silent. A constantly beeping phone can be a major distraction in prayer and it takes away from the concentration required. When you’re praying, turn the ringtone off so that you’re not distracted. Or better still, don’t keep your mobile in the same room where you’re praying – a few late replies won’t mean the end of the world and other people will also realize that you’re busy during this time and will keep the conversations for later.
May Allah SWT Make it Easy
Like all forms of ibadah, what’s easy is only that which is made easy by Allah SWT. We should always ask Allah SWT to make worship easy for us, to accept our efforts, and give us the opportunity to increase in taqwa.