How Many Rak’ahs Did the Salaf Pray for Taraaweeh?

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, the Ever-Merciful…

A Great Third-Century Imaam of the Sunnah Gathered the Narrations of the Salaf Regarding How Many Rak’ahs They Prayed or Preferred for the Taraaweeh Prayers of Ramadhaan

The highly celebrated imaam, Shaykh al-Islaam Aboo ‘Abdillaah Muhammad ibn Nasr al-Marwazee [d.294] was one of the greatest of the third-century authorities on the Sunnah. One of the most highly-qualified and knowledgeable imaams of his era, he was recognized by the scholars for his specific expertise in issues that the early Salaf differed over. Great early historians, like Ibn Hibbaan, Aboo Is-haaq ash-Sheeraazee, and al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee referenced him as one of the leading authorities in detailed Fiqh issues which the Companions and their students (the Taabi’oon) differed over. [1]

The author of al-Muhallaa, Ibn Hazm, remarked that no one since the time of the Companions themselves had been more complete in their knowledge and understanding of the narrations than Muhammad ibn Nasr. [2]

Ath-Thahabee commented, “It is said that he was THE most knowledge of all scholars in entirety about matters of differing.” And he said, “He was from the most knowledgeable of the people in his era about the matters which the Companions and their students differed over. Rarely have people like him ever been seen.” [3]

It was this great early imaam who compiled an amazing book on the topic of the night prayers of Ramadhaan. Scholars who spoke on the topic throughout history have recognized this work as one of the most significant contributions to the topic ever. [4]

From this authoritative compilation, we stand to gain much insight into the early practices of the great imaams of the Salaf. One highly relevant and important topic is the number of rak’ahs the Companions, their students, and the early imaams prayed in the nights of Ramadhaan. As this topic is often the subject of differing among the Muslims today, a glimpse at the numbers from the first three generations of the Salaf should prove highly enlightening. And what better source material to return to? The following is a summary of the narrations gathered by Imaam Muhammad ibn Nasr al-Marwazee in his book, Qiyaam Ramadhaan:

1. As-Saa’ib ibn Yazeed reported that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab ordered Ubayy ibn Ka’b and Tameem ad-Daaree (may Allaah be pleased with all of them) to lead the people with 11 rak’ahs. They would read 50 to 60 verses in each rak’ah [i.e. about 5 to 6 pages], praying all the way to nearly dawn. One narration of this report mentions that ‘Umar had them pray 13 rak’ahs.

2. Muhammad ibn Ka’b al-Qurathee stated that the people were praying 20 long rak’ahs in the time of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab, adding three rak’ahs for Witr Prayer. As-Saa’ib ibn Yazeed and Yazeed ibn Roomaan also reported that 20 rak’ahs (23 with Witr) were being prayed in the time of ‘Umar.

3. Wahb ibn Kaysaan [d.127], a student of a number of Companions in the city of al-Madeenah, said: The people have always been praying, and continue to pray today in Ramadhaan: 36 rak’ahs, adding three for Witr Prayer.

4. Sulaymaan ibn Mihraan al-A’mash and Shutayr ibn Shakal narrated that ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to lead the prayer with 20 rak’ahs, adding three for Witr. Yazeed ibn Wahb al-Juhanee noted that he would finish praying with part of the night still remaining.

5. ‘Ataa ibn Abee Rabaah [d.114], the great scholar of the Taabi’oon in Makkah, a direct student of a number of Companions, said: I found them praying 20 rak’ahs, with three for Witr, in Ramadhaan.

6. Muhammad ibn Seereen [d.110], the great senior scholar of the Taabi’oon in Basrah, born in al-Madeenah in the time of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab, reported that Mu’aath Aboo Haleemah, a reciter, used to lead the people in 41 rak’ahs of prayer.

7. Saalih ibn Nabhaan, one of the Taabi’oon of al-Madeenah, stated: I recall the people from before the Harrah Event [in the year 63] praying 41 rak’ahs, five of them being Witr.

8. ‘Amr ibn Muhaajir reported that the people were praying 15 tasleems (i.e. about 30 rak’ahs) during ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdil-‘Azeez’s leadership, which was at the end of the first century [96-99].

9. Daawood ibn Qays narrated that he reached al-Madeenah in the time of Abaan ibn ‘Uthmaan [d.105] and ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdil-‘Azeez [d.99], and they were praying 36 rak’ahs, adding three for Witr.

10. Naafi’ [d.117], the freed slave of Ibn ‘Umar, the great scholar of al-Madeenah, said: I found no one praying other than 39 rak’ahs, three of them being Witr.

11. Wiqaa’ ibn Iyaas and Habeeb ibn Abee ‘Amrah both reported that the great imaam of the Taabi’oon, Sa’eed ibn Jubayr [d.95], used to lead the prayer in Ramadhaan with 24 rak’ahs. Wiqaa’ added: He would pray 28 rak’ahs in the last ten days.

12. Yoonus ibn ‘Ubayd [d.139] reported that ‘Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Abee Bakrah, Sa’eed ibn Abil-Hasan al-Basree, and ‘Emraan al-‘Abdee used to pray 20 rak’ahs until the last 10 nights when they would pray 24 rak’ahs. They would complete the reading of the entire Quran twice during the month.

13. ‘Emraan ibn Hudayr al-Basree reported that Aboo Mijlaz Laahiq ibn Humayd al-Basree used to lead them in 16 rak’ahs, reciting one-seventh of the Quran each night.

14. Thakwaan al-Harashee reported that he witnessed Zuraarah ibn Owfaa, the judge of Basrah, leading the people in 24 rak’ahs for the first 20 nights of Ramadhaan. In the last ten, he would pray 30 rak’ahs.

15. Maalik ibn Anas [d.179], the great imaam of al-Madeenah, was asked about decreasing the number of rak’ahs. He forbade them from doing so, confirming that the people had always been praying 39 rak’ahs. He added: This has been the practice in al-Madeenah for over 100 years.

16. Is-haaq ibn Mansoor [d.251] asked the great imaam, Ahmad ibn Hanbal [d.241], about the number of rak’ahs in the night prayers of Ramadhaan. He replied with mention of reports of various numbers around 40 rak’ahs, adding: It is but a recommended deed (i.e. it is open).

17. Is-haaq ibn Mansoor [d.251] said: We prefer 40 rak’ahs with less recitation.

18. Al-Hasan az-Za’faraanee reported that the great imaam, Muhammad ibn Idrees ash-Shaafi’ee [d.204] said: I saw the people praying 39 rak’ahs in al-Madeenah, while 20 is more preferable to me. That is what they were praying in Makkah. There is no restriction or maximum limit in any of that, because it is optional. If they lengthen the standing with less prostrations (i.e. praying less rak’ahs), it is fine, and even more preferable to me. If they pray with more bowing and prostration (i.e. more rak’ahs), that is fine, too.

With all these narrations ranging from 16 rak’ahs all the way up to 40 or more, it can be known clearly that the matter is not an open-and-shut case, that 11 is the Sunnah, and anything more is an innovation. Aside from this position not being founded in the speech of the early scholars, how could it be correct, when the Salaf of this Ummah, from the Companions all the way to the great imaams (Maalik, Shaafi’ee, Ahmad, etc.), never understood a limit to the number? These were the imaams of Islaam, and not one of them understood a limit or restriction to the number of rak’ahs for Taraaweeh Prayer.

As there are many people who hold firmly to the opinion that it is against the Sunnah to pray more than 13 rak’ahs, there is a need to respond to some legitimate concerns on the topic. The remainder of this article addresses those issues.

CONCERN: Aren’t the narrations about Ubayy praying 20 rak’ahs weak (unauthentic)?

Upon close investigation, this is not the case. Al-Haafith Aboo ‘Umar Yoosuf ibn ‘Abdil-Barr [d.463] studied the narrations and compared them, after which he came to the conclusion that the mention of 11 in the report of Ubayy was proven to be a mistake, and that 20 was the authentically preserved. He also acknowledged the possibility of accepting 11 as something done in the first stage, before they moved on to pray 20. Review his book, al-Istithkaar.

Al-Haafith an-Nawawee [d.676] called the chain of one of the narrations collected by al-Haafith al-Bayhaqee: saheeh (authentic). (Sharh al-Muhath-thab, 4/23)

Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [d.728] (may Allaah have Mercy on him) stated, as found in his Fataawaa (23/112):

Indeed it is authentically established that Ubayy ibn Ka’b used to lead the people with 20 rak’ahs in the Qiyaam of Ramadhaan, adding three for Witr. Most of the scholars held that to be the Sunnah, since he prayed that in front of the Muhaajireen and Ansaar, and no one objected.

Furthermore, in the writings of the scholars throughout the ages, the reports of Ubayy praying 20 rak’ahs were generally not something the scholars challenged or objected to. The view that the reports mentioning 20 are unauthentic is actually a minority opinion, one made popular in our time through the writings of al-‘Allaamah Muhammad Naasir ad-Deen al-Albaanee (may Allaah have Mercy on him).

CONCERN: Imaam Maalik considered anything more than 13 to be innovation?

Some people may say: “But Imaam Maalik labeled anything above 13 rak’ahs a newly-invented matter (i.e. a blameworthy innovation in Religion).”

The response: This is not established from Imaam Maalik (may Allaah have Mercy on him). Not only is its chain to Imaam Maalik missing hundreds of years of connectivity, it is in stark contradiction to what is authentically established and well known from him, that he endorsed and defended the practice in al-Madeenah of praying 39 rak’ahs for Taraaweeh, as mentioned.

CONCERN: So 11 rak’ahs is wrong somehow?

Someone may ask: “What is wrong with praying 11 rak’ahs, according to the authentic Sunnah?”

The response: How could there be a problem with the Sunnah?! The point is: There was no limit set by the Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace). The Companions and the early Salaf prayed 20 and more, without anyone having a problem with any of that.

CONCERN: The Salaf neglected the Sunnah?

If it is said: “Why didn’t the Salaf stick to the Sunnah of praying 11 rak’ahs?”

The response: What seems to be the case is that they understood a general difference between the Prophet’s personal practice (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) for himself and how he would stand in prayer much less when leading others in congregational prayer.

You could add that they understood from his description of the night prayers as being “two-by-two” [7] an indication to pray more than 11, or not to limit it to 11.

You could also add that they understood that the practice of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab, as a rightly-guided Caliph, having Ubayy pray 20 rak’ahs, was also grounds to call 20 “Sunnah” as well. The Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) said (what means): “Follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly-guided Caliphs…” [6]

CONCERN: How can you say Shaykh Al-Albaanee was wrong?

If it is said: “How can you say that a great scholar of the Sunnah like Shaykh Al-Albaanee was wrong in limiting the number?”

The response: Al-‘Allaamah Al-Albaanee was indeed a great imaam who spent his life reviving the correct understanding of Islaam, teaching us to follow the way of the Salaf in how we understand the Book and the Sunnah. Truly following him and his legacy requires us to embrace his overall principles, looking at the bigger picture, shunning any bigoted blind-following of any one of our scholars, as he stressed so much, and then shunning an individual opinion he held in opposition to the understanding of the Salaf. May Allaah have an abundance of Mercy upon him.

Interestingly enough, those who would blame scholars or students of knowledge for considering Shaykh Al-Albaanee to be mistaken in this one minority position he held should reflect carefully. Why do they have no problem at all believing that the vast body of the imaams of the Salaf were all mistaken throughout history?

Review this detailed discussion on the topic from Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah for further clarity. [click here]

Also, for more advanced students capable of reading Arabic, my Shaykh, Dr. Muhammad ‘Umar Baazmool (may Allaah preserve him) recommended reading the book “Taraaweeh Akthar Min Alf ‘Aam” (Taraaweeh Over More than a Thousand Years), by Shaykh Muhammad ‘Atiyyah Saalim (may Allaah have Mercy on him), for an amazing historical breakdown of what the Ummah prayed over the centuries. Special focus is given to the era of the Companions, in details that no other book has gathered.

And Allaah knows best.

Prepared by: Moosaa Richardson

Updated (1436/09/10) 



[1] Ath-Thiqaat (9/154), Taareekh Baghdaad (3/315), al-‘Ebar (1/427)

[2] Siyar A’laam an-Nubalaa’ (14/40)

[3] Siyar A’laam an-Nubalaa’ (14/34)

[4] While the original work has not been preserved, a summary of it by one of his students has been located and published.

[5] Mukhtasir Kitaab Qiyaam Ramadhaan (pp.51-57)

[6] Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrated that a man asked the Messenger of Allaah (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) about the night prayer. He said (what means): “Two-by-two, until you fear the coming of the morning, then pray one rak’ah, making it Witr (an odd number) for what you have prayed.” It was collected by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim.

[7] From the authentic hadeeth narrated by al-‘Erbaadh ibn Saariyah (may Allaah be pleased with him), collected by Aboo Daawood and others.

72 thoughts on “How Many Rak’ahs Did the Salaf Pray for Taraaweeh?

    • Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said it well: “The best scenario differs depending on the people’s situations. If they can stand for a long time, then ten rak’ahs with three for witr is best, as it was the steady practice of the Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) in Ramadhan and other times. If the people can not stand for long periods of time, then 20 rak’ahs is better. This is what most of the Muslims do, since it is a middle ground between ten and 40. It is permissible for someone to pray 40 or some other number (of rak’ahs), and there is nothing disliked about that…” [Source] And Allaah knows best.

      • Asalamualykum, sorry but I do not understand how one would pray 20+ rakaats or how it would be easy if somebody cannot stand for a long time.
        Wouldn’t 20+ rakaats be a lot?

        • Wa ‘alayk as-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. When one distributes the amount of Quran he recites over a larger number of rak’ahs, the standing times for each rak’ah are shorter periods of time. This is easier for some people.

    • No, actually they are not. Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said:
      “قد ثبت أن أبي بن كعب كان يقوم بالناس عشرين ركعة في قيام رمضان ويوتر بثلاث. فرأى كثير من العلماء أن ذلك هو السنة؛ لأنه أقامه بين المهاجرين والأنصار ولم ينكره منكر.”
      “Indeed it is authentically established that Ubayy ibn Ka’b used to lead the people with 20 rak’ahs in the Qiyaam of Ramadhaan, adding three for Witr. Most of the scholars held that to be the Sunnah, since he prayed that in front of the Muhaajireen and Ansaar, and no one objected.”
      [His Fataawaa 23/112]

    • Al-Haafith Shaykh al-Islaam Aboo ‘Umar Yoosuf ibn ‘Abdil-Barr [d.463] studied the narrations and compared them, after which he came to the conclusion that the mention of 11 in the report of Ubayy was proven to be a mistake, and that 20 was the authentically preserved number. He also acknowledged the possibility of accepting 11 as something done in the first stage, before they moved on to pray 20. Review his book, al-Istithkaar.

  1. JazakaLAHU khairan for the clarification but why some still stand strongly that anything addition to 11 rakahs is against the hadith related by Aisat(rta) and therefore it is an innovation.

    • I don’t know any of the imaams of the Salaf who held this position, while this is not a modern issue. It is Taraaweeh Prayer, an issue that has been discussed for over 1,400 years. One of the ways you can identify a mistake from a modern scholar is that it does not have a precedent in the statements of the scholars of old, while the issue is an old one. And Allaah knows best.

  2. Brother
    Narrations of Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood and Umar ibn al-Khattaab about 20 rak’ahs are weak narrations according to Imam ash-Shaafi’ee,At Tirmidhi,An Nawawi,Aj jailayee,Al Albani Rahimahumullah and other than them

    • As for the imaams you have quoted, then:

      Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee preferred 20 rak’ahs, as is well known and established from him, as mentioned by -for example-:

      Imaam at-Tirmithee, who summarized the differing of the Salaf in his Jaami’, after Hadeeth #806. In that summary, he did not mention any of the Salaf who prayed 11 rak’ahs, but he did say: “Most of the scholars are upon what was reported from ‘Umar, ‘Alee, and other Companions: 20 rak’ahs. It is also the position of Ath-Thowree, Ibn al-Mubaarak, and ash-Shaafi’ee…”

      Later, ِAl-Haafith an-Nawawee summarized the differing of the Salaf in his Sharh al-Muhath-thab (4/32-33), mentioning the 20 rak’ahs of the people of Makkah vs. the 36 of the people of al-Madeenah. He said: ” واحتج أصحابنا بما رواه البيهقي وغيره بالإسناد الصحيح عن السائب بن يزيد الصحابي رضي الله عنه قال ” كانوا يقومون على عهد عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه في شهر رمضان بعشرين ركعة” which means: “The proof used by our Companions (the Shaafi’ee scholars) is what has been reported by al-Bayhaqee with an authentic chain of transmission to as-Saa’ib ibn Yazeed, the Companion, may Allaah be pleased with him, who said: They were praying in the time of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab, may Allaah be pleased with him, in the month of Ramadhaan: 20 rak’ahs.”

      As for “Aj jailayee” then I have no clue who that is, unless you are misreading “Az-Zayla’ee” somehow.

      As for al-‘Allaamah al-Albaanee, then, yes, it is established that he held the opinion that the report of ‘Umar ordering 20 rak’ahs was shaath (contradictory to what is authentically established).

      • As for imam shafiee and tirmidhee then didnt they indicate the repprts of 20 rak’ah are weak. Saying ‘it has been reported’ as explained by imam nawawee. Is this correct?  MOOSAA: Read them in context, and you will see that both imams were establishing the grounds upon which the Salaf acted. ‘Ruwiya’ is not decisive tadh’eef, just an indicator. However, do not ignore the context. For example, look at the context of at-Tirmithee’s “ruwiya”: “Most of the scholars are upon what was reported (‘ruwiya’) from ‘Umar, ‘Alee, and other Companions: 20 rak’ahs. It is also the position of Ath-Thowree, Ibn al-Mubaarak, and ash-Shaafi’ee…” In his summary of what the Salaf did, he did not indicate in the slightest that there was anything wrong with them praying 20, 36, 41, etc. Nor did he mention ANYONE praying 11. At-Tirmithee was a tremendous imam whose “Jaami'” is a staple source book in knowing what the imams of the Salaf were upon. Be careful not to over-analyze his use of the word ‘ruwiya’ and lose the context of his words.

        As for the narrations :
        Number 2: then abdurrazaqs report of Umar then there are narrators that are unacceptable and if we assume they are not defective then abdurr razaq who is alone in this wording then his reports are faulty due to him becoming blind. MOOSAA: ‘Abdur-Razzaaq’s narrations are not weak by default. Rather, what was narrated after his change is weak, otherwise he was a high-ranking imam of the Sunnah, reliable and trustworthy. Review what al-Haafith Ibn Rajab wrote in Sharh al-‘Elal about ‘Abdur-Razzaaq and his later years.

        As for ibn khusayfahs report then imam ahmad said he is munkar in reporting. He is also included in imam dhahabis mizaan book. He also is inconsistent about the number of rak’ah, saying 21 in other places. There is more said also. MOOSAA: Again, picking through the aathaar one-by-one, to find weaknesses is not helpful in this issue. No one doubts the Salaf prayed 20 and 36 rak’ahs (and other numbers), without understanding a limit to that, because it was done in the time of the Companions and Taabi’oon, those who are the best of the Salaf of this Ummah. Those imams of the Taabi’oon, and the four imams and their likes were not all upon upon bid’ah, they did not establish acts of worship without a basis from the actions of the Companions.

        As for ibn abi thubaabs report then he had a poor memory, malik wouldn’t accept his reports, also some narrators in this isnaad are unknown as the book is not accessible to see the isnaad.

        As for yazeeds bin roomaan report then it is mursal. MOOSAA: This is claimed, but not proven. To claim that it is mursal because Yazeed never met ‘Umar is not sufficient. He wasn’t narrating from ‘Umar.

        As for yahya bin saeeds report then it is also mursal.

        Shaykh Albanee also explained why the reports do not strengthen one another.

        As for 4. Then they are mursal aswell, correct?  (as there are narrators missing between a’mash and ibn masoud.

        As for the narrations of Ubay then one report is disconnected between bin rafiee and ubay as the time difference between them was 100 years.

        As for another report then (ar raazees report ) isnaad is weak as ar razee who is eesa bin abi eesa is weak as mentioned by imam dhahabee and ahmad said he is not competent and abu zarah said he makes frequent errors. Ibn al qayyim said he is known for the munkar reports.
        Another odd thing is in the text ubay mentioned “this thing has not been done before” when this was the practise of the prophey and even if ubay didnt know, umar agreeing to it?one cant imagine this.

        • We may publish some lengthy responses to this article. Our brothers who feel strongly about certain positions and write at length to support them are welcome. While these comments are published, we may not have the time, resources, or knowledge to respond to every point. May Allaah give us all success in earning His Pleasure.

        • A clear example of Imaam at-Tirmithee’s “ruwiya” not being an indication of weakness (and there are many): He said after a hadeeth (#309): وقد روي عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قرأ في العشاء الآخرة بالتين والزيتون “It has been reported (ruwiya) from the Prophet -may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace- that he read in ‘Eshaa’ Prayer: at-Teeni waz-Zaytoon (i.e. Soorah at-Teen).” This is clearly authentic as found in the two Saheehs from the report of al-Baraa. Even the context of this passage itself shows he was not indicating weakness. Furthermore, no one would think to say that at-Tirmithee was declaring (or indicating) this hadeeth to be weak.

  3. JazakAllah khair. .

    Am I right If I write as understood.
    In short one can pray Tharweeh upto 40 or more.
    And 3 to 11 rakah of withr

  4. Akhi al Kareem
    What is your reply for this brother

    يزيد بن رومان قال
    ” كان الناس يقومون في زمان عمر بن الخطاب في رمضان بثلاث وعشرين ركعة ” .
    رواه مالك وعنه افريابي وكذا البيهقي في السنن . وفيه ضعفه بقوله :
    ” يزيد بن رومان لم يدرك عمر ” .
    وكذا ضعفه النووي في ” المجموع ” فقال : ( 4/33 ) :
    ” رواه البيهقي ولكنه مرسل فإنيزيد بن رومان لم يدرك عمر ” وكذلك ضعفه العيني بقوله : في ” عمدة القاريء شرح صحيح البخاري ”
    من صلاة التراويح
    للعلامة المحدث محمد ناصر الدين الألباني

    • Yes, Yazeed ibn Roomaan narrating from ‘Umar has been called mursal (disconnected), as explained by ‘Allaamah al-Abaanee (may Allaah have Mercy on him). This is one route only, and this kind of break in the chain is considered and strengthened by the other routes. As mentioned, al-Haafith an-Nawawee, the very one being quoted as calling this single route weak, is the same an-Nawawee who called the report of 20 rak’ahs in the time of ‘Umar: saheeh. Try to distinguish between a ruling made on a single route of many and the ruling made on the report considering all of its routes. This is the way of Ahlul-Hadeeth.

      • Something further to look into as well… Technically, Yazeed was not narrating from ‘Umar anyway, so there was no requirement for him to have met ‘Umar. He narrated what the people were doing in the time of ‘Umar. Him not meeting ‘Umar does not necessarily mean that he did not live in his era or see what the people were doing under his command. But again, focusing on this one chain of narration is not really going anywhere. The imams of the Salaf affirmed that 20 rak’ahs were being prayed in the time of the Companions, and this is the foundation upon which they understood the permissibility of praying that amount or more. That is something that remained unchallenged over the centuries. And Allaah knows best.

  5. This is a very informative composition for the English-speaking Muslims. Brothers, like yourself, need to educate the people more on issues like this, so the Salafees will be more familiar with the positions of the Imams of the past. Most of our brothers in the West are acquainted with some positions of our contemporary scholars, but they miss out on the ample amount of authentic knowledge that was left by the Salaf, to whom we attribute ourselves. Due to many brothers’ ignorance, most likely you have someone saying, “Look at Brother Moosa promoting that bidaa.” Scholars of our time like Imam Ibn Baz took this position, and even Al-Allaamah Ahmed Najmi refuted Imam Al-Albani on this affair (May Allaah have mercy on them all). Akhee, keep teaching the brothers and don’t fear the blame of the Blamers!

  6. As-Saa’ib ibn Yazeed reported that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab ordered Ubayy ibn Ka’b and Tameem ad-Daaree (may Allaah be pleased with all of them) to lead the people with 11 rak’ahs is saheeh without doubt.
    but Narrations of 20 rak’ah have some problems in isnaad.
    Some of narrators in other narration also have problem of اضطراب, شاذ and ” منكر الحديث ” [comment abridged]

    • This is the position of Shaykh Al-Albaanee (may Allaah have Mercy on him), which is well-known to the West. I recommend that you follow the shaykh’s overall methodology in ascertaining the correctness of opinions (even his own), by comparing that understanding to the understanding of the Salaf. This was Shaykh Al-Albaanee’s life-long legacy. He didn’t teach us to stick to his opinions tenaciously, he taught us to understand matters how the Salaf as-Saalih understood them. May Allaah grant him Firdows. I know that this is a difficult question to consider: But here it is: Are there any of the imams of the Salaf who said that praying more than 11 or 13 is wrong or innovation?

  7. and also
    تضعيف الإمام الشافعي والترمذي لعدد العشرين عن عمر
    هذا : وقد أشار الترمذي في سننه ( 2/74 ) إلى عدم ثبةت عدد العشرين عن عمر ويره من الصحابة فقال :
    ” رُوِي عن علي وعمر وغيرهما من أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ” .
    وكذلك قال الشافعي : في العشرين عن عمر كما نقله صاحبه المزني عنه في مختصره ( 1/107 ) .
    فقولهما : ” روي ” تضعيف منهما للمروي كما هو معروف عند المحدثين فإن من المروض أن الإمام الشافعي والترمذي من أولئك العلماء المحقيين الذين عناهم النووي رحمه الله بقوله في ” المجموع ” ( 1/63 ) :

    • You are mentioning two imams of Islaam that affirmed the permissibility of 20 or more rak’ahs, and that it was the way of the Salaf, as preceded. Extracting from their wording “روي” does not require that they called those narrations weak, especially in the contexts of their speech. They were not challenging that 20 rak’ahs were established. They were discussing which was better 20 or 36. In general, that was the big discussion the Salaf had – Which is better: 20 or 36?

  8. Jazakallahu khair for your advice brother.
    Yes, Imam of Sunnah made it permissible.
    But my discussion is about authenticity of those athar.
    because sahaba understanding is first and foremost,


    Ubayy ibn Ka’b Narrations also weak because of missing hundred years of connectivity and other chain of this narrations also problem in narrator’s weak memory.Many Ulemah criticized narrator of this athar like Imam Abu Zurah,Imam Ahmad,Al Hafidh and other than him

    I didn’t stick to Albany’s opinion.but I stick to the evidence Alhamdulillah
    In this matter evidence is with him.
    May Allah make us to stick on sunnah not the opinions
    Allahu A’lam

  9. Thanks so much for this beautiful piece.However,are you not aware that Aisha (may Allâh be pleased with her) said that the prophet never exceeded 11 rakahs whether in ramadân or not? or is it not authentic??? moreover,is the prophet’s guiadiance not the best?
    And even if the narration of Ubay bn Kab (may Allâh be pleased with him) leading the people with 20 rakahs is authentic,then it is his own ijtihaad! Allâh knows best.

    • Yes, the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) used to pray 11 in and outside of Ramadhaan. No one challenges that. Yet, the Salaf of this Ummah, beginning with the Companions, and then the Taabi’oon and imams of Islaam, simply did not understand from this text any limit. ‘Aa’ishah, the very narrator herself, was not reported to have refuted anyone who prayed more than that, whilst she was vocal in refutations of anyone who opposed the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam). Scholars have compiled books on her refutations of the other Companions in fiqh issues.

      The reality is that his 11 rak’ahs and how he prayed them really, as ‘Aa’ishah said: DO NOT EVEN ASK about how beautiful and LONG they were… We are talking about a man who had seen the Paradise and the Fire, who would pray by himself what he NEVER prayed as an imam for the people (other than one or two close and dedicated Companions). Sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam. He taught his followers that when they lead the people in congregation to shorten their prayers, keeping in mind the weak, sick, and those with need. He taught them by example, when he would enter the prayer intending to pray long and he would hear the crying of a child, then he would shorten his prayer. His own prayer by himself had a different description than his prayer as an imam for the people. This is one of the aspects of the Sunnah that people are forgetting when they cling on the narration of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her).

      This crucial distinction was understood by his beloved Companions, who -beginning with Ubayy ibn Ka’b by the command of ‘Umar- began to pray 20 rak’ahs in the era of the rightly-guided Caliphs, as the scholars of old graded to be authentic, and it was the basis upon which those who came later would pray more than 11 or 13. The Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) taught us to cling to his Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly-guided Caliphs. The Salaf were not violating the Sunnah, to think such mass neglect overcame those great imams is not correct, rather they were fulfilling the Sunnah and upholding it. We say all of the time, not just KITAAB and SUNNAH, but KITAAB and SUNNAH upon the understanding of the Salaf! So why are we clinging to an interpretation of a personal practice of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam), one that assumes a prohibition derived from his own devoted actions, without any prohibition from his speech, and why are we insisting on this interpretation while it is not consistent with the understanding of the Companions, Taabi’oon, and early imaams of Islaam? And Allaah knows best.

      • Subhanallah, what a beautiful explanation. Truly, a subject that needed clarification. One needs to be open minded, see the greater & overall understanding of the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam, his companions, the tabi’een, their students & the scholars of the Salaf in the implementation of this great Sunnah… Jazakallah Khair

    • Jazaak Allaahu khayran, dear brother. From that article:

      “…Some of the people commit ghuluw (excessiveness) when they stick to the Sunnah of the number (of rak’ahs), saying, ‘It is not permissible to increase upon the number that comes in the Sunnah,’ and they speak in the sternest way against someone who increases upon that (by praying more than 11 or 13 rak’ahs), saying that he is sinful and disobedient. And there is no doubt that this is a mistake. How could he be sinful or disobedient when the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) was asked about the night prayer, and he said (what means): ‘(It is) two (rak’ahs) by two (rak’ahs),’ and he did not limit it to any set number…?”

  10. Assalamu alaikum. Thank you for this enlightening discussion and, as usual, you have diligently devoted a lot of precious time to spread Islamic knowledge to English-speaking Muslims. It is truly appreciated. May Allah reward you abundantly.

    I would just like to raise one concern which is that you seem to be implying that Imam al-Albaani was the “instigator” (for want of a better word) of the 8 raka’ah limit opinion but wasn’t Imam Muqbil also of the same opinion? Moreover, I have read that Allamah Badee-ud-deen As-Sindhi also arrived at the same conclusion independently of al-Albaani in a geographically disparate region.

    Is it plausible that some of the greatest hadith scholars of our time would all concur on an incorrect opinion regarding the authenticity of the narrations which are crucial to this discussion (and are evidently the basis for the views of those imams who do not limit the number)?

  11. السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

    Jazaakumullaahu khayran for your efforts towards clarifying the truth. Another article that would be much appreciated would be the issue of taraaweeh and tahajjud, which one to pray and what is the best thing to do.

  12. ▶FIRSTLY – The famous talk of Umar bin Al-Khathaab prayed the Tarweeh of twenty three Rakaath..

    من طريق يزيد بن خصيفة عن السائب بن يزيد قال : ” كانوا يقومون على عهد عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه في شهر رمضان بعشرين ركعة قال : وكانوا يقرؤون بالمئين وكانوا يتوكؤون على عصيهم في عهد عثمان رضي الله عنه من شدة القيام ”
    “From the line of narration of Yazeed bin Khusaifa from Saieb bin Yazeed said : “They use to pray in the time period of Umah bin Al-Khathaab Radiyallahu Anhu in the month of Ramadan twenty rakaath. he said: “They use to recite of the hundreds and use to lean on their sticks in the time period of Usman bin Affan Radhiallahu Anhu due to the length of standing”

    This line of narration sometime certain scholars may assume as authentic, but it has in it Yazeed bin Khusaifah about whom Imaam Ahmed said he is ” منكر الحديث ” he is a mukarul Hadeeth

  13. And the statement of Sheikhul Islam Imaam ibn Taymiyah when he refuted to Ibn Al-Muthahir As-Shiea.. claiming that Ali bin Abi Talib use to pray in a day and night one thousand rakaath, and it is not authentic from him, and our Prophet Muhammed Sallallahu Alaihi Wassallum use to never increase over thirteen rakaath in a night… [very long comment abridged by admin]

  14. THEN COMES THE NARRATIONS OF ABDULLAH. bin MASOUD RALALU ANHU Action .. of night prayers .. as

    ◆روى ابن نصر في قيام الليل عن زيد بن وهب : كان عبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه يصلي بنا في شهر رمضان فينصرف وعليه لي . قال الاعمش : كان يصلي عشرين ركعة ويوتر بثلاث
    قال المباركفوري في ” التحفة ” :
    وهذا أيضا منقطع فإن الأعمش لم يدرك بن مسعود
    It is narrated from Ibn Nasr in his Mukhtasir Qiyamul Layl from Zaid bin Wahb : “Abdullah bin Masoud use to lead us in prayer in the month of Ramadaan and A’amash said He use to pray twenty rakaaths and do witr with three ..
    Imaam Al-Mubarakfoori said in his Thuhfathul Ahwazi This is as well broken as A’amash did not meet Ibn Masoud..

  15. And then a leading research worker in Hadith and an awakner of the Sunnah in the Western World
    IMAMM ibn ABDUL BURR Rahimahullah sayS

    “قال ابن عبد البر : لم يسن عمر من ذلك إلا ما سنه رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم ويحبه ويرضاه ولم يمنع ن المواظبة إلا خشية أن تفرض على امته وكان بالمؤمنين رؤوفا ريما صلى الله عليه و سلم فلما علم عمر ذلك من رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم وعلم أن الفرائض لا يزاد فيها ولا ينقص منها بعد موته صلى الله عليه و سلم أقامها لناس وأحياها وأمر بها وذلك سنة أربعة عشرة من الهجرة وذلك شيء ذخره الله له وفضله به ولم يلهمه أبا بكر وإن كان”
    Imaam ibn Abdul Burr : Umar did not do except what the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wassallum did.. and like, and was pleased, and it did not forbid the Messenger of Allah from doing it except of fearing that it might become compulsory for his nation,
    And he was most kind to the believers, Umar realized that from the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi Wassallum and knew that the ordained does not increase in it nor decrease from it after the death of the Messenger Sallallahu Alaihi Wassallum so he established that to the people and awakened it, and ordered of it, and that was the year fourteen from the Hijra
    أفضل وأشد سبقا إلى كل خير بالجملة ولكل واحد منهما فضائل خص بها ليس لصاحبه
    of merits and stronger for all good in general and each has in it their virtues especial for each that which is not for the other ”
    This message of Imaam Ibn Abdul Burr indicates how strongly Umar bin Al-Khathaab implemented it not only the jamaath conducting of it
    but as well of assuring that it cannot be increased or decreased of what has been ordained ..
    is all clear message that Umar bin Al-Khathaab was to practise the Sunnah nothing else …

    • This great imaam, Ibn ‘Abdil-Barr (the son of the servant of “al-Barr”, who is Allaah, not “al-burr”, which is wheat) [d.463] studied the narrations of Ubayy leading the people, with 11 and 20, and he came to the conclusion that 20 was authentically established, and 11 was not. In his book: at-Tamheed.

      This great imam, Ibn ‘Abdil-Barr, said on THIS TOPIC: “There is NO SET LIMIT to the number of rak’ahs in Night Prayer that must be kept to, according to ANYONE from the people of knowledge…” [at-Tamheed, 13/214]

      And this great imam (may Allaah have Mercy on him) also said: “There is NO DIFFERING AMONG THE MUSLIMS that Night Prayer has NO SET LIMIT…” [at-Tamheed, 21/70] And Allaah knows best.

  16. And concerning the narrations of saying that Umar bin Al-Khathaab prayed of twenty three rakaath …

    ▶IMAMM An-NAWAAWI says in his Majmoo..

    “النووي في ” المجموع ” فقال : رواه البيهقي ولكنه مرسل فإن يزيد بن رومان لم يدرك عمر”
    An-Nawawi in Majmoo : “it has been narrated by Baihaqi but it is mursal, Yazeed bin Roumaan did not meet the time of Umar


    العيني بقوله : في ” عمدة القاريء شرح صحيح البخاري ” ” سنده منقطع ”
    Imaam Al-Aieni in his Umdathul Qaari sharah Saheeh Al-Bukhari “It’s line of narration is broken”

    ▶ IMAMM A Al-Mubaarakfoori in his Tuhfathul Ahwazi sharah Sunan At-Tirmizi

    “وهذا منقطع أيضا قال العلامة المباركفوري في ” التحفة ” : قال النيموي في ” آثار السنن ” : ” رجاله ثقات لكن يحيى ابن سعيد الأنصاري لم يدرك عمر ” انتهى .”
    And Imaam Al-Mubaarakfoori said it as broken

    ▶ And said : “An-Naimoori in his “Athaarus Sunan” it’s men are authentic but Yahya bin Saeed Al-Ansari did not meet the time of Umar ”

    ▶ And Sheikh Muhammed Nasirudeen Al-Albani says :

    الأمر كما قالك النيموي فهذا الأثر منقطع لا يصلح للاحتجاج ومع هذا فهو مخالف لما ثبت بسند صحيح عن عمر رضي الله عنه أنه أمر أبي بن كعب وتميما الداري أن يقوما للناس بإحدى عشرة ركعة . أخرجه مالك في ” الموطأ ” وقد تقدم وأيضا هو مخالف لما ثبت عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم بالحديث الصحيح ”
    The matter is as said by An-Naimoori that this Athar (tradition) is broken is not worth to make evidence of it well it being opposite to what has been confirmed with authentic line of narration from Umar bin Al-Khathaab Radiallahu Anhu that he ordered Ubai bin Ka’ab and Tameemud Daari to lead the people of eleven rakaaths,
    Collected by Imaam Malik in his Mauwatha, as it has been told earlier that it is opposite to what has been confirmed from the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi WAssallum from the Sahih Hadeeth.

    • I cannot reply to everyone in detail, so please excuse me. But the same fault lies in these words. You are mentioning that an-Nawawee said this or that route was weak or broken. Those are individual routes. An-Nawawee declared 20 rak’ahs prayed by Ubayy under the command of ‘Umar to be authentically established in the same book you are quoting. As quoted previously. And Allaah knows best.

  17. قال الشيخ الألباني : تضعيف الإمام الشافعي والترمذي لعدد العشرين عن عمر
    هذا : وقد أشار الترمذي في سننه إلى عدم ثبوت عدد العشرين عن عمر ويره من الصحابة فقال : روي عن علي وعمر وغيرهما من أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم ، وكذلك قال الشافعي : في العشرين عن عر كما نقله صاحبه المزني عنه في مختصره
    فقولهما : ” روي ” تضعيف منهما للمروي كما هو معروف عند المحدثين فإن من المفروض أن الإمام الشافعي والترمذي من أولئك العلماء المحقيين الذين عناهم النووي رحمه الله بقوله في ” المجموع ” : قال العلماء المحققون من أهل الحديث وغيرهم إذا كان الحديث ضعيفا لا يقال فيه : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم أو فعل أو أمر أو نهى أو حكم وما أشبه ذلك من صيغ الجزم .
    وكذا لا يقال فيه : روى أبو هريرة أو قال أو ذكر أو أخبر أو حدث أو نقل أو أفتى وما أشبهه وكذا لا يقال ذلك في التابعين ومن بعدهم فيما كان ضعيفا فلا يقال في شيء من ذلك بصيغة الجزم وإنما يقال في هذا
    كله : روي عنه أو نقل عنه أو حكي عنه أو بلغنا عنه أو يقال أو يذكر أو يحكى أو يروى أو يرفع أو يعزى وما أشبه ذلك من صيغ الترمذي وليست من صيغ الجزم
    قالو : فصيغ الجزم موضوعة للصحيح أو الحسن وصيغ التمريض لما سواهما وذلك أن صيغة الجزم تتضي صحته عن المضاف إليه فلا ينبغي أن يطلق إلا فيما صح وإلا فيكون الإنسان في معنى الكاذب عليه . وهذا الأدب أخل به المصنف وجماهير الفقهاء من أصحابنا وغيرهم بل جماهير أصحاب العلوم مطلقا ما عدا حذاق المحدثين وذلك تساهل قبيح فإنهم يقولون كثيرا في الصحيح : روي عنه ” وفي الضعيف ” قال ” و ” روى فلان ” وهذا حيد عن الصواب ” هذه الروايات لا يقوي بعضها بعضا :
    Ash-Sheikh Muhammed Nasirudeen Al-Albani said : Imaam Shaafi as well had judged weak on the hadeeth of Umar of twenty rakaath…
    this has been pointed by Imaam At-Tirmizi in his Sunan for not being confirmed as proved from Umar the twenty rakaath or from other Sahabas as well. It has been narrated (Ruwiya) from Ali and Umar and others from the Companions of the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi Wassallum,
    that is how Imaam Shaafi said. in the twenty rakaath from Umar as qouted from him his person Muzni from him in his summary
    Their both saying : “Ruwiya” is a point of judgeing weak by both of them, as it is famous among the Muhaditheens (Hadeeth Scholars), And it is ofcourse Imama Ash-Shafi and Imaam At-Tirmizi are among those research workers of scholars

    ▶Nawawi mean in his statement in “Al-Majmoo” The scholars of research from the Ahlul Hadeeth and others said : “if the hadeeth is weak it is not said in it The Messenger of Allah siad, or acted, or ordered, or forbid, or similar statements of confirming..”and similar it is not said as narrated (Rawa) Abu Huraira, or Abu Hurairah said, or mentioned, or informed, or happened, or narrated, or gave verdict or similar statements and similar it is not said in the Thabeens as well and of those who are after them as well of that which are weak, never say in any of it in the terms of confirmation rather it is to be said in it allIt has been narrated (Ruwiaya) from him, being qouted from him, or being told from him, or being reached to us from him, or being said, or being mentioned, or being told, or being narrated, or being raised, or being linked or similar terms of unconfirmation which are not of that are words of confirmation..They said (The Muhaditheens) The wordings of confirmations it will result as Saheeh (authentic) or hasan and the terms of unconfirmed wordings will result other than it, that is the terms of confirmation wordings will lead to the authenticity to what being told, it is never to be done except on that which is authentic, otherwise a person will be in the meaning of a liar to HIM Sallallahu ALaihi Wassallum.And this is Adab (manners) has been ignored by the author and many fiqh scholars from our companions and others, but most of the science generally except the firm Muhaditheens and that is a very bad lienancy from them they would say in many authentic as “Ruwiya” being narrated and in the weak “said” and “narrated by so and so” this is away from the proper way.And these narrations each other does not strengthen others ..
    This was the explanation of Imaam An-nawawi in his Majmoo

    • To believe that at-Tirmithee and other imaams never used the word “ruwiya” except that it was a verdict on the narration that it was weak is unnecessary rigidity in understanding the words of the scholars. Its simply not that absolute, and I’ve already provided a clear example (from Imaam at-Tirmithee himself) which does away with this kind of blanket understanding. And Allaah knows best.

  18. Although the question which was question to Aisha Radhiallahu Anha was only about “How was the prayer of the Prophet Muhammed Sallallahu Alaihi WAssallum in Ramadan”
    But she from her FIQH understood the questioner is trying to particularize this as for only RAMADAAN only so she was wise in educating him further than what he had questioned
    thus she replied saying “The Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi Wassallum never increased over eleven nor in ramadan neither in the other days”
    This we shoud realize as a fatwa of this great Sahabiya who was a Mufti of giving verdicts among the Sahabas for their matters..
    if we do respect the Ulemahs then the first of all the best and the worth Ulemah are the Sahabas and in them the Ulemah of Sahabah are the best of the Ulemah on the globe
    their verdicts have to be spread and produced evidence above all others verdicts ..
    So we Ahlus Salaf wal Athar realize the FATWA OF AISHA RADHIALLAHU ANHA as a final verdict on this matter.

    • If she said, “It is not allowed to pray more or less,” then I would be with you 100%. But she was asked about his prayer and she answered with a description of his prayer (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace). You are extracting from her speech what is simply not there, and what was clearly not understood by the Companions or early imams of Islaam. Making this a verdict and claiming that we Ahlus-Salaf wal-Athar take it as the final verdict on the matter is a huge claim, and I’d like to know if you can back this understanding up by mentioning any imams -even one- from the Salaf who stated clearly that praying more or less than 11 (or 13) was not allowed. That would be helpful in this discussion, and may Allaah grant you success. And Allaah knows best.

  19. Assalaam ‘alaikum,

    Djazaakallaahu gairan. I think and hope that the point is clear by now. May Allaah make it easy for us to follow the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam with the understanding of the Salaf. Aameen. It is ironic how shaykh Al-Albaanee rahimahullaah wrote a tremendous piece on the correct stance with respect to the four imaams in his sifatus-salaah while today we see brothers who sometimes seem to stick to Al-Albaanee’s opinions tenaciously. Must be said that Shaykh Al-Albaanee was an ‘aalim ofcourse, I love him fillaah and I hope to draw near to Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta’aalaa through my love for the shaykh.

    I had one question; in our masjid they do not pray the raatibah after ‘ishaa. They immediately begin with taraweeh. Do you know what the scholars have said about praying the first two of taraweeh with the intention of the raatibah? Or should I pray those rak’atain after taraweeh (we end just before nisful-lail, so it should be possible)

  20. Ahalul hades wal athar understand the saying of rasollulah by the actions of rasolullah and the understanding of shahaba or action of shahaba.
    Shahaba decision is the final decision over the research of all the scholars.
    1)Rasolullah never prayed more than 11 rakat. (the hadess come for 13 rakath imam ibnu hajar explained it clearly in his fathul bari)
    2)There is no authentic narration about the shahba prayed more than 11 rakath.
    unauthentic narrations cannot be shawahid for one another.
    Imam ahamed said in usool sunnah : there is no qyais in sunnah.
    So we Ahalul hadees wal athar stop with the action of Rasolullah and shahaba.

    • The Salaf of this Ummah and the great imams of Islaam all shared this belief – That the Deen was what was known to the Companions and what they practiced. Why do you think they prayed 20 and 36, without any problem in that? Do you think they all just neglected this mighty principle in the Religion and followed their desires? And all of those who knew better just stood there and remained silent? If imaams of the Salaf erred in their understanding of something as important as prayer, wouldn’t you expect to see loads of refutations of those who prayed 20 and 36 from those who knew better? Especially, since this is a clear, obvious innovation -as some wish to assume-?

      Your claim of “no authentic narration about the sahaabah praying more than 11” is an opinion of a scholar in contradiction to the understanding and practice of the early imaams of the Salaf. They affirmed that Ubayy prayed 20 in the time of the rightly guided Caliph, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab, and they acted upon that. Their point of differing was mainly over which one was best: 20 or 36.

      As for saying “unauthentic narrations cannot be shawahid for one another,” then if you mean in general, then this is wrong. If you mean for this issue specifically, then most of the weaknesses in the chains are a break in the chain, which is commonly the least kind of weakness and the easiest to strengthen. They are slight weaknesses which allow them to be considered for strengthening, according to the principles of the imams of Hadeeth. And there are authentic chains as well, which are only dismissed when someone calls them shaath.

      Ruling on a hadeeth that it is shaath, means the chain is actually authentic, yet its wording (usually) is found to be contradictory to what is more authentic. It is a judgment call, subject to dispute, not an absolute verdict that cannot be challenged, especially when it is a minority opinion. And I have already mentioned a great scholar of the past (Ibn ‘Abdil-Barr d.463) who studied the narrations of Ubayy praying 11 and 20, and he concluded that 20 was authentic, and 11 was shaath. And Allaah knows best.

  21. JazakAllaahu khayran for the beneficial post.

    It is clear that Islaam is a religion of mercy, ease and flexiblity … the list goes on.
    Islaam is beautiful … and it becomes more beautiful the more you study!

    The righteous Salaf were our example and so to isolate one/two ahaadith and to act upon them without looking or even ignoring the actions/statements of the early righteous Salaf (as a whole) cannot be correct. We follow the texts (Qur’aan and Sunnah) UPON THE UNDERSTANDING of the righteous Salaf.

    The early Imaams of the Salaf understood this issue better than the later generations. And following their understanding/actions of the texts is from Salafiyyah.

    The narration of Maalik ibn Anas [d.179] – number 15. above – is AMAZING!
    People were praying 39 rak’ahs for over 100 years!!
    Why didn’t anybody oppose them if they were doing something wrong???

    And, as already been mentioned, there is no authentic narration from the early Imaams of the Salaf that states that more or less than 11 or 13 rak’ahs was not allowed.

    Many of our contemporary scholars already know this topic of discussion and what Moosa has gathered together in this article is not something new to them. They already knew these narrations from before and they have based their verdicts upon them. has some nice fataawa related to the discussion.
    Here are a couple of fataawa (of many) endorsed by some major contemporary scholars of our time:

    • Jazaak Allaahu khayran. From the last link you mentioned: “As for the number of its rak‘ahs, there is NO FIXED AUTHENTIC NUMBER… During the era of `Umar the Sahabah used to offer 23 rak‘ahs in the Prophet’s Mosque…”

      Signed by:
      Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez ibn Baaz
      Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Aal ash-Shaykh
      Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan
      Shaykh ‘Abdullaah Ghudayyaan
      Shaykh Bakr Aboo Zayd

    • It would be interesting to know when Imaam Malik made this statement. He died in 179 AH raheemahullaah. So if he made this statement when he was young, many of the sahaabah in Madinah
      would have still been alive praying 36 rakaahs and not being opposed in this action???

      • He was born around the time Anas ibn Maalik passed away, who was the last major carrier of hadeeth to die from the Companions, and one of the very last of the Companions in general to die. However, Maalik narrates from his teachers that it was like that (36 without witr in Madeenah, 39 with witr), since before the Harrah event, which was in the year 63, with many Companions alive. It is well established, as the imams have mentioned, that 20 was prayed in the time of the Companions in Makkah, and 36 in Madeenah. I have never come across anyone from the early scholars who ever challenged that or claimed that there was a problem with it. And Allaah knows best.

  22. Assalamu alaykum
    What is the sharia saying on social necessities. For example there is a necesdity for a place to have police, road makers, road cleaners, doctors and dentists etc. Does this mean there is a necessity according to the sharia?
    You see the issue is dentists can only train in mixed university’s and so if there are no dentists then there are many problems so I need to know whether they are excused for training at a mixed university. Since there is a necesdity for society to have them to pull teeth out and to do fillings and to fix teeth because otherwise people would be in pain and have problems etc (just look at the state of peoples teeth last 100 years)

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. Na’am these are necessities which the Muslim ruler is responsible for facilitating. Dentists can only train in mixed universities IN THE WEST. In Saudi Arabia, for example, Muslims study dentistry at the university level in segregated classes, wal-hamdulillaah. Living under non-Muslim rule is quite problematic from so many angles.

  23. Assalamu alaykum
    The following saying has really scared me: “beware-of-scholars-who-frequently-visit-the-rulers” Basically I know that KSA appoints a grand mufti which is close to the ruler and this quote says we therefore shouldn’t trust him which is understanble. So please explain.

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. Akhee, you are welcome to post your questions and concerns here, but they need to be on the topic of the article. Also, do not take your Religion from Wikipedia, may Allaah protect you.

  24. Assalamu alaikum…
    jazakallah khir
    can you give some guidelines on kunuth performed in Witr, whether its long or short, or is there anything specific….
    is there any issue in performing kunuth with tone.

  25. Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu!

    Brothers, pay attention on your Aadaab in your speech. Don’t be harsh in Fiqh issues where there is ikhtilaaf about.

    I see some brothers who react stubborn on our Ustaadh Moosaa Richardson.

    So pay attention on your Aadaab and know your position.

    Wassalaamu ‘alaykum, your brother: Hamza el-Bosni from Holland

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. May Allaah bless you for the reminder.

      Unless someone can provide at least one example of a Salaf for the claim that Qiyaam is limited to 11 or 13 rak’ahs, this is not an issue the Salaf differed over. Citations of ijmaa’ (total scholarly consensus) have been presented, with no known opposition from the scholars of that time (5th century) or before it. So it is very strange indeed to hear remarks about someone clarifying the way of the Salaf as being “corrupt in usool” [!] or “seeking to please taaghoot rulers” [!!] (in comments that were not approved), especially when their position is the one which is shaath, opposing scholarly consensus. And Allaah knows best.

  26. Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatu Allaahi wa Barakaatuhu

    Brother, Moosaa

    Jazaakum Allaahu Khair for clarifying that the understanding of the Salaf was that the Qiyaam prayer number of Rak’aats is unrestricted. I understand that it is fine to pray more than 11 or 13.

    Inshaa-Allaah, it would also be very beneficial in this discussion to highlight that even though it is unrestricted, it is best to pray 11 or 13 as the Prophet (may Allah grant him peace and honor) used to on a regular bases. Both contemporary Imams ibn-Baaz, and al-Uthaymeen were keen to make this point after clarifying to the people that it is unrestricted. I know you did mention the point of Shaykul Islam, in that regard depending on whether ones recitation is long or short. However, inshaa-Allaah, it would still be good to mention that in the general sense 11 or 13 is best, simply because it is the common practice of the Prophet (may Allah grant him peace and honor). If that is correct. And Allah knows best.

    Also, Baraak Allaahu feekum,

    I have a question: Since the Qiyaam prayer number of Rak’ahs is unrestricted; would it be wrong, or a form of bid’ah, to then restrict it to any number of Rak’ahs that was not the common practice of the Messenger (may Allah grant him peace and honor)? What I mean by that is: if people take any set number, other than 11 or 13, that is permissible to pray, like 21 rak’aats, and they always stick to that set number, never ever increasing it our decreasing it…so much so that increasing or decreasing that set number becomes to be considered deviance…

    Would that still be acceptable at that point?

    Jazaakum Allaahu Khair

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. You are asking, “Since the Qiyaam is unrestricted, would it be wrong to restrict it…?” This question seems to answer itself.

      However, if it is a consistent practice to pray 20 or 36, (without saying that Taraaweeh must be offered like that) then there is grounds for this. The scholars and imaams of the Salaf in Makkah witnessed the Muslims praying 20 rak’ahs consistently for hundreds of years, without objection. Likewise, 36 in al-Madeenah for hundreds of years, without objection. And Allaah knows best.

  27. Assalamu alaykum
    What I do not understand is this: Regarding the beard there is one authentic narration claiming that Umar trimmed his beard once. We say this is rejected from him even though the Hadith’s say to follow him. But in this case it also contradiced slightly so we still agree.

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. The Deen of Allaah is the Deen practiced by the Companions. They were not Prophets, so when they differed, we return the matter back to the Book and Sunnah. If they did not differ on an issue, then the Deen is their understanding. I don’t know of any Companion who spoke against Ibn ‘Umar trimming his beard, nor do I know of any Companion, ‘Aa’ishah or anyone else, who objected to the Companions praying 20 rak’ahs in Taraaweeh. And Allaah knows best.

      • So my iissue is, why do we say it is totally prohibited to trim the beard if Ibn Unar did it and no one objected?

        • “We” are invited to reconsider “our” stance on that issue. It is interesting how the issue of trimming the beard beyond a fist length is an issue that al-‘Allaamah al-Albaanee opposed many of today’s scholars in, sticking to the understanding of Ibn ‘Umar, especially when he narrated the hadeeth about trimming the moustache and leaving the beard. His actions shows us how far to leave it, and it is not contradictory to what he narrated. This is what Al-Albaanee held to, and this is what is most apparently correct. And Allaah knows best.

    • Jazaak Allaahu khayraa. From the previously cited article of Shaykh ‘Ubayd al-Jaabiree (may Allaah preserve him):

      “…In answer to the point that some people make, saying that increasing the number of rak’aat is an innovation using the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar as proof, I say that it is upon the Muslim that he understands the text according to the understanding of the Salaf as-Saalih and they are the Companions of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the Imams that followed after them from the Successors and those who followed the Successors and those that were similar to them from the great generations. We find from them that it was widespread that they would increase on what the Prophet Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to pray without any dislike from anybody.

      The second point is that I do not know to this hour, anybody who says that the increasing of rak’aats to the Tarawih prayer (compared to what the Prophet Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to pray), or any other prayer from the optional prayers, is a bid’ah (innovation) except for Shaykh Naasir-ud-Deen al-Albani (rahimahullaah) and we say that indeed he is a sign from the signs of the Sunnah and he is an Imaam from the Scholars of Islaam in our time as is acknowledged by our current great scholars and from amongst them is the Shaykh, our father, the Imaam, the great Scholar, the Atharee Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez bin Baaz (rahimahullaah) as well as the Faqeeh, the Imaam Shaykh bin ‘Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah); except that this statement of Shaykh Al-Albani is a weaker saying because of what has preceded from the actions of the Scholars of the Muslims from the past and they would increase on the actions of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – and Allaah Knows Best.”

  28. Are there any narrations as to how many rakahs Abu Bakr and Umar ibn Al Khataab (radhiAllaahu anhum) themselves prayed in taraweeh?

    • I don’t know of any in the time of Aboo Bakr, as it was not known to be practiced. However, narrations are found about the time of ‘Umar, that he had the people pray both 11 and 20. Some scholars favor 20 as being more authentic, and others 11, however, there is really no clash, no shuthooth. It is highly plausible that they did both at different times during his caliphate, and Allaah knows best.

  29. How about in praying tahajjud Ustadh? Is it legislated to perform it separately from tarawih or just tha tarawih enough as qiyamul layl? This is what the people are doing here in our country. They go home after tarawih then return to the masjid at around third of the night to perform tahajjud. Is this action correct?

  30. As salaamu ‘alaykum,

    What’s position of Imaam Ahmad as it relates to where to place the hands when standing in the salaah? People have attributed to him that he disliked having the hands on the chest.

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