Taraweeh rak'ahs

Q639 :I have read in a book that in Ramadhan, the prayer known as taraweeh and the tahajjud are one and the same thing. The author also says that the Prophet did not offer more than 11 rak'ahs of night worship on any night. How far is this true?

A639 : Taraweeh is a name given to night worship in Ramadhan. The name generally used for such worship is tahajjud, which includes prayer and the recitation of the Qur'an. It is appropriate, then, to say that taraweeh is tahajjud in Ramadhan. It is authentically reported that Prophet did not offer on any night more than 11 or 13 rak'ahs. If we take the higher figure, we should remember that the Prophet started his night worship with two short rak'ahs. However, Lady Aisha explains that when the Prophet offered his night worship, he started with four rak'ahs. She says: "You need not ask about their length and perfection." He then offered another four rak'ahs and she uses the same expression to describe them. He then offered three. On the other hand, there is no restriction on the number of rak'ahs a person may offer in night worship. People in Madinah in the early days of Islam used to offer taraweeh in 36 rak'ahs, which meant that with witer they prayed either 39 or 41 rak'ahs. What this boils down to is that one may offer night worship as one pleases. You may offer as many rak'ahs as you wish, and you may, if you like, offer a small number of rak'ahs and make them long. You may also offer only a few rak'ahs, even two if you wish, without making them long. It all depends on your choice and how you feel that night.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )