An Important Question Regarding the Taraaweeh Salaah

Translated excerpt from Fataawa Raheemiyyah (Vol 5, Pg 138 – 143)
An Important Question Regarding the Taraaweeh salaah

Answer: It is the duty of the Ulema and Huffaadh to select people to lead the Taraaweeh salaah. It is a grave wrong and a sign of Qiyaamah for non Ulema and non-Huffaadh to select Huffaadh to lead the Taraaweeh salaah without consulting the Ulema and Huffaadh.
Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi رحمه الله تعالى said, “Nowadays, every person is a translator and commentator of the Qur’aan and they all offer their opinions of the Shari’ah, as if understanding all the sciences associated with the Shari’ah is a simple affair. This is however, the laws ordained by Allaah. When it is only lawyers, barristers and high court judges who properly understand the laws made by people, why would it then be so easy to properly understand the laws of Allaah?” (Wa’z Albaab Pg. 18)
Performing the Taraaweeh salaah is Sunnah Mu’akkadah and completing the recitation of the Qur’aan in the Taraaweeh salaah is also Sunnah. Refer to Fazaaile Ramadan. Completing it several times is even better. Therefore, one should at least complete one recitation with ease, calm and proper recitation. It is the manner in which we conduct ourselves that the future generations will also conduct themselves. If we complete the Taraaweeh salaah under duress, so will they and we will be held responsible for it.
It is vitally important to ensure that the letters of the Qur’aan are recited correctly because substituting letters (such as ص or ث in place of س, or س or ث in place of ص, or ز or ذ in place of
ض, or ض or ز in place of ذ, or ط in place of ت, or ت in place of ط) constitutes a major error, which often changes the meaning of the verse and thereby nullifies the salaah. When qualities of recitation such as Izhaar, Ikhfaa, Madd and Idghaam are neglected, the error may not be major, but it deprives the Musalli of many virtues of salaah. What greater deprivation can there be than failing to recite the Qur’aan with its etiquette and proper fervour during the month of Ramadhaan?

Shihabuddeen Ahmad Aafandi bin Ali Roomi states in Majaalisul Abraar:
فانهم قد جعلوا التراويح عادة لا عبادة يتقرب بها الى الله تعالى على ما شرطه رسول الله صل ی الله عليه وسلم
فيها من القراءة وغيرها فيتخذون صلاتها خلف امام لا يتم الركوع والسجود والقومة و الجلسة ولا يرتل القرآن
كما امر الله به بل هو من غاية السرعة يقع في اللحن الجل ي بترك بعض حروف الكلمة او حركاتها……… الخ
“Rather than regarding the Taraaweeh salaah as an act of Ibaadah by which they may attain proximity to Allaah, people have made it a mere habit. They perform salaah behind Imaams who do not perform the Ruku, Sajdah and other postures properly and do not recite the Qur’aan clearly as Allaah has ordained. In their rush, they omit words and letters, thereby committing grave errors.”
Fataawaa Bazzaaziyyah makes it clear that reciting the Qur’aan incorrectly is Haraam by consensus of the scholars. Other fataawa make mention that there will be no harm in a person leaving his Masjid to perform salaah in another Masjid when the Imaam of his Masjid recites the Qur’aan incorrectly because his intention is to pray behind an Imam with Taqwa.

Rasulullaah صلى الله عليه وسلم stated that performing salaah behind an Aalim with Taqwa is like performing salaah behind one of the Ambiyaa عليهم السلام . In this, there is an indication that the one who leaves his local masjid due to a valid shar’ee reason will not be deemed sinful. So what will be the condition of those people who leave their Masaajid to find Masaajid wherein the Imaams recite the Qur’aan haphazardly and do not even perform their Ruku and Sajdah properly? In fact, such people even complain about Imaams who recite the Qur’aan properly and who perform the Ruku and Sajdah with the required calm and composure. Such people fall into the category of those people who treat their Deen as a toy, whom this worldly life has deceived and who are neglectful of the Aakhirah.
Exercising calm and composure when performing Ruku, Sajdah, Qaumah and Jalsah is essential in salaah. This means that these postures be carried out according to the Sunnah method with the body straightening out in Qaumah, with all the limbs settling in place before proceeding for Sajdah. Similarly, the body needs to be straightened out in Jalsah as well, with all the limbs settling in place before proceeding for the second Sajdah. The minimum duration of these postures needs to be the time taken to recite Subhaanallaah once. Whoever does not do this is liable for punishment in the Aakhirah because these acts are Fardh according to Imaam Abu Yusuf رحمه الله تعالى and Imaam Shaafi’ee رحمه الله تعالى . Omitting these in salaah will render the salaah invalid in their opinion.

According to Imaam Abu Haneefah رحمه الله تعالى and Imaam Muhammad رحمه الله تعالى , these acts are Waajib, omitting which, the salaah will have to be repeated. According to another report from them, they are Sunnah, in which case one will be reprimanded for omitting them and will be deprived of Rasulullaah صلى الله عليه وسلم ‘s intercession. Such people will then be amongst those whose deeds in this world amount to naught whereas they assume that they are doing well. This is a clear loss indeed.
At this juncture, it is necessary to highlight an important point, which someone of fairness and an inclination to the truth will easily accept. There is one Qaumah and one Jalsah in every Rakaah of the twenty rakaahs of the Taraaweeh salaah. Performing each of them with calm and composure is compulsory and omitting any of them is a sin. Therefore, omitting calm and composure in any one of them will earn one twenty sins (for each of the twenty Rakaahs). Omitting calm and composure in both the Qaumah and Jalsah of every Rakaah will amount to one earning forty sins. Furthermore, omitting the Qaumah and Jalsah altogether will multiply the sins to eighty. When this is made apparent, the sin is doubled to a hundred and sixty. Failure to repeat the Rakaahs will cause the sins to be multiplied to a hundred and eighty.
In addition to this, omitting all of this will lead to a delay in the Adhkaar prescribed for the changes in posture. As a result, the Adhkaar will be recited after their prescribed time and also in the place where they ought not to be. This double error amounts to four Makrooh acts being committed in every Rakaah, which is tantamount to omitting four Sunnah acts in every Rakaah.

This means that when the person who is not calm and composed performs the Qaumah, he will recite سمع الله لمن حمده and الله اكبر while still bending down for Sajdah, as a result of which, الله اكبر
will be said only when he is in Sajdah. However, the Sunnah practice is to recite سمع الله لمن حمده
when raising the head from Ruku and الله اكبر while bending down for Sajdah. Similarly, when the person who is not calm and composed performs the Jalsa, a portion of the first takbeer will be recited whilst going back down for the second sajdah and a portion of the second takbeer will be recited in the sajdah itself. However, the sunnah practice is to recite the first takbeer whilst lifting the head from the sajdah and the second takbeer whilst going back down.

When these Makrooh acts are added up, they amount to 80 which results in 80 Sunnah acts being omitted. When this act is made apparent, the sin is doubled to 160. Now can a person guilty of committing 180 sins, 160 Makrooh acts and omitting 160 Sunnah acts every night of Ramadhaan only in the Taraaweeh salah be regarded as a wise person? When a single sunnah act deprives one of Rasulullaah صلى الله عليه وسلم ‘s intercession, will any wise person be content to deprive himself from the intercession of Rasulullaah صلى الله عليه وسلم which is sought by all the creation including all the Ambiyaa, Awliyaa, and the pious? May Allaah never make us amongst the deprived ones. Aameen. (Majaalisul Abraar – Majlis 29 Pg. 191)

One should read this over and over and gauge whether these deficiencies are found in one’s salaah. Thank Allaah if they are not and make amends if they are. This can however be rectified only when the Imaam leads the salaah in accordance with the Sunnah and when the Muqtadi is concerned about performing this great act of Ibaadah properly, regarding it to be a means of getting closer to Allaah. If some extra time is taken in the salaah, it must be viewed as time spent in the worship of Allaah.
Reading the Qur’aan speedily is in itself not wrong. The Qurraa have therefore classified recitation of the Qur’aan into three categories. The first is Tarteel, which entails reciting very slowly. The next is Tadweer, which is faster and the third is Hadar, which is the fastest of the three. However, the condition for recitation is that the letters are pronounced clearly.

May Allaah grant all the ability to understand the status of the Taraaweeh salaah and to correct all deficiencies prevalent in the manner it is being performed. May Allah taa’la give all the believers tawfiq. Aameen. And Allaah knows best what is most correct.