Question # 496: Assallamu Alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh Akhee/Ukhty. I’ve been wanted to ask if it’s true that Taraweeh can be prayed around 2 am or so?
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: According to scholars, there is no specific time for Taraweeh, and that it starts from after the Sunnah of ‘Isha’ until the break of dawn. The qiyamal-layl of Ramadan is called Taraweeh because the Sahabah used to rest (yastareehoona) after every four rak’ahs in order to make the prayers lengthy. These are just variations in name and therefore, it is permissible for a person to pray any number of rak’ahs during any time of the night.
Long Answer: Taraweeh prayer is Sunnah mustahabb (i.e., recommended) according to scholarly consensus, and comes under the heading of qiyam al-layl (night prayers). Qiyam al-layl means spending the night, or part of it, even if it is only one hour, in prayer, reading Qur’an, remembering Allah (dhikr), and other acts of worship.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked: What is the difference between Taraweeh, Qiyam, and Tahajjud? He replied: Prayer at night is called tahajjud or qiyam al-layl… With regard to Taraweeh, the scholars use this word to refer to qiyam al-layl in Ramadan at the beginning of the night, which should be made light and not lengthy. It may also be called tahajjud or qiyam al-layl. (Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz)
Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever prays qiyam in Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” [It was explained in Fath al-Bari that] “Whoever prays qiyam in Ramadan” means spends its nights in prayer.
[Furthermore,] it is said in al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah: “The fuqaha’ said: Taraweeh is the qiyam (Qiyam al-layl) of Ramadan. Hence it is best to spend most of the night in it, because it is Qiyam al-layl.”
[Hence, according to scholars] there is no specific number of rak’ahs for Taraweeh, and that the time for it …is from after the Sunnah of ‘Isha’ until the break of dawn, and that spending the night in worship is a confirmed Sunnah.
The qiyam of Ramadan is called Taraweeh because they used to have a rest (yastareehoona) after every four rak’ahs because they used to make the prayers lengthy.
[Lastly,] Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan said in Ithaaf Ahl al-Eemaan bi Majaalis Shahr Ramadan: “In the last ten days of Ramadan, the Muslims increase their efforts in worship, following the example of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and seeking Laylat al-Qadr which is better than a thousand months. Those who pray twenty-three rak’ahs at the beginning of the month break it up during the last ten days, so they pray ten rak’ahs at the beginning of the night, calling it Taraweeh, and they pray ten at the end of the night, making them lengthy, and following it with three rak’ahs of Witr, which they call qiyam. This is a variation in naming only. In fact, all of it may be called Taraweeh or it may be called qiyam. As for those who pray eleven or thirteen rak’ahs at the beginning of the month, they add ten rak’ahs to that during the last ten days, which they pray at the end of the night, making it lengthy, making the most of the virtue of the last ten days and increasing their efforts to do good. They have a precedent among the Sahabah and others who prayed twenty-three rak’ahs, as stated above. Thus, they combine the two opinions: the opinion which favors offering thirteen rak’ahs during the first twenty days and the opinion which favors offering twenty-three during the last ten days.”
(The above reply is based on various answers on similar topics provided by Islamqa.info)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.