The Book of Tarawih Prayers

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 35. The Book of Tarawih Prayers

I: The excellence of someone who prays at night in Ramadan

1904. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say about Ramadan, '"Anyone who prays in Ramadan motivated by belief and in expectation of the reward will be forgiven his past wrong actions.'"

1905. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Anyone who prays in Ramadan motivated by belief and in expectation of the reward will be forgiven his past wrong actions."

Ibn Shihab said, "When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, died people were doing that and then it remained the practice during the khalifate of Abu Bakr and the beginning of the khalifate of 'Umar.

1906. It is related that 'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn 'Abdu'l-Qari said, "One night in Ramadan I went out with 'Umar ibn al-Khattab to the mosque and people were separated in different groups. One man was praying on his own and another man with a group behind him following his prayer. 'Umar said, 'I think that it would be better for all these people to join together behind one reciter.' So he decided to gather them behind Ubayy ibn Ka'b. Then another night I went out with him again and all the people were praying behind one reciter. 'Umar said, 'This is an excellent innovation! But the one they sleep through is better than the one they are praying,' meaning prayer in the last part of the night. People used to stand in prayer during the first part of the night."  (Muwatta, Book 6, 3)

1907. It is related from 'A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to pray, and that was in Ramadan.

1908. It is related from 'A'isha, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went out in the middle of the night and prayed in the mosque and some men began to follow his prayer. The following morning they talked about it and the next night some more people prayed together with his prayer. The third night there were many people in the mosque and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came out and prayed and they followed his prayer. on the fourth night, the mosque was not large enough to hold them, but he only came out for the Subh prayer. When he finished Fajr, he faced the people and did the tashahhud. Then he said, 'As for what follows, your position was not hidden from me, but I was afraid that it (the night prayer) would become obligatory for you and you would be unable to do it.' When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, died that was how things stood."

1909. It is related that Abu Salama ibn 'Abdu'r-Rahman reported that he asked 'A'isha, "What was the prayer of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in Ramadan like?" She said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, never did more than eleven rak'ats in Ramadan or any other time. He would pray four rak'ats - do not ask about their excellence and length - and then he would pray four - and do not ask about their excellence and length - and then he would pray three." She said, "I said, 'Messenger of Allah, do you sleep before the witr?' He said, ''A'isha, my eyes sleep but my heart does not sleep.'" (Muwatta, Book 7, 9)

II: The excellence of the Night of Power

Allah Almighty says, "Truly We sent it down on the Night of Power. And what will convey to you what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. In it the angels and the Spirit descend by their Lord's authority with every ordinance. It is Peace – until the coming of the dawn." (97)

Ibn 'Uyayna said, "The ma in the Qur'an in 'ma adraka' indicates that He has informed him, and the ma in 'ma yudrika' that has not informed him."

1910. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Anyone who fasts in Ramadan motivated by belief and in anticipation of the reward will be forgiven his past wrong actions. Anyone who spends the Night of Power in prayer motivated by belief and in anticipation of the reward will be forgiven his past wrong actions."

Sulayman ibn Kathir corroborated it from az-Zuhri.

III: Looking for the Night of Power during the last seven days

1911. It is related from Ibn 'Umar that some of the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, were shown in a dream that the Night of Power is during the last seven days. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "I think that your dreams agree about the last seven. Those who want to look for it, should look for it in the last seven." (Muwatta, Book 19, 14)

1912. It is related that Abu Salama said, "I asked Abu Sa'id, who was a friend of mine, and he said, 'We did i'tikaf with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, during the middle ten days of Ramadan. He came out on the morning of the twentieth and addressed us, saying, "I was shown the Night of Power and then I was made to forget it (or I forgot it). So look for it on the odd nights of the last ten. I dreamed that I was prostrating in water and mud. Those who did i'tikaf with me should continue." We continued and did not see the slightest whisp of a cloud in the sky. A cloud came and it rained until the roof of the mosque, which was made of palm-fronds, was soaked. The iqama for the prayer was given and I saw the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, prostrating in water and mud so that I could see the marks of the mud on his forehead.'"

IV: Looking for the Night of Power on the odd nights of the last ten days

(It contains 'Ubada.)

1913. It is related from 'A'isha that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Look for the Night of Power on the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan."

1914. It is related from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to do i'tikaf during the middle ten days of Ramadan. On the evening of the twentieth night when the twenty-first was approaching, he would return to his home and those who were doing i'tikaf with him returned as well. One month when he was doing i'tikaf he addressed the people on the night when he usually returned and instructed them as Allah willed. He said, 'I have been doing i'tikaf for these ten days and it has become clear to me that I should do i'tikaf for the last ten as well. Those who have been doing i'tikaf with me should remain in their place of i'tikaf. I was shown this night and then I was made to forget it, so look for it during the last ten and look for it on each odd night. I saw myself prostrating in water and mud.' That night it poured with rain and the mosque leaked onto the place where the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, prayed. I saw the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with my own eyes and looked at him when he left from Subh. His face was covered with mud and water."

1915. It is related from 'A'isha that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Search for it."

1916. It is related that 'A'isha said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to do i'tikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and he said, 'Look for the Night of Power during the last ten nights of Ramadan.'" (Muwatta, Book 19, 10)

1917. It is related from Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Search for the Night of Power during the last ten nights of Ramadan when nine, seven or five remain."

1918. It is related that Ibn 'Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The Night of Power is during the last ten nights. It is in the nine which have passed or the seven remaining."

It is corroborated by 'Abdu'l-Wahhab from Ayyub and from Khalid from 'Ikrima from Ibn 'Abbas, "Search on the twenty-fourth."

V: The removal of the knowledge of the Night of Power on account of people quarrelling

1919. It is related that 'Ubada ibn as-Samit said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came out to tell us about the Night of Power. There were two Muslim men quarrelling with one another. He said, 'I came out to tell you about the Night of Power and these two here were quarrelling and because of that knowledge of it has been taken away. It may be that that is better for you. Search for it on the twenty-seventh, twenty-ninth and twenty-fifth of the month." (Muwatta, Book 19, 13)

VI Good actions during the last ten days of Ramadan

1920. It is related that 'A'isha said, "When the last ten days started, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to gird himself and prayed during the night and woke up his family."