Tarawih Prayer (night prayer in Ramadan) has a great merit in Islam. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever observes night prayer in Ramadan out of faith and seeking reward from Allah, his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Muslim)
The Prophet was the first to establish the Tarawih prayer in congregation at the mosque. However, he discontinued this act for fear that it might be made mandatory on the Muslim nation, and they might not be able to do it.
As for the number of rak`ahs (unites of prayer) of Tarawih, scholars disagreed in this concern. The numbers mentioned for the rak`ahs of Tarawih are: 39, 29, 23, 19, 13, and 11. Of all the numbers mentioned, none is sounder than 11 rak’ahs.
`A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) was asked, “How was the prayer of the Prophet?” She replied: “He did not pray in Ramadan or other than Ramadan more than eleven rak’ahs.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Follow us on this interesting talk with Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem who clarifies this controversial issue and showing the Prophet’s guidance in performing Tarawih Prayer.