Adapted from Ramadan For All Booklet published by Office of the Mufti.Download the booklet by Mufti here
All around the world, Muslims anticipate the month of Ramadan every year, a month in which Allah showers His limitless rahmah upon His servants who are mindful of Him.
In the spirit of Ramadan, and in order to make the most of Allah’s blessings, Muslims carry out extra Tarawih prayers during the nights. Living in multicultural Singapore, we have witnessed the heart-warming gestures of our non-Muslim friends, where churches, temples and even schools have offered their parking spaces to allow mosque congregants to park their cars as they do their Tarawih prayers.
On a less heartening note, however, amongst ourselves, heated debates and differing claims have surfaced regarding the number of raka’at to be conducted in Tarawih.
Addressing this, in short, our Ulama have stated that the options are for us to choose from. Tarawih prayers can be done in sets of in sets of 8 raka’at, 20 raka’at or even 36 raka’at; each 2 raka’at with one salam.
Most mosques in Singapore organise for 20 raka’at prayers, but if one so chooses to perform 8, then that is one’s prerogative.
Ultimately, what is sunnah is for us to pray on the nights of Ramadan with sincere faith and hope for Allah’s rewards.
After all, when was the last time imposing our opinions on one another ever changed anyone’s mind? Likely, what it would only do is mar our intentions and – perhaps even – our rewards for performing these rituals.
So this Ramadan onwards, let us focus on what is right – that is, to perform the Tarawih prayers. The number of ra’kaat is truly secondary.