Saturday, 27 July 2013

Taraveeh, Haraam/ forbidden in Shia Islam

Topic 26:

A request for non-muslim readers is that this topic won’t concern you much, so you may avoid its reading.

Taraveeh prayers are Haraam/ forbidden in Shia Islam; whereas they are important prayers in Sunni, during the nights of month of Ramadan. Shia consider it Haraam/ forbidden because Prophet Mohammed never ordered nor asked to observe Taraveeh. It started a decade after Prophet Mohammed; Umar Khattab the second Caliph started it during his reign.

Umar Khattab didn’t had any divinely appointed authority over him to start something like Taraveeh, Prophet Mohammed had declared that Islam became complete during his very life time at event of Ghadeer, this completion included completion in prayer system as well. What was missing in complete prayer system of Islam that Umar s/o Khattab started this Biddat (innovation) could not be found out. He himself declares it is a Biddat (innovation) in Sahih Bukhari.

Taraveeh are offered like daily obligatory prayers in congregation (Jama’at), congregational prayers are orders of God through divine revelations like 5 daily prayers. Even if you calculate daily prayers they make up to 17 (2+4+4+3+4) cycles/ rakah in 24 hours, Taraveeh exceed this limit also; a caliph has no right to start such prayers parallel to obligatory prayers that too even more than those. Taraveeh are prayed like obligatory prayers in 20 or 36 cycles/ rakah, some perform 8 cycles/ rakah, followed by 3 cycles/ rakah of Vitr; but to perfrom such prayers in congregation is invalid, since only a divinely appointed person can establish such prayers, Umar Khattab didn’t had this authority.

Another point to be noted in case of Taraveeh is that during 29/30 nights of Ramadan complete Holy Qur’an is recited in Taraveeh, it is said Prophet Mohammed himself used to recite Holy Qur’an that too twice during Ramadan. But during Prophet Mohammed’s lifetime there never came any Ramadan wherein Holy Qur’an was complete, last of revelation were declared during month of Dhul Hajja 60 Hijri and Prophet Mohammed got martyred in 61 Hijri (2nd month) but before Ramadan (9th month) came. So how did he openly recite that others even noted it; that which was not even revealed/ declared during previous Ramadan months prior to 61 Hijri to Muslims?

Holy Qur’an is recited at high speed which is usually beyond understanding; this is done to accommodate the recital quota within time frame say an hour. Some more new versions have come up; complete recital in 10 days, 3 days and even 1 night, which is catching fad to save time. This is what Holy Quran asks Muslims in chapter 75 verse 16: La tuharrik bihi lisaanaka lita’jala bihi (Do not move your tongue with it to make haste with it).

Shia are accused since they hate Uthman s/o Affan the third caliph that they are divinely forbidden to memorise Holy Qur’an, since Uthman s/o Affan is attributed as compiler of Holy Qur’an. Shia do memorise Holy Qur’an and there are a lot of Shia who know whole of Holy Qur’an by heart. Their numbers are few since Shia don’t need to recite as there is no Taraveeh, Shia stress more on understanding Holy Qur’an then doing a rote. Also, Shia believe Holy Qur’an was compiled by Imam Ali, but that’s not the topic here.

Salatul Layl/ Namaz Shab or Tahajjud are voluntary prayers not just during the month of Ramadan but throughout the year, one offers it in night, preferably during the last part of night. Sunni hadith state that during Prophet Mohammed’s time once it happened that when Prophet Mohammed was praying alone in mosque in night people gathered behind him and started to pray behind him, it continued for three days and crowd increased. Prophet Mohammed on fourth day didn’t came out, and later said, “your presence was not hidden from me but I was afraid lest the night prayer should be enjoined on you and you might not be able to carry it on”. Holy Qur’an says accept what Prophet Mohammed gives to you and refrain from what he stops you from.

Even if above hadith is accurate, then too Prophet Mohammed stopped it, this was to be enough as reminder that something which Prophet Mohammed didn’t wanted to be enjoined should not have been established on par with enjoined daily prayers. Voluntary prayers are to remain voluntary so congregation could not be made in them, since it’s an individual matter. Umar s/o Khattab converted these prayers in congregational prayers, without any divinely appointed authority to do so.

Reasons are declared that since Prophet Mohammed was no more present there was no fear that any new revelation could come up to make it obligatory, thus Umar s/o Khattab established it. What kind of belief is this; obligatory prayers are taken as burden that a fear remains in mind that any extra burden could have come. These are statements of those companions and scholars who declared they spend whole nights in prayers, self contradictory statements!

Even if there was no so called fear then too when Islam and its prayer system were already complete and declared as such by Prophet Mohammed himself why Umar s/o Khattab started this biddat (innovation) would be interesting to know. Did Umar s/o Khattab knew about Prophet Mohammad’s saying that: Kullu biddatid dalaala wa kullu dalaalati fin naari jahannam/ every biddat (innovation) is dalaala and every dalaala will lead to hell fire. Here, the word ‘kullu/ every’ is to be noted, so no reason left to distinguish between good and bad biddat.

Follower of different Sunni schools of thought (Madhabs) offer different number of cycles of prayers, some offer 20 cycles of prayers, some 8, while other offers 36 cycles along with recommended 3 of Witr. Whereas if Sunni authentic hadith are checked then Aisha widow of Prophet Mohammed declared that Prophet Mohammed never offered more than 11 cycles of night prayers be it Ramadan or any other month. Those who perform 8 cycles and later 3 making it 11 do so as obligatory congregation, congregation itself is controversy and why Shia forbid it. The clashes between numbers of cycles themselves declare controversy. Some Sunni even offer Tahajjud after Taraveeh, which makes whole thing meaningless in eyes of hadith.

Salatul layl/ Namaze Shab or Tahajjud are 8 cycles of voluntary prayers, which are followed by 3 cycles of recommened Witr (2+1). Prophet Mohammed clearly stated that it was obligatory on him not upon his followers, he did meant something.

Shia pray Salatul Layl/ Namaze Shab or Tahajjud throughout the year during night in following pattern (2+2+2+2) then recommended Salatul Shaf (2) and finally Witr (1), total 11 cycles, it confirms Prophet Mohammed’s manner.

1st Imam Ali Murtada who is also 4th and last rightly guided caliph of Sunni didn’t observed nor asked to offer Taraveeh during his reign from Kufa, Iraq, his capital. If an argument is raised that what if it’s prayed after all it’s a prayer, who should have a problem with it? Then, why can’t Muslims fast on Eid or while on journey? Why do Muslims have to shorten their prayers when they travel? Why can’t menstruating ladies fast or offer salah? The answer is when God set a law it must be obeyed we can’t use our own minds and change the law of God. No Shia ever objects to individual voluntary prayers, the problem is with congregation which is only for obligatory prayers.

Oh Allah! Peace and Salutation be upon Mohammed and House-hold of Mohammed.

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