What is Taraweeh prayer?
Taraweeh is derived from the Arabic word meaning “to rest and relax”. These special prayers are performed after Isha Prayers and before Witr Prayers during the month of Ramadan. Generally, these prayers are performed in congregations in the mosque, but it is permissible to perform it alone or in small groups at home. 



The number of rakaats is 20 referring it to a narration in Muwatta Imam Malik which said that "In the time of Umar, the people used to offer 20 rakaats". But it is clearly mentioned in the Muwatta before the said narration that when Umar Ibn Khattab assigned Ubay ibn Ka'ab and Tamim al-Dari to lead the Taraweeh prayers, he ordered them to offer 11 rakaats (8 of taraweeh and 3 of witr). Based on this narration it's your choice to perform 20 rakaats or 8 rakaats. 



Taraweeh prayers are considered optional (sunnah), or in other words, not obligatory. However, it is believed that it is highly rewarded. Prophet Muhammad PBUH is reported to have said, “Whoever stands with the imam (in Taraweeh prayer) until he finishes, it is equivalent to spending the whole night in prayer.” (Imam Ahmad).
What is Tahajjud prayer?
Tahajjud, also known as the "night prayer", is a voluntary prayer performed by Muslims. It is not one of the five obligatory prayers required of all Muslims, although Prophet Muhammad PBUH was recorded as performing the Tahajjud prayer regularly every night himself and encouraging his companions too.

Tahajjud can be performed anytime during the night after Isha prayer and before the adhan of Fajr. However it's recomended to pray it after waking up from sleep. The best time to pray Tahajjud is during the last part of the night before the adhan of Fajr (morning prayer). In some schools of thought, the night is divided into 3 parts, so the best time to perform tahajjud is during the last 1/3rd of the night. Tahajjud prayer is typically performed in 2 to 12 raka'ah (units), and ends with the Witr prayer.

Here is one of the Quranic references regarding the importance of the Tahajjud prayer. "Are they better˺ or those who worship ˹their Lord˺ devoutly in the hours of the night, prostrating and standing, fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of their Lord? Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “Are those who know equal to those who do not know?” None will be mindful ˹of this˺ except people of reason. [Surah 39:9]
What is Witr prayer?
Witr is an Islamic prayer that is performed at night after Isha or before fajr. Witr has an odd number of raka'at prayed in pairs, with the final raka'ah prayed separately. Therefore, as little as one raka'ah can be prayed, and eleven at most. Most Hansfis pray 3 raka'ah with dua qunoot in the third raka'ah.







Archives of Taraweeh Prayers in Makkah and Madinah

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