Taraweeh is a special kind of prayer that Muslims perform only during the holy month of Ramadan, which is expected to start on Thursday, March 23 and end on Saturday, April 22 in 2023. Taraweeh prayer is performed after the last daily prayer of the evening (isha) and consists of several optional units (rakats) of prayer that vary in number depending on the tradition and preference of the worshippers.
Taraweeh prayer is a way of meditating on the Quran, as each night a portion of the holy book is recited by an imam or a leader of the prayer. The word “taraweeh” comes from an Arabic word that means “to rest and relax”, as the worshippers take short breaks between every four rakats.The origin of taraweeh prayer goes back to the time of Prophet Muhammad, who prayed taraweeh in his mosque for a few nights during Ramadan, and was joined by some of his companions.
However, he stopped doing so out of fear that it might become obligatory (wajib) for his followers. After his death, some Muslims prayed taraweeh individually or in small groups until Caliph Omar unified them behind one imam and established eight rakats as the standard practice. Later, some Muslims increased the number of rakats to 20 or more to make it easier to complete reciting the entire Quran during Ramadan.
The benefits of praying taraweeh are immense, as it brings Muslims closer to God and increases their spirituality, discipline and gratitude. It also helps them empathize with those who are less fortunate and hungry. Praying taraweeh also erases their previous sins and multiplies their rewards during Ramadan, which is considered a blessed month by Muslims. While praying taraweeh in a mosque is preferable and more rewarding than praying at home, it is still possible to do so alone or with family and friends, especially during lockdowns or pandemics.