As Ramadan is coming soon, Ahmad sits with his father to review the rules of Ramadan and the acts of worship related. Today is the time to review the rules of prayer from a book serving as Ramadan prayer guide 2021. Ahmad is so curious as he knows that prayer is one of the pillars of Islam and it’s the connection between the slave and his Creator as well.
The father starts saying:
Prayer (salat) is the most important practice in Islam after declaring faith in Allah and His Messenger. It’s:
This is for the five obligatory prayers when they are performed properly and with serenity.
Moreover, the father continues, the Muslim should increase the acts of worship in this month due to its virtue. Thus, he should perform the non-obligatory prayer, Nafilah, in Ramadan, like the regular Sunnah prayers, Duha prayer, Tahiyyat al-masjid (greeting the mosque) and so on.
Also, the Muslim should pray the special type of Nafilah in Ramadan, called Taraweeh prayer, out of its virtue.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:
If a person prays Taraaweeh according to the madhhabs of Abu Haneefah, al-Shaafa’i and Ahmad, with twenty rak’ahs, or according to the madhhab of Maalik, with thirty-six rak’ahs, or with thirteen or eleven rak’ahs, he has done well, as Imam Ahmad said, because there is nothing to specify the number. So the greater or lesser number of rak’ahs depends on how long or short the qiyaam (standing in the prayer) is. (Islam Question & Answer)
At this point, Ahmad asks a question: O father, what about praying the non-obligatory prayers in congregation? I read before that the Muslim is obliged to pray the five prayers in congregation, not the Nafilah.
The father explains this issue saying:
There is nothing wrong with offering nafilah prayers in congregation, but that should not be done on an ongoing basis, rather it may only be done sometimes.
The father continues:
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Voluntary prayers done in congregation are of two types, one of which it is Sunnah to do in congregation, such as the eclipse prayer, prayers for rain, and Qiyam during Ramadan (Taraweeh). These are always done in congregation as is the Sunnah. The second type are not done in congregation, such as Qiyam al-layl, the regular Sunnah prayers, Duha prayer, Tahiyyat al-masjid (greeting the mosque) and so on. But if they are done in congregation occasionally, that is permissible. (Islam Question & Answer)
Ahmad asks his father about the condition of congregation prayers, like Taraweeh prayer, under Covid 19 or the like epidemics. He says: are we allowed to pray in congregation at that time?
The father answers:
It is prohibited for a person infected with this virus to attend Friday prayers and prayers in congregation, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said, “Sick (camels) should not be put with healthy (camels).” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Also, If anyone fears that he may be harmed or may harm others, it is permissible for him to not attend the Friday prayer and prayers in congregation, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said, “There should be neither harm nor reciprocating harm.” [Narrated by Ibn Majah].
This is a part of the fatwa issued on 16/7/1441 AH by the Council of Senior Scholars in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. You can read it in full here: . (Islam Question & Answer)
Taraweeh prayer is recommended in Ramadan. Also, it’s classified under the night prayer [Qiyam] that the Muslim should perform in general in the whole year. However, as mentioned before, the reward is special out of the virtue of Ramadan.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says:
“ Whoever performs night prayer [Qiyam] in Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Sunan an-Nasa’i]
Ibn al-Mundhir was certain that this includes both minor and major sins, but al-Nawawi said: What is known among the fuqaha’ is that this applies only to forgiveness of minor sins, not major sins. [Fath al-Baary]
Ahmad feels interested in the idea of doubling the reward for some times in the Muslim calendar. He searched for this topic before, so he wants to take authentic information from his father who is a Muslim scholar.
Ahmad asks his father: Is there any special merit for the first 10 days in Ramadan or for prayers in them?
His father replies: No Ahmad. There is no Ayah from the Quran or an authentic Hadith to depend on in this regard. Thus, we say what the authentic sources say; the merit of Ramadan as a whole is unique, and the merit of prayers in Ramadan as a whole is unique as well.
However, there is extra merit for the last 10 days in Ramadan, not the first ones, mentioned in the Prophet (PBUH) Sayings and actions. For example,
“When the last ten days began, the Prophet (PBUH) would tie his lower garment (izaar) tight and stay up at night, and wake his family.”
This extra merit is due to the existence of the Night of Decree (Al Qadr Night) in one of these last 10 nights. It’s not revealed for us to do our best in all the last 10 nights of Ramadan.
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“The Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months.” [al-Qadr 97:3]
After talking about Ramadan prayer guide 2021, Ahmad moves to another important act of worship in Ramadan, asking his father if there are prayers should be said in certain times? The father replies: Dua’a is highly recommended at any time of Ramadan, especially in the time of breaking fast. The Prophet (PBUH) used to say a specific prayer after breaking his fast immediately “Thirst has gone, the arteries are moist, and the reward is sure, if God wills.” [Abu Dawud]
Indeed, what helps Ahmad to be a true Muslim is his understanding for the uniqueness of his religion and its effect on him. He often reads about the Islamic history, the Names and Attributes of Allah the Almighty and the inspiring Muslim leaders throughout history. He read before this topic and it opens the way for him to learn more read: How Did the Spread of Islam Affect the World?
Understanding this aspect pave the way of worship for the Muslim to modify his prayer and feel the beauty of religion as well.
By the end of this informative session, Ahmad thanks his father for reviewing the Ramadan prayer guide 2021. He understands now the importance of prayer especially in Ramadan. Thus, he decides to correct his recitation of the Quran and to continue his memorization for it, to be an Imam for the Masjid in Taraweeh prayer like his father after 3 years.
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