One of the delights of Ramadan is the Taraweeh prayer. It is a special Salah consisting of even numbers of rakaahs. It is an emphasized Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) during the month of Ramadan.
‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prayed one night in the mosque, and the people followed him in prayer. Then he prayed the next night, and many people came. Then they gathered on the third or fourth night, and the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not come out to them. The next morning he said: “I saw what you did, and nothing kept me from coming out to you except the fact that I feared that it would be made obligatory for you.” And that was in Ramadan
The hadith is narrated in both al-Bukhaari (1129) and Muslim (761).
Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) reestablished this Sunnah of praying in congregation during his caliphate. Al-Bukhaari (2010) narrated that ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Abd al-Qaari said: I went out with ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with him) to the mosque one night in Ramadan, and the people were scattered, each man praying by himself. Some men would pray and have groups of people behind them following them.
‘Umar said: “I think that if I unite all these people with one reader, it will be better”. Then he resolved to gather them behind Ubayy ibn Ka’b.
Blessed is the month of Ramadan and the good deeds we do in it. Thus, Taraweeh has many virtues:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated,” Whoever observes night prayer in Ramadan as an expression of his faith and to seek reward from Allah, his previous sins will be blotted out.”(Muslim)
Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever stands with the Imam until he finishes, it is equivalent to spending the whole night in prayer.”
Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 806; Abu Dawood, 1375; al-Nasaa’i, 1605; Ibn Maajah, 1327. Classed as saheeh by al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Khuzaymah (3/337), Ibn Hibbaan (3/340) and al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 447.
There are many contradictions as to how many rakaahs should be prayed. The most common read is 11, 8 traweeh and 3 witr. Praying more than 11 is not wrong, praying less than 11 is not wrong either. Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) was asked how was the prayer of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)? She replied: “He did not pray in Ramadan or some other times more than eleven rakaahs.” (Muslim/Bukhari).
Some scholars opted for a different number of rakaahs Imam Ahmad, Imam Abu Haneefah and Imam al-Shaafa’i said one should pray 20 instead of 8. Imam Malik said it is thirty-six.
It doesn’t matter how many you pray each day or every Ramadan what matters is your intention, take every day as a chance to become a better Muslim.