During the holy month of Ramadan, special prayers called Taraweeh are conducted after every evening’s last daily prayer (Isha).
Taraweeh is derived from the Arabic word meaning “to rest and relax”, as it is seen as a special form of Islamic meditation.
These special prayers involve reading long portions of the Qur’an, as well as performing many rakahs (cycles of movement involved in Islamic prayer).
After performing four rakahs, one sits for a brief period to rest before continuing.
During the standing portions of the prayer, long sections of the Qur'an are read. The Qur'an is divided into equal parts for the purpose of reading sections of equal length during each of the Ramadan nights, and so 1/30 of the Qur'an is read on successive evenings. The aim is read the entire Qur’an by the end of Ramadan.
Taraweeh prayers commonly take place in mosques where Muslims pray in congregation. Although they are not compulsory, taraweeh are strongly recommended during Ramadan.
Rakahs vary from 14 to 20 cycles, depending on the imam leading them. According to a hadith, however, Bibi Aisha is reported as stating that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) would not perform more than 11 or 13 rakahs on any given day.
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