Taraweeh prayer is a special prayer offered in congregation during the night of month of Ramadan. This prayer can be offered anytime after the time of Isha prayer until Fajr prayer. Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, encouraged Muslims to perform this prayer. He, peace be upon him, said: "He whosever stays awake during the nights of month of Ramadan (offering prayers, supplications and reciting Glorious Qura'an), Allah will forgive his past sins." (Bukhari).

    The Sunnah practice of Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, is to limit the prayer of Traweeh to (11) elven Rak'ah. Each prayer prayer must consist of two Rak'ah. 'Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, was asked about Allah's Messenger prayer during the month of Ramadan and she reported: "He, Peace be upon him, never offered more than (11) Rak'ah niether in Ramadan not in any other month." (Bukhari and Muslim). Malik also reported in his entitled " Al-Muwatta." Al-Saeb bin Yazeed, may Allah be pleased with him, commanded both O' biy bin Ka'b and Tameem al-Daree to lead people in prayer (Taraweeh), and offer on it ( 11) eleven Rak'ah.

    However, if one choses to offer more than this number, it is still right. This opinion is based on the statement of the Prophet, Peace be upon him, when he asnswered: "One should offer the prayer in pairs (Two Rak'ah each). If one fears missing Fajr, then let one offer a single Rak'ah to make an odd number." (Bukhari and Muslim). Maintaining the number of Rak'ah, and confirming to the Rak'ah expressed in accordance with Sunnah, one must maintain a slow pace so as to offer a better and more accurate prayer. One however, must not make it hard and difficult for participants.

    On the other hand, offering a swift, short and a very fast prayer does not conform to the sound teaching of the Prophet, peace be upon him. In fact, such a swift prayer may cause the prayer to be incomplete.

    There are some leaders, (Imams) who offer the Taraweeh prayer in such a swift way. Those, whoever, msut know that they are not praying alone for themselves. Thus, they should be aware of the proper manners of Prayers.

    Muslims must try to maintain this voluntary prayer during the month of Ramadan, and must also utilize their time wisely during this blessed month. They must increase their acts of worship and decrease their sleep and time wastage.

    Muslim women are permitted to attend the Taraweeh prayer provided that they maintain their Islamic code of dress. Muslim women must avoid mixing with men, wearing perfume and unveiling themselves before men.

Source: Shiekh Mohammad bin Salih Al-Othaimeen & Sheikh abdullah bin Abdul Rahman Al-Jibreen. Fatawa on Fasting & Zakat & Traweeh. DARUSSALAM,Riyadh, K.S.A.