I am Khadim of our Masjid Assalam in Bern Switzerland.We are mix Musalleen. ie. Hanafi, Shafi Maliki. Some brother who follow Islam according to Imam Shafi school, they said folowing: Trawih 11 Rakkat Massah on normal socks. Accoridnig to hanafi Ulemas Deoband, they said in all Madhab is the same, ie, 23 Trawih and Massah on leather Socks. Cann you please clarify me. Wassalam Nasir

Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuHu,

The tarawih prayer is sunnah. This is established by scholarly consensus (ar: ijma').

According to Imam Shafi'i, the tarawih prayer consists of twenty rak'ahs. This is stated by Imam Shafi'i in Mukhtasar al-Muzani. And there is another view related from him that he did not consider tarawih to consist of a fixed number. Imam Suyuti related this from him via Sahib al-Murshid.

Regarding the number of its rak'ahs, numbers like eight, sixteen, twenty, and upwards to forty are mentioned. Imam Shafi'i himself notes that he observed the People of Madinah praying thirty-nine.

There are scholars who inclined to eight [thirteen with witr] being established from the Prophet (upon him be peace). For instance, in Fath al-Qadir, the great Hanafi jurist Ibn al-Humam inclines to the number thirteen being confirmed from the Prophet's practice, but not twenty. He says twenty is from the 'sunnah' of the Khulafa' Rashidun.

The number of eight being confirmed from the Prophet (upon him be peace) has a basis related on the authority of Jabir (radyAllahu 'anhu). Jabir related that the Prophet (upon him be peace) came out and prayed eight rak'ahs and witr along with the Sahabah. Then, the next night, they were waiting for him in the mosque. They waited until morning, and then went and asked what happened. The Prophet (upon him be peace) said that he did not want it to be made obligatory on them. This report, including the mention of eight, is related by Abu Ya'la, Ibn Hibban, Ibn Khuzaymah, Tabarani, Ibn al-Mundhir in his Awsat, and others. From the Shafiyyah, some have strengthened this hadith; it clarifying a specific number: eight. From them is Hafiz Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari 3/12 and Ibn Hajar al-Haytami in his Fatawa 1/195.

However, in its chain are narrators who are differed on. Perhaps for that reason some scholars, like Ibn al-Rif'ah in Kifayah 3/331, mentioned that the number of rak'ahs the Prophet (upon him be peace) made during his tarawih prayers are not related. This is also related from Ibn al-Rif'ah's student, Taqi al-Din al-Subki. It is also related from Zarkashi, who also relates the aforementioned hadith in which the number eight is mentioned.

During 'Umar's caliphate, the people started praying twenty collectively. No one from amongst the Sahabah contested this (i.e. ijma'). And considering this report, many maintain that twenty is recommended. Not just the Shafiyyah; in fact, Imam Tirmidhi says that this is the opinion of the majority of Ahl al-'Ilm.

In conclusion, according to the Shafi'i Madhhab, twenty rak'ahs for tarawih is recommended. And the scholars accept that there is nothing definitive to establish that number from the Prophet (upon him be peace). It not having a fixed number is even related from Imam Shafi'i by some of the As-hab al-Awjuh.

And Allah knows best.

Answered by Shaykh Yaqub Abdurrahman