Assalamu‘alaikum SS Datuk Mufti. I want to ask regarding tarawih prayer of 4 rakaat with one salam. Is this permissible?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Scholars have differing opinions regarding this issue:
Mazhab Syafi’e: According to Imam Nawawi, tarawih prayer of 4 rakaat with one salam is invalid, and this is the fatwa issued by Qadhi Husain, for it contradicts what has been stated by syara’ (khilaf al-masyru’). Terawih prayer must be performed with 2 rakaat and one salam. (Refer Al-Majmuk Syarh al-Muhazzab, 4/32)
This is in accordance with the hadith of the Prophet PBUH:
صَلاَةُ اللَّيْلِ مَثْنَى مثنى
“Salat during the night (terawih) should consist of pairs…”
Sahih Muslim (749)
Imam Ramli further explains, tarawih prayer of 4 rakaat with one salam is invalid if it is performed purposely. If not, then it is considered as sunnah mutlaq (general Sunnah). Refer Nihayatul Muhtaj, 2/127). Syeikh Zakariyya al-Ansari said, 4 rakaat sunnah prayer is the same as the obligatory prayer, thus, it is impermissible (Refer Fathul Wahhab bi Syarh Minhaj at-Thullab, 1/67).
However, in another opinion of Imam Nawawi, two rakaat of tarawih prayer with one salam is sunnah, and tarawih prayer of 4 rakaat with one salam is valid. (Refer Al-Minhaj Syarh Sahih Muslim, 6/30)
Mazhab Hanafi: The opinion of Hanafiyyah scholars state, if someone perform the entirety of his tarawih prayer with one salam, then his prayer is valid, however, it is makruh (undesirable) if it is performed purposely.
However, according to Muhammad bin Hasan al-Syaibani, his prayer is invalid. This opinion is different from the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah himself and Qadhi Abu Yusuf both ruled the prayer valid. Then, it is enough to give salam on the final rakaat of tarawih prayer. (Refer Bada’ie as-Sona’ie, 1/289)
Mazhab Maliki: Abul Hasan al-So’idi state, it is sunnah to perform two rakaat tarawih prayer, and it is makruh (undesirable) to perform four rakaat or more tarawih prayer with one salam (Refer Hasyiyah al-‘Adawi ‘ala Kifayah at-Thalib, 1/463).
Mazhab Hanbali: According to al-Marwadi, it is prioritized in performing sunnah prayer with two rakaat and one salam, however, if more rakaat is performed, then it is still valid. (Refer Al-Insaf fi Ma’rifat ar-Rajih minal Khilaf, 2/186 and Al-Mausu’ah AL-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, 27/144-145)
There is a hadith of the Prophet PBUH that signals the Prophet PBUH perform tarawih prayer of 4 rakaat with one salam, it is a hadith from ‘Aisyah R.Anha:
يُصَلِّي أَرْبَعًا فَلاَ تَسْأَلْ عَنْ حُسْنِهِنَّ وَطُولِهِنَّ، ثُمَّ يُصَلِّي أَرْبَعًا فَلاَ تَسْأَلْ عَنْ حُسْنِهِنَّ وَطُولِهِنَّ، ثُمَّ يُصَلِّي ثَلاَثًا
“He would pray four rak'ahs. Do not ask about their elegance and length. He then would pray for rak'ahs. Do not ask about their elegance and length.”
Sahih al-Bukhari (3569)
However, the above hadith does not refute the fact that the Prophet PBUH sit for every two rakaat and give salam according to the Prophet PBUH words: “Salat during the night (tarawih) should consist of pairs…”. And it is impossible for the Prophet PBUH to teach something and practise the opposite. This is the opinion of Imam Al-Zarqani. (Refer Syarh Al-Zarqani ala Muwatto Al-Imam Malik, 1/432)
According to above opinions of the scholars, we are inclined towards the definite opinion (qaul mu’tamad) in mazhab al-Syafie, which is the tarawih prayer must be performed with two rakaat and one salam. If it is performed differently, such as 4 rakaat and one salam, or eight rakaat with one salam, then the prayer is invalid.
However, considering the issue is a khilaf muktabar (accepted differing opinions by scholars), then we should adopt an accepting attitude. For those who hold the opinion from other mazhab, then we should not prohibit or rebuke them.