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Tarawih prayers begin from the first Moon-sighted evening (start) to second Moon-sighted evening (last day of Ramadan). This prayer is performed only during Ramadan of the Islamic calendar, after salat of Isha (and before Witr, which is also prayed following imam who is pronouncing this three raka‘āt prayer words aloud unlike how it is done in other eleven months).
Tarawih prayers are prayed in pairs of two. A break is taken after every 4 (2+2) raka‘āts. It can be prayed with at least eight raka‘āts, according to the Hanafi and Shafi'i schools of Sunni Islam; however, standard number of raka‘āts is twenty. Sunni Muslims believe it is customary to attempt a khatm ("complete recitation" of the Quran) as one of the religious observances of Ramadan, by reciting at least one juz' per night in tarawih.
Tarawih prayers are considered optional (Sunnah), not obligatory.
The Sunni prayer Tarawih has been mentioned in traditions as Qiyamul Layl min Ramadan ("Standing of night in Ramadan") and Qiyam-ar-Ramadan ("Standing of Ramadan"). Some Sunni Muslims regard the Tarawih prayers as Sunnat Mu'akkadah. Other Sunni Muslims believe Tarawih is an optional prayer that may be performed at home. According to this tradition, Muhammad initially and briefly prayed the Tarawih in congregation during Ramadan, but discontinued this practice out of concern it would be mandated, yet he never forbade it. During the time when Umar was the caliph, he reinstated the praying of Tarawih in congregation.
Alevi, Twelver and Isma'ili sectarians regard Tarawih as bid‘ah, introduced after the death of Muhammad by Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab, whom they consider to have been an usurper. Instead, Twelvers believe in the Tahajjud prayer or Salat al-Layl ("night prayer"), which is recommended throughout the year, especially during the nights of Ramadan.
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