5 Tips for Taraweeh for Those Who Don’t Know Arabic

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by Raiiq Ridwan

Among the best of Ramadan activities is Taraweeh— the long night prayers prayed right after Isha every night in Ramadan. Among the beautiful traditions that are prevalent in many Muslim countries is the culture of completing the recitation of the Quran in Taraweeh.

Ramadan is, of course, the month of the Quran, and what better way to honour it than to have a complete recital of Allah’s last testament through the nights of this auspicious month? Taraweeh itself is also a very great act of worship. A narration in Bukhari states that those who stand up on the nights of Ramadan seeking Allah’s pleasure will have all of their sins forgiven!

However, there is a bit of a problem. If one does not know Arabic, Taraweeh might at times feel a bit of a static stand-up exercise with some bowing and prostration to smooth it out! Let there be no doubt that the best way to really dip into the ocean of the Quran is to learn the Arabic language. No translation will ever suffice for the real deal.

However, the majority of the readers of this article will not be people who know Arabic. Are you to be deprived? This article will hope to give a way out for all of us— the ones who do not know Arabic but who want to experience the beauty of the Quran in Ramadan. In the meantime, start the 50% of Quranic Words course at  Understand Quran Academy and by the end of it you will be understanding quite a few words in Taraweeh.

Here are five tips, listed in order of difficulty, from the easiest to the most difficult:

  1. Find a masjid where they recite the Quran well.In some cultures, the recitation of the Quran in taraweeh is almost like being in a Formula 1 racing contest. The least we can do is to admire the beauty of the sounds of the Quran. The Quran is amazing in that simply hearing it without understanding any of the meanings can move someone emotionally. Part of that is choosing a Masjid where the recitation is beautified.
  2. Make dua at every sajdah.One of the best positions in which to make dua is when one is prostrating. And taraweeh guarantees us 46 prostrations (including witr). It gives us a chance to make 46 duas to Allah every single night of Ramadan. Ramadan is a time when duas are accepted a lot, and to make a lot of dua during the multiple prostrations is a blessing that we will not get in other parts of the year. Every time you go into sajdah make a short dua. Make a list of duas that you want to get answered this Ramadan and ask them while in Taraweeh and in prostration. Allah will deliver! And you will have a better Taraweeh experience too.
  3. Make dua whenever you hear a prompt.This will require a bit more of a keen ear, and the more the knowledge of Arabic words the more this will help insha Allah. Hudhaifah radi Allahu anhu narrated about the Prophet’s night prayer that the Prophet would, “when he reached a verse which referred to the Glory of Allah, he glorified Allah; when he recited a verse that includes a supplication, he would supplicate Allah; and when he came across a verse related to isti`adha (seeking Allah’s protection), he asked Allah for protection.” [Narrated by Muslim]. The Prophet was known to do this for his night prayers and as such we can insha Allah utilize the same maxim for our Taraweeh. Whenever you hear of Jannah (paradise) ask Allah to give you Jannah silently in your heart. Whenever you hear of Jahannam or Naar (hell), ask Allah’s protection from that. When Allah mentions Muslim/Muslimeen, Mu’min/Mu’mineen ask Allah to be of them. Depending on how many of the Arabic words you can catch within a recitation, you can silently keep making dua at every juncture. It will make for a good taraweeh experience as you will constantly be speaking to Allah, and relating to the recitation.
  4. Reading a translation before Taraweeh.We are going into a tip which will be a bit more difficult but more rewarding insha Allah and will give a much better feel of the Taraweeh. Before each night’s taraweeh take time to read a translation of the Quran so that you know what it is that Allah says in the Surahs that are going to be recited. For example let’s say you are on the night when the Imam will recite, among other Surahs, Surah Taha. As you read Surah Taha’s translation and learn about the story of Musa alayhi salam, you get to know what it is that the Imam is going to be reading for the night. While you might not understand exactly what the Imam is reciting, you have an idea of what topic it is that is being discussed. Every time the Imam says “Musa”, “Firawn” you know what he is talking about, and you can relate. This upgrades the Taraweeh experience quite considerably.
  5. Read a translation while listening to the audio.This is probably the best you can do if you do not have any command of the Arabic language. Turn on a Quran video with English subtitles on it. As the Qaari recites read in translation what is being said. Then later in the night when you are praying behind the Imam and he recites the same portion of the Quran, you will remember what it is that you read and connect to whatever the theme of the Surah is. Moreover, you will soon start picking up common words of the Quran as they are repeated and you see the similar translations. This will set you up for your journey into Arabic and a journey into having a better relationship with Allah’s book insha Allah.

These are five tips that we hope will benefit you in your Ramadan this year. We pray that Allah accepts our worship this Ramadan, and that He makes us of those who are saved from the fire of hell through our acts of worship. Remember that it is the effort that you put in that counts the most. Put in the effort. May Allah give us an understanding and a love for His book.

If you have any tips of your own, please share below! Lastly, but most importantly, Ramadan is the best time to start a mission to learn the language of Allah’s book. Understand Quran Academy’s various courses make it very easy for anyone to start that journey!

1 Comment

  1. YAQOOB June 5, 2015 Reply

    Jazak Allah Khair, May Allah Bless you.

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