Among the many things that one should and should not do during Ramadan, offering the Tarawih tops the list, except of course the abstention from food. The word Tarawih comes from Tarweeha which literally means ‘to rest’ and refers to the rests in between the four rakats.

According to a Hadith:

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) made a small room (with a palm leaf mat). Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) came out (of his house) and prayed in it. Some men came and joined him in his prayer. Then again the next night they came for the prayer, but Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) delayed and did not come out to them. So they raised their voices and knocked the door with small stones (to draw his attention). He came out to them in a state of anger, saying, “You are still insisting (on your deed, i.e. Tarawih prayer in the mosque) that I thought that this prayer (Tarawih) might become obligatory on you. So you people, offer this prayer at your homes, for the best prayer of a person is the one which he offers at home, except the compulsory (congregational) prayer.” (Sahih Bukhari: 6113)

This tradition marks the beginning of the Tarawih prayer and while the prayer is not obligatory, it is still of utmost importance in the month of Ramadan.

Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“Whoever stands with the Imam until he finishes, it is equivalent to spending the whole night in prayer.” (Ibn Khuzaymah 3:337)

The question, however, is why is the Tarawih prayer given so much importance?

According to Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him), the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to urge (the people) to perform (optional Tarawih) prayer at night during the month of Ramadan. He did not order them or make it obligatory on them. He (ﷺ) said:

“Whosoever performs (optional Tarawih) prayers at night during the month of Ramadan, with Faith and in the hope of receiving Allah's reward, will have his past sins forgiven.” (Muslim 9:1188)

In the respect of past sins being forgiven, the reward of offering Tarawih all month can be said to be equivalent of the reward from performing Hajj. Ramadan is the month where, any and all good deeds – no matter how small or how magnificent they are – are rewarded manifold by Allah Almighty. And if Allah is providing chances for reaping manifold rewards and favors from the Almighty then no Muslim should let such an opportunity pass by. Standing with the Imam and reciting the Quran in the Tarawih, is an act of patience and resilience and it is a Sunnah and even though Allah Almighty and the Prophet (ﷺ) did not make it obligatory, the offering of Tarawih prayer is only another chance to add to the list of good deeds; deeds that the Lord Almighty approves of and bring us closer to Allah and allowing us to maximize on this holy month and its blessings.