According to the majority of fuqahā (jurists) and the ummah, the number of rakaʿāt’s (units) for tarāwīḥ is 20.
Similarly, 20 rakaʿāt’s (units) have been reported from the majority of the Sahabah (companions) and the Khulafā e-Rāshidīn (rightly guided caliphs).
According to the Mālikī’s, tarāwīḥ is either 20 or 36 rakaʿāt’s (units). One has a choice of praying either.
According to the Hanbalī’s there is no harm in exceeding 20 rakaʿāt’s (units).
From the Ḥanafī’s, Allamah Ibn-ul-Humām (r.a.) has opined that 20 rakaʿāt’s (units) is mustaḥabb (recommended), and performing 11 rakaʿāt’s (units) including witr as being substantiated from the sunnah.
However, the Ḥanafī scholars have refuted this claim on the base of proofs. They have ruled that only 20 rakaʿāt’s (units) is sunnah.
Although, if a genuine need arises to perform less than 20 rakaʿāt’s (units), there is concession for performing less.
(Adapted from Tarāwīḥ ke Aham Masā’il by Muftī Muhammad Riḍwan. Published by Kutub Khāna Idāra Gufrān, Rawalpindi.)
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