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August 7, 2010


Some advice to help focus on the Taraweeh prayers

by Umm Muawiyah

Assalamu Alaikum.

You can’t understand Arabic, therefore you tend to snooze during Taraweeh? Yeah, I know. I’ve been there.

How can you focus on Taraweeh? Well, the best way is to learn Arabic. Of course, you might not manage that before this Ramadan so I’ll give you another way that might help you in your prayers, insha-Allah.

Firstly, do not use a mushaf (the Quran) if you are praying behind an Imam. It’s disliked. It’s not going to help anyway because you are trying to cure the symptom (losing focus in taraweeh) instead of the problem (not understanding the Quran).

Secondly, generally all the Imams following the same pattern: they complete about one juz every night. So, here’s what you have to do:

1) Read the translation of that juz ahead of time.

2) Summarize the main stories. For example, in Surah Al-Baqarah, it’s the three types of people followed by the story of Adam (alaihissalam). After this you get the story of Musa (alaihissalam) and Banu Israil, etc.

3) Write down all the NAMES that occur to help you remember the story. For example, in the story of Adam (alaihissalam), the names that occur are Adam and Iblees. So try to remember those. In the story of Musa (alaihissalam), and Banu Israil, Musa and Banu Israil are the names that occur. You can also remember other easy words like “Baqarah”.

Why would you want to do this? So that you can figure out what the Imam is saying.

When he recites something and you hear the word “Adam”, you know the story that he is talking about and so you can ponder over that.

When he recites something else and you hear “Musa” and then “Baqarah”, you know that he is reciting the story of Banu Israil being asked to sacrifice a cow.

When he recites another part and you hear “Sulaiman” and then “Haroot” and “Maroot”, you know the story here as well.

I mentioned names because they’re the easiest to remember.

You can keep that day’s summary with you and keep looking at it in between the prayers in order to see which story is next. You can also ask a person  (who is praying near you) who understands the Quran to tell you where the Imam stopped.

Here’s a nice compilation of the contents of each juz (from Understand Quran) that will help you, insha-Allah.

I know that my method is far from great but at least I hope that it will help you improve your focus in taraweeh. Let me know if it works, insha-Allah.

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ina
    Aug 12 2010


    Thank you for the tips. It is very useful indeed.
    Jazakallahu khairan kathira

    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 12 2010

      Wa Alaikum Assalam Sister.

      Wa iyaaki.

      And jazakillahu kheira for the kind words.

  2. Umm Abdillah
    Aug 16 2010

    Assalam alaykum,

    Maa sha Allah. Jazakillahu Khaira for your effort and advice.
    May Allah increase us all in khushoo and help us to establish the salaah in our lives. Ameen

    I love the blogs and insha Allah hope many will benefit from them. Please keep it up insha Allah.

    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 17 2010

      Wa Alaikum Assalam.

      Jzakillahu kheira for the encouragement.

      Ameen to your dua.

      And yes, I too hope that many will benefit, insha-Allah.

  3. Ahmed
    Aug 19 2010

    MashaAllah, this is a great method. I remember one of my teachers mentioning this method exactly.

    Not only that, this type of issue helped me a lot when i was memorizing, and also lead me to do some pondering over the Quran, when for example Allah SWT transitions stories.

    This is the kind of thing that starts someone studying and keeps up their interest.

    jazaky Allahu khairan.

    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 19 2010

      Assalamu Alaikum.

      Wa iyaak.

  4. AR
    Aug 19 2010

    I was sent this link, and thought I’d ask this – because I personally do use a mushaf while following along. It really helps me focus, and I don’t find myself dozing off. You say, its disliked. Does that mean its haram, makruh, etc or could potentially be disliked by the imam. And is it disliked because people with the mushaf correct the imam if he makes mistakes. Which I personally don’t do, there are people (usually behind the imam) with that responsibility.

    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 20 2010

      Assalamu Alaikum Brother.

      Sorry, I should have been clearer in my post.

      When I said disliked, I meant makruh, as in it is better not to do it.

      Here are some fatwas that should help:

      I’d also advise you to ask a shaikh because perhaps there could be another opinion.

      Personally, I’d advise you not to get into the habit of using a mushaf (when praying behind an imam) because then it will become a crutch.If you start learning Arabic, then it will really help you understand the Quran and will stop you from dozing off.

      When the imam asks people to hold mushafs so that they can correct him, then that’s fine (I read a fatwa about this.)

      Hope that helps, insha-Allah.

  5. Farheen Urooj
    Aug 2 2011

    JazakAllah for the good advice,i will try inshAllah

    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 3 2011

      Assalamu Alaikum.

      Wa iyyaaki.

      May Allah make it easy for you.

  6. Jibran
    Aug 3 2011

    Thank you for the advice.

    Quick question though – does Juz mean one chapter? So essentially there are 30 Juz since there are 30 parts/chapters to the Qur’an?

    And when you say Mushaf you mean holding up the Qur’an and following word by word what the Imam recites right during the Taraweeh?

    JazakAllah once again.

    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 3 2011

      Assalamu Alaikum.

      Wa iyyaak.

      No, surah means chapter (sort of ). There are 114 chapters in the Quran.

      Juz is a division. Each Juz (in the famous Madinan Mushaf) basically has 20 pages. The last Juz (which is Juz Amma) has 20 something pages.

      As far as I know, this was something that some later scholars introduced so that people could finish the Quran in a month. So a person would do a juz a day.

      Mushaf means the Quran that we carry (the book itself).

      Yes, I mean holding it in your hands and reading with the imam (even if it is silently). That’s disliked.

      Hope that helps.

      Jazakallahu kheira.


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