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November 10, 2004

Taraweeh Secrets Revealed, Part 2


Before we get to the secrets, some more questions came up during the past two days:


1. Don’t you guys get thirsty?


A: Yes. Most of us keep water or tea nearby and we take a few sips after every 2 or 4 rak’ah. The 4 rak’ah breaks when people do tasbeeh are key, because you can allow that water/tea to flow down your throat slowly and rehydrate your parched throat.


2. Does your wudu break during taraweeh, cause mine breaks all the time?


A: Umm, no, alhamdulillah I’m able to maintain my wudu throughout the duration of taraweeh. People that don’t last through taraweeh with the same wudu often eat heavy meals before coming to taraweeh. This is another reason why one should have a light iftar and save the “meal” for post-taraweeh.


3. What do you guys do during the 4 rak’ah break?


A: Any combination of the following: drink water/chai, take a quick peek at the Qur’an, read the tasbeeh, catch your breath, or just straight chill.


4. What’re some of your pet peeves when leading?


A: The number one pet peeve I have is if you’re reading a common surah that a lot of people know (like Surah Yaseen or Surah al-Rahman), there’s always some uncle who has to interrupt you with a wrong luqmah (correction). This is because, for example, he reads daads/dhal/and zay all as the same letter and is thrown off by your differentiating between the various letters and therefore thinks you reading “wa dharni wa’l-mukadhibeena (Surah al-Muzammil)” instead of what what he usually reads as “wa zarni….” is wrong. He will loudly offer a luqmah, proudly implying to everyone, “hey mashallah, look at me, I know this surah.” This is the worst cause you can only shake your head and attempt to continue after the guy has ruined your rhythm. Worse yet, there might be other uncles like him who might think, “aray, that bhai saab was right in correct this guy, why didn’t he take the luqmah.” All in all, a very complicated and stupidity-breeds-stupidity type of situation.


Another pet peeve is when you’re reading a common surah that people in the first row insist on reading along with you… loudly. That too completely throws off your concentration. Other pet peeves: people leaving after 8 (the Eight-ers, read as a homophonic variation of “haters”), uncles burping, people making noise as they leave after 8 rak’ahs, people leaving their cell phones on, and administration uncles making useless and redundant announcements between rak’ahs.


The Sacred Secrets


These are tactics used by a given hafiz to get himself out of tight situations, specifically, when you forget a part of an ayah or the next ayah. These tricks, if used properly, will not alert the common folk that the hafiz is stuck. Moreover, one of the main goals of these secrets is to “buy time” for the hafiz to remember the ayah. Some of these secrets are clever, others are downright devious.


Once is Good, Twice is Better: This is a fairly standard issue hafiz weapon in one’s arsenal. This is also a very benign skill, since it’s not adding or changing anything to the Qur’an. I would say that an overwhelming majority of huffaz (including myself) make use of this secret quite regularly. What this involves is if you forget the next part of an ayah or the next ayah, you simply go back and repeat the ayah (or go back 2-3 ayahs before) and try to regain your place. More often than not, that next part will often come resurging back into one’s memory when one repeats it. A slightly more devious variation to this skill is to repeat the previous ayahs in bust-out mode: the congregation will think, “Mashallah, he’s really stressing those ayahs cause they’re important,” whereas the goal really is to simply regain one’s place in the recitation. There are several problems with this devious variation: 1. when you do actually want to read a portion of an ayah twice/thrice to emphasize it, people won’t realize the difference and 2. there’s some ayahs wherein if you repeat it, people might raise eyebrows as to why you’re repeating a verse on divorce or something. “Aray, vhy is he repeating And the divorced women should keep themselves in waiting for three courses so many times?”


The Oops Ruku: Again, a fairly standard tactic, often used if one repeats and still cannot remember and one doesn’t want to wait around for the dreaded luqmah (correction) to come from someone in the congregation. This tactic involves going into ruku if the verse(s) don’t come to mind. The problem with this is you have to be really subtle about doing it and make sure you slow down on the last ayah before you go into ruku. In normal cases, when a hafiz wishes to stop reciting to go into ruku, he will read the last portion of the ayah slightly slower so that the congregation knows the ruku is about to come up. The possible problem with the Oops Ruku is that if you don’t slow down before the ruku, the ruku catches most people by surprise.


The Hardcore Sajdah: One of my favorites. This can be used in combination with the other two rules above or as a stand alone skill as well. When a hafiz cannot quite remember what the next ayah is (and especially if it’s only the first rak’ah), he can go into ruku and then into a prolonged sajdah. This buys some valuable time to jog one’s memory and remember the next ayah. The congregation thinks youre being hardcore with such a long sajdah, but you’re just stalling for time.


Catch Me If You Can: I personally hate this tactic and have never used it, but a lot of people out there use it. I simply cannot read that fast. But I think it kinda goes against the “recite the Qur’an in measured tones” injunction, but that’s just me. This is when you read an ayah super-fast such that no one can possibly fathom what you’re reading, and you’re basically daring someone to keep up to correct you for a possible mistake. This is particularly useful in long ayahs (such as the verse about business transactions, etc). It’s also employed by some peeps at Shabeena, since they know that many huffaz are behind them and they don’t want to get corrected. Again, an evil evil tactic.


The Backup Page: This is a great tactic to use for emergency situations. I will first describe such a situation and then discuss what the “backup page” is all about. A situation that warrants a backup page can be if in the first rak’ah, the hafiz forgets what the next ayah is, he might try to repeat or go into ruku if he cannot remember it. If even after the hardcore sajdah he cannot remember it, he’s in a tight spot, since now the second rak’ah has started and he needs to figure out something to read after Surah Fatihah. Since he cannot remember the next ayah, he turns to the trusty backup page to bail him out so he can make it through the two rak’ahs and look in the Qur’an during the break.


So what is the backup page? Well, it varies from hafiz to hafiz, but the backup page is a page that a hafiz knows extremely well (hafiz lingo: “pakka”) that he can resort to just reading that page when all else fails. It helps to have the backup page be from a relatively unknown surah and also from the latter paras, since if you’re reading 6th para, you can’t go back to 1st para in the 2nd rak’ah. It also helps to have several backup pages, preferably one from a surah whose ayahs ends with “nun/meen” and another from a surah whose ayahs end with the double fatha “aaa” sound. This is because, depending on the kind of surah you were reading in the first rak’ah, you can then switch to the appropriate type of surah in the second rak’ah so that no one is the wiser.


The backup page is invaluable to rookies, but veterans keep it in their back pockets just in case. I will not reveal my backup page(s), but I’m thankful that I haven’t used them in over 4 years now.


The Forgotten Juz: This is an ironic fact, but it’s quite funny as well. For most huffaz (including me), we can alhamdulillah recite difficult surahs (such as Surah al-Qamar) without any problem, but the 30th juz is hardest to recite since it’s the weakest (hafiz lingo: “kacha”) juz in one’s memory. I think this is because this is the first juz we memorized and we weren’t really good at reading with tajweed, paying attention to harakah, etc. in the first days of hifz. So unfortunately, we continue to make the same mistakes in this juz no matter how many years pass by. I finished memorizing the 30th juz when I was 7… I’m now 23, and I still make the same mistakes in certain surahs in the 30th juz. Also, I think when we do a revision during the course of the year, for many of us, when it’s the day to do the 30th juz, we kinda brush it off saying “oh, its the 30th juz, I know it” and continue to do other things like watch SportsCenter or update our xangas. This is why most huffaz don’t recite some of the longer 30th para surahs (such as Abasa, etc) outside of taraweeh. This makes no sense to many common folk since a lot of them know these surahs and wonder why we never recite them. It’s funny when people request you to read like Surah al-Naziat and you’ll suggest that you’ll read TaHa or the last 2 rukus of Maryam instead.


The Bust-Out Witr (on the authority of Ghareeb to Qidas to me): If, despite using many of the above secrets, one has a bad taraweeh night (and we all have these every now and then no matter if you’re a rookie or a veteran) and gets corrected a lot, then this is an invaluable redemption tool. What this involves is to do the witr in bust-out qirat on some famous ayahs like the Nur ayahs or the last 3 verses of Surah al-Hashr. People often remember the last thing they heard, so they forget about your taraweeh performance and instead they will Mashallah your witr performance.


The Legit Cough: This is a favorite trick of many huffaz, including myself. If during reading you forget the next ayah or something, you fake a cough for a few seconds to buy yourself some time to jog your memory and remember the next verse. This is a benign tactic that is very useful.


The Phantom Cough: Note this differs from the above cough, both in its description and its being a relatively evil trick. The phantom cough is when the hafiz will cough over a word or two in such a way that those listening cannot figure out what he just read. This is often used when someone cannot remember if it should be “kum vs hum”, “`aleem vs haleem”, etc. I think this is devious cause you’re not reading the Qur’an clear and are possibly introducing a change in the meaning by this.


The Covenant: This by far is the most devious trick and the most closely guarded secret. This is used in taraweeh if two people are leading. Both huffaz will make a pact with each other not to correct the other one unless one gets completely stuck or makes such a major mistake that it would invalidate the prayer. The covenant is used by more huffaz than you think, and I think it’s the worst tactic out there. Alhamdulillah, I’ve never used it since my partners in taraweeh are HCB’s (hardcore brothers, such as Mufti Minhajuddin) who won’t tolerate minor mistakes… because really, its the minor mistakes (such as harakah changes) that are the worst since they often will change the meaning the most. I’m ashamed that the covenant exists; in fact, every effort ought to be taken by any hafiz who’s currently using it to wean one’s self off this as soon as possible.


I think that covers most of the secrets. If there’s any that I’ve left out, please feel free to add them in the comments section.

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16 Comments
  1. dude, you define sellout. you’re like that masked magician on fox tv who exposed all the other magicians for a quick buck. you’re more pathetic than him however because you’re not even doing this for money…you’re doing it for FREEGIN EPROPS!!

  2. Anonymous permalink

    lol lol i was thinking the exact same thing. Magic tricks finally revealed crap lolol
    lol but damn Qidas youre harsh on a brother arent you?

  3. Anonymous permalink

    here Kamran i gave you two, one on my behalf and the other on behalf of Qidas too!

  4. hishashish, im sure you’re an awesome brother, but i request that you please not give eprops to kr on behalf of myself. i give eprops where they are due as is evidenced in some of kr’s previous posts, but this post doesnt warrant any eprops from me and i would like to keep it that way. jazaks my friend and an early eid mubarak! i will now proceed to your xanga to give YOU eprops…

  5. KR, who do you imitate in your witr?  I know in taraweeh you try to recite in accordance to the style of Imam Sudais, but what about in you witr (and I am assuming in your Isha) prayer?

  6. Anonymous permalink

    lol sorry qidas!

  7. is there a part 3? or should I write one…

  8. to Ghareeb: the witr recitation is something i’ve been working on for a while now. im not really sure who reads like that, but i was aiming for a middle-eastern/minor tone sound.
    jazakallah khayr for comin last night bro.

  9. No problem, I enjoyed last night (except for an incident that I’ll tell you about later). Anyway, the reason why I’m wondering who you recite like is because 1) it sounds awesome, but 2) more importantly, there’s a principle in usul ul fiqh (which I’m sure you know) that has to deal with the narrator of a specific hadith and his actions. If the actions of a narrator are contradictory to what he narrated, there cannot be a ruling derived from it when stronger proofs are available accroding to the Hanafi madhab. For example, Ibn Umar (radiullahu anhu) used to sit in the position of his right foot standing straigh and his left foot under his write shin (as is in other madhahib), but reported the style of sitting of the left foot being placed sideways on the ground while sitting on it and the right foot standing erect with the toes pointing towards the Ka’bah. His narration cannot be accepted to make a ruling for the sitting position in prayer – and once investigated it becomes clear that he sat in that position due to weakness in his legs – as his practice contradicts his narration.With that in mind, you narrate your list of best recitors with Sudais as #1, and you imitate him in taraweeh (a sunnah muakedah), but you leave his style for someone else in witr (wajib) and Isha (fard), which are both more weigthier than taraweeh. With that since you have been given the ability to imitate Sudais and choose to only do so in sunnah or even nafl prayers, but leave wajib and fard prayers for your own style, it shows that your list cannot be accepted to derive any rulings of the best recitor. Thus, I must say, Shuraim remains #1 as all of those (including sisters from the girls IIE according to my wife) who can imitate Shuraim try to and only leave it if they are REALLY off – like me. You do not have that excuse. Your practice and preference in weightier prayers contradicts your narrations. What do you think Qidas?

  10. hahahah, i like your reasoning. but, i only read the other style in witr during Ramadan for several reasons:
    1. it gives people a diff style to listen to after listening to many rak’ahs of my horrible attempts to read like sudais.
    2. it helps people to diff between isha and taraweeh. for example, if im leading the fard of isha in Ramadan, i’ll read like that so that the late lateefs will know it’s still Isha and not taraweeh yet.
    it’s a well known fact that during other prayers outside of Ramadan (especially Jumu’ah), I prefer to read in my Sudais-like voice (ie, saving my best recitation–which still is horrible–for the most important types of prayers and occasions). only if my throat is hurting or if I feel like a change, I’ll select from a few other styles of recitation.
    Just face it brother, admit that Sudais is indeed the King of Recitors. The sooner you admit this reality, the sooner you will better appreciate this beautiful reality. Shuraim’s good too… only because of his suhbah with Sudais =).

  11. I have the most convincing proof for why Sa’ad should accept that Sudais is better than Shuraim:
    When I told Sa’ad to ask his wife who she liked better, she said she liked Sudais better.
    Mashallah, what a wise woman. Sa’ad calls her his shaykh. Based on this Sa’ad, its time you followed your shaykhah and admitted the superiority of Sudais over Shuraim.

  12. I think Suleiman bhai said it best when he said, “Sudais appeals to your emotion…Shuraim appeals to your intellect…”

  13. Too bad Mawlana Sahb, when I asked him several years ago, said that he liked Sudais better.
    So are you saying Mawlana Saleem’s intellect is somehow not up to par as your intellect??
    Man, you might as well not fast since you’ve invalidated your fast today with such blasphemy.
    Go garland your photo of Musharraf instead.

  14. does it come as a surprise to anyone that kamran garlands a photo of himself everyday? i didnt think so.

  15. Anonymous permalink

    good post kr…if only ud stop hatin on the 8’ers (ahem). Yeah but i cant hate u for being a hafiz, leading 20 taraweeh rakahs every night, and for thinkin Sudais is king. U maybe a punk, but ur a respectable punk..2 eprops.

  16. Two words: Abu Bakr ash-Shaatri. http://audio.islamicnetwork.com. Best sound quality recitations.

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