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It is clear that our prophet(PBUH) prayed 8 rakaats for taraweeh.

But, I saw most of the masjids having 20 rakaats for taraweeh. since, Umar(R.A) made the taraweeh to 20 rakaats.

What is the reason for that?

I have no doubt about Hazrat Umar(R.A). I know muhammad(PBUH) told that "If there were a Prophet after me verily it would be `Umar."

What made him to change the rakaat count?

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When Shaykh Salih al-Munajjid was asked a related question ("What was the number of rak’ahs in Taraweeh prayer at the time of ‘Umar"), he explained that the reason for Hazrat Umar(R.A) to change the prayer twenty rakaats was to make it easier on those in the congregation.

His interpretation is corraborated by the following excerpts from Majmoo' al-Fataawa, which he also quotes:

  • Ibn Taymiyyah (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (23/113)):

    When Ubayy ibn Ka’b led them in praying qiyaam in a single congregation, he could not make them stand for too long, so he increased the number of rak’ahs to make up for the long standing.…

  • Shaykh Ibn Baaz (Majmoo' al-Fataawa (11/322)):

    …This indicates that the matter is broad in scope and that the matter was flexible according to the Sahaabah. That is also indicated by the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “The night prayers are two by two.”

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