Question: During the first twenty days of Ramadaan, we are used to offering eleven Rak‘ahs (units of Prayer) of Tarawih (special supererogatory night Prayer in Ramadaan). In the last ten days, we offer ten Rak‘ahs at the beginning of the night and ten Rak‘ahs at the end of it, then we pray three units of Witr, so that the total becomes twenty-three Rak‘ahs. A knowledge seeker claimed that differentiation in the number of Rak‘ahs between the first twenty days and the last ten days is a Bid‘ah (innovation in religion), and that the original ruling is complete equality in their number in all days throughout the whole month. He claimed that if we want to offer eleven Rak‘ahs at the beginning of the month, we should do the same at its end. If we want to offer twenty-three Rak‘ahs in the end of the month, we should do the same at the beginning. He also claimed that it is a Bid‘ah to differentiate between Salaah (Prayer) in the beginning and the end of the night in the last ten days, as we offer ten short Rak‘ahs in the beginning of the night and call them Taraaaweeeh, and ten long Rak‘ahs at the end of the night and call them Qiyaam-ul-Layl (optional Night Prayer). Please advise, may Allaah benefit people by your knowledge and raise your rank.
Answer: Taraaaweeh Prayer offered in Ramadaan is a stressed Sunnah (supererogatory act of worship following the example of the Prophet) performed by the Prophet (peace be upon him) who led his Sahaabah (Companions) in offering it for many nights, and then he discontinued it lest that it should become obligatory on them. His Sahaabah did it after his death (peace be upon him), and it is still offered to the present day… read more here.