Narrated Abu Salama bin 'Abdur Rahman: that he asked 'Aisha "How was the prayer of Allah's Apostle in Ramadan?" She replied, "He did not pray more than eleven Rakat in Ramadan or in any other month. He used to pray four Rakat ---- let alone their beauty and length----and then he would pray four ----let alone their beauty and length ----and then he would pray three Rakat (Witr)." She added, "I asked, 'O Allah's Apostle! Do you sleep before praying the Witr?' He replied, 'O 'Aisha! My eyes sleep but my heart does not sleep."
Book 32. No.230 Sahih Bukhari
â€“ It was narrated that Saaâ€™ib ibn Yazeed said: â€˜Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) gathered the people together in Ramadaan to be led by Ubayy ibn Kaâ€™b and Tameem al-Daari in praying twenty-one rakâ€™ahs, and they used to recite hundreds of verses, and they dispersed before dawn broke.
A number of narrators narrated it from al-Saaâ€™ib, some of whom mentioned twenty rakâ€™ahs or twenty-one or twenty-three. They were:
Muhammad ibn Yoosuf, the son of the sister of al-Saaâ€™ib, from al-Saaâ€™ib, as was narrated by â€˜Abd al-Razzaaq in al-Musannaf (4/260) from the report of Dawood ibn Qays and others.
Yazeed ibn Khusayfah. This was narrated by Ibn al-Majd in al-Musnad (1/413), and via him by al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan (2/496).
Al-Haarith ibn â€˜Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Abi Dhubaab. This was narrated by â€˜Abd al-Razzaaq in al-Musannaf (4/261).
These reports are saheeh reports narrated by trustworthy narrators from al-Saaâ€™ib ibn Yazeed. They mention twenty rakâ€™ahs at the time of â€˜Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him). The extra amount mentioned â€“ twenty-one or twenty-three, refers to Taraweeh plus Witr.
2 â€“ It was narrated that Yazeed ibn Rumaan said: At the time of â€˜Umar ibn al-Khattaab the people used to pray twenty-three rakâ€™ahs of qiyaam in Ramadaan.
This was narrated from him by Maalik in al-Muwattaâ€™ (1/115). Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmooâ€™ (4/33: It is mursal, because Yazeed ibn Rumaan did not live at the same time as â€˜Umar. End quote.
3 â€“ It was narrated from Yahya ibn Saâ€™eed al-Qattaan that â€˜Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) ordered a man to lead them in twenty rakâ€™ahs of prayer. This was narrated by Ibn Abi Shaybah in al-Musannaaf (2/163) from Wakeeâ€™ from Maalik. But Yahya ibn Saâ€™eed did not live at the same time as â€˜Umar.
4 â€“ It was narrated that â€˜Abd al-â€˜Azeez ibn Rafeeâ€™ said: Ubayy ibn Kaâ€™b used to lead the people in praying twenty rakâ€™ahs during Ramadaan in Madeenah, and he would pray Witr with three rakâ€™ahs.
This was narrated by Ibn Abi Shaybah in al-Musannaf (2/163).
From all these reports it is clear that twenty rakâ€™ahs was the way that Taraweeh was usually done at the time of â€˜Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him). A matter such as Taraweeh prayer is something that is well known among all people, and is transmitted from one generation to another. The report of Yazeed ibn Rumaan and Yahya al-Qattaan is to be taken into account even if they did not live at the same time as â€˜Umar, because undoubtedly they learned it from a number of people who had been alive at the time of â€˜Umar, and this is something that does not need and isnaad, rather all the people of Madeenah are its isnaad.
Imam al-Tirmidhi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his Sunan (3/169):
Most of the scholars are of the view that what is narrated from â€˜Umar, â€˜Ali and other companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is twenty rakâ€™ahs. This is the view of al-Thawri, Ibn al-Mubaarak and al-Shaafaâ€™i.
Al-Shaafaâ€™i said: This is what I learned in our land, in Makkah they pray twenty rakâ€™ahs.
Ibn â€˜Abd al-Barr said in al-Istidhkaar (2/69):
Twenty rakâ€™ahs was narrated from â€˜Ali, Shateer ibn Shakl, Ibn Abi Mulaykah, al-Haarith al-Hamadaani and Abuâ€™l-Bakhtari. It is the view of the majority of scholars and it is the view of the Kufis, the Shaafaâ€™is and most of the fuqahaâ€™. It was narrated in saheeh reports from Ubayy ibn Kaâ€™b, and there was no difference of opinion among the Sahaabah. â€˜Ataâ€™ said: I grew up at a time when the people prayed twenty-three rakâ€™ahs including Witr.