Q. I don’t know many Surahs as I am still learning. Was wondering for taraweeh prayers can I repeatedly say the same ones?
Praise be to Allah
There is nothing wrong with repeating the same Surah in Taraweeh prayer, or in any other prayer. A person may recite a Surah in the first rak’ah and repeat the same Surah in the second. The evidence for that is the general meaning of the ayah in which Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says:
إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ تَقُومُ أَدْنَىٰ مِن ثُلُثَيِ اللَّيْلِ وَنِصْفَهُ وَثُلُثَهُ وَطَائِفَةٌ مِّنَ الَّذِينَ مَعَكَ ۚ وَاللَّهُ يُقَدِّرُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ ۚ عَلِمَ أَن لَّن تُحْصُوهُ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ فَاقْرَءُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ ۚ
“Verily, your Lord knows that you do stand (to pray at night) a little less than two thirds of the night, or half the night, or a third of the night, and also a party of those with you. And Allah measures the night and the day. He knows that you are unable to pray the whole night, so He has turned to you (in mercy). So, recite you of the Qur’an as much as may be easy for you,” [al-Muzzammil 73:20].
Abu Dawood narrated (816) from Mu’aah ibn ‘Abd-Allah al-Juhani that a man from Juhaynah told him that he heard the Prophet (ﷺ) reciting Idha zulzilat al-ard [al-Zalzalah 99] in both rak’ahs of Fajr prayer and (he said) I do not know whether the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) forgot or he recited that deliberately. This report was classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
‘Abd al-‘Azeem Abaadi said:
The Sahabah radhiAllahu ‘anhu were uncertain as to whether the Prophet (ﷺ) repeated the Surah because he forgot, as it was his habit to recite a different Surah in the second rak’ah to what he had recited in the first, so that was not prescribed for his Ummah, or he did it deliberately to show that it is permissible. So it is uncertain as to whether it is permissible to repeat a Surah or not. If it is not clear whether it is permissible or not, then it is more appropriate to interpret what the Prophet (ﷺ) did as meaning that it is permissible, because the basic principle concerning his actions is that they were done to show what is prescribed, and the idea that he forgot goes against that principle.
‘Awn al-Ma’bood, 3/23
Indeed, there is nothing wrong with repeating a Surah or an ayah within the same rak’ah.
Al-Nasaa’i (1010) and Ibn Maajah (1350) narrated that Abu Dharr radhiAllahu ‘anhu said: The Prophet (ﷺ) stood reciting an ayah and repeating it until morning came. That ayah was:
إِن تُعَذِّبْهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ عِبَادُكَ ۖ وَإِن تَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ فَإِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
“If You punish them, they are Your slaves, and if You forgive them, verily, You, only You, are the All‑Mighty, the All‑Wise” [al-Maa’idah 5:118].
Classed as hasan by al-Albaani inSaheeh al-Nasaa’i.
Al-Bukhari (5014) narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri radhiAllahu ‘anhu that a man heard another man reciting “Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad (Say (O Muhammad): He is Allah, (the) One)” [al-Ikhlaas 114] and repeating it. The next day he came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and told him about that, and it was as if the man did not think much of that. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, it is equivalent to one-third of the Qur’an.”
According to another report: A man stood at the time of the Prophet (ﷺ) reciting “Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad (Say (O Muhammad): He is Allah, (the) One)” [al-Ikhlaas 114] at the end of the night, and he did not do more than that, but the Messenger (ﷺ) approved of his repeating the same Surah.
We ask Allah to enable you to memorize His Book, and to act upon it.
And Allah knows best.
Originally published here.