Zaydis like Twelvers (and all other numerous Shia sects throughout history) both claim to have exclusively preserved the teachings and opinions of the Ahl Al-Bayt in their books (a claim rejected by Sunnis who themselves have narrated hundreds and more narrations from the Ahl Al-Bayt in their most authentic books, rejecting the notion that Zaydis, let alone Twelvers, being the only ones who narrated from the Ahl Al-Bayt).

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Zaydi Shias are considered as the most moderate and closest to the Sunnis of all Shia sects, however, Zaydis themselves are divided into subsects, with the Jarudiyyah (sect of the Houthis) being the most extreme and closest to the Twelver Imamite Rafidah. Although vocal Zaydi authorities have spoken out against the Houthi stooges of Iran, yet there influence – especially since they gained political power – can’t be dismissed, hence we have seen in the recent years how Houthis official (in majority Sunni Yemen) like in Sana’a, banned the Tarawih prayer on June 6, 2016. The al Houthis later arrested several Imams who defied this ban, leading to brawls during Friday prayers, unrests unknown in Yemen where majority Sunnis – before the fitnah of Iran and its Houthi stooges – lived for a thousand year under a Zaydi Shia Emirate (until the 60’s!).

Zaydis – according to the Ahl Al-Sunnah – are regarded as moderate Shias who resemble the earliest Shias (i.e. those who supported ‘Ali, yet did not form a distinguished and separate group with their own belief system different from the rest of the Ummah like the Rafidah Twelvers and other extremist Shia groups) the most.

A Sahih narration in the most authentic Zaydi book about Tarawih

The following narration, in the Musnad of Imam Zayd (the most important hadith book in Zaydi Shiism), confirms the Sunni belief that the Ahl Al-Bayt not only did not object to the Tarawih prayer, but in factcommanded and instructed people of how to pray it.

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Chapter: Standing in the Prayer during Ramadan

Zayd bin ‘Ali narrated on the authority of his father —his grandfather— ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, upon him be peace, that he commanded that the one who stands in prayer with the people during Ramadan and pray 20 units should give the final salutations after every two units. He should take a break (yaraawah) after four units so one could relieve oneself and repeat the ritual ablution. He should pray the odd prayer (witr) at the last part of the night while leaving.

[Musnad Zayd, 2:423, the hadith is authentic and included in a book of collected ahadith by the Zaydi Shia authority Muhammad ibn Yahya ibn Al-Hussein Al-Houthi]

Imam Al-Mahdi Muhammad ibn Al-Mutahhar (1275 – October 28, 1328, major Zaydi scholar and one of the Imams of the Zaidi state in Yemen in the past) said: We have narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, prayed it (i.e. Tarawih) in the nights and they (i.e. Sahabah) prayed with him, then he abstained [from it] and prayed it at his home. We have [also] narrated that he, peace and blessings be upon him, said: ‘I have feared that it (i.e. this prayer) might be enjoined (made obligatory) on you, and you being incapable of fulfilling it’.

In this (i.e. statement) there is proof for the legality of the witr prayer in congregation.’

Note: We have encountered some Zaydi articles and websites on the net who almost exclusively champion the position (like the Twelver Rafidah) that Tarawih is bid’ah, they even claim (with no evidence) that this is the Ijma’ (consensus) of the Imams of Ahl Al-Bayt (peace be upon them). You will also find them trying to water down the authentic narration of ‘Ali (above) in the most authentic Zaydi book of hadith (Musnad Zayd) where he literally commanded and instructed others of how to pray Tarawih!

These Rafidi influenced Zaydis often don’t make a mention of other Zaydi scholars and authorities who with no secterian bias and based on Zaydi texts themselves favoured the opinion that Tarawih is the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) and affirmed by the Imams of Ahl Al-Bayt, with ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib at the forefront!

Zaydi Imams who affirm the legality of Tarawih

Unlike in Twelver Shiism, one will find major scholars of the Zaydis (mostly non-Houthi-Jarudis who are border-line Rafidis) who strongly affirm the legality of the Tarawih prayer

Book

Al-Intisar ‘ala ‘Ulama Al-Amsar (الانتصار على علماء الامصار) – The largest Zaydi book of Fiqh, an encyclopedia of comparative law of all schools of thought by Yahya ibn Hamzah an actual Arab descendant of ‘Ali ibn Musa Al-Rida, from San’aa Yemen.

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Summary

On page 183, the great Zaydi Shia Imam Yahya ibn Hamzah cites a Sunni hadith and an authentic Zaydi hadith (from Musnad Zayd where ‘Ali instructs others how to pray Tarawih!) in support of the legality of Tarawih. He also mentions a famous narration where ‘Ali (during the caliphate of ‘Othman) saw lanterns shining in the mosque (i.e. during Ramadan Tarawih prayers) and said, ‘May Allah have mercy upon ‘Omar, he made our mosques shine with Nour (light). May Allah shine his grave with Nour (light).’

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Summary

On page 184 (and 185), the great Zaydi Shia Imam Yahya ibn Hamzah refutes the attack of some Zaydis on Sayyiduna ‘Omar ibn Al-Khattab. Some of the Zaydis – like the Twelver Rafidah Shia – either due to their ignorance or bias, misuse a famous statement of ‘Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) regarding the Tarawih prayer (‘What an excellent innovation this is …’) claiming that ‘Omar himself affirmed that it is his innovation. A refutation of this accusation is also included in our article: ‘Tarawih proven from (12er) Shia books’.

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Summary

On page 185, the great Zaydi Shia Imam Yahya ibn Hamzah strongly criticises fellow Zaydis for their rejection of Tarawih. He argues that it is an established Sunnah, prayed by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and other Sahabah and that opposing hadiths must be reconciled instead of the Sunnah [of Tarawih] being rejected.

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Summary

On page 186, the great Zaydi Shia Imam Yahya ibn Hamzah emphasises the legality of Tarawih and that it is an established Sunnah according to great Imams and jurists of Ahl Al-Bayt such as: Imam Zayd ibn ‘Ali, ‘Abdullah ibn Al-Hassan and ‘Abdullah ibn Musa ibn Ja’far (i.e. Al-Sadiq).

As a side note: He also defends the famous Al-Duhaa prayer which all Twelver Rafidah consider a bid’ah (yes, the irony …) and some Zaydis too. He mentions that it (i.e. Salah Al-Duhaa) is indeed an established Sunnah according to great Imams and jurists of Ahl Al-Bayt such as ‘Ali ibn Al-Hussein (Zayn Al-‘Abidin), Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir and others.

Conclusion

Zaydi sources – unlike Rafidi sources of the Twelver and their likes – have never been dismissed categorially by the scholars of the Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jama’ah, this is because unlike the Rafidah they have not been accused (and proven) to be a sect of deception and lies. Yes, Zaydis are considered Ahl Al-Bid’ah and many of their narrations attributed to the Ahl Al-Bayt don’t stand up to scrutiny according to Sunni standards, however, in the case of Tarawih we have narration (in Musnad Zayd) that affirms what is in the books of the Sunnah, it hence serves as supportive evidence (Qarinah) for the Sunnis, not to mention that (at the very least) the legality of Tarawih can be proven from even Twelver Shia texts if only Twelvers would put aside their secterian bias.