Asalaamu aliekum Respected Scholors,
I live in an estate where there is a mosque within walking distance. This mosque prays 8 rakats for Taraweh prayers but they do finish 1 juz within these 8 rakats.
A mosque that I have to drive to but is still not too far away prays 20 rakats and finish the 1 juz within these 20 rakats of the Taraweh prayer. This mosque is for sure following the Ahl Sunnah Wa Jamaa way, whereas the nearer mosque is a bit confused in their belief.
My question is where am I obliged to go to pray my Taraweh prayers given these circumstances and noting that my presence and absence is noticeable in the mosque near my home.
Thank you and Asalaamu Aleikum
wa `alaykum salam,
First of all, it is better to pray with the imam in a mosque than in your house.
To answer your question we should consider this hadith:
Whoever prays qiyaam with the imam until he finishes, it is as if he spent the whole night in prayer. (Narrated by Ahmad, 5/159)
It is our strong belief that Taraweeh prayer consists of 20 rakats. Therefore, only imams who offer 20 rakats complete this special Ramadan night prayer and finish as the Messenger of Allah (s) indicated in this hadith. Our recommendation is that you should follow the imam who offers 20 rakats.