“Where will you be praying Taraweeh then?” A common question that is often repeated throughout this blessed month. However, many are oblivious to the fact there is in fact some ‘fiqh’ behind this question as will soon be very evident….
“Muhammad bin Bahr said regarding the prohibition of searching and attending Masaajid due to the beauty of the recitation of the Imam (as quoted in Badaa’i al Fawaa’id 4/111):
‘ I saw Abu Abdullah (i.e. Imam Ahmad) in the Ramadhan and Fadl bin Ziyaad was leading him in Taraweeh. He had beautiful recitation and thus many mashaayikh and many locals gathered together until the mosque was full. Then Abu Abdullah climbed the staircase of the mosque and looked to the congregation and said:
“What is this! Why are you all leaving your [local] mosques and attend other mosques?”
Thereafter, [Fadl] lead them in prayer for a few more nights and then [Abu Abdullah] stopped him from leading the prayers due to disliking what he saw, i.e. the emptying of other mosques. Thus it is upon the neighbour of a mosque pray in his local mosque.’ [End of quote from Badaa’i]
And from Ibn al Qayyim’s research of the principle ‘sadd adh-dharaa’i’ in his book ‘i’laam al muwaqqi’een 2/160 he says:
‘The 54th point: The Prophet [saw] forbade the man to disregard the mosque which is closest to him and opt for another mosque as is in the narration of Baqiyyah on the authority of al Majaashi’ bin ‘Amr on the authority of ‘Ubaydullah on the authority of Naafi’ on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet [saw] said:
“One of you must pray in the mosque which is closest to him and should not disregard it for another mosque.”
And that is so in order to prevent the abandonment of the mosque which is closer and to prevent the Imam from feeling abandoned and lonely.
However, if the Imam was of the habit of not performing the prayer correctly, or he was accused of innovations or openly expressed evilness, then there is no harm for a person to pray in another mosque.” [end of quote from ‘i’laam]
The hadeeth which was reported in at-Tabaraani’s al Awsat as well as al-Jaami’ as-Sagheer and Kanz al ‘Ummaal 6/659 as well as Majma’ az-Zawaa’id of al Haythami who said:
“Its [i.e. chain of narration] is trustworthy except for the Shaykh of at-Tabaraani: Muhammad bin Ahmed bin Nasr al Marwazi as I have not seen anyone who wrote a biography of him.” [end of quote]. at-Tabaraani also reported it in al Mu’jam al Kabeer 12/370….
And on the authority of Nawfal bin Iyaas who said: “We used to pray in the time of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab in the mosque. A group of people would pray here and another group in another place and the people would choose to pray with the one with the best voice. Thus Umar said: “I see that they have taken the Qur’an as melodious tunes! By Allah if I am able, I will change this matter. Three nights did not pass by except that he commanded Ubayy to lead them in prayer.” This was reported by al Bukhaari in khalq af’aal al ‘ibaad p.51 and Ibn Sa’ad in at-Tabaqaat (5/51) and al Marwazi in Qiyaam al-Layl.
And I have only brought your attention to this matter because it is exemplifying our circumstances today on a wide scale. Furthermore, virtuous deeds are not attained by committing prohibited deeds. And likewise because it is a trial for the Imam of the congregation. And Allah knows best.”
[End of translation]
The hadeeth of the Prophet [saw] was also declared authentic by Al-Albani to be saheeh in saheeh al Jaami’ (2/5456) which a slightly different wording as well as in as-Saheehah (2200).
And Allah knows best.