Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: Is it better to pray Tarawih at the mosque quickly (as it is the habit of many mosques in India) or is it better to pray Tarawih alone but slowly and calmly?
Answer: Assalam alaykum
I pray you are well.
Reciting “quickly” does not necessarily entail the invalidity or unacceptability of one’s prayer. Rather, reciting in such a manner would only render the prayer problematic when aspects such as the actual pronunciation of words is altered in a way that makes the meaning of the Quran unsound.
As long as this is not the case, there would be no issue with quick recitation. In fact, classical scholars actually differed on what is better: reciting the Qur’an slowly and moderately with reflection or reciting it at a quicker pace in order to cover as much of it as possible?
The first is established as the practice of individuals, such as Ibn Mas‘ud and Ibn Abbas. The Prophet (God bless him) was also known to recite in a measured and rhythmic fashion.
The second was favored by a number of scholars who cited as their evidence (a) the statement of the Prophet (God bless him) that, “Whoever recites a single letter from the Qur’an will have a reward and it will be multiplied by ten” [al-Tirmidhi] and (b) the practice of many early Muslims who would finish the Qur’an in a single night or a single cycle etc.
It was for this reason that Ibn Hajar stated, “Reciting quickly and in a measured fashion both have merits. This is so long as the one reciting quickly does not leave out pronouncing letters, consonants, and vowels that are necessary to recite…”
In light of the above, you may continue to pray in the mosque even if the recitation is quicker than usual. You will have the reward of praying in congregation, as well as listening to the Qur’an completely. I would add, however, that if you are not finding presence of heart due to the recitation, you may always seek out a mosque where the recitation is more to your liking. Praying tarawih at home is also a valid option if you so choose and may give you the opportunity to recite the Qur’an at your own pace, with reflection, and with more presence of heart.
[Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari (8:707); Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Zad al-Ma‘ad (1:327-29)]
[Ustadh] Salman Younas
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.