Hope that it is not too late to wish brothers and sisters with Ramadan Kareem and may everyone be blessed with mercy and forgiveness. Today is the fifth day according to our lunar calender or the taqwim qamariah. Like always, we are grateful to the Lord the Highest for the chance given for us to reach this blessed month. I just perform the taraweeh for eight units altogether and combine it with three units of witr prayer.
Regarding the taraweeh, I would like to put forth this piece of advice to myself. Never ever ask on how many units that your brother or sister performed or even if we see that he or she is not performing the prayer. The reason is that, we should practice the husn al-dhann which is a trait of mahmudah characteristics while practicing the matters prescribed through the Sharia at the parts of worship or services to Him. Take everything that we are doing as a service to seek His glorious pleasure and only to see Him in the hereafter. Not for ourselves or serving our egoism. I just heard some people jokingly asking to others about how many units that they perform in the congregation. Nothing bad about discussing matters pertaining religious matter but we should be very careful with the hidden shirk or polytheism which lies inside of our selves. It could also grow to the major one if not carefully being watched : )
Taraweeh is a noble prophetic tradition and it falls under the optional acts of worship. We will be rewarded if we perform these kind of acts insha Allah and we would not receive any consequence if we are not performing it. Optional acts serve as the matters which repairs our loopholes in obligatory acts of worship. Some people would perform it in congregation, some would perform it alone and some would perform it half by half where part of it is performed in congregation while the other part being performed at home. All of these are not wrong. Those who perform it alone at home maybe held the position of the optional acts of worship should be done hidden as the reward is 25 meritorious deeds for each act as compared to the acts performed in mass or in the midst of the crowd. It is the same with obligatory ones in principle, where one who performs them in congregation will receive 27 meritorious deeds as compared to performing them alone at home.
I do not like to talk without providing basis. Basically the basis could be seen in many sunans and one of them is in the Book of al-Adhan no. 731 from the compilation of al-Bukhari. The other one is in the Book of the Prayer for Traveler and Its Shortening no. 781 in the Muslim's compilation. The same thing also happens to Salat al-Dhuha or other nawafel prayers because last time I was quite surprised to see people in the Tekun Musalla perform the optional acts in congregation, hehe. But I still joining them out of respect and when they invited me to join besides never say anything because I think that there are many layers in prophetic traditions which people could creatively perform. It is destructive to their spirit when we talk about something with harsh tone or in stressful tone. Yet, the compilations of hadith or traditions is meant for us as a tool of learning and not a "dogma" which should be imposed on everyone! I know about the research of al-Albany as well but I do not want to put if forth. However, I do not have any problem for people to check his researches. The only problem is when people check a certain research and then labeling people with various assumptions and it is dangerous when the people are half-baked or never study any principle in the Sharia and Usooluddin studies while acting as the "scholar". They will regard their teacher as the God and they will repeat what has been mentioned in the Glorious Quran about the "Jew and the Nazarene who took their rabbis and priests as God" while they call others with names without reflecting anything on themselves.
As per my personal practice in which I would never impose on others; I would perform eight units in one musalla closer to my family house. After that, I would walk out the musalla and go to the another musalla above the hill which is a bit far from my neighborhood then continue to pray there until the following units. It would goes on vice versa and according to the limited energy that I have. As long as I could walk then I will walk. Sometimes, I would perform the taraweeh alone at home and taking it as a vigil prayer or the time spent to communicate in supplications with the Creator. Well, it depends to situation as I also have a bed-ridden father here. I am just doing anything according to availability and appropriateness. Sometimes I would also walking as far as I can or entering the areas such as Mamak restaurants in the gap time but not to eat there. I am actually calling some of the Muslim workers there to join the prayers and wishing that they would join the local community without throwing out any word... Simply gazing at them and smile like this : )
As an advice for me, the taraweeh prayers is a good act of worship and an act of charity. But we must regard it as a lesson or guide for us to go through this life of worship. The same goes to other acts of worship. They are not only responsibility but also lessons and guide. Do not forget to perform the natural tithe or the zakat fitrah before it is too late for those who are able to do so. So, we pray to the God the Highest may He grants us with strength to perform worship, to study about the path and to practice it in our life before we would be able to see His glorious appearance.
Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love, amin!