What is the legal ruling for the Tarāwīḥ prayer?
Answer (from Sheikh Muḥammad Saʿīd Ramaḍān Al-Būṭī):
Aḥmad, Ibn Ḥibbān and Al-Ḥākim have related, and the latter declared it authentic (ṣaḥīḥ), from the ḥadīth of Abū Dharr, that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Prayer is the best of matters, so whoever is able to do a great deal of it let him do a great deal.”
This clearly means that whenever a Muslim does a lot of supererogatory (nāfilah) prayers he gets more reward for doing so, and the Tarāwīḥ prayer is supererogatory. Therefore, whoever forbids someone praying from doing more than eight or ten or twenty [rakʿa] has gone against the speech of the Messenger of Allah. Indeed, he has declared it mistaken!
Indeed the debate that gets worse and worse in some masājid, regarding this issue, only exists for the sake of exalting one’s ego and defending one’s position, and whoever has devoted his attention to seeking Allah’s pleasure will never delve into this debate in the slightest. Let the person praying know that he is in charge of himself, and thus, if he wants to pray Tarāwīḥ as four, or eight, or twenty or more…then it is supererogatory, and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, has said, “Prayer is the best of matters, so whoever is able to do a great deal of it let him do a great deal.”
[Translated from Maʿ Al-Nās: Mashūrāt wa Fatāwā (Damascus: Dār Al-Fikr, 1423/2002), v. 1, p. 37]