Here is a small research on the issue of Ta’qeeb (dividing between taraweeh and tahajjud), which is commonly done in the last ten nights of Ramadan.
Imam Ibn Qudamah (d. 620 H.), may Allah have mercy upon him, said:
“As for Ta’qeeb and it is to pray voluntary prayers after Taraweeh in congregation or to pray Taraweeh in another congregation, it is reported from Ahmad that there is no harm in it because Anas ibn Malik said: They do not return [to pray again] except for good for which they hope or evil they warn against. He did not see any harm in it. Muhammad bin Hakam reported from Ahmad a dislike except that it is an older statement and what is acted upon what was reported by the Jam’ah (majority)”. End. [Al-Mughni (1/837)]
I (Faisal) say: The narration of Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) is reported in Ibn Abi Shaybah with the following wording:
حَدَّثَنَا عَبَّادٌ، عَنْ سَعِيدٍ، عَنْ قَتَادَةَ، عَنْ أَنَسٍ قَالَ: لَا بَأْسَ بِهِ إِنَّمَا يَرْجِعُونَ إِلَى خَيْرٍ يَرْجُونَهُ، وَيَبْرَءُونَ مِنْ شَرٍّ يَخَافُونَهُ
“Anas ibn Malik radiallahu anhu said: ‘There is no harm in it. They are returning to good which they hope for and free themselves from evil which they fear'”
Its chain is weak according to Shaikh Sa’d ash-Shathri (may Allah preserve him) in his checking of Musnannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah (no. 7944). This is because ‘Abbaad bin al-‘Awwaam narrated from Sa’eed bin Abi ʿAruba after ‘Abbaad became mixed up in his narrations. Hence, his narrations from Sa’eed are considered weak according to the scholars.
The Opinion of Others From the Salaf:
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرٍ قَالَ: ثنا عَبَّادُ بْنُ عَوَّامٍ، عَنْ سَعِيدٍ، عَنْ قَتَادَةَ: أَنَّهُمَا كَانَا يَكْرَهَانِ التَّعْقِيبَ فِي رَمَضَانَ
“Qatadah said, ‘They both disliked Ta’qeeb in Ramadan'” [Reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah and the chain is also weak due to the same issues in the chain of narration above]
حَدَّثَنَا وَكِيعٌ، قَالَ: ثنا الرَّبِيعُ، عَنِ الْحَسَنِ: أَنَّهُ كَرِهَ التَّعْقِيبَ فِي شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ، قَالَ الْحَسَنُ: لَا تُمِلُّوا النَّاسَ
“On the authority of Hasan al-Basri that he disliked Ta’qeeb in the month of Ramadan and said, ‘Do not bore the people'” [Reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah with a Hasan chain]
Hafidh Ibn Rajab (d. 795 H.), may Allah have mercy upon him, wrote:
“Sufyan ath-Thawri said Ta’qeeb is an innovation. From our companions is the one who is certain of its dislike except if it is after sleep or it is delayed after the middle of the night. They made a condition that they have to pray witr in congregation in their first night prayer. This is the statement of Ibn Haamid and al-Qaadi and his companions. Imam Ahmad did not place any conditions. Most jurists are of the opinion that it is not disliked in any condition. Al-Hasan disliked that the Imam order the people with ta’qeeb due to what is in it of difficulty. He said, ‘whoever has strength, then let him do that for himself and not for the people’”. End. [Fathul Bari (7/114)].
Shaikh al-Albani (d. 1420 H.), may Allah have mercy upon him, also considered it an innovation.
He was asked: What occurs nowadays, oh Shaikh, in Ramadan in the last ten nights of Ramadan, they divide the prayer. The night pray in the first part of the night and at its end. This is a continuous system.
Shaikh: “Innovation…” [Silsialtul Huda wan-Nur no. 719]
However, most of the other scholars do not consider it an innovation. They permit it. Other scholars mention it is still disliked because the Prophet(ﷺ) did not do it.
Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (d. 1421 H.), may Allah have mercy upon him, said:
“However, if this ta’qeeb comes after Taraweeh before witr, then the statement of it not being disliked is correct. This is the action of the people today in the last ten nights of Ramadan. The people pray Taraweeh in the first part of the night then return in the last part of the night and stand for Tahajjud”. End. [ash-Sharh al-Mumti’ (4/67-68)]
Shaikh Fawzan (may Allah preserve him) said:
“If a person prayed Taraweeh and prayed witr with the Imam, then stood in the night for tahajjud, then there is no preventative for that. And he does not repeat the witr, rather the witr he prayed with the Imam suffices him. He prays tahajjud in the night with what Allah makes easy for him and if he delays witr until the end of the night, then there is no harm. However, he will miss following the Imam and it is better to follow the Imam by praying witr with him due to the statement of the Prophet (ﷺ):
من قام مع الإمام حتى ينصرف ؛ كتب له قيام ليلة
Indeed, whoever stands (praying) with the Imam until he finished, then it is recorded for him that he prayed the whole night.
[Reported by Abu Dawood (2/51), Tirmidhi (3/147-148), Nasaai (3/83-84), Ibn Majah (1/420-421)]
So he follows the Imam and prays witr with him. This does not prevent him from standing at the end of the night and praying tahjjud with what is easy for him”. End. [al-Muntaqaa min Fatawa Fawzan (no. 116)]
Shaikh Muqbil ibn Haadi al-Waadi’ee (d. 1421 H.), may Allah have mercy upon him, was asked:
Question: There is a masjid that establishes taraweeh prayer after Isha. When the last ten nights enter, taraweeh is delayed until half of the night and it is called tahajjud. So is it allowed in the legislation to establish taraweeh which is after Isha and tahajjud which is prayed at the middle of the night due to dawah?
Answer: “The issue is allowed. This is allowed. However, what is better is restrict to what has come from the Prophet (ﷺ) that he did not increase above eleven rakat in Ramadan or outside of Ramadan. After this also, the prayer at the end of the night is witnessed as comes in Saheeh Muslim that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
من خشي ألا يقوم آخر الليل فليصلِ أوله ، ومن طمع أن يقوم آخر الليل فليصلِ آخره ؛ فإن صلاة آخر الليل مشهودة
If anyone is afraid that he may not get up in the latter part of the night, he should observe Witr in the first part of it; and if anyone is eager to get up in the last part of it, he should observe Witr at the end of the night, for prayer at the end of the night is witnessed (by the angels) and that is preferable.
That is: witnessed by the angels. So prayer at the end of the night is better although it is permissible to pray it in the first part of the night”. End. [Reference]
There are other fatwa from the scholars clarifying that it is allowed. Taking everything into account, it seems that ta’qeeb is allowed, but disliked. It is preferable to pray only one night prayer in Ramadan following the sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ).
And Allah knows best
Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan