Does the Imam have the right to prolong the prayer which makes people turn away from praying in the mosque?
The Imam tends to recite very long chapters during dawn, maghrib and Ishaa prayers, not taking into consideration that there are some among those who pray behind him that are unable to stand for this lengthy time. When asked he says that this is Sunnah and that those who cannot stand should find a chair to sit. Is that true? How long should the verse of the Quran read during prayers be? Is there an optimum length?
The Imam who leads prayers should be mindful and caring about the state of the congregation which he leads. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) prohibited such behavior as was reported through Jaber that Mu'az was praying with the Prophet and then Mu'za would later lead his people in prayers and recite the chapter of the (cow) so one of the people who was praying behind him cut the prayer short and finished it off and went away. So when Mu'az knew about that, he called the man a hypocrite; in turn the man reported what Mu'az said to the Prophet and said "O Messenger of God, we are people who work with our hands and we carry the water on our cattle and Mu'az led us in prayers last night and recited the Chapter of the Cow so I cut my prayer short and thus he called me a hypocrite" so the Prophet asked Mu'az to come over and told him "O Mu'az are you driving people away from religion?- the Prophet repeated it three times- in leading prayers recite chapters like (The Sun and its dawn), (Praise the name of your Supreme God)." (Bukhari)
In another hadith that was narrated through Abu Mas'ud al Ansari, a man came over to the Prophet saying, "O Messenger of God, I can hardly catch up my prayers because the one who leads us prolongs it. Abu Mas'ud commented on that saying "I have never seen the Prophet turning red in anger as he was this time and then the Prophet said "O people there are those among you who are repugnant, who ever leads people in prayers should cut it short as there are those among you lead who are old, ill, feeble and those who have errands to run" (Bukhari)