Praying Night Vigil Prayers in a group
What is the ruling for praying the Night Vigil Prayers after the nightfall prayers at the mosque to remind people of the sunna and encourage people to observe it in their homes?
Islamic law permits one to pray non-obligatory prayers in a group which were not prescribed to be prayed in congregation (those prayers which the prophet and members of his household prayed individually). This is based on the fact that Ibn 'Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, prayed Tahajjud behind the prophet in his aunt Maymuna's house. It is known that it is not recommended to prayTahajjud in congregation except in Ramadan.
It is permissible for a group of people to gather during a certain day to pray Tahajjud in congregation; there is no harm in it as long as it is not made obligatory in which case it is considered a reprehensible innovation in religion.
'Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: "One night, the prophet [pbuh] prayed in the mosque and some people prayed behind him. This happened two more times, so the prophet did not go out to pray in the mosque on the fourth day. When it was time for Dawn Prayers, the prophet [pbuh] faced the people, made the two testifications of faith, and said: "I was aware that you were praying behind me, but I feared that the prayer would become obligatory upon you and you would not be able to keep it up" [Bukhari and Muslim].
Abdullah ibn 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with them both, said, "The Prophet used to go to the Mosque of Quba every Saturday (sometimes) walking and (sometimes) riding." Abdullah (ibn 'Umar used to do the same)" [Bukhari and Muslim].
Commenting on this hadith in al-Fath, al-Hafidh ibn Hajar said: "Although this hadith has different paths of transmissions, it demonstrates the permissibility of assigning certain acts of piety to specific days and continuing to do them.”
It is permissible to pray two rak'as in congregation after Nightfall Prayers. There is no harm in it as long as it is not made obligatory. Those who make it obligatory and who accuse those who refuse to participate of sinning are blameworthy for introducing a reprehensible innovation in religion because they obligate what Allah and His prophet did not make obligatory.
Allah Almighty knows best.