Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh
In congregational prayers I noticed that after people pray their fard prayer they move to a different spot to pray their sunna prayers. Is there any basis for praying sunna prayers in a different spot?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.
It is recommended, after completing the obligatory prayer with the imam, for one to move to a different spot to pray one’s voluntary (sunnah) prayers in order to break the rows.
Additionally, it is particularly recommended for the imam, himself, and disliked for him not to do so, in order that any latecomer can plainly see that the obligatory prayer is over.
[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Kasani, Badai` al-Sanai`]
Furthermore, there are a number of narrations (hadiths) on this very issue. From amongst them is that which is narrated from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) that he said, “Let not the imam pray in the same spot in which he prayed his obligatory prayer until he moves away from it [i.e. that spot]” [Ibn Majah]
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani