Q: I was told from when i was young to read my salah at home. I got into a debate. i was told that it was better for me to read my salah in the musjid so people do not think that I am not reading my necessary sunnah. Can you help clear this thinking or home versus musjid?
A: The hadith that you are possibly following since childhood is the one depicted by Imaam Bukari which states:
اجعلوا في بيوتكم من صلاتكم ولا تتخذوها قبورا
Perform salah in your homes and do not convert them into graves.
The above hadith does not refer to the congregational fard prayers. Congregational prayers by true men of good health must be performed in the Musjid.
As far are the optional prayers that come prior to the fard or after the fard salah, should one have the firmness on not missing the optional prayers upon arriving home, then by all means they should perform it within the confinements of the home. It lives the home with spirituality; it also helps show younger children the value of prayers, as well as helps nonpraying members with observing the value of praying. The above hadith is making reference to this point.
Rasulullah (SAW) performed his sunnah prayers at home prior to coming into the musjid to perform his fard salah. The ulema however have come to recommend that optional prayers be performed at the musjid due to the possibility of laziness/neglectfulness once a person departs from the Sacred House. Should one not have a forgetful nature, they should make amal (practice) on this noble sunnah of performing the optional prayer at home.
Although it is not good for people to have evil thoughts regarding others, we too must not promote negative sentiments. Explain the above hadith to your friend in a polite manner. Also try to perform some salah in the musjid, so as to have the Musjid ground intercede for you on the day of Judgment. Likewise, continue your additional prayers at your home(s.) This would reduce possible ridity on your path and also show your flexibility to those around you.
Finally, you are correct in your thinking, extending your thinking would never hurt.
We thank you for your question. We request you for your prayers as well.
Allah Certainly knows best.