Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Is it sahih to pray less than twenty cycles of taraweeh? If one does, is one committing a sin, will one’s praying of eight, ten, etc. cycles be valid? Is praying eight cycles only a salafi practice? Why does it seem that it is mostly Arab brothers and sisters who pray eight cycles? How has this practice become so wide spread?
It is not correct to pray less than 20 rakats in tarawih. It is a salafi practice that others have adopted, as it is easier on the nafs. However, it has little basis in traditional Islamic scholarship. You can find a couple of detailed articles on the topic if you go to the Miscellaneous Articles section of Sidi Mas’ud Khan’s excellent web page (http://www.masud.co.uk)