Is it better to pray the night prayer at someone else's house (if your staying the night) or at the masjid?
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
The superiority of performing the voluntary prayers at home rather than in the masjid is reported in regard to one’s own home and not in regard to the home of others, as in the hadeeth: “O people! Pray in your houses, as the best prayer is the prayer of a person in his house, except the obligatory prayer." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
However, the scholars said that it is probable that this includes other people’s homes, and it is also probable that the superiority is in regard to the home of the person and that the prayer in other people’s homes is not preferred over praying in the masjid.
Badruddeen Al-'Ayni said in Sharh Al-Bukhari:
“The phrase ‘in your own houses’ may be meant to exclude the Houses of Allaah, which are the masjids, thus it includes the person's own house and houses of others, such as one who wants to visit some people in their homes and the like. It may also mean the person's own house but not the houses of others. This is the apparent meaning in the other narration, which reads, ‘The best prayer of a person is in his own home,’ so this excludes the houses of other people as well.”
Perhaps the best thing is what is closest to sincerity and farthest from showing off, as the scholars said that the wisdom for the preference of prayer at one’s own home rather than in the masjid is that by doing so one avoids showing off.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said, “The prayer in one’s own home is better, with the exception of the obligatory prayer, because the prayer at home is farther from showing off since only your family can see you; and even your family may not see you when you are praying, but in the masjid, everybody sees you.”
Therefore, if a person knows that his prayer in someone else’s home is closer to sincerity and farther from showing off than praying in the masjid, then his praying at that person's home is better, and if he knows that his prayer in the masjid is closer to sincerity and farther from showing off than in that person’s home, then praying in the masjid is better for him.
Allaah knows best.
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