Why do people finish their prayer before the Imam?

I have noticed that while finishing salah, when the imam is in the process of saying ‘assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah’ while turning his head towards the right, the people praying behind him have already finished saying ‘assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah’, and the same thing happens when the imam says ‘assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah’ while turning his head towards the left. In practice, people finish their prayer before the imam. Some even start their tasbeeh while the imam is still saying the second salam.

It just puzzles me that when we are supposed to follow the imam, how can people praying behind the imam literally finish their prayer before him. I find myself the only person whose head is turned towards the right side while the imam is saying the second salam, and everyone else’s head towards the left, some even staring at me while in the process.

How can finishing the prayer before the imam be justified?


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