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Is praying in congregation obligatory?

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

 

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

As Salaam O Alaikum,
I wonder who introduced my name to your mailing list; however, this is the most desirable "uninvited mail" I receive.

Could you explain the meaning of "IqamusSalaat" as it is mentioned in Quraan. The literary meaning could be taken as "erect or constitute Salaah" which is different from an order to pray Salaah, as it usually taken in general sense.

Does it mean to pray in congregation? If it does then what is the significance of praying at home alone?

Obviously we are taking about obligatory prayers not Voluntary prayers.Your comments please.

 

(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)

 

Answer:

 

Is praying in congregation obligatory?

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

 

Your Statement: I wonder who introduced my name to your mailing list; however, this is the most desirable "uninvited mail" I receive.

Beloved brother, we think we should accept your above statement as a compliment! May Allah Subhanah reward you with the best of this world and the Hereafter for your kind comments of encouragement for our humble efforts in the propagation of the Truth. We humbly hope, beg, and pray the Merciful Lord accepts our humble and weak efforts, forgives us our shortcomings, and saves you, us, and all the believers from the torment of the Hell Fire. Ameen.


 

Your Question: Could you explain the meaning of "IqamusSalaat" as it is mentioned in Quraan. The literary meaning could be taken as "erect or constitute Salaah" which is different from an order to pray Salaah, as it usually taken in general sense.
Because of the inherent deficiency of the English language, it so often happens that the vast meaning of the Arabic term cannot be expressed with all its manifestations in English. The closest meaning to the Quranic term Iqamus Salaah would be to establish prayer, which would include the making of mosques, appointment of the imam to lead the prayer, appointment of the exact times of prayer, hold congregational prayer, etc. Basically Iqamus Salaah would mean to establish a system whereby congregational prayer would be held.

 

Islam has made this duty of establishing and making a system for establishing prayer on the Islamic government (if any), or the muslim society, or the muslim Ummah in general.

 

Your Question: Does it mean to pray in congregation? If it does then what is the significance of praying at home alone?
Performing the prayers in congregation is a Sunnah Mu'akkadah (preferred Sunnah) of the Messenger of Allah (saws).

 

Ibn 'Umar reports that the Prophet (saws) said: "Prayer in congregation is superior to a prayer performed individually by twenty-seven degrees."

Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

 

It would obviously be preferred and best that the believers offer their obligatory prayers in the Mosques; and if that is not possible, then the next best thing is to offer it in congregation with the brothers wherever one is; and if even that is not possible, the absolute last legal option is to offer it alone.

 

Abu Hurairah also reports that the Prophet (saws) said: "By Him in whose Hand is my soul! I have considered ordering a fire to be kindled and then ask someone to lead the people in salah, and then go to the men [who did not attend the prayer] and burn their houses over them."

Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

 

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 1.626 Narrated by Abu Huraira

The Prophet (saws) said, "No prayer is harder for the hypocrites than the Fajr and the 'Isha' prayers and if they knew the reward for these prayers at their respective times, they would certainly present themselves (in the mosques) even if they had to crawl." The Prophet (saw) added, "Certainly I decided to order the Mu'adhdhin (call-maker) to pronounce Iqama and order a man to lead the prayer, and then take a fire flame to burn all those who had not left their houses so far for the prayer, along with their houses."

 

Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, one of the noble companions of the Messenger of Allah (saws) says: "If anyone would like to meet Allah tomorrow as a Muslim, he should persevere in observing these five prayers whenever the call for them is made, for Allah has chosen for your Prophet (saws) the way of right guidance. And the [five prayers in congregation] are part of this right guidance. If you were to pray them in your houses, as this man who stays behind in his house, you would be leaving a Sunnah of your Prophet. If you leave the Sunnah of your Prophet (saws), you would go astray. Verily, I have seen a time when no one stayed away from them [the congregational prayers] except for the hypocrites, who were well known for their hypocrisy. A man would be brought, supported by two people [due to his weakness] until he was placed in a row."

Related by Muslim.

 

Abu Hurairah reports that a blind man said to the Prophet (saws): "O Messenger of Allah (saws), I have no guide to guide me to the mosque." He asked the Prophet (saws) for permission to pray in his house and the Prophet gave it to him. Then, when he turned to go, the Prophet (saws) called him and said: "Do you hear the call to prayer?" The blind man said "yes." The Prophet (saws) then said: "Then respond to it!" [by coming to the mosque.]

Related by Muslim.

 

Abu ad-Darda' reports that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: "If there are three men in a village or desert and salah is not established among them, then the Satan takes mastery over them. So be with the congregation since the wolf devours the remote (stray) sheep."

Related by Abu Dawud

 

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

 

Your Brother in Islam,

 

 

Burhan

 


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