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The Benefits of Salāh in Congregation

Saturday 16 Dec 2017

The Benefits of Salāh in Congregation Allāh

  • The Obligatory prayers are legislated to be performed in congregation
  • Some optional prayers e.g. the eclipse prayer, the Eid prayers and the Taraweeh prayers are also prayed in congregation
  • The night prayer (tahajjud) and the morning prayer (duha) may be prayed in congregation , however this should not be the norm and they should normally be prayed alone
    • For example, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) prayed the night prayer with Ibn Abbās and Hudhaifah Ibn Yamān amongst others (however this was not his habit)
  • What are the benefits of the congregational prayer?
    • It is a means of uniting the Muslims
      • Supplications made in the congregational prayers benefit everyone (e.g. those with shortcomings who attend benefit from making supplication alongside and with those who are righteous) present and there is great reward in it
      • Allah forgives those who are present in the congregational prayer
    • Praying in congregation distances the shaitaan (devil)
      • When one is alone in prayer shaitān whispers to him and distracts him, and when one is in congregation this is greatly reduced
      • Likewise, the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said the wolf eats the lone sheep
      • NOTE: it is important to stand side by side and not to leave gaps as these gaps leave openings for the shaitān to enter
    • Praying in congregation is educational for the one not aware
      • Many people make mistakes in their prayers and they don’t notice at all. Praying in congregation will highlight to such a person mistakes they may have e.g. one may notice this himself or be reminded by others
    • Praying in congregation establishes a sense of community and connection
      • For example, the one who regularly prays in congregation, if he was to become absent people would ask about him. If such a person was ill or had difficulties the others from the congregation would come to help, and if such a person was absent due to negligence then people would approach him to advise him
  • Allāh has legislated certain times for the Muslims to congregate and among them is the congregational prayer which takes place every day.
  • When the Prophet(صلى الله عليه وسلم) arrived in Madinah he immediately started work on building the mosque so that the believers can come to the congregational prayers.
  • Not attending the congregational prayer is a large deficiency for a Muslim as he loses out on the unity, and shaitān has more openings to attack him
  • Other times of congregation:
    • The Friday prayer is likewise an important opportunity to unite in the week and pray with the other Muslims
    • The Eid prayers are major opportunities to unite in congregation twice a year and the gathering on the Eid days are larger than during the daily congregation (the five prayers) and the weekly congregation (Friday)
    • Likewise Hajj is a once in the year opportunity for Muslims from all over the world to gather
  • The above shows that Islam is a religion of unity
  • Hadith of Abdullāh Ibn Umar The reward of the congregational prayer is twenty seven times greater (than that of the prayer offered by a person alone) [Al-Bukhāri]. In the Narration of Abū Hurairah congregational prayer is better by 25 times.
    • Which is one more accurate (27 or 25 times?). Some scholars say there is no difference as the main point is that the congregational prayer is superior. Other scholars say originally the factor was 25 times more however by the mercy of Allāh this later became 27. Either way this hadith indicates to us the superiority of the congregational prayer over the solitary prayer

  • Abū Hurairah reported the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) as saying; I thought to give orders for arranging prayer in congregation, and then to have the Iqamah called for it, then to order a man to lead the people in prayer, then to go off in company of the people who have bundles of firewood to those people who are not present at the prayer and then to burn down their houses with fire” [Sunan Abī Dād]This hadith shows how sternly the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) felt about this issue
    • The hadith also shows how evil it is to give precedence to worldly affairs/benefits over the prayer and the matters of the hereafter. Having sincere Eemaan (belief) will prevent a person from doing this and the opposite is for a person to have low goals in life (i.e. worldly matters only).
    • NOTE: This hadith shows that the Imam and a Muslim should be concerned when it is noticed that someone is not attending.
    • The hadith also shows that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) would have been ready to miss the prayer to rectify this issue, therefore showing how serious it is
    • NOTE: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) did not do it, but rather the situation was severe enough for him to have had the intent
    • Question: Is the prayer even valid for a man if he prays at home? Majority of scholars say that praying in congregation is obligatory but not a condition of the prayer, therefore. However, some scholars have the opinion that it is a condition that the men must pray in congregation. It is mentioned that Shaykh ul-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah had this latter opinion. The evidence for this second opinion is in the hadith that whoever hears the call to prayer and doesn’t attend then there is no prayer for him. NOTE: some people say, “but we can’t hear the adhān” however scholars say that in the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) the call to prayer could perhaps be heard up to 3-4 kilometres and so if there is a mosque within 3-4 km then
  • It was narrated that Abū Hurairah said: “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: ‘The most burdensome prayers for the hypocrites are the ‘Isha’ prayer and the Fajr prayer. If only they knew what (reward) there is in them, they would come to them even if they had to crawl.'” [Sunan Ibn Mājah]
    • One should recognise that if he is lazy in Isha and Fajr prayers then he has one of the qualities of the hypocrites and should attempt as best as one can to overcome this by Allāhs will
  • Q & A:
    • Is congregational prayer obligatory upon the sisters? = it is not compulsory for women to attend the congregational prayers however they should not be prevented and they should also be aware that praying in their homes is better for them.
      • Ibn ‘Umar reported: ‘The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Do not prevent the maid-servants of Allah from going to the mosque.’ [Muslim]
      • Ibn ‘Umar reported the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying; “Do not prevent your women from visiting the mosque; but their houses are better for them (for praying).” [Sunan Abī Dād]
    • Follow up question: Where can sisters do their gathering? = Sisters should be able to attend the mosques to study etc however they can also hold these types of gatherings at home.
    • Follow up question #2: How much reward do sisters get from praying at home vs the Mosque? = Bear in mind that praying at home is better for sisters than praying in the mosque, even if that be The Prophet’s Mosque or the Haram in Makkah! Huge amount of reward.
    • If a Christian mother says “Assalaamu Alaikum” to you what should you say?

Next week insha Allah: likely no Lesson as Birmingham conference insha Allah and the week after insha Allah we will begin new course

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