• The Importance of Praying in Congregation

    The meaning of “imam” (leader) and “jama’ah” (congregation)

    A leader who leads at least one other per-son in prayer is called the imam, and the people who follow the leader are called the jama’ah.

    Why are mosques also called “The Houses of Allah”?

    Mosques are buildings where Muslims come together and pray. Since in those buildings pros-trations (al-Sajdah) are made to Allah, worship is performed, and prayers are performed, the build-ings are also called “House of Allah.”

    What is the superiority of praying in congregation?

    Our Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) always used to perform his prayers in con-gregation and advised us to perform our prayers in congregation as well. We have been informed that praying in congregation is twenty-seven times better in terms of divine gifts. Abandoning perform-ing prayers in congregation without an excuse is not considered desirable. Making a habit of pray-ing in congregation is considered one of the good traits of a Muslim. Our beloved Prophet also gave us the good news that for those who make ablu-tion and go to a mosque, for each step they take, one of their sins will be canceled and one divine reward will be given.

    What are the benefits of praying in congregation?

    Performing a prayer with other Muslims makes us better concentrate when praying. Thus, our minds focus on praying only. Also, praying in con-gregation leads to feelings of love and solidarity among Muslims. Muslims who pray together get informed of each other’s situations. They help each other solve their issues. We learn our re-ligion’s rules and prohibitions from sermons, lectures, and conversations. We increase our knowledge of the Prophet’s life and manners.

    We live the joy and peace of coming together and worshipping Allah in mosques. Angels surround us and Allah’s mercy and abundance rain on us. Our Lord loves the wor-ship that is done in congregation more. With the bounty of congregation, He forgives the mistakes that we might do in the performance of worship.

    How should the order of rows be when praying in congregation?

    The order of the rows is in such a way that males stay in the front, children in be-tween, and females at the back rows.

    If the congregation is composed of one person only, he stands a little behind and to right side of the leader (imam).

    When praying in congregation, the rows should be in order and without space in between people. It is not right to stay at the back when there is space in the front rows.

    Our Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said: “Make your rows straight. Bring your shoulders to the same line. Fill in the spaces. Be nice to your friends who pull your hands to make the rows orderly. Do not leave spaces that Satan can come through. Allah grants contentment to the hearts of those who keep no space between the rows. Allah does not reward with His bounties those who leave space in rows.” (Abu Davud, Salat 93), and he talked about the role of having aligned rows in completion of the prayer. He personally used to walk around the rows and touch the chests and shoulders of his Companions and say: “Do not stand back and forward. Then your hearts would be different from each other too.” (Abu Davud, Salat 93)

    What is the ruling on praying in congregation?

    Praying the Friday Prayer in congregation is obligatory (fardh), and for the other prayers, it is “Sunnah al-Muakkadah” (a tradition of our Prophet which he continuously practiced). Abandoning the performance of a prayer in congregation is not in accordance with the sunnah of our Prophet.

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