Volume - IV / CHAPTER - 2 / LESSON NO: 12
"JAMA'AT" (CONGREGATIONAL PRAYER)
Q 1. What about offering prayer five times a day with Jama'at?
A. Offering prayer with Jama'at (congregation) is "Waajib" (essential) for every sane and mature male believer provided that he faces no trouble in reaching the mosque. The one who forgoes congregation without any "Shar'i" reason is "Faasiq" (transgressor, disobedient) and his evidence is also unacceptable. He deserves severe punishment and his neighbours will also be sinner if they acquiesce in his sin.
Q 2. What about Jama'at for "Jumu'ah", "Eid", "Taraawih" and "Witr" prayers?
A. Jama'at is must (an obligatory condition) for Jumu'ah and Eid prayers and "Sunnat Kifaayah" (if performed by a few Muslims all will be relieved of the obligation otherwise all will be held responsible) for Taraawih prayer.
Jama'at is "Mustahab" (commendable act) for "Witr" prayer in the holy month of "Ramadaan" and Sunnat for the prayer of solar eclipse.
Q 3. Is congregational prayer (Jama'at) essential for women?
A. It is impermissible for women (young or old) to offer any prayer in Jama'at irrespective of day or night or Jumu'ah and Eid prayers. Likewise, they can not attend "Waz" (preaching gatherings). However, some Muslim scholars have now allowed it in view of growing outing of women in markets and other places.
Q 4. In which conditions can Jama'at be abandoned?
A. Following are the excuses to forgo Jama'at:
(1).Torrential rain, (2) heavy mud all around, (3) intensely cold, (4)pitch darkness, (5) hurricane, (6) apprehension of the loss of valuables/belongings or (7) food, (8) fear of creditor when one is penniless, (9) fear of tyrant or an oppressor,(10) intense need to defecate, (11) to urinate or (12) to break wind, (13) one is extremely hungry and food is being served, (14) one apprehends to miss the caravan if he joins Jama'at, (15) tending the sick who may suffer and feel nervous if left alone.
Q 5. Which people are permitted not to go to mosque for Jama'at?
A. The people who are permitted not to go to mosque to join Jama'at are: (l).The sick who finds it hard to reach mosque,(2) invalid,cripple,(3)the one whose foot is amputated, (4)paralysed,(5)so old one that he can not go to mosque,(6)blind,even there is one to take him to mosque and (7) an immature who is not bound to join Jama'at.
Q 6. What are the blessings and benefits of offering prayer with Jama'at?
A. An "Hadees" to this effect says: the prayer offered with Jama'at carries twenty-seven-times more reward than the prayer offered individually. Another Hadees says: the believer who offers prayer five times a day with Jama'at and also finds Takbir-e-Ulaa for forty days consecutively for the sake of Allah, is freed from the torment of hell and "Nifaaq" (hypocrisy).
In addition to these great advantages the congregational prayer (Jama'at) also develops harmony and unity among the Muslims, acquaints them with "Shar'i" affairs, issues, provides an opportunity to know about the problems and distress faced by the neighbours, to meet and enjoy the blessings of the pious and saintly people and expectation of the acceptance of prayer by the means of these loved ones of Allah, to know about the plight of the poor and needy people, imbues believers with the spirit of worship, inclines them towards Allah Almighty and keeps them away from the worldly evils and vices till such time they are in Jama'at and so on and so forth.
Q 7. How to stand in Jama'at?
A. Muqtadis (followers) should form rows and stand shoulder to shoulder leaving no gap between them and an individual should stand beside the Imaam on the right side. His feet should be abreast of Imaam (not forward). It is Makrooh for an individual to stand behind or on the left side of the Imaam. Rows should be arranged in such way that the first row consists of men and the second of children. If there is only one child, he should be drawn up in the men's row. The Imaam should stand ahead of his Muqtadis in the centre. It is against Sunnah to stand on the right or left side to lead prayer.
The one who is superior to all Muqtadis in the Jama'at should stand just behind the Imaam in the first row.
Q 8. What about standing in the rear row when there is room in the front row?
A. It is Makrooh to stand in the rear row when there is room in the front row to stand in. If one finds room in the first row while the second is full, he should reach the first row making his way thereto through the second row and stand there. An Hadees gives the glad tidings of absolution to the believer who does so. However, it should be kept in mind that such action may kick up a row due to lack of Islaamic knowledge among Muslims. So it should be done where people understand "Shar'i" issues, affairs.
Q 9. Which things a Muqtadi should not do if Imaam does not?
A. There are five things which a Muqtadi should not do if Imaam leaves those and follow the Imaam i.e. (1).Takbirs of Eid prayer,(2) Qa'adah Ulaa, (3) Sajdah Tilaawat, (4) Sajdah Sahv and (5) Du'aa-e-Qunoot if he fears to miss Rukoo otherwise complete it. As for Qa'adah Ulaa, Muqtadi should prompt (point out the mistake) if Imaam forgets to observe Qa'adah Ula and has not yet stood erect so that he may return to perform it. In case the Imaam has stood upright then Muqtadi should not prompt him but instead follow him otherwise his prayer will be vitiated.
Q10. Which things a Muqtadi should not do if Imaam does?
A. There are four things in which a Muqtadi should not follow the Imaam if he does i.e.(1).Observance of any "Rukn" (essential) more than the prescribed number like performance of two Rukoo and three Sujood in a Rakah or (2) utterance of more Takbirs than sixteen in Eid prayer or (3) saying five Takbirs in funeral prayer or (4) standing up by mistake for the fifth Rakah after Qa'adah Akheera. In this case, if Imaam returns without completing the fifth Rakah, Muqtadi should follow him and complete the prayer with the observance of Sajdah Sahv and if all followed the Imaam and performed Sajdah of the fifth Rakah then the prayer of all inclusive of Imaam will be vitiated.
Q 11. Which things a Muqtadi should observe if Imaam abandons those?
A. The following things should be observed by Muqtadi if Imaam abandons those:(l).Lifting the hands for Takbir-e-Tahreemah, (2) recitation of "Sana" (if Imaam is still reciting Surah Faatehah that too in soft voice), (3) Takbiraat-e-Intiqaal (Takbirs of Rukoo and Sujood), (4) Tasbihaat(remembrance of Allah as prescribed) of Rukoo and Sujood, (5) Tasmee i.e. "Sami Allaa Huleman Hamedah", (6) Tashah-hud, (7) saying Salaam turning the face to both sides, (8) utterance of Takbiraat-e-Tashreeq (which are recited loudly after every obligatory prayer from the Fajr prayer of 9th Zil-Hijj to the Asr prayer of 13th Zil-Hijj).
Q12. What should one do who is offering obligatory prayer himself and in the meanwhile Jama'at is established?
A. If one has just begun his obligatory prayer by himself (individually) or has completed one Rakah of Fajr or Maghrib prayer and in the meantime Jama'at is established there, he should immediately abandon his prayer and join the Jama'at and in case he has observed Sajdah of the second Rakah then he should complete the prayer. As for four Rakah prayer, he should complete two Rakahs if has offered one or is offering the second Rakah and then join the Jama'at. The said two Rakahs offered by him will be counted as Nafl prayer. And in case he has offered three Rakahs then he should not give up his prayer but complete all (four) Rakahs and thereafter join Jama'at with the intention of Nafl prayer. Thus he will gain the reward of Jama'at. However, he can not do so in Asr prayer as after Asr "Nafl" prayer is not lawful.
Q13. What injunction is there for one who is offering Sunnat or Nafl prayer and in the meantime Jama'at is established?
A. If he has begun Nafl prayer and in the meanwhile Jama'at is established then he should not abandon his prayer but complete two Rakahs and in case he is offering the third Rakah then he should complete four Rakahs to join the Jama'at. And in case, he has begun Sunnat prayer of Jumu'ah and Zuhr and in the meantime either "Khutbah" (sermon) is commenced or Jama'at is established he should complete the prayer and then join the Jama'at.
Q14. How to break prayer under intense need?
A. It is Haraam (unlawful) to break prayer unless there is a valid excuse. However, under intense need one can break prayer in standing posture (no need to sit down) saying Salaam (turning his face to the right side).