Salah al jama'ah

(salat al-jama‘ah) Congregational Prayer Prayer in congregation (jama'ah) is considered to have more social and spiritual benefit than praying by oneself. When praying in congregation, the people stand in straight parallel rows behind the chosen imam, facing qibla. The imam, who leads the congregation in salat, is usually chosen to be a scholar or the one who has the best knowledge of the Qur'an, preferably someone who has memorised it in its entirety (a hafiz) . In the first row behind the Imam, if available, would be another hafiz to correct the Imam in case a mistake is made during the performance of the salat. The prayer is performed as normal, with the congregation following the actions and movements of the imam as he performs the salat.[1][2]

Congregation prayer in a mosque, or masjid, is particularly encouraged for men and is optional for women. Muslim men are encouraged to offer as many of the five daily prayers in the mosque as possible, as the reward for doing so is at least 27 times greater than offering the prayer alone at home.[2]

Who should be the Imaam

The congregational prayer is led by an Imaam. The Imaam should be male, just, and well aware of Islamic jurisprudence. The Imaam stands in front by himself while the followers stand behind him in straight lines, all facing the Qiblah (the direction of Ka’bah). The most worthy of leading people in prayer is the one who is the best in memorizing and reciting the Quran. If they are equal, then the one who has the deepest knowledge of Sunnah. If they still are equal in the knowledge of Sunnah, then the oldest of the group. The Messenger of Allaah said: “The most versed in recitation of the Book of Allaah leads the people in the prayer. If they are equal, then the one most aware of the Sunnah. If they all are equal, the one who emigrated earlier. If they all are equal, then the oldest of them.” [Muslim][3]

Importance of congregational prayer (salat al-jama‘ah)

Muhammad himself never omitted even a single congregational prayer. Even in his sickness, it was strenuous for him to walk; nonetheless, with the aid of two of his companions he came (while his auspicious feet were dragging on the ground) to the mosque and prayed with the congregation. Once he was constrained to say: “I intend to tell the Muazzin (person who calls the Azaan) to call out the takbir and ask someone to lead the prayer and I myself set the house of that person on fire who did not attended the congregational prayer.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

Muhammad proposed a punishment for those who do not attend the congregational prayer at the mosque, even though they perform them at home.[4][5]

See Also


Further reading

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