How to offer congregational prayer.

By Last Updated: May 15, 2024Views: 69

Offering obligatory prayer in the form of group is called congregational prayer. It is also known as salat-al-jama’ah. In Islam congregation means to offer daily prayers in the guidance of a leader (imam). A leader (imam) should be a symbol of virtue for other Muslims. Offering prayer in congregation is fard-e-ayn which means it is obligatory for each and every Muslim specifically for men.It is a practice of Holy Prophet (S.A.W) to offer obligatory prayers in a masjid along with his followers that is why offering congregational prayer is a sunnah and wajib.

Congregational prayer include five time prayers Fajr, Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha also prayer for eid

[1]وَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتُوا۟ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَٱرْكَعُوا۟ مَعَ ٱلرَّٰكِعِينَ

”And establish prayer and give zakah and bow with those who bow [in worship and obedience]”.

offering congregational salat is not obligatory for Muslim women. It is considered ideal for women to offer prayer in their house than offering prayer in congregation in mosque. However, when a group women is offering prayer together in the form of congregation one of them can lead the others but she should stand with them in middle of the row. It is permissible for a women to lead other women in a congregation, a woman can lead congregation of only women and cannot lead a congregation of men at all.

Offering prayers with congregation has great effect on mental, physical, and social life of believers. Participation in congregational prayer saves a person from being hypocrite. Congregational prayer is the beginning of unity among Muslim community. it brings all the followers of Islam together and promote the spirit of brotherhood. Congregational prayer is the symbol of justness in Islam as it bring people from every class of society and let them stand together at the same platform without any distinction of position, colour, race, wealth, language etc.

Importance of Congregational Prayers

Importance of congregational prayers is evident from various hadith and verse Holy Quran. Congregational prayer is obligatory for Muslims. Holy Prophet (s.a.w) enunciate rewards for congregational prayer on various occasions.

[2]قَالَ تَفْضُلُهَا بِسَبْعٍ وَعِشْرِينَ دَرَجَةً‏.‏

The reward of the congregational prayer is twenty seven times greater (than that of the prayer offered by a person alone). ”

وَإِذَا كُنتَ فِيهِمْ فَأَقَمْتَ لَهُمُ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ فَلْتَقُمْ طَآئِفَةٌۭ مِّنْهُم مَّعَكَ وَلْيَأْخُذُوٓا۟ أَسْلِحَتَهُمْ فَإِذَا سَجَدُوا۟ فَلْيَكُونُوا۟ مِن وَرَآئِكُمْ وَلْتَأْتِ طَآئِفَةٌ أُخْرَىٰ لَمْ يُصَلُّوا۟ فَلْيُصَلُّوا۟ مَعَكَ وَلْيَأْخُذُوا۟ حِذْرَهُمْ وَأَسْلِحَتَهُمْ ۗ وَدَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ لَوْ تَغْفُلُونَ عَنْ أَسْلِحَتِكُمْ وَأَمْتِعَتِكُمْ فَيَمِيلُونَ عَلَيْكُم مَّيْلَةًۭ وَٰحِدَةًۭ ۚ وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِن كَانَ بِكُمْ أَذًۭى مِّن مَّطَرٍ أَوْ كُنتُم مَّرْضَىٰٓ أَن [3]تَضَعُوٓا۟ أَسْلِحَتَكُمْ ۖ وَخُذُوا۟ حِذْرَكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلْكَـٰفِرِينَ عَذَابًۭا مُّهِينًۭا

”When you ˹O Prophet˺ are ˹campaigning˺ with them and you lead them in prayer, let one group of them pray with you—while armed. When they prostrate themselves, let the other group stand guard behind them. Then the group that has not yet prayed will then join you in prayer—and let them be vigilant and armed.1 The disbelievers would wish to see you neglect your weapons and belongings, so they could launch a sweeping assault on you. But there is no blame if you lay aside your weapons when overcome by heavy rain or illness—but take precaution. Indeed, Allah has prepared a humiliating punishment for the disbelievers”.

مَنْ صَلَّى لِلَّهِ أَرْبَعِينَ يَوْمًا فِي جَمَاعَةٍ يُدْرِكُ التَّكْبِيرَةَ الْأُولَى كُتِبَ لَهُ بَرَاءَتَانِ: بَرَاءَةٌ مِنَ النَّارِ وَبَرَاءَةٌ مِنَ النِّفَاق[4]

“If anyone prays to God for forty days in congregation being present in time for the first takbira, two immunities will be recorded for him, one from hell and one from hypocrisy,”

[5]‏ لَقَدْ هَمَمْتُ أَنْ آمُرَ بِالصَّلاَةِ فَتُقَامَ ثُمَّ أُخَالِفَ إِلَى مَنَازِلِ قَوْمٍ لاَ يَشْهَدُونَ الصَّلاَةَ فَأُحَرِّقَ عَلَيْهِمْ ‏”‏‏‏

“The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “No doubt, I intended to order somebody to pronounce the Iqama of the (compulsory congregational) prayer and then I would go to the houses of those who do not attend the prayer and burn their houses over them.”

Types of Congregational Prayers

There are six different types of congregational prayers that Muslims offer in their religious practices, which include, Five daily prayers, Eid prayers, Funeral prayers, Friday prayer, Prayer for rain and Ayat prayers.

Five daily prayers include Fajr prayer(salat al fajr), Zuhr prayer(salat al zuhr), Asr prayer(salat al asr), Maghrib prayer(salat al maghrib ), and Isha prayers(salat al isha). It is obligatory for all Muslim men to offer these five prayers with congregation in mosque.

Eid prayers include special prayers for Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha that is offered on the morning of the day of eid (a special festival for Muslims). Imam give a sermon on the day of eid and lead the two rakat of eid prayer with additional six takbeers.

Funeral prayer (salat al janazah) is offered while burying someone after their death. A funeral prayer is a congregational prayer where Imam deliver a sermon and then offer prayer that include four takbeers. during funeral prayer every one pray for the mercy of Allah (s.w.t) and forgiveness of the sins all Muslims who are alive or dead.

Friday prayer (salat al jamu’a) is most important form of congregational prayer which is held once in a week in place of Zuhr prayer. All Muslim men are obliged to attend and listen to the sermon (khutba-e-juma) and offer two rakat prayer. It is one of the most important form of congregation that brings all the Muslim community together from all walks of life. Importance of friday prayer is evident from the verse of Holy Quran,

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلَوٰةِ مِن يَوۡمِ ٱلۡجُمُعَةِ فَٱسۡعَوۡاْ إِلَىٰ ذِكۡرِ ٱللَّهِ وَذَرُواْ ٱلۡبَيۡعَۚ ذَٰلِكُمۡ خَيۡرٞ لَّكُمۡ إِن كُنتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُونَ[6]

“O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu’ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew.”

Prayer for rain (salat al istisqa) is a form of prayer that is offered when there is lack of rain or drought. It is a sunnah of Holy Prophet (S.A.W) and is practised throughout the generations. Salat al istisqa include two rakat and is similar to eid prayer. Offering salat al istisqa is evident from hadith,

قَالَ أَرْسَلَنِي الْوَلِيدُ بْنُ عُقْبَةَ وَهُوَ أَمِيرُ الْمَدِينَةِ إِلَى ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ أَسْأَلُهُ عَنِ اسْتِسْقَاءِ، رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَأَتَيْتُهُ فَقَالَ إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم خَرَجَ مُتَبَذِّلاً مُتَوَاضِعًا مُتَضَرِّعًا حَتَّى أَتَى الْمُصَلَّى فَلَمْ يَخْطُبْ خُطْبَتَكُمْ هَذِهِ وَلَكِنْ لَمْ يَزَلْ فِي الدُّعَاءِ وَالتَّضَرُّعِ وَالتَّكْبِيرِ وَصَلَّى رَكْعَتَيْنِ كَمَا كَانَ يُصَلِّي فِي الْعِيدِ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ ‏.‏[6]

“Al-Walid bin Uqbah, the governor of Al-Madinah, sent me to ask Ibn Abbas about how the Messenger of Allah would perform Salat Al-Istisqa. I came to him and he said: ‘The Messenger of Allah would go out in modest dress, humbly, imploring, until he reached the Musalla. He would not give this Khutbah of yours, rather, he would continue supplication and imploring saying the Takbir, and pray two Rak’ah, just as he would pray for the Eid.'”

The signs prayer (salat al ayat) is a special form of prayer which is considered optional according to some scholars. salat al ayat is offered when some natural phenomenon occurs like earthquake, solar or lunar eclipse, thunder, or any other disaster. Purpose of salat al ayat is to keep people away from superstitions during a natural phenomenon and keep attention on the fact that Allah is the source of all phenomena in the universe. Salat al ayat is different from other nafl or wajib prayers as its two rakat include five ruku in each rakat, so there will be ten ruku in two rakat of salat al ayat.

Performing Congregational Prayers

For performing congregational prayer make wudu and join the jamaat (congregation).

For congregational prayers it is necessary to stand alongside others. Make straight lines and shoulders should be joined with others. Standing in the first row behind imam is considered a virtuous act of worship in Islam. Imam will stand at front of everyone and lead the prayers.

Make niyyah for prayer and while in congregational prayers mention that you are offering prayer behind imam.

After making niyyah, raise your hands to your ears and say takbeer-e-threema, Allahu akbar after imam.

Qiyyam refers to standing position while placing your hands on abdomen in a way that palm of the right hand is on the back of left hand when your thumb and little finger is pointing inward.

Recite sana,سُبْـحانَكَ اللّهُـمَّ وَبِحَمْـدِكَ وَتَبارَكَ اسْمُـكَ وَتَعـالى جَـدُّكَ وَلا إِلهَ غَيْرُك

along with imam.

Recite tauz,أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم

and tasmia, بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم.

After that imam will recite surah al fatihah,الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ.
الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ.
مَلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ.
إِهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ .
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ .

and do qirat,قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ .
اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ.

لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ .
وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ .

while imam recite surah al fatihah and do qirat rest of followers stand behind him and will listen to it silently.

Then say Allah-u-akbar and perform ruku and recite its tasbihat, سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الْعَظِيمِ, three times.

offer sujood and recite its tasbihat,سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الأَعْلَى, three times .

Recite tashhad (at tahiyyat),
ٱلتَّحِيَّاتُ لِلَّٰهِ وَٱلصَّلَوَاتُ وَٱلطَّيِّبَاتُ، ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِيُّ وَرَحْمَةُ ٱللَّٰهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ، ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْنَا وَعَلَىٰ عِبَادِ ٱللَّٰهِ ٱلصَّالِحِينَ، أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ، وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ

and duroood,
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ، وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ.

Recite dua,رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَّفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَّقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

and end your prayer with taslimamt, السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ.

It is to be noted that no action should be performed before imam in congregation prayers, follow the leads of imam and perform all actions along with imam.

Exceptions

offering congregational prayers in masjid (mosque) is a strict obligation for all muslim men, who are healthy and sane. Leaving a congregational prayer intentionally is considered a sin.

أَتَى النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رَجُلٌ أَعْمَى فَقَالَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ لِي قَائِدٌ يَقُودُنِي إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ فَسَأَلَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنْ يُرَخِّصَ لَهُ فَيُصَلِّيَ فِي بَيْتِهِ فَرَخَّصَ لَهُ فَلَمَّا وَلَّى دَعَاهُ فَقَالَ: «هَلْ تَسْمَعُ النِّدَاءَ بِالصَّلَاةِ؟» قَالَ: نَعَمْ قَالَ[7]

Hazrat Abu Hurayrah narrated that ,a blind man came to the messenger of Allah and said, “Messenger of God, I have no one to guide me to the mosque.” He therefore asked God’s Messenger for licence to pray at home, and he granted it; then when the man turned away he called him and asked, “Can you hear the call to prayer?” On receiving the reply that he could, he said, “Well, respond to it.”

A person can skip congregational prayer only when there are following reasons,

  • Because of a sickness.
  • Due to harsh weather (heavy rain).
  • When going out can be dangerous, fear of an enemy.
  • When a pandemic or contagious disease is spread.
  • When attending to a sick person or someone on death bed.
  • Being in a condition when someone is unable to concentrate.

How to Join Congregation Prayer Late.

When you enters a masjid for obligatory prayers but prayer has already started and imam has offered first rakat you will be considered late. In Islam offering congregational prayers in masjid is a meaningful task so, it should be fulfilled with responsibility and vigilance and when you are late for congregational prayer you should not rush toward masjid but approach in a calm and dignified manner and join the jamaat (congregation) by saying takbeer-e-tahreema. After saying takbeer tahreem, join the imam in prayer and offer your pray along with imam, until imam end jamats’ prayer with taslimat (salutations). You should stand up and continue your prayer to offer rakat that are missed. There are certain rulings in islamic jurisprudence about congregational prayer to offer and to complete that are missed.

[8]”‏ إِذَا سَمِعْتُمُ الإِقَامَةَ فَامْشُوا إِلَى الصَّلاَةِ، وَعَلَيْكُمْ بِالسَّكِينَةِ وَالْوَقَارِ وَلاَ تُسْرِعُوا، فَمَا أَدْرَكْتُمْ فَصَلُّوا وَمَا فَاتَكُمْ فَأَتِمُّوا ‏

“When you hear the Iqama, proceed to offer the prayer with calmness and solemnity and do not make haste. And pray whatever you are able to pray and complete whatever you have missed.

In Islam when you are late for congregational prayer, there is certain procedure to follow to make up your prayer.

Points to be Noted Before Joining Congregational Prayers

Presence of imam, there should be no obstacle between imam and jamaat.

There should be two or more than two people.

Make intention of complying with imam while joining congregational salat.

In congregational prayer imam will recite surah al-fatiha and do qirat while, jamaat will stay silent.

When you join congregation after ruku position recite takbeer-e-tahreema twice, once for starting prayer and second for ruku.

If congregation is joined in ruku and you were unable to recite tashihat for ruku, your ruku will still be considered valid.

Congregation can be joined in sujood but that rakat will not be considerd.

Joining First Rakat

Join the congregation by saying takbeer-e-tahreema.

Stand along with congregation if they are performing qayam(standing position), and if they are performing ruku move to ruku after saying Allah-u-akbar.

Offer your prayer along with imam and end it with taslimat.

There is no need to make up or complete prayer as you joined in first ruku, your prayer will be considered complete.

 

Joining Second Rakat

When you reached the masjid (mosque) and Imam is offering second rakat join the congregation by saying takbeer-e-tahreema.

Stand along with congregation if they are performing qayam(standing position), and if they are performing ruku move to ruku after saying Allah-u-akbar.

Offer your prayer along with imam till imam recite tashhad.

Do not recite any tasbihat after tashhad.

When imam say taslimat(salutations) once stand up and offer one rakat that is missed.

Start from reciting sana, then recite tauz, tasmia, surah al fatihah, then do qirat(recite a surah or at least any three verses from Holy Quran) then, perform ruku, sujood, recite tashhad, durood and dua then offer taslimat and end your prayer. Recite surah al fatihah and do qirat yourself as imam has already said taslimat and ended prayer.

 

Joining Third Rakat

When you started praying salah and Imam is offering third rakat join the congregation by saying takbeer-e-tahreema.

Stand along with congregation if they are performing qayam(standing position), and if they are performing ruku move to ruku after saying Allah-u-akbar.

Offer your prayer along with imam till imam recite tashhad.

Do not recite any tasbihat after tashhad.

When imam say taslimat(salutations) once stand up and offer two rakat that are missed.

Start from reciting sana, then recite tauz, tasmia, surah al fatihah, then do qirat(recite a surah or any three verses from Holy Quran) then, perform ruku, sujood.

Then stand up and offer one more rakat and complete your prayer.

Joining Fourth Rakat

when a person started praying salah nad Imam is offering fourth rakat join the congregation by saying takbeer-e-tahreema.

Stand along with congregation if they are performing qayam(standing position), and if they are performing ruku move to ruku after saying Allah-u-akbar.

Offer your prayer along with imam till imam recite tashhad.

Do not recite any tasbihat after tashhad.

When imam say taslimat(salutations) once stand up to offer three rakat that are missed.

Start from reciting sana, then recite tauz, tasmia, surah al fatihah, then do qirat(recite a surah or any three verses from Holy Quran) then, perform ruku, sujood, recite tashhad.

Then stand up and offer two more rakat and complete your prayer.

In this case you will recite tashhad (perform qada) three times once with imam then after first rakat and again after two more rakat.

References

  1. Holy Quran, Al bakarah, Ayat 43
  1. Sahih Al Bukhari 649, Book 10, Hadith 46.
  1. Holy Quran, Surah An Nisa, Ayah 102.
  1. Jamia At Tirmidhi 241, Book 2, Hadith 93
  2. Sahih AL Bukhari 2420, Book 44, Hadith 10.
  3. The Quran, Surah Al Jumu’ah, Ayah 9.
  4. Sahih muslim 653, Book 5, Hadith 319.
  5. Sahih al Bukhari 636, Book 10, Hadith 33.

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