Section : Congregational Prayer.

Performing the prayers in congregation is a sunnah mu’akkadah. Many ahadith discuss the superiority and excellence of prayers in congregation. Such ahadith include the following:

Ibn ‘Umar reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “Prayer in congregation is superior to a prayer performed individually by twenty-seven degrees.” This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “The prayer of a man in congregation is twenty-five times more superior (in reward) to his prayer in his house or market – and this is because he makes the wudu’ and perfects it and goes to the mosque with the sole purpose of performing the salah. He does not take a step without being raised a degree and having one of his sins erased. When he prays, as long as he does not lose his wudu, the angels keep on praying [for him] ‘O Allah, bless him. O Allah, have mercy on him.’ And he is considered in salah as long as he is waiting for the salah.” This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim, and it is presented in al-Bukhari’s wording.

Abu Hurairah also reports that a blind man said to the Prophet: “O Messenger of Allah, I have no guide to guide me to the mosque.” He asked the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam for permission to pray in his house and the Prophet gave it to him. Then, when he turned to go, the Prophet called him and said: “Do you hear the call to prayer?” The blind man said “yes.” The Prophet then said: “Then respond to it!” [by coming to the mosque.] This is related by Muslim.

Abu Hurairah also reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “By Him in whose hand is my soul! I have considered ordering a fire to be kindled and then ask someone to lead the people in salah. And then go to the men [who did not attend the prayer] and burn their houses over them.” This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud says: “If anyone would like to meet Allah tomorrow as a Muslim, he should persevere in observing these five prayers whenever the call for them is made, for Allah has chosen for your Prophet the way of right guidance. And the [five prayers in congregation] are part of this right guidance. If you were to pray them in your houses, as this man who stays behind in his house, you would be leaving a sunnah of your Prophet. If you leave the sunnah of your Prophet, you would go astray. Verily, I have seen a time when no one stayed away from them [the congregational prayers] except for the hypocrites who were well known for their hypocrisy. A man would be brought, supported by two people [due to his weakness] until he was placed in a row.” This is related by Muslim.

Abu ad-Darda’ reports that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “If there are three men in a village or desert and salah is not established among them, then the Satan takes mastery over them. So be with the congregation since the wolf devours the remote (stray) sheep.” This is related by Abu Dawud with a hasan chain.