Q&A (Fatwa)

#303: Ruling on the Second Band of Congregation in a Masjid after the First

*Question*

” Jazakallahu khairan. I have a question regarding this. Let’s say a group of people come into a masjid after the first congregation has been observed. Now for whatever reason, they missed the first congregation, should each of them observe their salat alone since they are all poor (as a result of missing out from the first congregation)? Secondly, If they pray in congregation, is their prayers valid? And will they benefit from the twenty five or twenty seven degrees reward or they will rather have one reward? I have also heard that they (people who missed first congregation) can observe their salat in congregation but outside the masjid. What is the ruling on this please?”

ANSWER

Wa iyyākum

Alhamdulillāh

As regards the observance of a second congregation in the same Masjid, there are various scenerios that are possible.

The first scenerio is if the people in this second Jama’ah were to agree beforehand to allow the first congregation to end their Salāt before they row up to make theirs.

The Ulamā have formed a consensus that this kind of waiting was Harām.

Due to what it is of dividing the ranks of the Ummah and the sowing of rancour in the hearts of its sons.

For this reason the Ulamā hold the principle that

“Whosoever can have his Salāt sound for acceptance can also have a Congregation pray behind him in a sound manner.”

Which means that your Salāt behind every Muslim who has not committed an act that takes him out of Islām is accepted.

Why then should a people intentionally stay behind to wait for a congregation to end its Salāt?

The second scenario is that they did not wait but all missed the Salāt.

If in this scenerio, the masjid in question has no permanent and appointed Imām that leads the Salāt in it for the Daily Prayers, the Ulamā have formed a consensus that it were permissible to have a Second Jamā’ah.

Imām An-Nawawī – rahimahullāh – mentioned this in Al-Majmū’.

But if in this scenerio, the Masjid in question has an appointed Imām that leads the people in Prayer, then the Ulamā differed on its ruling.

The position of the majority that includes Imām Abū Hanīfah, Imām Mālik, Imām Ash-Shāfi’ī, and one of the weakly narrated positions of Imām Ahmad Ibn Hanbal from Abū Dāwud As-Sijistānī is that such an act was Makrūh.

Imām Ash-Shāfi’ī – rahimahullāh – said in Al-Umm:

(وإذا دخل جماعة المسجد، فوجدوا الإمام قد صلى صلوا فرادى، فإن صلوا جماعة أجزأتهم صلاتهم، ولكني أكره لهم ذلك، لأنه لم يكن من أحوال السلف)

“If a people were to enter the Masjid and they met that the Imām has observed the Salāt, then they should all observe their Salāt individually. But if they observe their Salāt congregationally, their Salāt is accepted but this is disliked for them because this was not of the deeds of the Salad”

Imām Ibn Al-Qāsim Al-Mālikī – rahimahullāh – also mentioned in the Mudawwanah something of that nature that some of the Salaf such as Nāfi’ whenever they missed the Salāt, they would observe it alone.

Their position is also buttressed by the Hadīth that was recorded by Al-Haythamī in Al-Majma’ and At-Tabarānī in Al-Awsat that once the Rasūl – salallāhu alayhi wasallam – returned from one of the outskirt towns. He approached the Masjid but once he saw that the People have observed the Salāt, he returned to his home and gathered his family and prayed in congregation.

The Isnād of this Hadīth is strong.

This position is also buttressed by the negative impact that such can cause which is the reduction of the number of people that observe the first congregation since they are sure that there would be a second, a third and probably a fourth.

The second position, which is the position of Imām Ahmad from the majority of his students, is that it were permissible.

His evidence for this is the generality of the Hadīth that mentioned the merits of the Congregational Salāt over the one done Alone.

The second evidence used to buttress this position is the Hadīth of At-Tirmidhī from Abū Sa’īd that a man once came to the Masjid after the Rasūl – salallāhu alayhi wasallam – has led the Congregation. Then the Rasūl – salallāhu alayhi wasallam – asked. “Who will do a Sadaqah to this man?” So a man stood up and observed the Salāt with him.

The Ulamā that followed the majority responded to making this Hadīth as evidence by saying: this Hadīth refers to one person observing the Fard Salāt and the second person observing Nāfilah.

They said: this is entirely different from the situation where a second congregation comes into the masjid.

The Ulamā that favored the second position responded by saying:

The reference here is to the Jamā’ah not to the intentions of the People observing the Jamā’ah.

After examining the evidences, we hold that observing the second congregation in a Masjid that has an Imām is Makrūh (disliked).

As Imām Ash-Shāfi’ī mentioned: if they do so, their Salāt is accepted but with dislike.

However, there is nothing wrong in them observing the second congregation outside the Masjid. Maybe by the courtyard.

And Allah knows best
Bārakallāhu fīkum

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