Guarding & Preserving The Prayer & How To Pray In Congregation

BISMILLAH

The Five Daily Prayers Are Worth Fifty On The Scales of Good Deeds

Abu Dharr (radiyallaahu `anhu) narrated regarding the Night Journey and Ascension through the Heavens that Allāh’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:

“So I returned to Allāh, the Most High, and He said, ‘These are the five daily prayers and they are equal in reward to fifty, and My word does not change.’ Then Jibrīl took me till we reached the Sidratul-Muntaha (Lote Tree of the utmost boundary) which was shrouded in colours indescribable. Then I was admitted into Paradise where I found small walls made of pearls and its soil was of musk.” 

Reported by al-Bukhārī, Kitābus-Salāt, no. 349.

Guard The Prayers, Especially The Middle Prayer

Referring here to the statement of Allāh, the Most High:

“Guard strictly the daily prayers and especially the middle prayer, and stand before Allāh with obedience.” [Sūratul-Baqarah 2:238]

The middle prayer referred to here is the ʿAsr prayer. The Messenger of Allāh (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) stated:

“Whoever misses the ʿAsr prayer, then it is as if he has lost his family and property.” 

Reported by al-Bukhārī, no. 543. He (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) also said:

“Whoever offers the two cool prayers (i.e. ʿAsr and Fajr) will enter Paradise.”

Reported by al-Bukhārī, no. 574.

Prayer: The Last Thing To Be Lost, The First To Be Accounted For

Abu Umāmah (radiyallaahu `anhu) narrated that Allāh’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:

لتنقضن عرى الإسلام عروة عروة فكلما انتقضت عروة تشبث الناس بالتي تليها فأولهن نقضا الحكم و آخرهن الصلاة

“The handholds of Islām will be annulled one by one, and every time a handhold is annulled the people will hold fast to the one that follows it. The first of them to be annulled is the rule (al-hukm), and the last of them is the prayer (as-salāt).”

Reported by Ahmad in his Musnad, Ibn Hibbān and al-Hākim. Sahīh al-Jāmiʿ as-Saghīr, no. 5057, of Shaykh al-Albānī who declared it sahīh.

Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu `anhu) narrated that the Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) stated:

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ مَا يُحَاسَبُ بِهِ الْعَبْدُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْ عَمَلِهِ صَلَاتُهُ فَإِنْ صَلحَتْ فَقَدْ أَفْلَحَ وَأَنْجَحَ وَإِنْ فَسَدَتْ فَقَدْ خَابَ وَخَسِرَ فَإِنْ انْتَقَصَ مِنْ فَرِيضَتِهِ شَيْءٌ قَالَ الرَّبُّ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ انْظُرُوا هَلْ لِعَبْدِي مِنْ تَطَوُّعٍ فَيُكَمَّلَ بِهَا مَا انْتَقَصَ مِنْ الْفَرِيضَةِ ثُمَّ يَكُونُ سَائِرُ عَمَلِهِ عَلَى ذَلِكَ

“The first affair from his actions for which the servant will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be his prayer (salāt). If it was sound, then he will verily succeed and prosper, and if it was corrupted, he will be a loser and be doomed. If anything is lacking from his obligatory prayers, the Lord will say, ‘Look and see whether my servant has any voluntary prayers, and use that to make up what is deficient from his obligatory prayer.’ Then all of his deeds will be reviewed in like manner.”

Reported by at-Tirmidhī, an-Nasā’ī, Ibn Mājah, and al-Albānī graded it as sahīh in Sahīh al-Jāmiʿ as-Saghīr wa Ziyādah, no. 2020.

The Prayers Wipe Away Sins Just Like Bathing In A River

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu `anhu) that Allāh’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:

“If there was a river at the door of any of you and he took a bath in it five times a day would you notice any dirt on him?” They said: “Not a trace of dirt would be left.” The Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said: “That is the example of the five daily prayers with which Allāh wipes out the evil deeds.” 

Reported by al-Bukhārī, no.528.

Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu `anhu) narrated that Allāh’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:

الصَّلَوَاتُ الْخَمْسُ وَالْجُمْعَةُ إِلَى الْجُمْعَةِ وَرَمَضَانُ إِلَى رَمَضَانَ مُكَفِّرَاتٌ مَا بَيْنَهُنَّ إِذَا اجْتَنَبَ الْكَبَائِرَ

“The five daily prayers, the Jumuʿah to the next Jumuʿah and a Ramadān till the next Ramadān are expiation for whatever is committed between them so long as one keeps clear of the major sins.”

Reported by Muslim, nos. 233,344.

When An Affair Troubled The Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) He Would Seek Solace By Praying

Hudhaifah bin Yamān (radiyallaahu `anhu) narrated:

إِذَا حَزَبَهُ أَمْرٌ صَلَّى

“Whenever something serious troubled the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam), he would pray.”

Reported by Abu Dawūd, no. 1319, and al-Albānī graded it as hasan.

The Coolness of The Eyes & The Comfort Of The Soul

Meaning: the comfort of the soul and its contentment. Anas bin Mālik (radiyallaahu `anhu) narrated that Allāh’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:

حُبِّبَ إِلَيَّ النِّسَاءُ وَالطِّيبُ وَجُعِلَتْ قُرَّةُ عَيْنِي فِي الصَّلَاةِ

“Women and perfume have been made dear to me, and the coolness of my eyes is in the prayer”

Reported by an-Nasā’ī, Kitāb Ishratin-Nisā, no. 3940, and al-Albānī graded it as sahīh.

The Virtue Of The Congregational Prayer & The Danger Of Leaving It

Ibn Masʿūd (radiyallaahu `anhu) stated:

“Whoever would like to meet Allāh, the Most High, tomorrow as a Muslim, then let him preserve these prayers wherein he is called to them, for indeed Allāh legislated for your Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) the Sunan of guidance, and they are from the Sunan of guidance. And if you pray in your houses just as this opposer prays in his house, then you have abandoned the Sunnah of your Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam). And if you abandon the Sunnah of your Prophet then surely you have gone astray. There is not a man who purifies himself and does so well and then heads off to a Mosque from these Mosques except that Allāh writes for him with every step a reward, and raises him in rank thereby, and wipes away a sin thereby. I remember when no one would stay away except for a hypocrite whose hypocrisy was known – and (even a sick) man would come staggering between two others in order to stand in the row.

Reported by Muslim, ‘Book of Mosques and Places of Prayer’, no. 654.

Abdullāh bin ʿUmar (radiyallaahu `anhumaa) narrated that Allāh’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:

صَلَاةُ الْجَمَاعَةِ تَفْضُلُ صَلَاةَ الْفَذِّ بِسَبْعٍ وَعِشْرِينَ دَرَجَةً

“The congregational prayer is twenty-seven times more virtuous than the prayer of a person praying alone.”

Reported by al-Bukhārī, no. 645.

The Imaam Of A Masjid Should Lead With A Prayer Which Is Brief

Anas bin Mālik (radiyallaahu `anhu):

مَا صَلَّيْتُ وَرَاءَ إِمَامٍ قَطُّ أَخَفَّ صَلَاةً وَلَا أَتَمَّ مِنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ

“I have never ever prayed behind an Imām who prayed a prayer briefer yet more complete than the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam).”

Reported by Bukhārī, no. 780, and Muslim no. 469. In a narration of Muslim (no. 468), from ʿUthmān bin Abil-Ās ath-Thaqafī (radiyallaahu `anhu) who said that Allāh’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said to him:

أُمَّ قَوْمَكَ فَمَنْ أَمَّ قَوْمًا فَلْيُخَفِّفْ فَإِنَّ فِيهِمْ الْكَبِيرَ وَإِنَّ فِيهِمْ الْمَرِيضَ وَإِنَّ فِيهِمْ الضَّعِيفَ وَإِنَّ فِيهِمْ ذَا الْحَاجَةِ وَإِذَا صَلَّى أَحَدُكُمْ وَحْدَهُ فَلْيُصَلِّ كَيْفَ شَاءَ

“Lead your people in prayer. Whoever leads people in prayer, let him make it brief, for among them are the elderly, among them are the sick, and among them are those who have urgent needs. And when one of you offers the prayer alone, let him pray however he wishes.”

Do Not Stand For The Congregational Prayer Till You See The Imaam

The congregation should not stand for the prayer until they see the Imām, even if the iqāmah has been called. Abu Qatādah (radiyallaahu `anhu) narrated that Allāh’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:

إِذَا أُقِيمَتِ الصَّلَاةُ فَلَا تَقُومُوا حَتَّى تَرَوْنِي

“If the iqāmah is called, then do not stand for prayer till you see me (in front of you).”

Reported by al-Bukhārī, no. 637.

Straightening Of The Rows Is Essential

It is reported from Anas bin Mālik (radiyallaahu `anhu) that the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:

سَوُّوا صُفُوفَكُمْ فَإِنَّ تَسْوِيَةَ الصَّفِّ مِنْ تَمَامِ الصَّلَاةِ

“Straighten your rows as the straightening of the rows is essential for a perfect and correct prayer.”

Reported by al-Bukhārī, no. 723; Muslim, no. 433.

And in a wording of al-Bukhārī:

 

سَوُّوا صُفُوفَكُمْ فَإِنَّ تَسْوِيَةَ الصُّفُوفِ مِنْ إِقَامَةِ الصَّلَاةِ

“Straighten your rows, for indeed the straightening of the rows is from the perfection and establishment of the prayer.”

It is reported by Abu Dawūd from Anas bin Mālik, no. 667, declared sahīh by al-Albānī, that Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam):

رُصُّوا صُفُوفَكُمْ وَقَارِبُوا بَيْنَهَا وَحَاذُوا بِالْأَعْنَاقِ فَوَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ إِنِّي لَأَرَى الشَّيْطَانَ يَدْخُلُ مِنْ خَلَلِ الصَّفِّ كَأَنَّهَا الْحَذَفُ

“Line up your rows tightly, and be close together, and make your necks straight (in one line). I swear by Him in whose Hands is my soul, I see the Shaitān enter between the gaps in the rows as if he is a small black goat.”

And there occurs in the hadīth of Ibn ʿUmar (radiyallaahu `anhu) that the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:

أَقِيمُوا الصُّفُوفَ وَحَاذُوا بَيْنَ الْمَنَاكِبِ وَسُدُّوا الْخَلَلَ وَلِينُوا بِأَيْدِي إِخْوَانِكُمْ وَلَا تَذَرُوا فُرُجَاتٍ لِلشَّيْطَانِ

“Straighten the rows, and stand shoulder to shoulder and leave no gaps, and do not leave any gaps for the Shaitān.”

Reported by Ahmad, 2/98; Abu Dawūd, no. 666; an-Nasā’ī, 2/93. Abu Dawūd added: And the meaning of, “Be gentle with the hands of your brothers” is that if a man comes to the row and seeks to enter it, then it is compulsory upon each person to ease his shoulders so that he may enter the row.

There occurs in the two Sahīhs from Anas bin Mālik (radiyallaahu `anhu):

أُقِيمَتْ الصَّلَاةُ فَأَقْبَلَ عَلَيْنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِوَجْهِهِ فَقَالَ أَقِيمُوا صُفُوفَكُمْ وَتَرَاصُّوا فَإِنِّي أَرَاكُمْ مِنْ وَرَاءِ ظَهْرِي

The Iqāmah was called and Allāh’s Messenger faced us and said: “Establish the rows and line up straight.”

An-Nuʿmān bin Bashīr (radiyallaahu `anhu) said:

كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يُسَوِّي صُفُوفَنَا حَتَّى كَأَنَّمَا يُسَوِّي بِهَا الْقِدَاحَ حَتَّى رَأَى أَنَّا قَدْ عَقَلْنَا عَنْهُ ثُمَّ خَرَجَ يَوْمًا فَقَامَ حَتَّى كَادَ يُكَبِّرُ فَرَأَى رَجُلًا بَادِيًا صَدْرُهُ مِنْ الصَّفِّ فَقَالَ عِبَادَ اللَّهِ لَتُسَوُّنَّ صُفُوفَكُمْ أَوْ لَيُخَالِفَنَّ اللَّهُ بَيْنَ وُجُوهِكُمْ

“Allāh’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) used to straighten our rows as if he was straightening an arrow, until he saw that we had learned it. Then he came out one day and was about to say the takbīr when he noticed a man whose chest was sticking out from the row. So he said: ‘O servants of Allāh! You will indeed straighten your rows or Allāh will cause separation between your faces.’”

Reported by al-Bukhārī, no. 717; Muslim, no. 436.

Nuʿmān bin Bashīr said:

كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يُسَوِّي صُفُوفَنَا إِذَا قُمْنَا لِلصَّلَاةِ فَإِذَا اسْتَوَيْنَا كَبَّرَ

“The Messenger of Allāh would straighten our rows when we stood up to pray. Once we had straightened them, he would pronounce the takbīr.”

Reported by Abu Dawūd, no. 665. Al-Albānī graded it as sahīh.

There occurs in the Muwatta of Imām Mālik from the Leader of the Believers, ʿUmar bin al-Khattāb that he used to command that the rows be straight, and when they informed him that they were straight, he would pronounce the takbīr (to begin the salāt). And he used to appoint men to straighten the rows. Mālik bin Abī ʿĀmir stated:

“I was with ʿUthmān bin ʿAffān and the iqāmah was called for the prayer, and I was talking to him for a need, until some men came and he had appointed them to straighten the rows. So they informed him that the rows were indeed straight, so he said to me, “Line up in the row.” Then he made the takbīr to begin the prayer.”

Al-Muwatta, 1/156, no. 382 and Al-Muwatta, 1/157, no. 383.

The Forbiddance Of Leaving Gaps Or Severing The Rows

Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:

وَمَنْ قَطَعَ صَفًّا قَطَعَهُ اللَّهُ

“Whoever severs the row, Allāh will sever Him (from His Mercy).”

Reported by Ahmad, 2/98; Abu Dawūd, no. 666; an-Nasā’ī, 2/93.

Joining The Feet And The Ankles Is From The Sunnah!

Nuʿmān bin Bashīr (radiyallaahu `anhu) said:

فَرَأَيْتُ الرَّجُلَ يَلْزَقُ مَنْكِبَهُ بِمَنْكِبِ صَاحِبِهِ وَرُكْبَتَهُ بِرُكْبَةِ صَاحِبِهِ وَكَعْبَهُ بِكَعْبِهِ

“So I saw a person attach his shoulder to the shoulder of his companion, and his knee with his companion’s knee, and his ankle with his companion’s ankle.”

Reported by Abu Dawūd, under the chapter of ‘Straightening the Rows’, no. 622. Al-Albānī graded this hadīth as sahīh. Anas bin Mālik (radiyallaahu `anhu) said:

وَكَانَ أَحَدُنَا يُلْزِقُ مَنْكِبَهُ بِمَنْكِبِ صَاحِبِهِ وَقَدَمَهُ بِقَدَمِهِ

“Everyone of us used to put his shoulder with the shoulder of his companion and his foot with the foot of his companion.”

Reported by al-Bukhārī, no. 725.

Never Go Ahead Of The Imaam, Follow Him – Otherwise You May Become Disfigured

The Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) stated:

أَمَا يَخْشَى الَّذِي يَرْفَعُ رَأْسَهُ قَبْلَ الْإِمَامِ أَنْ يُحَوِّلَ اللَّهُ رَأْسَهُ رَأْسَ حِمَارٍ أَوْ يَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ صُورَتَهُ صُورَةَ حِمَارٍ ؟

“Isn’t he who raises his head before the Imām afraid that Allāh may transform his head into that of a donkey?! Or his [facial] image into that of a donkey?!”

Reported by al-Bukhārī, no. 691; Muslim, no. 427. The hadīth was narrated by Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu `anhu).

Imām al-Bukhārī (rahimahullaah) stated:

Chapter: When do those who are behind the Imām prostrate (make sajdah)?

Anas (radiyallaahu `anhu) said:

“When the Imām has prostrated, then prostrate.”

Al-Barā’ (radiyallaahu `anhu) stated:

“When Allāh’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said, samiʿAllāhu liman hamidah, none of us would bend his back (to prostate) until the Prophet was in prostration (sajdah), then we would make prostration after him.”

Hadīth no. 690.

He (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) also said:

إِنَّمَا جُعِلَ الْإِمَامُ لِيُؤْتَمَّ بِهِ فَإِذَا كَبَّرَ فَكَبِّرُوا وَإِذَا رَكَعَ فَارْكَعُوا وَإِذَا رَفَعَ فَارْفَعُوا وَإِذَا قَالَ سَمِعَ اللَّهُ لِمَنْ حَمِدَهُ فَقُولُوا رَبَّنَا وَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ وَإِذَا سَجَدَ فَاسْجُدُوا وَإِذَا صَلَّى قَاعِدًا فَصَلُّوا قُعُودًا أَجْمَعُونَ

“The Imām is appointed to be followed, so if he makes takbīr, then make takbīr; if he enters into rukūʿ, then enter into rukūʿ; when he rises from that, then rise; when he says: samiʿ Allāhu liman hamida, then say: Rabbanā walakal-hamd. If he prays sitting, then all of you pray seated.”

Reported by Ahmad, 2/314; Al-Bukhārī, no. 722; Muslim, no. 414. The hadīth was narrated by Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu `anhu).

The Best Of Rows Are The First Ones For Men And Last Ones For Women

And in the two Sahīhs, from Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu `anhu), that the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam):

لَوْ يَعْلَمُ النَّاسُ مَا فِي النِّدَاءِ وَالصَّفِّ الْأَوَّلِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَجِدُوا إِلَّا أَنْ يَسْتَهِمُوا عَلَيْهِ لَاسْتَهَمُوا

“If the people knew the reward for the adhān (the call for prayer) and for standing in the front row and found no other way to get that except by drawing lots, verily they would draw lots.”

Al-Bukhārī, no. 615, 761; Muslim, no. 437.

And he (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) also said:

خَيْرُ صُفُوفِ الرِّجَالِ أَوَّلُهَا وَشَرُّهَا آخِرُهَا

“The best of rows for the men are the first rows, and the worst are the last ones.”

He (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) also said:

أَتِمُّوا الصَّفَّ الْمُقَدَّمَ ثُمَّ الَّذِي يَلِيهِ فَمَا كَانَ مِنْ نَقْصٍ فَلْيَكُنْ فِي الصَّفِّ الْمُؤَخَّرِ

“Complete the foremost row first, then that which follows it – and if there is any deficiency (in completing the row), then let it be in the last one.”

Reported by Ahmad, 3/333; Abu Dawūd, no 671; An-Nasā’ī, 2/293; Ibn Hibbān, no. 2173. The hadīth was narrated by Anas bin Mālik (radiyallaahu `anhu).

Jābīr bin Samurah (radiyallaahu `anhu) narrated that Allāh’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said:

أَلَا تَصُفُّونَ كَمَا تَصُفُّ الْمَلَائِكَةُ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ جَلَّ وَعَزَّ قُلْنَا وَكَيْفَ تَصُفُّ الْمَلَائِكَةُ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ قَالَ يُتِمُّونَ الصُّفُوفَ الْمُقَدَّمَةَ وَيَتَرَاصُّونَ فِي الصَّفِّ

“Do you not wish to line up just as the Angels line up in front of their Lord?” We asked: “How do the Angels line up in front of their Lord?” He said: “They complete the first rows, and they line up closely in the rows.”

Reported by Abu Dawūd, no. 661, and al-Albānī graded it sahīh.

When Only Two Are Praying

Narrated Ibn Abbās (radiyallaahu `anhumaa) who said:

“One night I prayed to the left of the Prophet in the salāt so he took me by my hand or by my shoulder till he made me stand on his right side, and he beckoned with his hand for me to go to his right side from behind him.”

Reported by al-Bukhārī, no. 728.

I ask that Allaah, the Most Kind, makes us from those who are ardent over the Prayer, and eagerly anticipate each one before it arrives; that we pray with actions that are pleasing to Allaah, with a heart that is awake and eager. May Allaah make the prayer the coolness of our eyes.

Abu Khadeejah Abdul-Waahid Alam.

 

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