Aspects of Islamic Faith - 71: Prayers With More Rewards
Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals
& Information - By Adil Salahi
It is well known that certain times are associated
with special privileges. As such they are better than
other times. When worship is offered at such times, it
is granted greater reward than would be the case at
other times. Friday is better than the other six days
of the week, and the month of Ramadan is better than
the rest of the year. The Night of Power, which occurs
in the last third of Ramadan, is stated in the Qur’an
to be better than a thousand months. Such preferences
are made by God as an aspect of His bounty when he
multiplies reward for simple worship.
Likewise, some places are given special status. For
example, the place where the Prophet (peace be upon
him) is buried is the noblest spot on earth. However,
places are given such privilege so that people will
travel to them and offer their worship there, earning
greater reward. These places are mosques identified by
the Prophet. As such, they are not comparable to other
places of distinction. We cannot draw a comparison
between them and the Prophet’s place of burial. Prayer
is not valid when the worshipper is facing a grave.
Abu Hurayrah quotes the Prophet as saying: “Prayer in
this mosque of mine is more rewarding than one
thousand prayers elsewhere except in the Sacred Mosque
(in Makkah)”. (Related by Al-Bukhari). This is an
authentic Hadith which makes clear that a prayer in
the Prophet’s mosque earns the reward of one thousand
similar prayers elsewhere, with the exception of the
Sacred Mosque in Makkah. Scholars have discussed
whether the preference is restricted to the area,
which the Prophet’s mosque occupied when the Prophet
built it. The weightier opinion is that the preference
applies to the whole mosque, with its extensions, and
even its surrounding area no matter how far the
congregation stretches in special seasons like the
pilgrimage and in Ramadan. It is inconceivable that
people offering the same prayer, with the same
congregation, led by the same imam, should be rewarded
differently for their prayers. God’s bounty is
unrestricted and He rewards His servants in multiples.
An even greater reward is earned by prayer at the
Sacred Mosque in Makkah, which surrounds the Kaaba.
There, a prayer earns its reward multiplied 100,000
times. Some people have questioned whether this
applies to the whole area of the Haram, which includes
the whole city of Makkah stretching a few kilometers
around it. The answer is that it does not. The
multiple reward is for prayer in the sacred mosque,
i.e. the Masjid Al-Haram. Again the extensions that
have been added are included.
One thing must be made clear: The preference here
applies to the reward granted by God for such prayers.
It does not make a prayer in the Prophet’s mosque
equal to 1,000 prayers elsewhere. No one can say that
as he prayed for one full day in the Prophet’s mosque,
he need not pray for 1,000 days. The duty of prayer
remains incumbent in all cases.
Another place of preference is the Al-Aqsa mosque in
Jerusalem where a prayer is rewarded as equal to 500
prayers elsewhere with the exception of the Sacred
Mosque and the Prophet’s mosque.
As for which of the three cities is preferred, there
is no doubt that Makkah is the best place on earth,
except for the small part in Madinah where the Prophet
Madinah is next and Jerusalem comes third.
A question arises whether offering prayers in
congregation in these mosques still earns a reward 27
times greater than praying alone. The answer is that
it does. Someone offering prayer in the Sacred Mosque
in Makkah in the congregation earns the same reward as
one offering the same prayer alone in that mosque
multiplied by 27. God’s bounty is limitless.