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No Rush To Join The Prayers: Following The Way Of The Prophet

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Adil Salahi

Having learned the importance of offering the obligatory prayers in congregation at a mosque, the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) companions were always keen to join the congregation at his mosque. They had the added incentive of having the Prophet leading the prayer. Today, when we have the opportunity of joining a prayer led by an imam who has a fine voice and recites the Qur’an well, we are eager to attend such a congregational prayer. The Prophet’s companions were able to join the best imam that ever led a prayer. Hence, they were always keen to be on time, particularly when they learned that being present as the imam begins the prayer earns greater reward. Therefore, whenever they felt that they were late or about to miss a part of the prayer, they rushed to join it. In their speed, they might sometimes be noisy. This is inappropriate.

Abu Qatadah, a companion of the Prophet, reports: “We were offering a prayer with the Prophet when he heard noises made by some people. When he finished, he asked them what was the matter. They said that they were rushing to join the prayer. He said: ‘Do not do that again. When you come to prayer, you should remain calm and maintain propriety. Whatever you catch up of the prayer is fine, and whatever you have missed you can then complete.’” (Related by Al-Bukhari).

The Hadith is very clear. The Prophet tells us that it is inappropriate to make noises when a congregational prayer is in progress, not even the sort of noise that a few people making haste to join the prayer produce. An air of decorum, humility and decency should always be maintained in the mosque, especially during prayer. When some people are praying and others are in the mosque, the latter should not disturb the worshippers by speaking aloud or making noises. The Hadith we are discussing today disallows rushing to join a congregational prayer.

What a person who feels that he may miss the congregational prayer can do is to walk fast, but not in a way that gives the impression that he is in great hurry. He should remember that God grants him the reward of being in worship while walking to the mosque, provided that he has no other business than to offer his prayers. Every step he makes while walking earns a reward. So, there is no rush. If he misses part of the congregational prayer, he joins wherever the imam has reached then when the imam finishes his prayer; latecomers complete what they have missed. Suppose one joins after the congregation has completed two rak’ahs in a 4-rak’ah prayer. When the imam finishes the prayer, he immediately stands up to complete his prayer to four rak’ahs.

A question is often asked: do the two rak’ahs he prayed with the imam count as his last two, or his first two. Scholars differ in their views on this question. The view supported by stronger evidence is that what he prayed with the imam counts as his first part of his prayer. What he prays after the imam has finished is the complement that he has to make. Thus, if a person prays one rak’ah with the imam in Isha prayer, he has to offer his second, third and fourth rak’ahs. The first one of these three counts as his second. He reads the Qur’an aloud and sits for his first tashahhud after it. He then rises to offer his third and fourth rak’ahs reading the Qur’an in secret.



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