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Salatul-Jama’ah [Congregational Salat]

Salatul-Jama'h1

It is narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s) said: "Whoever has performed his five Salats in Jama’ah, think good of him." The first congregational Salat performed by the Messegner of Allah (s) was in the Holy Mecca, with Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) in Al­Masjidul-Haram. When his uncle, Abo Talib, saw him, he said to his son. Ja'far: "My son, join the wing of your cousin", that is, join him on the other side, beside Ali (a.s.), behind the Prophet (s).

Hence, the Messenger of Allah (s) performed his first congregational Salat with the Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and Ja'far Ibn Abi Talib. Salatul-Jama’ah is Mustahabb2 is all five Salats3. lt is preferred to the individual Salat, and its reward is greater with Allah, the Glorified.

Congregational Salat teaches us how to unite with our brothers, the Musallis, and makes us feel that we are all equal brothers, standing in rows of Musallis, worshipping Allah and invoking Him. That was why the Messenger of Allah (s) ordered the Musallis to perform Salatul­Jama’ah.

Rules of the Congregational Salat

There are certain conditions and regulations related to Salatul­Jama’ah, which we must learn. Some of these rules are as follows:

1. The Imam [the leader of the Salat] is to be sane, of full age, and of legitimate birth, as it is not allowed to perform the Salat behind a boy, an insane person, or somebody of illegitimate birth.

2. The Imam must recite correctly and perform the Salat well.

3. He must be a God-fearing believer, as it is not allowed to follow a corrupt leader in the Salat.

4. The place of the Imam must not be higher than the place on which the Ma'mums [the Musallis standing behind the Imam to perform the Salat], unless the difference in height is slight, not more than commonly allowed, so that the people would not think him too lofty above them.

5. It is the Imam of the Jama’ah who recites the Ftihah and the other Surah in the first and the second Rak’ahs, while the Ma'mums recite nothing, but they just listen.

6. There must be no divider between the Imam and the Ma'mums,4 such as a wall, or even a vacant space, and the like. It is allowed, however, to hang a curtain between the men and the women Musallis.

7. The Musallis are to imitate the Imam in the acts of Salat, such as the Ruku, the Sujud, Takbiratul-Ihram, etc. and are not to precede him in doing them.

8. Masculinity: That is, the men are allowed to perform the Salat only behind a male Imam. As to the women they may choose to follow a male or a female5 Imam.

9. The women are to stand behind the men in Salatul-Jama’ah.

10. The least number of people who may form a Salatul-Jama’ah is two persons, the Imam and a follower. (Ma'mum)

Discussion

Q1. Write T for the true statement and F for the false one.

a. A woman may follow another woman in Salatul-Jama’ah.

b. It is allowed to follow a boy as the Imam in Salatul-Jama’ah.

c. Salatul-Jama’ah is correct if there was a partition between the Imam and the Musallis.

d. D. To perform Salatul-Jama’ah behind a corrupt Imam is allowed.

  • 1. Brother teachers are requested to practically perform Salatul Jama’ah at school so that the students may grow accustomed to it.
  • 2. The Hanbalis say that Salatul Jama’ah is an individual Wajib required of every person capable of performing it. But if one performed the Salat individually, it would be valid, though one would be considered a sinner.
  • 3. Except Salatul Jumu'ah and Salatul Eid, which must he performed congregationally, in case their other conditions allowed.
  • 4. The Shafi'is say: "Between the Imam and the Ma'mum there may be a distance of more than 300 cubits (a cubit = 45-56cms.), provided that there is no barrier." The Hanafis say: "If a person in his house followed, in his Salat, the Imam of the Jama’ah in the mosque, his Salat would be valid, if his house was next to the mosque with only a wall in between, provided that he could make no mistake about the Imam's postures. If the house, however, was separated from the mosque by a road or a river, one is not to follow the Imam as Mu'mum." The Malikis say: "The difference of place would not prevent the legality of following the Imam, if the Ma'mum was sure of his imitation of the Imams acts of the Salat.
  • 5. The Malikis say that a woman is not to be an Imam, even for a woman Ma'mum.