Congregational prayers is one of the symbols of Islam and Muslims. It is narrated that if the members of a congregational prayers exceeds ten, no one except Allah would be able to count the reward of their prayers. This video is about the rules related to the congregational prayers.
Ahkam in Brief. Congregational prayers.
Congregation prayers is one of the symbols of Islam and Muslims. It is narrated that if the members of a congregational prayers exceeds 10, no one except Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala would be able to count the reward of their prayers. In this video, we will talk about the rules related to the congregational prayers.
Congregational prayers can easily be conducted by a group of people. The main criteria is that the leader or the imam should have some characteristics for others to pray behind him. So what are these characteristics?
First, he should be at the age of puberty, sane and Shi'a. Secondly, his prayers should be correct, according to the followers' jurist. Thirdly, his Arabic recitation of Al-Fatiha and the Sura of the Qur'an should be accurate. Fourth, he should be Adil or just. This means he should follow the Islamic rules and refrain from sinful acts. Praying behind a person whom you are not sure whether he's just or not is not allowed. Fifth, you should also be of legitimate birth and not have been convicted or punished by Islamic laws. Some jurists stipulate that the part of sajdah of the imam's body should not be amputated. And finally, men cannot pray behind a lady, and a person who offers prayer standing cannot follow an imam who offers his prayers while sitting.
How can one become assured that the imam of congregation prayer is just or 'Adil? This can be proven by personal acquaintance with the imam and to know that he performs all his religious duties and refrains from all forbidden acts according to the Islamic laws. Another way is by the testimony of two just people that he is a just person. And finally, it can be proven by the widespread news amongst people, which makes one assured showed that this person is just.
To hold congregational prayers, these guidelines should be followed. First, all the followers should stand behind the imam. Second, there should not be a gap between the followers of more than the biggest possible human footstep. Third, a follower should be linked with the imam or with one of the followers. This link should be either from the front, right or left side. Fourth, the place of the imam should not be higher than the place of the follower. But if the place of the follower is higher than the place of the imam, it is acceptable.
What Niyyah or intention is compulsory for a congregational prayer? The follower should have the intention that he is praying in congregation, but this is not compulsory on the imam. So for example, it is allowed that a person starts his prayers individually and after that people join him and pray behind him in congregational prayer. Here, the imam had the intention to pray individually, but the intention of the followers was to pray in congregation.
Important note: it is allowed for the follower to pray a different prayer than what the imam is praying. The main idea is that both should be praying one of the daily obligatory prayers. So, for example, you can pray your 'Asr prayers behind a person who is praying his Dhuhr prayers or you can pray cover qadha' or the compensation of your Dhuhr prayers behind the person who is praying his 'Isha.
So how congregational prayer is performed? Once the imam commences his prayers, all followers can begin their prayers. The follower should not go ahead of the imam in any of the acts of prayers. So he has to bow prostrate and stand up following the imam. But in recitation, the follower is allowed to go ahead of the imam. Note that following the imam is compulsory and the prayer might be void if one deliberately goes ahead or delays his actions. The follower has to perform all acts and recitations of the prayers. The only exception is reciting Al-Fatiha and the second Sura, and this is only if he joins the congregation from its beginning.
Now a question: what if one arrives late and the congregation prayers has already started? What can he do?
The rules of joining a congregational prayers has a lot of detail. We will try to give some general guidelines that will help you. We advise you to review and practice the rules with an expert.
The first guideline: if a person arrives late, he can join the congregational prayers. If the imam is standing or bowing in ruku', he can commence his prayers and join them from where they are. Note that if the imam was bowing the follower after saying Allahu Akbar must pause for a moment, then bow down and join the congregation in ruku'. This pause is one of the mandatory parts of any prayers.
The second guideline: if one joins the congregation prayers during the first or the second raka' before the imam raises his head from the ruku', he does not have to recite Al-Fatiha and the second Sura for his first raka'. He should say Allahu Akbar, pause for a bit and go straight to ruku'.
The third guideline: if one joins the imam in the third or fourth raka', he should recite Al-Fatiha and the second Sura. If this recitation causes him to fall behind the imam, he can discontinue his recitation and bow down with the imam for the ruku'.
Important note: if before starting his prayers, one knows that he will not be able to finish the recitation of Al Fatiha, he must wait until Imam bows down for ruku' and then start his prayers.
The fourth guideline: if the imam reached tashahhud and the new follower is not at the stage of tashahhud, he has to wait by taking a ready to stand position and wait till imam stands up. He then can join the congregation at that point. The same applies in the place of Salam. If the imam is completing his prayers by reciting Salam and the new follower is not at the stage of Salam, he can take a ready to stand position till imam ends his prayers. After that, he can resume his prayers for farada, or singly.
Finally, the ladies' congregational prayers rules.
A woman can lead the prayer for other women, but she must stand in the same row along with other followers, and she should not stand ahead of them. When women take part in men's congregational prayer, they must occupy the rear lines or pray to the side separated from the men with a barrier such as a screen or curtain.
DISCLAIMER: The content of this clip is based on the fatawa of the Grand Ayatullah Al-Sistani and is presented in a simplified form. Therefore, for the exact definition and explanation, please refer to the original sources or ask someone authorised to answer.