Salah (ritual Prayer) in congregation of two or more persons is twenty-seven times better than Prayer alone.
If the group comprises both men and women, the men stand in rows in front of the rows of women. This is to prevent anyone from being distracted by standing next to someone of the opposite sex and to preserve women’s modesty when they bow and prostrate.
Where the Imam Stands
One person should be designated as the imam (Prayer leader). This should be the person who knows the most Qur’an. If all are equal in this, then the imam should be the one who knows the most Sunnah. In a house, the owner of the house has the right to lead the Prayer, but he or she may designate someone else who knows more Qur’an.
If a man and woman (such as husband and wife) are praying, the man should, of course, lead the Prayer and stand in front of the woman.
If two men are praying together, the imam should stand to the left and slightly ahead of the other. If there are three or more men, the imam should stand by himself in front of the others, who should then form a straight row (or rows) behind him. If there are also women, they can form a row (or rows) behind the last row of men.
When only women are praying together, if there are only two, the imam should stand to the left of the other in a row with her (not slightly ahead of her as with men). If there are three or more women, the imam should stand in the middle of the row (not ahead of the row as with men).
When standing in rows, the worshipers should stand close together with shoulders close to each other. There should not be gaps between people.
How the Prayer is Performed?
Before beginning the Prayer, someone should say the Iqamah aloud. It is preferable that this be someone other than the imam.
The imam says: “Allahu Akbar” aloud. The others should similarly raise their hands to their ears and repeat the words silently or in a whisper.
If this is a silent Prayer (Zhuhr or ‘Asr), the imam recites Al-Fatihah and the verses of the Qur’an silently. The others should do likewise. If the Prayer is said aloud (Fajr, Maghrib or ‘Isha’), the imam recites Al-Fatihah aloud. The others should say “Ameen” aloud at the end. The imam then recites aloud some verses of the Qur’an, and the others should listen attentively.
The imam says: “Allahu Akbar” aloud before bowing in ruku`. The others should then bow and say silently, “Subhana Rabiy ‘Al-‘Adheem.”
As the imam stands he says aloud, “Sami‘a-llaahu liman hamidah.” The others should then stand and say silently, “Rabana walaka-l-hamd.”
For the remainder of the rak`ah, the imam says, “Allahu Akbar” aloud before each movement (prostrating, sitting or standing) and the others should then follow his movement. They should move only after the imam says: “Allahu Akbar.”
In a Prayer of more than two rak‘ahs, the imam recites Al-Fatihah silently in the third and fourth rak‘ahs.
The Tashahhud is said silently, as when praying alone. The Tasleem is said aloud first by the imam, and then the worshipers repeat it silently as they turn their heads.