Praying in Congregation at Home Due to COVID-19
Prayer is the only pillar which is repeated five times each day, and it is never waved except for a woman experiencing her menstrual period or post-partum bleeding.
It is the one of the most virtuous and most beloved of deeds to Allah as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “…know that the best of your deeds is the prayer, and only a true believer maintains the state of ablution.” (Ahmad)
It is the backbone of Islam, and brings pleasure to the eyes of pious. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The most important of all matters is Islam, its backbone is the prayer, and its highest level is Jihad for the sake of Allah.” (Ahmad)
Prayer is light, proof, and salvation. Abdullah ibn `Amr reported: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever guards his prayers will have light, proof, and salvation on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever does not guard his prayers will not have light, nor proof, nor salvation. On the Day of Resurrection, he will be with Qarun, Pharaoh, Haman, and Ubay ibn Khalaf.” (Musnad Ahmad)
Prayer elevates one’s ranks and expiates sins. Thauban (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying, “Perform Salah more often. For every prostration that you perform before Allah will raise your position one degree and will remit one of your sins”. (Muslim)
Salah (prayer) is of the most important of the pillars of the religion and establishing prayer like Allah Almighty and thus His Messenger (peace be upon him) want us to is the best way to get close to the Lord of the Heavens and Earth. This includes establishing the congregational prayer.
The religious authorities and most of the contemporary Muslim Scholars has issued a fatwa to ban prayers and other religious gatherings in mosques. They also say that there is nothing in not attending Jumu`ah Prayer (Friday Prayer) or the five daily prayers at mosques as a measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This virus (COVID-19) is spreading rapidly and has become a real threat to people’s lives. It is only the athan (call of prayer) that still goes off. It always ends with a line calling on people to pray at home.
In the meantime, a Muslim should maintain the congregational prayer (salat al-jama`ah) at home with his family. Praying in congregation is one of the most virtuous deeds as it is connected with the most beloved acts to Almighty Allah, which is Salah (Prayer). Praying in congregation is better and greater in reward than praying alone. Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Prayer in congregation is twenty-seven times more meritorious than a Prayer performed individually.” (Agreed Upon)
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) also narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “If people came to know the blessing of calling Adhan and the standing in the first row, they could do nothing but would draw lots to secure these privileges.” (Agreed Upon)
`Uthman ibn `Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) also narrated: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying: “One who performs `Isha’ (Night) prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed Prayer for half of the night. And one who performs the Fajr (Dawn) prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed Prayer the whole night.” (Agreed Upon)
Congregational prayer could be held at Masjid, home or elsewhere with two people, an imam and a follower. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “When the time for prayer comes, give the adhan and iqamah then let the oldest of you two lead you in prayer.” (Al-Bukhari)
A follower should follow the imam in all actions of prayer until the imam concludes the prayer. A follower should take care not to precede the imam, or move with him, or lag behind him.
The way to pray in congregation at home is as follows:
– First of all, one of the adult males should make the iqamah for the prayer.
– If a father prays with his son, he (the son) should stand in line on his father’s right.
– If a father has two sons or more, they should stand in line behind their father (the imam).
– If a man leads his wife in prayer, she should stand behind her husband (the imam).
– If a man leads his son and wife in prayer, the son should stand on his right and the wife stand behind them.
– If a man leads his sons and wife in prayer, his sons should stand in one line behind him and the wife stand in line behind them.
– If a man has sons, a daughters and a wife, the sons should stand in one line behind the father, the daughter and the wife should stand in one line behind the sons.
Whoever used to maintain offering the daily prayers and the Jumu`ah (Friday Prayer) in congregation at the mosque, but the current circumstances prevented him from going to the masjid, he will get the whole reward even if he offers them at home. It was narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “When a slave of Allah suffers from illness or sets on a journey, he is credited with the equal of whatever good works he used to do when he was healthy or at home”. (Al-Bukhari)