Second Congregation in the Masjid

What is the ruling of making 2nd jama’ah in the mosque, because there are differences in what people say? Some say “yes” whilst others say “no”. Please give the rulings, especially in the light of the Hanafi and Shafi’i schools of thought.

ANSWER

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

There are three situations with regards to performing a second congregation (jama’ah) in the Masjid:

1) A Masjid that is situated in a marketplace or on a highway for travellers to come and perform their Salat, and it does not have a regular Imam and Mu’azzin. In such a Masjid, it is permissible to carry out a second congregation.

2) The Masjid is in a locality where people offer their Salat and it has a permanent Imam and Mu’azzin, but outsiders came (before the local people) and performed Salat with congregation, then, in this case also, it will be permissible for the local people to perform their Salat in a (second) congregation.

3) If some people from the locality came and offered their Salat in congregation discreetly, of which other members of the locality were unaware, then it will be permissible, for those who were unaware, to come and offer their Salat in (second) congregation.

Besides the above mentioned three situations, meaning the Masjid is not designated for travellers to come and offer their Salat, neither have non-local people performed Salat with Jama’ah, then to perform a second congregation is prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) according to the Hanafi, Makruh according to the Shafi’i and Maliki and permissible according to the Hanbali schools.

As far as the Hanafi Madhhab is concerned, there are two famous positions regarding this:

1) The transmitted position from Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah be pleased with him), is that a second congregation in the masjid is prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman).

2) That mentioned by many late scholars, and adopted for fatwa in most of the later works, as shown by Imam Ibn Abidin in his Radd al-Muhtar, is that a second congregation is not disliked if performed away from where the first one was performed. This was also the opinion of Imam Abu Yusuf. (See: Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar).

In general, a lot of major Indian Hanafi scholars chose the first position, for many reasons, including:
a) It is Imam Abu Hanifa’s own position, and the general principle (in the Hanafi madhhab) is that one does not leave the Imam’s position unless the evidence of another position is stronger, or if the general practice is contrary to it, or if it would cause general undue hardship,

b) Its textual evidence appears to be stronger,

c) Experience shows that that where the second congregation is practised, people have become lazy with regards to the first congregation.

Evidences:

There are certain narrations of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) which support this:

1) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Verily I intended to order the Mu’azzin to say the Iqamah and order a man to lead the prayer, then I take a flame of fire to burn all those (including their houses) who had not yet come out of their houses to perform Salat.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 626)

If the second congregation was permissible, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would have not intended to set fire to their homes, for they could have had an intention to make a second congregation.

2) Abu Bakrah (Allah be pleased with him) narrates: “Once the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) came from the outskirts of Madina al-Munawwara, and intended to offer Salat in the Masjid. He noticed that people had already offered their prayer. So he went home and performed his Salat in congregation with his family members.” (Mu’jam al-Kabir of Tabrani and authenticated by al-Haythami in Majma al-Zawaid)

If a second congregation was recommended or permissible, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would have not left the virtues of praying in the Masjid for his house.

3) Also the practice of the Companions (sahaba) shows that not one of them habitually performed Salat in a second congregation. The true meaning of the Messenger of Allah’s words is understood in the light of the practise of the Sahaba (Allah be pleased with them all).

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Allah be pleased with him) reasons his view with a Hadith narrated by Imam Tirmidhi in his Sunan:

“A person came to the Masjid after the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) had prayed. He (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Who will volunteer to join him for prayer and receive a reward. A person stood and performed Salat with him.” (Sunan Tirmidhi, 1/30)

The answer to this is that the follower was offering a Nafl prayer whilst the Imam was performing his Fard, whereas our discussion is regarding the situation where both the Imam and the follower are performing Fard.

Moreover, where there are evidences for permissibility and prohibition, the evidence of prohibition is preferred, as there is more precaution in it.

To summarise, the three Sunni Fiqh schools hold a second congregation (except in the first three situations) to be Makruh (Tahriman in the Hanafi school), and the Hanbali school permits this.

And Allah Knows Best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

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