Answered by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt
I would like to know whether it is better to perform ṣalāh in a muṣallāh or in a masjid? Does my local masjid have more rights over me than other masājids; (Should I be performing ṣalāh in my local masjid instead of going elsewhere just so I can listen to different recitations for my nafs)?
Jazākumullāhu Khayran for your questions.
In general, every masjid is a place of prayer and worship. One will In-shā Allāh attain rewards whether one offers prayers in their local masjid or at a distant mosque.
Most classical scholars and jurists have pointed out that one’s local masjid or muṣallāh, where the five congregational prayers take place on a permanent basis, has more right than a distant masjid. (See: Rad al Mukhtār, Al Mughnī & Al Majmū’)
Some of the reasons cited are as follows:
- The right of being in the same neighbourhood
- It is a means to populate the local masjid and increase the local congregation
- It is a means to stay affiliated and establish bonds with the local imam and community
- It saves one from being a target of unnecessary allegations regarding skipping congregational prayers
The great jurist, Imam Ibn ‘Ābidīn (may Allah’s mercy be with him) writes,
ومسجد حيه وإن قلَّ جمعه أفضل من الجامع؛ وإن كثر جمعه
“One’s local neighbourhood masjid, even though the congregation may be smaller, is superior [for rewards] than the larger [distant] masjid, even though the congregation there is larger.” (Rad al Mukhtār)
There is a view of some jurists that if one attends a distant masjid, leaving aside one’s local masjid, with a specific intention to attain the rewards of a larger congregation, or for some other reason such as avoiding loud distractions that might be present at the local masjid, or the imam at the distant masjid has excellence in recitation and or delivers a discourse after the prayer, then it would not be objectionable to attend the distant masjid, provided that one is not causing a negative perception, distaste and or deficiency at the local masjid. (See Al Majmū’ li al Nawawī)
And Allāh Knows Best