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Obligatory prayers performed alone not valid?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

One could call our local mosque an “ecumenical” mosque; sometimes traditional scholars with sufi inclinations from the Shafi’ and Hanafi schools give khutbas and lead prayers, and at times Tablighis and Wahhabi-inclined ulema preside over Friday prayers. My question is regarding a khutba given by a scholar. In the khutba, he declared that praying the five daily prayers alone if one does not have a reasonable excuse would invalidate the prayers. He quoted fatawa by Shaykh Ibn Baz, the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, and ahadith to the effect that the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa salam, contemplated the burning of the houses of the people who did not respond to the adhaan by joining the congregational prayer. He also quoted a narration to the effect that even a blind man was not excused from joining the five daily prayers at the mosque, as long as he can hear the adhaan. I apologize, dear scholars, as I do not know the exact references, but this is how I understood the ahadith and the fatawa he quoted. He also went on to say that it is permissible not to pray behind an imam who performs dua’ at graveyards, as such imams commit shirk. Is what he said true? Does praying alone invalidate the prayer? Me and my father pray at home, as we fear becoming ostentatious and hypocritical if we go to the mosque except for the Friday congregational prayer. Are our prayers at home not valid?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

The sunna for men is to pray in congregation when able to without undue hardship. It is one of the symbols of our religion for men to pray in congregation–particularly at the mosque. Please search SunniPath Answers (http://qa.sunnipath.com) for related answers.

However, obligatory prayer performed on one’s own is valid–even when one could have made it to the congregation. When one leaves the congregational prayer without excuse, one is remiss–and making it a habit would be sinful. However, the prayer itself is valid, though deficient. (Ibn al-Humam/Marghinani, Fath al-Qadir `ala’l Hidaya; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Nawawi, al-Majmu`)

If someone makes dua at graveyards, we maintain a good opinion of him–as is our duty–and consider that he is asking Allah Himself, or making permissible intercession (which is indirect asking of Allah Himself).

And Allah alone gives success.

Congregational Prayer: A long question

Faraz Rabbani

This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.