The Second Congregation

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

I was told that if one misses the communal congregational prayer in the mosque he is not aloud to make his own congregation prayer if he arrives late. is this true.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam,

There are two famous positions regarding this in the maddhab:

1. The transmitted position from Abu Hanifa, which is that a second congregation in the masjid is prohibitively disliked;

2. That mentioned by many late scholars, and adopted for fatwa in most of the later works, as shown by Ibn Abidin in his Radd al-Muhtar, which is that a second congregation is not disliked if performed away from where the first one is performed. [see: Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

In general, a lot of major Indian scholars chose the first position, for many reasons, including:

a) it is Abu Hanifa’s own position, and the general principle 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) it avoids the problem of people coming late for the first congregation, because they can simply pray in a second one, and other reasons.

The general practice in Arab lands, including in Damascus, however, is on the second position, for many reasons, including:

a) it is easier for people;

b) it is what most of the later scholars of the school have chosen, and they were more knowledgeable about the details of the school, its principles, and methodology than we are, and they only chose this for good reasons;

c) it enables people to pray in congregation, and come to the mosque even when they are late (instead of merely staying at home or in their work place);

d) this is the general practice of people, and one is supposed to leave people to their general practices, unless there is clear harm in doing so.

What one does would depend partially on where one is.

Personally, I follow Abu Hanifa’s own position, but let others take the other opinion.

Walaikum assalam,

Faraz Rabbani.

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