Is setting up prayer halls (musallas) considered sinful if there is a mosque 10 km away?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

A leased (rented) property (here, where weather conditions are generally very harsh) has been used for past 10 years as a prayer facility (Musallah) and it offers five time daily prayer with congregation, Friday and Tarawee prayer and a madrassa for children (and also community is trying very hard to acquire a suitable property to establish a permanent mosque and the nearest mosque is about 10 kilometre away ),  may it be called a Mosque? If not, what would be the difference in (virtue) merit by performing prayer with congregation in either places.

      We are hinted by some local scholars that any hadith describing virtues of  going to or helping a mosque do not apply to Musallahs, for example there is no need to perform two rakats of tahiyyatul Mosque  (salutation of mosques) or saying du’aa entering or leaving such places or removing of sin and adding blessing for walking to the Musallah.  Also some says that establishing Musallahs  ( no matter how far away from the mosque) you may be preventing (or forbidding) the people to go to mosque reference Sura Al-Baqrah 2:114 and Sura At-Taubah 9:107. Thus these places may be consider as Mosque Darra, and should be demolish or erase.

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam,

It is a communal obligation to open places for group prayer in such a way that people of a given area can access them without undue hardship, as the major works of fiqh explain. This would include serving those who do not have access to personal forms of transportation (such as a car) and those without the financial means to take public transportation regularly.

Ideally, such places for group prayer should be a mosque. A mosque has to be made a permanent waqf for the sake of Allah.

However, given the legal principle that, “When something cannot be completely achieved, it should not be left completely.”

There is a difference in reward between a mosque and a prayer hall (musalla). However, there is great reward in Muslims gathering to pray, learn, and benefit in other ways. In this sense, the hadiths do apply to some degree. For example, one still gets great reward for going to pray in congregation or learn when going to a prayer hall (musalla), even if this reward were less than of going to a mosque. However, if this is the only reasonably available option for someone, they would still get the full reward if they had the intention that if a mosque were nearby they would go.

Furthermore, setting up prayer halls is an accepted practice both in Muslim and (especially) in non-Muslim countries. Our top scholars praise and encourage this practice. It is a way of assisting others in performing worship in congregation, and of conveying the teachings of Islam. You are not telling anyone not to go to the mosque!

The analogy with Mosque al-Dirar [the mosque built by the hypocrites in Madina at the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace)] is false. Those making such a claim must bring proof. If they are not at the level of ijtihad, then they have to bring either explicit texts or confirmation from top living scholars. Mere personal opinion is of no consequence in matters of deen.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

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