Question: Although every effort should be made to pray at the mosque at fixed Salah times. But I’ve read that if you can’t hear the Azaan from your home then it is permissible to pray at home instead.
Also can we pray at the fixed beginning time as I’ve been told to wait 5 mins after the beginning time before we can offer our Salaah. Please clarify.
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To perform Salah in congregation is a Sunnah Muakkadah which is very close to Waajib and is from the Sha’aair (Symbols) of Deen.
From the Ahaadeeth it can be understood how important it is to perform Salah in congregation in the Masjid. Read virtues of Salah by shaykh Zakaria rahmatullahi alayhi.
It is reported in one hadith, that to perform Salah with congregation in the Masjid is 25 to 27 times more superior then performing Salah alone.
If one consistently misses the congregation without a valid excuse he will be sinful.
The Fuqaha have mentioned some excuses due to which a person may perform Salaah at home. If a person lives so far from the Masjid that it is difficult for him to go for Salaah, he will be considered excused.
How much is considered to be far from the Masjid? Hazrat Mufti Rasheed Ahmad Ludhyanwi R.A writes in his Ahsanul Fatawa, that if a person cannot find water to perform Wudhu with, and he knows that there is water one mile away, then it is not necessary for one to travel one mile to get that water. So one mile will be considered Haraj (Difficulty). Therefore if a person lives one mile away from the Masjid then it is permissible that he performs Salaah at home.
However, if he bears that difficulty and goes to the Masjid to perform Salah, he will receive great reward. Today we have cars and one mile is only 3 mins distance.
When one performs Salah at home, he should not perform Salah alone, but should make congregation with his family, let it be only his wife. This way he will gain the reward of performing Salah in congregation, even though he will be deprived of the reward and virtue of the Masjid and the walk to the masjid .
For Jumuah, it will still be necessary for him to go to the Masjid.
Waiting for 5 mins after beginning time is for caution, because clocks and watches can go ahead and fall behind without us realising. Also calculations may not be as precise as we think.
وَأَمَّا صِفَتُهَا فَمَا ذَكَرَهُ بِقَوْلِهِ (الْجَمَاعَةُ سُنَّةٌ مُؤَكَّدَةٌ) أَيْ قَوِيَّةٌ تُشْبِهُ الْوَاجِبَ فِي الْقُوَّةِ وَالرَّاجِحُ عِنْدَ أَهْلِ الْمَذْهَبِ الْوُجُوبُ وَنَقَلَهُ فِي الْبَدَائِعِ عَنْ عَامَّةِ مَشَايِخِنَا…..وَفِي الْقُنْيَةِ وَغَيْرِهَا بِأَنَّهُ يَجِبُ التَّعْزِيرُ عَلَى تَارِكِهَا بِغَيْرِ عُذْرٍ…وَلَا فَرْقَ فِي ذَلِكَ بَيْنَ أَنْ يَكُونَ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ أَوْ بَيْتِهِ حَتَّى لَوْ صَلَّى فِي بَيْتِهِ بِزَوْجَتِهِ أَوْ جَارِيَتِهِ أَوْ وَلَدِهِ فَقَدْ أَتَى بِفَضِيلَةِ الْجَمَاعَةِ، وَمِنْهَا أَنَّهَا وَاجِبَةٌ لِلصَّلَوَاتِ الْخَمْسِ إلَّا لِلْجُمُعَةِ فَإِنَّهَا شَرْطٌ فِيهَا. (البحر الرائق 1/366)
اختلف في لحوق الإثم بالترك مرة بدون عذر فمن قال بالوجوب وهم العراقيون قالوا: نعم ومن قال بالسنية وهم الخراسانيون قالوا: إنما يأثم إذا اعتاد الترك. (حاشية الطحطاوي 1/286)
وَاعْتَرَضَ الشُّرُنْبُلَالِيُّ بِأَنَّ هَذَا يُنَافِي وُجُوبَ الْجَمَاعَةِ. وَأَجَابَ بِأَنَّ الْوُجُوبَ عِنْدَ عَدَمِ الْحَرَجِ، وَفِي تَتَبُّعِهَا فِي الْأَمَاكِنِ الْقَاصِيَةِ حَرَجٌ.
And Allah is All Knowing
(Ismail k 2/12)