Fruits for the Week

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The Prophet (saw) said: “Prayer offered in the congregation (jama’ah) is twenty-seven times better than prayer offered individually.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The above hadith tells us that the devout Muslim tries to pray in the congregation in the mosque wherever he can. The Prophet (saw) said that the Muslim, “If he performs wudhu (ablution) properly, then he goes out with the sole intention of going to pray in the mosque, then for each step he takes, his status in Paradise will be raised by one degree, and one of his sins will be forgiven. When he prays, as long as he remains in his place of prayer and his wudhu does not become invalidated, the angels will continue to pray for him: ‘O Allah! Bless him. O, Allah! Have mercy on him.’ He is regarded as being in a state of prayer so long as he is waiting for the prayer.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet (saw) spoke of the promise of Paradise for the one who is keen to pray in congregation in the mosque morning and afternoon: “Allah will prepare a place in Paradise for the one who goes to the mosque in the morning or in the evening, each time he goes to the mosque.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Consequently, the companions of the Prophet (saw) were always eager to attend prayers in the congregation. Abdullah bin Mas’ud (ra) said: “Whoever aspires to meet Allah as a Muslim, let him uphold the habit of attending prayers whenever the call to prayer is given. Allah has shown your Prophet the way of guidance, and these prayers (in the mosque) are part of that way. If you pray in your homes like this man who stayed in his home, then you have abandoned the sunnah of your Prophet, and if you have abandoned the sunnah of the Prophet, then you have gone astray. There was a time when the only type of person who would stay at home at the time of the prayer was the one who was known to be a hypocrite. At that time, a man would be brought supported by two others, until he stood in the row of worshippers.” (Muslim)

The distance was no object/excuse for the sahabah (companions), who would attend the mosque whenever they heard the call to prayer, no matter how far their homes were from the mosque. The congregational prayer was so dear to them that they would even rejoice in the distance between their homes and the mosque because each step they took to reach it would be recorded among the good deeds for which they would be rewarded.

Ubayy ibn Ka’ab (ra) said: “There was a man of the Ansar whose house was farther from the mosque than anyone else I knew, but he never missed a prayer! Someone asked him, ’Why do you not buy a donkey to ride when it is dark or it is very hot? He said, ‘I would not like my house to be next to the mosque, because I want my walking to the mosque and then back home to my family to be recorded among my good deeds.’ The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Allah has given all of that to you as a reward.’” (Muslim)

The Prophet (saw) advised those companions whose homes were far from the mosques not to move to houses that were nearer. He reassured them that their efforts to reach the mosque would be recorded among their good deeds and that their many steps would not go to waste.

Jabir (ra) said: “Some areas around the mosque became vacant, so Banu Salimah wanted to move there. When the Prophet heard about it, he told them, ‘I have heard that you want to move near the mosque.’ They said, ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah, that is what we wanted to do.’ He said, O Banu Salimah! Stay where you are, so that your efforts to reach the mosque will be recorded among your good deeds.’ They said,’ We would not like to have moved.’” (Muslim)

(To be continued)

by Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi

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