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Importance of Salat al-Jama'ah (Congregational Prayer)

By: Allamah Syed Muhammad Husain Tabataba'i

Salat Al-Jama'ah (Congregational Prayer)
It is mustahabb for all Muslims to recite al-salat al-yawmiyyah in the form of salat al-jama'ah. The thawab (Allah's reward) for salat al-jama'ah is several thousand times more than the thawab for the salat recited individually.

Conditions Concerning Salat Al-Jama'ah
(i) Imam al-jama'ah (the leader or imam of congregational salat) must be a mukallaf (the one who reached the age of maturity and thus became responsible for performing the Islamic duties) believer, just, and born legitimately. He must recite the salat correctly. If the ma'mum (the follower who follows the imam in salat al-jama'ah) is a man, the imam of the salat al-jama'ah must also be a man.
(ii) There should be no curtain, barriers, or obstacles between the imam and his ma'mum, so that the ma'mum is unable to see the imam. But if thema'mum is a woman, a curtain and the like are permissible.
(iii) The place where the imam stands must not be higher than that of hisma'mum, but there is no objection if the place is slightly higher (about the height of four fingers or less) than that of the ma'mum.
(iv) The ma'mum must stand behind the imam or in his row (most of the'ulama' prefer that ma'mum should stand behind the imam).

The Precepts Concerning Salat Al-Jama'ah
(i) The Ma'mum Must Recite All Parts Of The Salat Himself, Except The Surat Al-Hamd And Another Surah After It. But If His First And Second Raka'atcorrespond To The Third And Fourth Raka'at Of The Imam's Salat, He Must Recite The Suratal-Hamd And Another Surah As Well. If As A Result Of Reading The Other Surah, He Feels That He Would Not Catch Up With The Imam In Ruku', He Should Only Read The Surat Al-Hamd And Perform The Ruku' With Theimam Simultaneously. If He Fails To Do So, He Should Complete His Salatindividually.
(ii) The ma'mum must perform ruku', sujud, and other parts of salatsimultaneously with the imam or shortly after the imam, but he must certainly say takbirat al-ihram and recite salam only after the imam has done so.
(iii) If one commences iqtida' or follows the imam while he is in the state ofruku' and catches up with the imam in ruku', his salat is correct and is counted as one rak'ah of salat.

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