Salat al-Jama’ah (Congregational Prayer)
By: Allamah Sayyid Sa'eed Akhtar Rizvi
Prayer is offered individually and also in jama’ah (congregation). But there is great reward when the prayer is offered in jama’ah.
Prayer in congregation gives us both worldly and spiritual benefits:
1. Islamic equality
In the congregation, rich and poor, high and low, all stand shoulder to shoulder. This destroys the haughtiness of the rich and creates self-respect in the poor. The best scene of mankind's equality comes before us in congregational prayer.
In the congregational prayer all have one niyyah, one language and identical actions. All kneel together. All prostrate together. This teaches us the lesson of the unity of the Muslims.
3. Love and Co-operation
People meet with one another in the congregational prayer. They know the hardships and worries of each other and try to help each other. New things are known there. Mutual love develops. Circle of friendship is widened. We get an opportunity to perfect our life in the light of others experiences.
While offering prayer in jama’ah we stand in rows, follow the Imam of jama’ah and practice obedience to command. This instills in us the discipline which is the essential feature of a community's life.
5. Prestige of Islam
Our mosques remain thriving due to prayer in jama’ah. It enhances the prestige of the Muslims and the unity of the Muslims affects the enemies greatly.
6. Limitless Reward
Allah has put a big reward for congregational prayer:- Our Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and the Imams (A.S.) have laid great stress on congregational prayer. Therefore, we should offer congregational prayer as far as possible.
The Holy Prophet said that if there are only 2 persons (the Imam and only one m’amum) in jama’ah prayer, every rak’at gets the reward of 150 prayers. The reward is increased by the increase in the number of people praying. Thus in a jama’ah prayer of 3 persons every rak’at gets the reward of 600 prayers.
If there are 4, every rak’at gets the reward of 1,200 prayers.
If there are 5, every rak’at gets the reward of 2,400 prayers.
If there are 6, every rak’at gets the reward of 4,800 prayers.
If there are 7, every rak’at gets the reward of 9,600 prayers.
If there are 8, every rak’at gets the reward of 19,200 prayers.
If there are 9, every rak’at gets the reward of 36,400 prayers
If there are 10, every rak’at gets the reward of 72,800 prayers.
It there are more than 10, then nobody can estimate its reward except Allah.
The Prayer for the Deceased (Salat al-Mayyit)
Salat al-mayyit is wajib al-kifa’i, i.e. it is obligatory on every Muslim but as soon as it is performed correctly by one of them, it remains no more obligatory on others; but if no one offers the prayer everyone is a sinner.
If the deceased was six years old, the prayer for the deceased is obligatory. In offering this prayer, purity of the body or dress is not necessary; also ghusl, wudhu or tayammum is not obligatory. But the intention of the prayer (niyyah) and facing qibla is essential. The dead body should be placed in such a way that the head of the deceased remains on the right of those who offer the prayer. In the case of the dead body of a male, the Imam should stand near his waist; and in the case of a female, near the chest.
Prayer of deceased has 5 takbirs (including Takbiratul-Ihram).
After the first takbir (i.e., takbiratul-ihram) the Kalima al-shahadatayn is recited. After 2nd the takbir, salawat is recited. After the 3rd takbir, prayer is offered for all the believers and Muslims. After the 4th takbir, prayer is offered especially for the deceased one. Then the 5th takbir is said And the prayer comes to end.
The shortest method of offering this prayer is as follows:
Niyyah: I pray Salat al-mayyit of this corpse Wajib, qurbatan ilal-Laah. Allahu Akbar;
Ashhadu an-la ilaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lah; Wa Ashhadu Anna Muhammadan
Abduhu wa Rasuluh;
Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammadin wa Aali Muhammad; Allahu Akbar;
Allahummaghfir li’l Mu’minina wa’l Mu’minaat; Allahu Akbar;
Allahummaghfir li haadha’l mayyit (In case the deceased is a female, say Allahummaghfir li haadhihi’l mayyit);
After the completion of the prayer recite "Rabbana aatina fid-dunya hasanatan wa fi’l aakhera hasanatan waqina adhaban-naar."
It is necessary to mention that even if this prayer is offered by jama’ah, everyone has to recite the whole prayer. It is not correct just to say 'Allahu Akbar' and remain silent between the takbirs. Such a prayer is invalid (batil).