Author: 
MUHAMMAD AL-SULAMI | ARAB NEWS
Publication Date: 
Thu, 2010-04-29 02:46

The committee, which was chaired by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh and comprises the Kingdom’s top Islamic scholars, said it is compulsory on Muslim men to offer the five daily prayers in congregation in the mosque.
The religious panel’s statement comes in response to the opinions of Sheikh Ahmed Al-Ghamdi, director of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the Makkah region, who argued that congregational prayer is not compulsory.
The committee stressed that praying with congregation is one of the important teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who once said offering prayer in congregation carries 27 times greater reward than offering it alone.
“Those who pray at home without joining congregational prayer at mosques have neglected the Sunnah or tradition of the Prophet (pbuh),” the committee said, adding that the Prophet’s followers had given utmost importance to congregational prayers.
The statement quoted a number of sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) that emphasize the need to attend congregational prayers in mosques.
“Whoever hears the call to prayer, and does not respond, then there is no prayer for him unless he has a valid reason,” it said quoting one Hadith.
The committee referred to another Hadith in which the Prophet (pbuh) said he would have ordered the burning of the homes of those who do not attend congregational prayers. “Isha and Fajr prayers are the most difficult ones for hypocrites but if they had known its rewards they would have attended them,” the Prophet (pbuh) said.
Sheikh Ibn Taimiya, a world-renowned scholar of Islam, had said that nobody is allowed to skip congregational prayer at mosque without a genuine reason.
The panel denounced the move by certain individuals and writers to lessen the importance of congregational prayer and question the closure of shops for such prayers.
“We believe that any effort to belittle congregational prayer is a violation of the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah,” the statement said.
The committee highlighted the significance of congregational prayer, saying it would strengthen Muslim unity and brotherhood.

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