1408. It is Mustahab that obligatory prayers, especially the daily prayers, are performed in congregation, and more emphasis has been laid on congregational prayers for Fajr, Maghrib and Isha, and also for those who live in the neighborhood of a mosque, and are able to hear its Adhan.
1409. It has been reported in authentic traditions, that the congregational prayers are twenty five times better than the prayers offered alone.
1410. It is not permissible to absent oneself from the congregational prayers unduly, and it is not proper to abandon congregational prayers without a justifiable excuse.
1411. It is Mustahab to defer prayers with an intention to participate in congregational prayers, because a short congregational prayer is better than a prolonged prayer offered alone. It is also better than the individual prayer offered at its prime time. But it is not known whether a congregational prayer offered after the Fadhilat time could be better than the prayer offered alone, within the time of Fadhilat.
1412. When congregational prayers are being offered, it is Mustahab for a person, who has already offered his prayers alone, to repeat the prayers in congregation. And if he learns later that his first prayer was void, the second prayer will suffice.
1413. If the Imam (leader) or the Ma'mum (follower) wishes to join a congregation prayer again, after having already prayed in congregation once, there is no objection if it is done with the niyyat of Raja', since its being Mustahab is not established.
1414. If a person is so obsessed with doubts and anxiety during prayers, that it leads to its invalidity, and if he finds peace only in congregational prayers, he must offer prayers in congregation.
1415. If a father or a mother orders his/her son to offer prayers in congregation, as a recommended precaution, he should obey. And if this order is based on parental love, and if disobedience would cause injury to their feelings, it is haraam for the son to disobey, even if it does not incur the parental wrath.
1416. Mustahab prayers as a precaution cannot be offered in congregation in any situation, except Istisqa prayers (invoked for the rain) or prayers which were obligatory at one time, but became Mustahab later, like, Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Azha prayers, which are obligatory during the presence of Ma'soom Imam (A.S.) and are Mustahab during his occultation.
1417. When an Imam is leading a congregation for the daily prayers, one can follow him for any of the daily prayers.
1418. If Imam of the congregation is offering his own qadha, or on behalf of another person whose qadha is certain, he can be followed. However, if he is offering the qadha, his own or on behalf of the other, as a precaution, it is not permissible to follow him, unless the prayers being offered by the follower is also based on a precaution similar to that of Imam. However, it is not necessary that the follower may not have another reason for precaution.
1419. If a person does not know whether the prayers of Imam is an obligatory daily prayer or Mustahab prayer, he cannot follow him.
1420. For the validity of congregation, it is a condition that there
should be no obstruction between the Imam and the follower, nor between one
follower and the other follower, who is a link between him and the Imam. An
obstruction means something which separates them, regardless of whether it prevents
seeing each other, like in the case of a curtain, or a wall, or does not prevent,
like in the case of a glass wall.
Therefore, if there is an obstruction, at any time of the prayers, between Imam and the follower or between the followers themselves, thus breaking the link, congregation will be void. But women are exempted from this rule, as will be explained in due course.
1421. If the persons standing at the end of the first row, cannot see the Imam because the line is very long, they can still follow him; similarly if the following rows are very long, and persons standing at the far end cannot see the line before, they can follow the congregation.
1422. If the rows of the congregation extend to the gate of the mosque, the prayers of a person standing in front of the gate behind the line will be in order, and the prayers of those followers who stand behind him will also be valid. In fact, the prayers of those who are standing on either sides, and are linked with the congregation by means of another follower, will also be in order.
1423. If a person who is standing behind a pillar is not linked with the Imam by another follower from either side, he cannot follow the Imam.
1424. The place where Imam stands should not be higher than the place of the follower, unless the height is negligible. And, if the ground has a slope, the Imam should stand at the higher end. But if the slope is so small that people ordinarily consider the ground as flat, there will be no objection.
1425. In the congregational prayers, there is no objection if the place where followers stand is higher than that of the Imam. But if it is so high, that it cannot be considered that they have assembled together, then the congregation is not in order.
1426. If a discerning child, one who is able to distinguish good from evil, stands between two persons in one line, thus causing a distance, their prayers in congregation will be valid as long as they do not have knowledge about that child's namaz having become void.
1427. If after the takbir of the Imam, the persons in the front row are ready for prayers and are about to say takbir, a person standing in the back row can say takbir. However, the recommended precaution is that he should wait, till the takbir of the front row has been pronounced.
1428. If a person knows that the prayers of one of the rows in front is void, he cannot follow the Imam in the back rows, but if he does not know whether the prayers of those persons are in order or not, he may follow.
1429. If a person knows that the prayers of the Imam is void - like, if he knows that the Imam is without Wudhu, though the Imam himself may not be mindful of the fact, he cannot follow that Imam.
1430. If the follower learns after the prayers, that the Imam was not a just person ('Adil), or was a disbeliever, or his namaz was void for any other reason, like, having no Wudhu, his own namaz will be valid.
1431. If a person doubts during namaz whether he has followed the Imam or not, he will rely upon the signs which satisfactorily lead him to believing that he has been following. For example, if he finds himself listening silently to the Qir'at of Imam, he should complete the prayers with the congregation. But if he is in a situation where no such decision can be made, he should complete his prayers as one offered individually (i.e.Furada).
1432. If a person decides to separate himself during congregational
namaz into the niyyat of Furada without any excuse, his congregational prayers
will be incorrect, but his namaz will be valid. Except when he has not acted
according to the rules related to Furada prayers, or if he has committed an
act which invalidates Furada prayers, like having performed an extra Ruku.
In fact, in certain situation, his prayers will be valid even if he has not followed the rules of Furada. For example, if he did not have the intention from the beginning to separate himself, and therefore did not recite Qira't, and decided in Ruku, his prayer will be valid when converted to Furada.
1433. If the follower makes an intention of Furada after the Imam has recited Surah al-Hamd and the other Surah, because of some good excuse, it will not be necessary for him to recite Surah al-Hamd and the other Surah. But if he makes the intention of Furada before Imam has completed Surah al-Hamd and the other Surah, it will be necessary for him to recite the part recited by the Imam.
1434. If a person makes the intention of Furada during the congregation prayers, he cannot revert back to congregational prayers again. But, if he is undecided whether he should make the intention of Furada or not, and eventually decides to end the prayers with congregation, his prayers with the congregation will be in order.
1435. If a person doubts whether he had made an intention of Furada during the congregational prayers, he should consider that he had not made the intention.
1436. If a person joins the Imam at the time of Ruku, and participates in Ruku of the Imam, his prayer is in order, even if the Zikr by the Imam may have come to an end. It will be treated as one Rak'at. However, if he goes to Ruku and misses Imam's Ruku, he can complete his prayers as Furada.
1437. If a person joins the Imam when he is in Ruku, and as he bows, he doubts whether or not he reached the Ruku of the Imam, his congregational prayer will be valid if that doubt occurs after the Ruku was over. Otherwise, he can complete his prayers with the niyyat of Furada.
1438. If a person joins the Imam when he is in Ruku, but before he bows to Ruku, the Imam raises his head from his Ruku, that person has a choice either to complete his prayers as Furada, or to continue with the Imam upto Sajdah, with the niyyat of Qurbat. Then when he stands, he can do takbir other than Takbiratul Ihram, as a general Zikr, and continue with the congregation.
1439. If a person joins the Imam from the beginning of the prayers or during the time ofSurah al-Hamd and the other Surah, and if it so happens that, before he goes into Ruku, Imam raises his head from Ruku, his prayers will be in order.
1440. If a person arrives for prayers when the Imam is reciting the last tashahhud, and if he wishes to earn 'thawab' of congregational prayers, he should sit down after making niyyat, and pronouncing takbiratul ehram, and may recite tashahhud with the Imam, but not the Salam, and then wait till the Imam says Salam of the prayers. Then he should stand up, and without making niyyat and takbir, begin to recite Surah al-Hamd and the other Surah treating it as the first Rak'at of his prayers.
1441. The followers should not stand in front of the Imam, and, as an obligatory precaution, when the followers are many, they should not stand in line with Imam. But if there is only one male follower, he may stand in line with Imam.
1442. If the Imam is a male and the follower is a female, and if there is a curtain or something similar between that woman and the Imam, or between that woman and another male follower, and the woman is linked to the Imam through that male, there is no harm in it.
1443. If after the commencement of the prayers, a curtain or something similar intervenes between the follower and the Imam, or between one follower and the other, through whom the follower is linked to the Imam, the congregation will be invalidated, and it will be necessary for the follower to act according to Furada obligation.
1444. As an obligatory precaution, the distance between the place where the follower performs Sajdah, and where the Imam stands, should not be more than a foot, and the same rule applies to a person who is linked with the Imam through another follower standing in front. And the recommended precaution is that the distance between the rows should be just enough to allow a person to do Sajdah.
1445. If a follower is linked to the Imam by means of a person, on his either side, and is not linked to the Imam in front, the obligatory precaution is that he should not be at a distance of more than a foot from his companions on either side.
1446. If during the prayers, a distance of one foot occurs between the follower and the Imam, or between the follower and the person through whom he is linked to the Imam, he (the follower) will be isolated and can, therefore, continue as Furada.
1447. If the prayers of all the persons who are in the front row comes to an end, and if they do not resume congregational prayers, the congregational prayers of the person in the back rows will be void. In fact, even if they resume, the validity of congregational prayers of the people in the back rows is questionable.
1448. If a person joins the Imam in the second Rak'at, it is not necessary
for him to recite Surah al-Hamd and Surah, but he may recite qunut and tashahhud
with the Imam, and the precaution is that, at the time of reciting tashahhud,
he should keep the fingers of his hands and the inner part of his feet on the
ground and raise his knees.
And after the tashahhud, he should stand up with the Imam and should recite Surah al-Hamd and Surah. And if he does not have time for the other Surah, he should complete Surah al-Hamd, and join the Imam in Ruku, and if he cannot join the Imam in Ruku, he can discontinue Sura al-Hamd and join. But in this case, the recommended precaution is that he should complete his prayers as Furada.
1449. If a person joins the Imam when he is in the second Rak'at of the namaz having four Rak'ats, he should sit after the two Sajdah in the second Rak'at, which will be the third of the Imam, and recite Wajib parts of tashahhud, and should then stand up. And if he does not have time to recite the Tasbihat Arba'ah thrice, he should recite it once, and then join the Imam in Ruku.
1450. If Imam is in the third or fourth Rak'at, and one knows that if he joins him and recite Surah al-Hamd he will not be able to reach him in Ruku, as an obligatory precaution, he should wait till Imam goes to Ruku and then join.
1451. If a person joins the Imam when he is in the state of qiyam of third or fourth Rak'at, he should recite Surah al-Hamd and the other Surah, and if he does not have time for the other Surah, he should complete Surah al-Hamd and join the Imam in Ruku. But if he has no time even for Surah al-Hamd, he may leave it incomplete and join Imam in Ruku. But in this case, the recommended precaution is that he should change to Furada.
1452. If a person who knows that if he completes Surah or qunut, he will not be able to join the Imam in his Ruku, yet he purposely recites Surah or qunut, and misses the Imam in Ruku, his congregational prayer will be void, and should act accordingly to the rules of Furada prayers.
1453. If a person is satisfied that if he commences a Surah or completes it, he will be able to join the Imam in his Ruku, provided that the Surah does not take very long, it is better for him to commence the Surah or to complete it, if he has already started. But if the Surah will take too long, till no semblance of congregation exists, he should not commence it, and if he has commenced it, he should not complete it.
1454. If a person is sure that if he recites the other Surah, he will be able to join the Imam in Ruku, and then if he recites the Surah and misses the Imam in Ruku, his congregational prayers are in order.
1455. If Imam is standing, and the follower does not know in which Rak'at he is, he can join him, but he should recite Surah al-Hamd and the other Surah with the niyyat of Qurbat though he may come to know later that the Imam was in the first or second Rak'at.
1456. If a person does not recite Surah al-Hamd and Surah, under the impression that the Imam is in the first or second Rak'at, and realises after Ruku that he was in the third or fourth, his prayers are in order. However, if he realises this before Ruku, he should recite Surah al-Hamd and the other Surah, and if he does not have sufficient time for this, he should act according to rule no. 1451.
1457. If a person recites Surah al-Hamd and Surah under the impression that the Imam is in the third or fourth Rak'at, and realises before or after Ruku that he was in the first or second, his (i.e. the followers') prayers are in order, and if he realises this while reciting Surah al-Hamd and the other Surah, it will not be necessary for him to complete them.
1458. If a congregational prayer begins while a person is offering a Mustahab prayers, and if he is not sure that if he completes his Mustahab prayers, he will be able to join the congregational prayers, it is Mustahab to abandon the Mustahab prayers, and join the congregational prayers. In fact, if he is not certain that he will be able to join the first Rak'at, he should follow this rule.
1459. If a congregational prayer begins while a person is offering a prayer of three or four Rak'ats, and if he has not gone into Ruku of the third Rak'at, and is not sure whether upon completion, he will be able to join the congregational prayers, it is Mustahab to end the prayers with the niyyat of Mustahab prayers of two Raka'ts, and join the congregational prayers.
1460. If the prayers of the Imam comes to an end, but the follower is still reciting tashahhud or the first Salam, it is not necessary for him to make the intention of Furada.
1461. If a person is behind the Imam by one Rak'at, it is better that when the Imam is reciting tashahhud of the last Rak'at, he (the follower) should place the fingers of his hands and the inner part of his feet on the ground, and raise his knees, and wait till the Imam says Salam of the prayers and then stand up. And if he makes niyyat of Furada at that very moment, there is no harm in it.