Some believers prefer to offer all 5 prayers in congregation at their nearby mosques, while others prefer to offer their obligatory prayers from the comfort of their homes. Although the consensus among the scholars seems to prefer for the believers to pray their 5 obligatory prayers at mosques, primarily for men – it is normal for believers to still find themselves in a dilemma.
However, in this article, we will be discussing whether you must pray all your 5 obligatory prayers in the mosque or if it is acceptable for you to pray for your home and under what conditions are you exempted from praying in the mosques.
1. What A Hadith Says About Congregational Prayer
Although it is a fact that praying in mosques with a congregation yields a reward of 27 times higher than offering a prayer at home – the Prophet (PBUH) is quoted to have said in one of His Hadith:
‘’Offer some of your prayers in your homes to not make these homes like graves’‘ – Al Bukhari
This Hadith suggests that the Prophet (PBUH) had advised His people to also offer prayers on the premises of their homes for Barakah. In Islam, the entire Earth is considered a place to worship except with certain exceptions such as unclean places. For example, bathrooms or rubbish dumps. Believers are also exempted from praying in graveyards.
2. Scholars’ Point of View On Praying In The Mosque
There are different opinions regarding the question of congregational prayer for two different sets of scholars. One group of scholars believe praying all 5 prayers according to their prayer times in the mosque is Fard al-Kifayah which means if some believers choose to fulfill this obligation, it is highly encouraged for the others to do so as well. However, not Fard (obligatory).
Whereas the second group of scholars believes that it is Fard al-Ain which means it is mandatory for every individual Muslim if he is a man, to offer all 5 prayers in a mosque in a congregation. However, since some people cannot offer their prayers in a mosque in a congregation such as women who need to look after their household chores or children are exempted from this obligation.
Others exempted from praying their daily prayers at mosques include those who may be ill or those who need to fulfill work or duty that cannot be interrupted. In this case, believers are allowed to offer their prayers at their homes or places of work. However, the importance of a prayer offered in a mosque in a congregation can’t be ignored.
3. Prayer In The Light Of Quranic Verses And Ahadith
There are several Ahadith and verses in the Quran that recommend believers to offer their prayer in mosques:
Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet (PBUH) had said: “Whoever goes to the mosque in the morning and evening, Allah will prepare for him a place in Paradise for every morning and evening.” – Al Bukhari and Muslim
Abu Huraira had also reported the Prophet (PBUH) saying: ‘’ The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “He who purifies (performs Wudu’) himself in his house and then walks to one of the houses of Allah (mosque) for performing an obligatory Salat, one step of his will wipe out his sins and another step will elevate his rank (in Jannah).” – Muslim
The Quran also says: “O you who believe! When you are called to congregational (Friday) prayer, hasten to the remembrance of God and leave off-trade. That is better for you if you but knew.” 62:9
4. Should Muslims Pray All 5 Prayers In The Mosques?
Considering the Ahadith mentioned above and the verse of the Quran; it can be deduced that the Prophet (PBUH) had encouraged Muslims to pray all obligatory prayers at the mosques, leaving the voluntary prayers to be offered within the premises of their homes.
The offering of prayers at mosques not only offers a sense of unity among one’s community, but it can also help one maintain discipline in their prayers.
5. Ruling On Praying In Congregation At Home
It is encouraged to pray in congregation at the mosque instead of at homes and workplaces. This rule is relevant to Muslims who are male, able, and can hear the call to prayer without the need for a loudspeaker.
The Prophet (PBUH)’s preference for getting Muslims to pray in mosques can be reflected by this Hadith:
‘’It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I was thinking of ordering that the Iqamah for prayer be given, then I would tell a man to lead the people in prayer, and I would set out with men carrying bundles of firewood, and go to people who do not attend the prayer and burn their houses down around them.” – Al-Bukhari (657) and Muslim (651)
Therefore, the importance of praying in the congregation in the mosque can’t be underestimated in any way. If a Muslim offers his prayers in the workplace or at home in a congregation where he could access the mosque easily for his prayers will not get the same reward as he would by offering his prayers in the congregation in the mosque.
6. When Is A Muslim Exempted From Praying In The Mosque?
If a believer has a valid excuse to not offer his prayers in the congregation at the mosque and does so at home, then he shall receive the same reward as those who offered their prayers in the congregation at the mosque. A believer can be excused for not offering his prayer in the congregation at the mosque if he is:
- • Far away and the call to prayer in its natural form cannot reach him
- • He is ill
In this case, the believer may offer his prayer with his family members even if they are not obliged to offer their prayers in mosques or with those who may have a similar excuse as him.
7. Benefits Of Praying In Congregation At The Mosque
Every rule in Islam has a valid and defined reason behind it. So, now that we know it is encouraged to offer one’s prayers in the mosque in Islam for those who are able, let’s discuss the benefits it offers:
• 27 Times More Reward for Offering Prayers at The Mosque
As narrated in Bukhari and Muslim, the reward for praying at the mosque is 27 times more than offering your prayer at home or elsewhere. This is because praying in the Mosque with other Muslims conveys the message of brotherhood and harmony.
• Helps Gain Allah’s Pleasure
A Hadith narrated by Ubayy ibn Ka’b:
“A man’s prayer observed along with another is purer than his prayer observed alone, and his prayer with two men is purer than his prayer with just one, and whenever there are more, it is more pleasing to Allah, the Almighty.”
• Encourages unity and a sense of community among the Ummah
Allah says in the Quran:
‘’And when you are among them, and you lead for them the prayer, then let stand a group of them with you and let them their arms. Then, when they have prostrated, let them be behind you and let come (forward) a group – other, (which has) not prayed, and let them with you and let them their precautions and their arms. Wished those who disbelieved if you neglect [about] your arms and your baggage so (that) they (can) assault [upon] you (in) a single attack. But (there is) no blame upon you if were with you any trouble (because) of rain or you are sick that you lay down your arms, but take your precautions. Indeed, Allah has prepared for the disbelievers a punishment humiliating.” (An-Nisa 4:102)’’
• Forgiveness of sins
“Whoever does Wudhu to pray and perfect his Wudhu, then goes to perform the prayer, and he is praying with man or congregation or in the mosque, then Allah will forgive his sins.” Narrated by Humran.
8. Conclusion – Should Muslims Pray All 5 Prayers In The Mosque
In summary, it can be considered obligatory for men with sound health who can easily commute to their nearby mosques to offer their 5 prayers at the mosque rather than at their homes. Women, however, are exempted from offering their 5 five obligatory prayers at the mosques and can continue to offer their prayers from their homes. Abd-Allaah Ibn Mas’ood reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
‘’A women’s prayer in her room is better than her prayer in her courtyard, and her prayer in her cabinet is better than her prayer in her room’’
In this context, ‘‘her room” refers to a woman’s bedroom in the house, and ”her courtyard” refers to a common room in a house whereas the cabinet refers to a small room inside the main room which may be used for storage.
All in all, there are several benefits a Muslim can achieve by offering his prayers at the mosque. These include 27 times more rewards than a prayer offered at home as said by the Prophet (PBUH), gaining of Allah’s pleasure and countless blessings, protection from the Shaytan, and a sense of unity and kinship when praying in congregation with other Muslims.
Finally, based on the teachings of the Sunnah and Quran, it can be determined that Muslims have been encouraged to offer their 5 prayers in the mosque in congregation unless they have a valid excuse not to do so. Moreover, offering prayers in the Mosque is 27 times more rewarding than offering prayers at home.
We pray to Allah that you always have ease in reaching the mosque to offer your prayers in congregation with other believers. Indeed, Allah is the greatest and most Merciful!
Here are the most asked questions by Muslims related to the 5 Daily Prayers:
1. Are Women Exempted from Praying in Mosques?
Yes, Muslim women are exempted from offering their 5 daily prayers in the mosque. This is due to household and other responsibilities that women usually need to fulfill. These responsibilities may make it difficult for these women to offer prayers in mosques. However, know that Muslim women are not prohibited from entering and praying in mosques, they are merely exempted.
2. Can You Pray Anywhere in Islam?
The Quran teaches its believers that the whole world is a mosque. So, it is permissible for Muslims to offer their prayers everywhere as long as those places are clean except for certain unclean/dirty places such as bathrooms and graveyards, etc.
3. If a Man Does Not Pray at Home, Are His Prayers Invalid?
If a man offers his prayer at home instead of at the mosque, his prayer will still stand valid. However, it may still be considered a sin if he chooses to offer his prayer at home despite being nearby to a mosque.
4. I Want to Pray at a Mosque, but it is too Far Away. Can I Pray At Home?
Most scholars believe being an Arab mile of 1.85km far away from the mosque is a valid excuse. However, others believe that unless there is a genuine hardship that one may have to encounter when going to the mosque, it is not a valid reason to offer prayers at home.
5. Is it Better to Offer Tarawih Prayers at Home or The Mosque?
It is permissible for anyone to offer Tarawih prayers at home, whether it is individually, or with a group of people. Moreover, it is encouraged for a man to offer Tarawih prayers at home as they are voluntary prayers while obligatory prayers must be offered in the mosque.
6. Who is Exempt from Praying Obligatory Prayers?
The five daily prayers are mandatory for every Muslim who has reached the age of puberty. Those who are exempted include:
- • Those for whom it may not be possible to offer prayers due to physical and mental disability
- • Menstruating women
- • Women who are experiencing postnatal bleeding
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She is a certified Quranic scholar and contributes articles for Muslim And Quran.