The Importance of the Namaaz of Imaamat
(Prayer of congregation)

Rasoolullaah (SAWS) has said: Three things wash away the small sins of a man completely, 1)Proper performance of ablution in adverse conditions, 2) Stepping towards the mosque for prayers, and 3) Waiting for one prayer after another.

Imaam Ja'far us-Saadiq (AS) said: Congregational prayer is more meritorious than praying alone. The latter is equivalent to one single prayer while the former is 24 times more in reward. The prayer of one who has offered the dawn prayer in a congregation will be raised to the rank of the prayer of the virtuous, and he will be considered in the deputation of the virtuous on the same day.

Imaam Mohammad ul-Baaqir (AS) has said: ‘Prayer is compulsory but the congregation (Namaaz of Imaamat; Namaaz of Jama'at) in the prayer is not. Congregational prayer is the sunnat; and he who avoids it deliberately, or keeps away from the group of the faithful without valid cause or sickness has indeed offered no prayer at all.'

Imaam Mohammad ul-Baaqir (AS) has said: ‘On certain occasion, Maulaana Ali (AS) prayed nightlong but offered the dawn prayer after the brightness of the sun had spread in the sky and again he fell asleep. When Rasoolullaah (SAWS) prayed that morning, he did not find Maulaana Ali (AS) in the congregation; He came to Maulatana Fatema (AS) and said: “O my dear daughter what is the matter with your husband that he did not pray his morning prayer with us?” She related to Him what had happened. By listening to this Maulaana Ali (AS) woke up, then Rasoolullaah (SAWS) told him, “O Ali (AS), he who has prayed the morning prayer with the congregation has, to say, prayed for the whole of the night, bowing and prostrating himself. O Ali (AS), know you not that the earth complains to Allaah when a learned man falls asleep before sunrise!”'

Maulaana Ali (AS) visited Abul Darda once early in the morning, and found him asleep, and said. ‘What is the matter with you?' Abul Darda said: ‘Something happened to me at night and I fell asleep.' Ali (AS) said: ‘Did you miss the congregation of the morning prayer?' Abul Darda said: ‘Yes'. Maulaana Ali (AS) replied, “O Abul Darda, to offer the ‘ishaa (last prayer) and the fajr (dawn prayer) with congregation is preferable to me than praying during the interval between these two prayers.” Have you not heard the Rasoolullaah (SAWS) saying, “If they only knew the merit of these two prayers, they would surely have come swarming?” For verily they are a requital of the sins committed during the interval.

Imaam Mohammad ul-Baaqir (AS) has said: ‘A tribesman of Johayna came to Rasoolullaah (SAWS) and said, “O Prophet of Allaah, I live in the desert with my wife, children and slaves. I give azaan and iqaamat and I pray with them. Do we constitute a congregation?” Rasoolullaah (SAWS) replied, “Yes”. The man further asked, “Sometimes the slaves follow the tracks of the camels and go far away, and I and my family remain there. I give azaan and iqaamat and I pray with my family. Do we make up a congregation?” Rasoolullaah (SAWS) replied, “Yes”. The man again asked, “Sometimes my children go in search of rainwater and my wife and I remain there. So I give azaan and iqaamat and I pray with her. Do we form a congregation?” Rasoolullaah (SAWS) said, “Yes”. The man continued, “On some occasion my wife is away for her own work and I remain alone there. I give azaan and iqaamat and I pray alone. Am I then a congregation?” Then Rasoolullaah (SAWS) responded, “The faithful alone, although alone, constitutes a congregation.”' When a faithful says azaan and iqaamat and prays, there pray behind him two rows of angels.

Maulaana Ali (AS) said: ‘On the Day of Resurrection (Reckoning or Judgement), when there will be no shade except the shade of the Throne of Allaah and there will be a man sitting under that shade who will have left his home for the mosque to offer farz prayers by performing his ablution completely but died before reaching the mosque. There will be an another man sitting under that shade who will have woken up for prayers at midnight, when all others were asleep, and performed his ablution fully, then went towards the mosque to offer his prayers but died before reaching there.

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