بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Shari’ah View of Holding Second Jama’ah in the Mosque

There has been difference of opinions among the jurists regarding holding the second or third Jama’ah (prayer in congregation) in the mosque since long ago. But some scenarios are agreed upon. For example:

It is agreed upon that holding the second Jama’ah in the mosque on regular basis is not permissible.

It is unanimously permissible to hold second, third and fourth Jama’ah in a mosque which does not have regular Imam and Mu’adhdhin (the five time Salah is not held in congregation on regular basis), or which is located on the railway station or market place (where people frequently come and go), or on the main road connecting two different cities and localities.

But in the mosque of a locality (where regular Imam and Mu’adhdhin are appointed and the five daily prayers are regularly held in congregation), Ulama hold different opinions: According to one opinion narrated from Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal which is more popular among his followers, if two or more people come to the mosque without prior agreement after the Imam has finished Salah, praying Salah in congregation is better for them than praying individually, even if Salah would be considered to have been performed when prayed individually. This view is substantiated through the following evidences:

Ubai Ibn Ka’b (RA) narrates that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “The prayer of a person with another person in congregation is more virtuous than praying by himself. Praying with two other people in congregation is more virtuous than praying with one perso”, (Sunan Nasai, Sunan Abi Dawood & Sunan Ibne Majah).

Abu Saeed al-Khudri (RA) narrates: “One day the Prophet (PBUH) was sitting with his Companions (RA). A man who had missed the prayer entered the mosque. The Prophet (PBUH) said about him: “Who will give charity to this man and pray with him?” so one of the people got up and prayed with him, (Sunan Tirmidhi: 220).

Anas ibn Malik (RA) once entered a mosque and the people had finished their prayer. He called Adhan and pronouncing Iqamah, prayed with congregation. (Sunan Baihiqi: This Hadeeth has also been related by Imam Bukhari as the Mauquf way of narration in his Ta’leeqat).

Note: See the answer to the argumentations made by these Ahadeeth at the end of the article.

According to the opinion of a large number of jurists and scholars (Abdullah ibne Masood (RA), Shaikh Hasan al-Basari, Shaikh Nafey Maula Ibn Umar, Shaikh Salim Ibn Abdullah, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafa’ee and Imam Ahmad Ibne Hanbal (RHA) according to another opinion infamously narrated from him), holding second Jama’ah inside a mosque of a locality where Imam and Muadhdhin are permanently appointed is makrooh (detestable). However, the second Jama’ah can be held anywhere outside the mosque or Salah should be offered individually inside the mosque. Some of the evidences to establish this view are as follows:

It was the habit of the Prophet (PBUH) that he himself used to lead the Companions (RA) in prayer. If any Companion would miss his prayer, he would offer his prayer individually. They would not look for any other person to hold the congregation in the mosque. This fact has been accepted nearly by the whole Ummah. Thus, the Holy Qur’an, collections of Ahadeeth, biographies, books of exegesis of the Qur’an and history give only one event in the whole life of the Prophet (PBUH) when the second Jama’ah was held in the mosque. The story has shortly come in the Hadeeth of Abu Saeed al-Khudri (RA). In short, holding the second Jama’ah is proved only once in the whole life of the Prophet (PBUH) in which the Imam was offering his Farz Salah, while the Muqtadi (the follower) was voluntarily offering a Nafl Salah behind him. Not even a single event is found in the whole life of the Prophet (PBUH) when two or more people offered their Farz Salah in congregation.

In his renowned book “Al-Umm”, Imam Shafa’ee writes: “I have heard all the Imams saying that if a person reaches the mosque after the prayer has finished, he should perform his Salah individually. However, there is no issue in holding the second Jama’ah, if the mosque is situated on the main road and does not have any permanent Imam and Mu’adhdhin. Our elders have narrated from a large group of the blessed Companions (RA) that if a person reaches the mosque after the congregational prayer has finished, he should perform individually. The Companions (RA) would consider it makrooh to hold two Jama’ahs in one mosque.”

In his “Al-Musannaf” widely known as “Musannaf ibne Abi Shaibah, Hafiz Abu Bakr ibne Abi Shaibah narrates the statement of Hasan al-Basari with an authentic chain of narrators that the Companions (RA) would offer their Salah individually in case of missing the congregation.

Abu Bakrah (RA) narrates that once the Prophet (PBUH) came back from the rural areas of Madina. When he intended to offer Salah, he found that people had finished their prayers. He, then, went to his house, gathered his family members and offered his prayer in congregation with them. (Mu’jam al-Kabir by Al-Tabrani, Majma’ al-Jawayed: vol. 2, p. 45, Al-Mu’jam al-Awsat: 5/ 35/ 4601, 7/ 51/ 6820, Al-Majruheen by Ibn Hibban: 3/ 4.. 5, Al-Kamil by Ibn Adi: 6/ 2398)

Al-Haithimi, a great Hadeeth scholar says that all the narrators in the chain of this Hadeeth are trustworthy. Shaikh Nasiruddin Albani has classified it as Hasan. (Tamam al-Minah: p. 155) Shaikh Mashhur Hasan Salman too has categorized it as an authentic Hadeeth. (I’lam al-Abid fi Hukm Takrar al-Jama’ah fi al-Masjid al Wahid: p. 34)

Note: The aforementioned Hadeeth furnishes that the Prophet (PBUH) did not hold the Jama’ah in the mosque after missing the first congregation. Instead he went to his house and held another congregation inside it.

Once Abdullah ibne Masood along with his two colleagues (RA) went to offer Salah in the mosque. He found that Salah had finished and people were coming out of the mosque. Then, he came back to his house along with his colleagues and offered Salah. (Related by Al-Tabrani in Mu’jam al-Kabir: 9380 with authentic chain of narrators, by Ibne Abdur Razzaque in Al-Musannaf: 2/ 409/ 3883)

Abdullah ibne Masood (RA) is counted among the jurist Companions to whom even the great Companions (RA) used to make recourse with regards to the rulings of Shari’ah. The point to be noted here is that what prohibited this jurist Companion to offer Salah in congregation right in the mosque? He would surely know that he would have to offer Salah in the mosque individually, while he had the scope to pray in congregation at house. Therefore, he held the congregation out of the mosque, so that he could attain the least virtue of offering Salah in congregation.

Abu Hurairah (RA) narrates that the Prophet (PBUH) 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 the people who do not attend the prayer (without any valid excuse) and burn their houses down around them”, (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim 651).  

In this Hadeeth, the Prophet (PBUH) expressed his anger about the people who did not offer Salah in the mosque without any valid excuse and wanted to burn their houses. It is unanimously agreed by the whole Ummah that this Hadeeth refers to the first congregation. If holding the second, third and fourth congregation is permitted in general mosques, the will of the Prophet (PBUH) to burn the houses of the people not attending the congregation would not be fulfilled. That is because when the Prophet (PBUH) would go to burn the houses of the people not attending the congregation, they would say that they would attend the second, third and fourth congregation.

Many authentic Ahadeeth reveal that Shari’ah wants more and more people to attend the congregational prayers, as the greater number of people fetches greater rewards. If the second, third and fourth congregations are permitted in the mosque, the first congregation will surely be attended by less people, which is against the will of Shari’ah.

Experience suggests that where Ulama have allowed second Jama’ah to make things easier even in the mosques of the localities, second, third, fourth and sometimes many more congregations are held in them, which belittles the very importance of holding congregations.

If the second, third and fourth congregations are permitted in general mosques, it will increase sectarian divisions among Ummah. If some people do not want to offer Salah behind an Imam due to some differences in rulings, they will be prompted to hold another congregation. This is the reason why the Saudi government prohibits form holding second or third congregations in al-Masjid al-Haram or al-Masjid al-Nabwi.

Holding second congregations in the mosque may distract the minds of other people performing Salah at the same time, especially those who are making up their missed Rak’ahs; while the Salah is commanded to be offered with Khushu’ and Khudhu, which is primarily required.

Note: Sahikh Nasiruddin Albani (whose services to the science of Hadeeth are seen with great respect) too holds the same opinion that holding another Jama’ah in the mosque is makrooh.

Answers to the argumentations of those who allow second Jama’ah

  1. The only thing proved by the Hadeeth narrated by Ubai ibn Ka’b (RA) is that the greater the number of people attending the congregation, the higher the reward. This Hadeeth in no way proves the permissibility of holding second, third or fourth congregations in the mosque.  
  2. What is learnt from the Hadeeth of Abud Saeed al-Khudri (RA) in the light of the statement of the Prophet (PBUH) that the person who has already offered Farz Salah in congregation is actually giving a charity to the person who has not yet offered it. Who will be giving charity to whom, if both are offering the same Farz Salah? Here, the second congregation actually did not take place. A person joined him with the intention of Nafl prayer and this way he gave charity to him. Not even a single event is found in the whole life of the Prophet (PBUH) when two persons held the second congregations with the intention of Farz salah.
  3. The only thing that can be said in the light of the practices of the Prophet (PBUH) and the blessed Companions (RA) is that Ansa bin Malik (RA) might have done so in any mosque situated on the main road. Therefore, he performed Salah after calling Adhan and Iqamah; else what could be the meaning of calling Adhan afresh in the mosque of a locality?

Note: Some people, seeing the Imam in Qa’dah Akhirah (sitting after Sujud in the last Rak’ah of Salah), do not join the congregation. Instead they prepare for a second congregation. As soon as the Imam finishes his Salah with Salam, another congregation begins. No such practice is found in the period of the Prophet (PBUH), the blessed Companions, al-Tabi’een (successor of the Companions) and Tab’a al-Tabi’een (successor to the Tabi’een) (RA), rather in the whole history of Islam. Therefore, we should join the congregation with Imam, no matter whether the Imam is surely in Qa’dah Akhirah.  

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (