Praise be to Allah.
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. describes Ramadan as the month of Rahmah (Mercy). Alhamdulillah, all praises to Allah s.w.t. for all the blessings that He has bestowed upon us, for yet again, we are able to welcome Ramadan this year and reap the benefits in store this month, Insya’Allah.
One of the biggest blessings ever bestowed to Muslims in the month of Ramadan is the observance and the encouragement of congregational prayers (Solat Jama’ah).
We can see that, for years, our mosque officers have been very busy preparing for this month and our mosques have never failed to provide and lead the Tarawih prayers. Some mosques even planned for Qiyamullail (Night Vigil) prayers, especially when we were approaching the last 10 nights of Ramadan.
For years, Allah s.w.t. has given us opportunities to practise the congregational prayer i.e. during the performance of Friday prayers, other daily Fardu (obligatory) prayers and also the sunnah (recommended) Tarawih prayers in our mosques. This year, however, it will be a different Ramadan for many Muslims worldwide.
Mosques are under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that is not a reason for us to avoid performing prayer together. While we are staying away from people who are not living in the same household as us, we can use this opportunity to pray together with our loved ones who are staying with us. Read 5 Benefits of Congregational Prayers in Islam.
Here are 3 things we should know about how to pray congregational prayers at home:
Guide to Congregational Prayers at Home
1. Intention for Prayers in Congregation
When becoming the Imam for your family, you may include the word ‘Imaman’ in your intentions when you are about to commence your prayers e.g:
In Subuh prayer:
أُصَلِّي فَرْضَ الْصُبْحِ رَكَعَتَيْنِ إِمَاماً للهِ تَعَالَى
Transliteration guide: “Usolli fardhos sub-hi rok-’ataini imaaman lillaahi ta’ala”.
Translation: “I intend to pray Fardhu subuh two raka’at as the Imam for the sake Allah ta’ala”.
If you are the makmum (followers), you may include the word ‘Makmuman’ in your intentions before commencing your prayers as indicated below:
أُصلِّيْ فَرْضَ الصُّبْحِ رَكْعَتَيْنِ مَأْمُوماً لِلّهِ تَعَالَى
Transliteration guide: “Usolli fardhos sub-hi rok-’ataini makmuuman lillaahi ta’ala”.
Translation: “I intend to pray Fardhu subuh two raka’at as the Makmum for the sake of Allah ta’ala”.
2. Position of Standing in Congregational Prayer
The following illustrations will guide us on praying Jema’ah (in congregation) at home:
Do note that the illustrations above are for ideal situations. However, if we were to face space constraints in our house, then it is fine for us not to follow the illustrations above so long as the following conditions are met:
The Imam leading the prayer is in front,
Followed by male congregants who stand slightly behind the Imam
Followed by female congregants.
If the congregation is made up of 2 individuals e.g. husband and wife, and you are having space constraints in your house, then it is fine as long as the husband is in front, leading the prayer. If the congregation is made up of females only, then it is ok for the female Imam to stand slightly ahead of the congregation.
3. Recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah In Every Raka’at as Makmum
Though that congregational solat is Sunnah muakkadah (highly commendable) or even fardhu kifayah (communal obligation) according to some scholars, some of us might face some difficulties in following the Imam’s movement in congregational prayers. One instance would be the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah where there are those who might be struggling to complete their Surah Al-Fatihah, especially when we find the Imam reading too fast. What should we do when we find ourselves in this situation?
As we are aware, the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah is considered as an integral part of prayer (Rukun) and a prayer will not be accepted if one does not recite Surah Al-Fatihah in every raka’at of the prayer. If one finds himself/herself falling behind the Imam’s movement due to one’s pace in recitation of surah Al-Fatihah, one should take some time to complete the surah Al-Fatihah first before moving to rukuk position in catching up with the Imam2. One should try his/her best to complete one’s recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah before progressing to rukuk, especially in fardhu prayers.
In maximising one’s effort to praying a lot of sunnah prayers in the month of Ramadan, if one finds difficulties to catch up with the movement of the Imam, due to being new to surah Al-Fatihah, or if the Imam is reading too fast when leading the sunnah prayers such as the Tarawih prayers, then he/she may follow the opinions of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Imam Malik bin Anas and the Mazhab Hanafi, stating that it is rather sunnah (commendable), not wajib(obligatory), for the makmum to recite surah Al-Fatihah in congregational prayers when following the Imam3.
We hope that this article enlightens our readers on how you can perform your prayers with your loved ones at home. May this serves as a guide in assuring us that we all can pray at home in congregation confidently.
We pray together that Allah blesses us with His Taufiq (Assistance) and Hidayah (Guidance) to be steadfast in learning Islam and to be consistent in our solat and in performing the congregational solat.
We also pray that Allah let us meet the blessed month of Ramadan to reap the benefits of this blessed month. Most importantly, we pray that this Ramadan will not be our last one. May Allah accept all our good deeds and forgive all our shortcomings. Amin ya rabbal alamin.
And Allah knows best.
For more Ramadan content, click here.
1Syed Mohd Fadzli Syed Ahmad Al-Yamani, 1436H. Tahsin Ibadah, pg. 34. Malaysia; Aslita Sdn Bhd.
2ibid, pg. 17.
3Wahbah al-Zuhayli. Fiqh Al-Islamiy Wa Adillatuh, Volume 1, pg 696-697. Syria; Dar Al-Fikr.