Prayer rooms (musallas) in houses and businesses do not come under the same rulings as mosques
Praise be to Allaah.
Prayer rooms that are built in houses or in some institutions and businesses, with the intention that only the people who live and work in those places will pray in them, and which are not intended as public mosques that are open to all Muslims, do not come under the same rulings as mosques. In olden times, the practice was that a man would set aside a place in his house for prayer, which was called musalla al-bayt (the prayer room of the house) or masjid al-bayt (the mosque of the house), but this “mosque” did not come under the well-known rulings on mosques.
Al-Bukhaari (425) and Muslim (33) narrated from ‘Itbaan ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) that when he became blind and it was too difficult for him to go to the mosque on rainy days and when there were floods, he asked the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) to come to his house and pray in a spot that ‘Itbaan could take as a musalla. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) responded to his request.
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said: One of the things that we learn from this hadeeth is that setting aside a place in the house for prayer does not mean that it becomes a waqf, even if it is called a mosque. End quote.
Ibn Qudaamah said in al-Mughni (4/464): The “mosque” in a house does not come under the real rulings on mosques. End quote.
It says in al-Mawsoo‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah (2/121):
A mosque in the house is not a mosque in the real sense and does not come under the same rulings, so it is permissible to change it and for a person who is in a state of janaabah to sleep in it. End quote.
Based on this, this prayer room in the house does not come under the same rulings as a mosque and there is nothing wrong with turning it into rooms for accommodation.
It should be noted that offering prayers in congregation is obligatory and is to be done in the mosque; it is not permissible to offer these prayers at home, even if it is done in congregation, except in the case of one who has an excuse, such as if he is sick or the mosque is too far away, and the like.
And Allah knows best.
The evidence that it is obligatory to offer prayers in congregation in the mosque
Praise be to Allaah.
We praise Allaah for guiding you to the religion of Islam. This is a great blessing for which Allaah should be praised and thanked.
The Muslim has to understand that prayer is the greatest of the pillars of Islam, and that it is the thing which distinguishes a Muslim from a kaafir, as it says in the hadeeth of Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Between a man and shirk and kufr there stands his giving up prayer.
Narrated by Muslim, 82.
The fuqaha’ (may Allaah have mercy on them) differed concerning the ruling on congregational prayers. There are a number of opinions, the most sound of which is that prayer in congregation in the mosque is obligatory and is what is indicated by the shar’i evidence.
This is the view of ‘Ata’ ibn Abi Rabaah, al-Hasan al-Basri, al-Awzaa’i and Abi Thawr, and of Imam Ahmad as it appears from some of his statements. This was also stated by al-Shaafa’i in Mukhtasar al-Muzni where he said: “With regard to praying in congregation, I do not allow a concession to anyone not to do it except one who has an excuse.” This was also the view favoured by Shaykh Ibn Baaz and Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on them).
With regard to the evidence that it is obligatory, it is as follows:
1 – Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“When you (O Messenger Muhammad) are among them, and lead them in As-Salaah (the prayer), let one party of them stand up [in Salaah (prayer)] with you taking their arms with them; when they finish their prostrations, let them take their positions in the rear and let the other party come up which have not yet prayed, and let them pray with you”
Ibn al-Mundhir said:
The fact that Allaah has commanded us to establish prayer in congregation even at times of fear indicates that doing so at times of security is even more obligatory.
Ibn al-Qayyim said:
There are several ways in which this verse may be taken as evidence:
Firstly, Allaah commands them to pray in congregation, then He repeats the command with regard to the second group, by saying “and let the other party come up which have not yet prayed, and let them pray with you”. This indicates that praying in congregation is obligatory on an individual basis, as Allaah did not excuse the second group because the first group had done it. If praying in congregation was Sunnah, the best excuse for not doing it would be the excuse of fear. If it were fard kafaayah (a communal obligation), it would no longer be obligatory after the first group had done it. So this verse proves that it is obligatory for each and every individual. So these are the three ways in which this verse proves it is obligatory: Allaah commands it once, then He commands it again, and He does not allow them a concession not to do it at times of fear.
Al-Salaah wa Hukm Taarikiha, p. 137, 138
2 – Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as-Salaah), and give Zakaah, and bow down (or submit yourselves with obedience to Allaah) along with Ar-Raaki‘oon (those who bow)”
The way in which this verse may be taken as evidence is that here Allaah commanded them to bow, which refers to prayer. Prayer is described as rukoo’ (bowing) here because bowing is one of the pillars or essential parts of the prayer, and prayer is sometimes referred to by its pillars and obligatory components, as Allaah calls it sujood (prostration), Qur’aan and Tasbeeh (glorification of Allaah). And the phrase “along with Ar-Raaki‘oon (those who bow)” cannot mean anything other than doing it with a congregation of worshippers. This is what the word ma’a (with) means. Once this is understood, if a command mentions a particular manner or situation, then the one who is commanded to do it cannot obey the command properly unless he does it in the manner or situation mentioned. Some may argue that Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O Maryam! Submit yourself with obedience to your Lord (Allaah, by worshipping none but Him Alone) and prostrate yourself, and bow down along with Ar-Raaki‘oon (those who bow down)”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:43]
but this does not mean that women have to attend prayers in congregation. It was said that this verse does not imply that this is enjoined upon all women, rather this was something that applied only to Maryam, unlike the words “And perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as-Salaah), and give Zakaah, and bow down (or submit yourselves with obedience to Allaah) along with Ar-Raaki‘oon (those who bow)”. Maryam was a unique case, unlike other women, because her mother had vowed that she would be sacred to Allaah and devoted to His worship; she would stay in the place of worship and not leave it. So she was commanded to bow with the people in the place of worship. When Allaah chose her and purified her and chose her above all the women of the world, He commanded her to obey Him in ways that were unique to her and did not apply to other women. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And (remember) when the angels said: “O Maryam (Mary)! Verily, Allaah has chosen you, purified you (from polytheism and disbelief), and chosen you above the women of the ‘Aalameen (mankind and jinn) (of her lifetime).”
43. O Mary! “Submit yourself with obedience to your Lord (Allaah, by worshipping none but Him Alone) and prostrate yourself, and bow down along with Ar-Raaki‘oon (those who bow down)”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:42-43]
Some say that the fact that they were commanded to bow with those who bow does not indicate that it is obligatory to bow with them at the time when they are bowing, rather it indicates that one should do as they do, as in the verse (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Fear Allaah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds)”
They further argue that the word ma’a (with) means doing the same as they do, but it does not necessarily mean doing it at the same time. The answer is that in Arabic, the word ma’a means more than doing the same as someone else, rather it means doing it with them, especially in the case of prayer. If someone says “Go and pray with the congregation” or “I prayed with the congregation”, the only interpretation can be is that he went and joined them and prayed together with them.
al-Salaah wa Hukm Taarikiha, 139-141
3 – It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, I was thinking of ordering that wood be gathered, then I would have ordered that the call to prayer be given, then I would have told a man to lead the people in prayer, then I would have gone from behind and burned the houses of men who did not attend the (congregational) prayer down around them. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if any one of them had known that he would get a bone covered with good meat or two sheep’s feet with meat in them, he would have turned up for the ‘Isha’ prayer.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 618; Muslim, 651
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The most burdensome prayers for the hypocrites are ‘Isha’ and Fajr. If they knew what (reward) is in them, they would come to them even if they had to crawl. I was thinking of ordering that the call to prayer be given, then I would tell a man to lead the people in prayer, and I would go out with men carrying bundles of wood to people who do not come to the prayers, and I would burn their houses with fire around them.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 626; Muslim, 651
Ibn al-Mundhir said:
The fact that he was thinking of burning down the houses of people who stayed behind and did not attend the prayers is the clearest indication that it is obligatory to pray in congregation, because it would not have been permissible for the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to burn down the houses of those who stayed behind if prayer in congregation was only something good but not obligatory.
This hadeeth indicates that prayer in congregation is an individual obligation, not a communal one, because if it was a communal obligation and some had done it, why would others have deserved the punishment? There is no punishment except for one who neglects an obligatory duty or does something that is haraam.
Subul al-Salaam, 2/18, 19
4 – It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: A blind man [Ibn Umm Maktoom] came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, I have no one to lead me to the mosque,” and he asked the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to grant him a concession allowing him to pray in his house, and he allowed him that. But when he turned away he said, “Can you hear the call to prayer?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “Then answer it.” According to a version narrated by Abu Dawood (552) and Ibn Maajah (792) he said: “I do not think there is any concession for you.”
Al-Nawawi said concerning this hadeeth: its isnaad is saheeh or hasan.
Ibn al-Mundhir said:
If there is no concession for a blind man, then it is more appropriate that there should be no concession for one who can see.
Ibn Qudaamah said:
If there is no concession for a blind man who had no one to lead him, it is more appropriate that there should be no concession for others.
5 – It was narrated that Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: Whoever would like to meet Allaah tomorrow as a Muslim, let him regularly perform these prayers when the call for them is given, for they are among the ways of guidance. Allaah has prescribed for your Prophet ways of guidance, and if you pray in your homes, as this one who stays away from the prayers prays in his home, then you will have abandoned the way of your Prophet, and if you abandon the way of your Prophet you will go astray. There is no man who purifies himself and does it well, then he goes to one of these mosques, but for every step he takes, Allaah will record for him one hasanah (good deed) and will raise him thereby one degree in status, and will erase for him one sayi’ah (bad deed). I saw us (at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) and no one stayed behind from these prayers except a hypocrite who was known for his hypocrisy. A man would come supported by two others so that he could stand in the row.
According to another version, he said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught us the ways of guidance, and told us that one of the way of guidance is to pray in the mosque when the call to prayer is given.
Narrated by Muslim, 654
Ibn al-Qayyim said:
What we may conclude from this is that he described staying away from the prayers as one of the signs of the hypocrites who are known for their hypocrisy. The signs of hypocrisy are not omitting mustahabb actions or doing makrooh things. Whoever seeks to learn the signs of hypocrisy according to the Sunnah will find that they are omitting obligatory actions or doing haraam things. This is supported by the fact that he said: “Whoever would like to meet Allaah tomorrow as a Muslim, let him regularly perform these prayers when the call for them is given”. And he described the one who stays away and offers the prayers at home as being one who has abandoned the Sunnah which is the path of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the laws that he prescribed for his ummah. What is meant is not the Sunnah which those who wish can do and those who do not wish can omit, because omitting that is not misguidance or a sign of hypocrisy – such as not praying Duha and qiyaam al-layl, or fasting on Mondays and Thursdays.
Al-Salaah wa Hukm Taarikiha, p. 146, 147
6 – The consensus of the Sahaabah
Ibn al-Qayyim said:
There was consensus among the Sahaabah and we will quote what they said:
We have mentioned the words of Ibn Mas’ood above: “I saw us (at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) and no one stayed behind from these prayers except a hypocrite who was known for his hypocrisy.”
It was also narrated that Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Whoever hears the muezzin and does not respond with no excuse, his prayer is not valid.”
It was narrated that Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari said: “Whoever hears the muezzin and does not respond with no excuse, his prayer is not valid.”
It was narrated that ‘Ali said: “There is no prayer for a neighbour of the mosque except in the mosque.” It was said, “Who is the neighbour of the mosque?” He said, “Whoever can hear the muezzin.”
It was narrated that al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Whoever hears the call to prayer and does not come, his prayer does not go beyond his head, except for one who has an excuse.”
It was narrated that ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Whoever among the neighbours of the mosque hears the call to prayer, and he is in good health and does not have any excuse, his prayer is not valid.”
Al-Salaah wa Hukm Taarikiha, p/ 153
There is a great deal of evidence, but what we have quoted above is sufficient. You can refer to the book by Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Salaah wa Hukm Taarikiha (Prayer and the Ruling on one who abandons it), which has a lot more information. Shaykh Ibn Baaz wrote a useful essay entitled Wujoob Ada’ al-Salaah fi Jamaa’ah (The obligation of offering prayers in congregation).
And Allaah knows best.
Their boss does not let them offer prayer in congregation in the mosque
Praise be to Allaah.
What you did by praying with the congregation in the mosque is the right thing, and it is what is required of you and of everyone in the building except those who have a legitimate shar’i excuse such as sickness and the like. The saheeh evidence indicates that it is obligatory to pray with the congregation in the mosque when the call to prayer is given. The boss has no right to force the employees to stay away from praying in congregation in the mosque, because this is forcing you to abandon a shar’i duty. Rather he should help them and encourage them to go to the mosque, in obedience to the command of Allaah, may He be exalted, and the command of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). In that there are goodness and blessings many times greater than the loss of work that he imagines. This will also remind visitors to the clinic and others of the importance of prayer, which is so important that work should stop for it and employees should be given time off for it, for it is indeed so important.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) even thought of burning down the houses of those who stayed away from prayer in congregation, even though they may have been praying in their houses, whether in congregation or individually. And he ordered the blind man to come to the mosque, and he did not grant him a concession allowing him to pray in his house. This indicates that it is obligatory to pray in the mosque. This is clearly stated in the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “Whoever hears the call to prayer and does not come, there is no prayer for him, unless he has an excuse.” Narrated by Ibn Maajah (793) from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah.
Think about this great hadeeth and the stern warning that it contains for the one who stays away from prayer in congregation and does not come to the mosque when he hears the call, and states that there is no prayer for him unless he has an excuse. Would any Muslim agree to among those for whom there is no prayer, whether that means that it is not accepted at all or that the reward is reduced? No wise man who is keen to please his Lord would accept that.
We ask Allaah to guide the boss and manager, and to open their hearts to obeying the command of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), so that they may attain the goodness, blessing and provision that come from obeying him. Allaah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Whoever works righteousness — whether male or female — while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islamic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)”
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Holy Spirit (Jibreel) has inspired to me that no soul will die until it has completed its appointed term and received its provision in full, so fear Allaah and do not be desperate in seeking provision, and no one of you should be temped to seek provision by means of committing sin if it is slow in coming to him, for that which is with Allaah can only be attained by obeying Him.” Narrated by Abu Na’eem in al-Hilyah from the hadeeth of Abu Umaamah; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 2085.
With regard to the fatwas of the scholars on this issue, they are many and are well known. We will quote a few of them here:
1 –It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (7/298):
Question: A man works in a company and there are more then three mosques around the company’s building. He always goes out to pray in the mosque, but his colleagues pray at the company’s door, and they want him to pray with them in the building and not go to the mosque. Some of his brothers suggested that he should pray with them and give a lesson to them after the prayer, on the grounds that he has more knowledge of the Sunnah then them, and he should lead them in prayer, even though there are others there who know more Qur’aan than he does. Should he listen to their advice, or should he continue to pray in the mosque, regardless of what they said to him?
Answer: The workers in this company should pray in congregation in one of the mosques that are close to the company’s building, as their colleague is doing. He is doing the right thing by praying in the mosque, and they are mistaken by praying at the company’s door, because the saheeh ahaadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) indicate that it is obligatory to offer the prayer in congregation in the mosque, and it is not permissible to stay away without a legitimate shar’i excuse. End quote.
2 – Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: We are a group of employees working in a government department and there is a mosque close to us, separated from us by a street that is only thirty metres wide and we can hear the call to prayer clearly. But we pray in a musalla (prayer room) that we have made in the office. We have read the fatwa of the Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas which says that it is not permissible to pray in a government department when there is a mosque nearby, and that the employees must pray in the mosque. Our question is: Is it permissible for us to pray in congregation in our office or must we pray in the mosque? Is it permissible for our boss to force us to pray in the office even though there is no shar’i excuse for that?
He replied: What you and your boss must do is pray in the mosque; it is not permissible for you to fail to attend, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever hears the call to prayer and does not come to prayer, there is no prayer for him, except for the one who has an excuse.” Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) was asked what was meant by an excuse and he said: “Fear or sickness.” And it is proven that a blind man asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “O Messenger of Allaah, I do not have a guide to bring me to the mosque; is there any concession that will allow me to pray at home?” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him: “Can you hear the call to prayer?” He said: “Yes.” He said: “Answer it.” Narrated by Imam Muslim in his Saheeh.
Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him), who was one of the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I remember a time when no one stayed away from it (the prayer) except a hypocrite who was known for his hypocrisy or one who was sick.”
So what you must all do is persist in praying in the mosque with the congregation, and do not be like the enemies of Allaah, the hypocrites. May Allaah help you and make things easy for you. End quote from Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz (12/64).
Many employees, unfortunately, go out to pray in the mosque, but then they waste a lot of time by coming back to work late after the prayer, chatting with the brothers they meet in the mosque. Some of them even go to do other things after the prayer and that makes them late in coming back to work. Some of them do not go and pray at all, rather they go home or someplace else, then they go back to work as if they had gone to pray. If the boss fears that this is happening, then he has the right in that case to prevent them from praying in the mosque, but he should oblige them to pray in the workplace, to protect the interests of the work and to prevent negligence on the part of some employees.
Moreover, the work may require some employees to stay there so as to check on some patients who require constant supervision, or some doctors to deal with emergencies. In such cases there is no sin on the people who do not attend prayer in congregation in the mosque, and they may pray in congregation in the workplace if that is possible, but that should only be done by those who need to do it, not all the doctors and employees. Below we have explained that if a doctor is required by his work to be present in the hospital at the time of Jumu’ah prayer in order to deal with emergencies, there is no sin on him if he misses Jumu’ah prayer, but he must pray Zuhr in the workplace.
If the administration insists on its attitude, and your continuing to go to the mosque means that you will be fired, then it seems that those who need this work are excused for not praying in congregation in the mosque, but they should try to pray in congregation in the workplace. The fuqaha’ have stated that one of the excuses that make it permissible to miss praying in congregation is fear of losing livelihood that one needs, as is stated in Kashshaaf al-Qinaa’ (1/496).
We ask Allaah to guide you.
And Allaah knows best.
He receives accident victims in the hospital – is it permissible for him to miss Jumu’ah prayers?
If your work in the hospital requires you to be there at the time of Jumu’ah prayer in case of accidents and emergencies, there is nothing wrong with your staying in the hospital and you are excused for missing Jumu’ah prayers. You should pray Zuhr, four rak’ahs, instead.