Lives Far; Is He Obliged To Attend Congregation?
Fatwa No: 414049

Question

Here in Germany the Masaajid are not allowed to make the Adhan loudly. The nearest Masjid to my home as per beeline (linear distance) is 1.27km away but the actual walking distance is 2.4km because the way is not straight and I have to walk through the city. Then there is another Masjid that is around 1.6km away, both linear distance and actual walking distance, walking to it takes about 23-30 min, depending on walking speed. Now my question is: Am I obliged to go and pray there because of this distance? Sorry for any incovenience. May Allah 'azzawajall reward you with good.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Firstly, it is known that Muslim jurists held different opinions regarding the ruling on praying in congregation. Some held that praying in congregation is a recommended act. Some held that it is a communal obligation, and others held that it is an individual obligation. Most of the scholars who believed that praying in congregation is obligatory did not hold that it is obligatory to attend the congregational prayers in the mosque. Rather, they said that it is obligatory to perform the prayer in congregation anywhere, at home or elsewhere. The scholarly difference of opinion over the issue is old and known to Muslim scholars, and each group relied on evidence which may indicate the preponderance of their opinion. Based on the opinion that performing prayers in congregation at the mosque is obligatory, this obligation comes with the condition that one is able to hear the Athaan (call to prayer) directly, without loudspeakers. We cannot determine whether or not a person would be able to hear the Athaan without loudspeakers from the distances you mentioned in the question and in the city where you live. The basic principle is that a person’s liability is cleared from the obligation in this regard. If you doubt whether or not you are able to hear the Athaan, then you are not required to do anything in this regard. However, if you know or mostly believe that you would be able to hear the Athaan, and you follow the scholarly view that attending the congregational prayer in the mosque is obligatory, then you should respond to the call to prayer and go to the mosque to pray in congregation. There is no doubt that attending the congregational prayer in the mosque is superior in any case, regardless of whether or not you are obliged to attend the congregational prayers at the mosque. This is because the rewards of attending the congregational prayers at the mosque are not confined to the reward of performing the prayers. Rather, a worshipper also earns rewards for the large number of steps when walking to the mosque, waiting for the obligatory prayer, increasing the number of worshippers in the congregational prayers, having the angels seek forgiveness for him, as well as many other virtues reported in the Sunnah. Therefore, you should remain keen on attending the congregational prayers at the mosque in order to earn greater rewards and be elevated to higher ranks.

Allah Knows best.

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