Muadh closed his Physics books and looked at his watch. It was now time for Zuhr. He already had wudu’ and was thinking of walking to the mosque in the next street to pray Zuhr in congregation. “Shouldn’t I just pray here, in between the bookshelves? It will save me some time,” Muadh thought for a second.
The library was quiet and there were not many students around despite the examinations being just 3 weeks away. Muadh was walking towards the bookshelves when his friend, Sa’eed tapped him on his right shoulder.
“Muadh, let’s walk to the mosque together?” Sa’eed sounded. Muadh looked at his friend and then his watch. “Sa’eed. I was just thinking of praying here between the bookshelves. I still have a lot of reading up to do. I want to save some time. If I pray here, isn’t it still valid? I don’t have to go to the mosque each time, yeah?”
“Sure,” Sa’eed smiled at his classmate, “But what about the extra rewards that we get when we pray in congregation at the mosque?”
“You’ll get about 27 times more the reward, mate. And that doesn’t include the rewards that you get for each step that you make when walking to the mosque. The Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘The reward for Salah performed by a person in congregation is more than 20 times greater than that of the Salah performed in one’s house or shop. When one makes wudu’ perfectly and then proceeds to the mosque with the sole intention of performing Salah, then for every step that he takes towards the mosque, he is upgraded one degree in reward & one of his sins is eliminated until he enters the mosque.
And when he enters the mosque, he is considered as performing the Salah as long as it is the Salah that prevents him from leaving the mosque. Furthermore, the angels will keep on supplicating to Allah for him as long as he remains in his place of prayer. The angels will say: ‘O Allah! Have mercy on him. O Allah! Forgive his sins. O Allah! Accept his repentance.’ This will carry on as long as the person does not pass wind.’
“Now, wouldn’t that be fantastic, to have all those extra rewards, Muadh?” Sa’eed pointed out . “I do need Allah’s mercy and help when I do my exams, that’s for sure! So, why not seek Allah’s pleasure so HE can have more mercy on me.”
Muadh stopped in his tracks and turned. “I agree. Only Allah can make things hard or easy for us. We need to show HIM that we are trying our best to please HIM. Ultimately, our aim here is not to save time, but to use time wisely. And pleasing Allah is definitely a time well-spent.”
Muadh looked at his watch again and remarked, “Let’s go to the mosque quickly. I don’t want us to miss to miss the first Raka’ah with the Imaam.”
Sa’eed and Muadh then rushed towards the library’s door and walked swiftly to the small mosque next to their school.
The hadith mentioned is collected by Bukhari & Muslim. It shows that although it is permissable to perform Salah individually in marketplaces, houses and other places, but if it is done in a group, that means in congregation, its merit is increased 25, 26 or 27 times, according to a few ahadith. May Allah grant us with strength and protection against laziness always.
Edited :27th April 2013
[chapter one, number 10 of “Riyad_us_saliheen”]