The importance of Salaat with Jama’at (congregation)
One cannot truly cover any discussion concerning the rights of Salaat without conveying due importance to performing Salaat with congregation. In numerous places we are commanded in the Quraan concerning Salaat.
However an interesting point is the fact that Allah Ta’ala does not just command us with performing prayer but the word is ‘Iqaamah’ i.e. the establishment of prayer. `Iqaamah` does not refer to mere performance. Rather it has a very comprehensive meaning.
It encompasses the scrupulous performance of Salaat in every aspect. Aside from exercising due care in the performance of the fardh, wajib and Mustahab actions of Salaat, `Iqaamah` also includes constancy and punctuality in Salaat. (Ma’ariful Quraan Vol.1 Pg.111)
Mufti Muhammed Shafi’ Saheb (R.A) writes: “An eminent group of the Sahaba, Ta’abieen and the Jurists are of the opinion that Salaat with jamaat is compulsory and to omit it is a sin. In fact a group among the Sahaba negate the validity of the Salaat performed individually without a valid Shari’ excuse.
The Ahaadith are replete with warnings for those who deliberately (without a valid Shari’ excuse) forego Salaat with jamaat.
In one Hadith Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said: “By that Being who has control over my life, I intend gathering some firewood. I would then instruct somebody to call out the Azaan and perform the Salaat while I go and set fire to the homes of those people who perform their Salaat in their houses without any proper excuse.”
(Sahih Bukhari Vol.1 Pg.89)