What is the salat? What is the encouraging communal salat? Why is it important to encouraging communal salat? Why is it important to communal salat?
Social training comprises one of the most vital fundamentals of Islam. The opening phase of the social training a Muslim receives is through offering communal salat, in jamaah, the sturdiest pillar of deed that keeps Muslim society at its feet. Wherever it may be, communal salat serves to actualize the social spirit of Islam. Wanting to institute unity and solidarity among its members, Islam has thus desired the offering of salat, a trademark characteristic of a Muslim, in jamaah, and has considered attending mosques a testimony of being a Believer. The Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- states:
“When you see a person make a habit of attending mosques then bear witness to his iman inside, for Allah declares:
‘The mosques of Allah shall be maintained only by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day…’ (at-Tawba, 18)” (Ibn Majah, Masajid, 19)
The importance of maintaining mosques physically is equaled by maintaining them spiritually through attending communal salat, which is a crucial duty of servanthood. The words below, narrated through Abu Hurayra -Allah be well-pleased with him-, declare:
“Truly strange on Earth are four things: The Quran in the memory of a tyrant, a mosque inside which salat is not offered despite being in a Muslim land, a Quran unread despite hanging on a wall inside a house and a righteous living amid the corrupted.” (Daylami, III, 108/4301)
Allah, glory unto Him, places so enormous an importance on offering salat in jamaah that He commands it even in battle and teaches the exact manner of doing it in the Quran.
Abu Hurayra -Allah be well-pleased with him- explains:
“The Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- had once taken a break in his journey somewhere between Dajnan and Usfan. The idolaters conspired to:
‘…prepare and attack the Believers right at asr salat time, for it is a salat dearer to them than their children and parents!’ It was then that Jibril –upon him peace- came to the Messenger of Allah with the 102nd ayah of surah Nisa which explains the manner in which salat is to be offered during battle.” (Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 4/21)
No matter how unfavorable the conditions may be, a Muslim therefore must adjourn salat and suspend its offering in jamaah.
Some hadith of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- strongly encouraging communal salat are:
“Salat offered in jamaah is twenty-seven times more rewarding than that offered alone.” (Bukhari, Adhan, 30)
“Whoever attends the mosque day and night, for his every journey to and fro, Allah will prepare him a treat in Paradise.” (Bukhari, Adhan, 37)
“Each time one takes a thorough wudu and sets out for salat, Allah will give a reward every time he raises his right foot to take a step, and erase a misdeed every time he steps his left foot down, whether the mosque be near or distant. If he makes it to the mosque and offers the salat in jamaah, his sins will be forgiven…and this is valid even if he arrives at the mosque only to see some part of the salat already completed, given he joins them and completes the remainder on his own immediately after. The same goes even if he finds the salat entirely completed and therefore is made to offer the salat on his own.” (Abu Dawud, Salat, 50/563)
“A Believer who waits in a mosque for a salat to begin is considered to be in salat.” (Ibn Majah, Masajid, 14)
Abu Hurayra -Allah be well-pleased with him- narrates:
“The Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- once asked, ‘Should I inform you of the deeds through which Allah erases sins and increases ranks?’
‘Please do, Messenger of Allah’, replied we.
‘Taking wudu despite all the trouble, increasing the steps to arrive at mosques and anticipating the next salat right after the other…Such are true ribat.” (Muslim, Taharat, 41)
Yazid ibn Amir -Allah be well-pleased with him- recounts another occasion:
“I once arrived next to the Messenger of Allah while he was offering salat. I sat and did not join the jamaah. When the Messenger of Allah turned towards us after completing the salat, he noticed me sitting on the side:
‘Have you not become Muslim, Yazid?’ he asked.
‘Of course I have, Messenger of Allah’ I responded.
‘Then what is it that keeps you away from offering your salat in jamaah?’ he then inquired.
‘Supposing you must have already offered the salat’, I said, ‘I offered it at home.’ Thereupon the Messenger of Allah advised:
‘If you come to the mosque and find people offering salat, join them. It will count as a bonus if you have already offered it; and what you have already offered will count as the obligatory (fard).’” (Abu Dawud, Salat, 56/577)
Uncompromising in making any allowances for communal salat, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- wanted Muslims to regulate their situations and routines in accordance with the five daily adhans. Exemplary of this attitude is the case of Abdullah ibn Ummi Maqtum -Allah be well-pleased with him-, who came to the Prophet of Mercy -upon him blessings and peace- and asked:
“I am a blind man, Messenger of Allah, as you know, and my house is far from the Masjid. I do have a guide but he fails to help me. Can I have permission to offer my salats at home?”
“Do you hear the adhan?” then inquired the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- to which Ibn Maqtum replied positively.
“I cannot”, then said the Noble Messenger, “think of any excuses for you to remain behind from the jamaah.” (Abu Dawud, Salat, 46/552)
Concerning the attendance of distant mosques, the Blessed Messenger -upon him blessings and peace- has additionally stated:
“To reap the greatest rewards from salat are those who come from afar by walking…and he who waits to offer the salat behind the imam in jamaah receives a far greater reward than he who quickly offers it at home and returns to sleep.” (Bukhari, Adhan, 31)
“The further the distance of one’s house is from the mosque, the greater are his rewards on his way thereto.” (Abu Dawud, Salat, 48/556)
The Noble Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- has issued various warnings to those who fail to attend communal salat. Explaining the following is Ubayy ibn Kaab -Allah be well-pleased with him-:
“On one occasion the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- led us in fajr salat, before turning around and asking whether a certain person was present. It turned out he was not. The Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- then asked whether another person was present. It turned out that he, too, was also absent. Thereupon the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- said:
‘Such are the two salats that are the most burdensome for hypocrites. Had you known of the enormity of their rewards, you would have attended the jamaah, even if you had to crawl your way here. The first row is like that of the angels. Had you known of the virtue of lining up there, you would have competed with each other for a spot. A salat one offers with another is more propitious and has greater rewards than that he offers on his own. A salat one offers with two persons is likewise more propitious and superior to that offered with only one person. The more the amount of people there are, the more Allah is delighted.’” (Abu Dawud, Salat, 47/554)
The Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- has said, in another hadith:
“The salat of a mosque’s neighbor is perfected only if he offers it at the mosque.” (Ibn Abi Shayba, I, 303)
When asked about who was intended by the expression ‘a mosque’s neighbor’, Ali -Allah be well-pleased with him- explained:
“Everyone, who hears the call of adhan.” (Bayhaki, as-Sunanu’l-Kubra, III, 57)
The below words of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- in turn contain ominous threats for those who abandon communal salat:
“If in a village or in a meadow there are three people who do not offer their salat in jamaah, shaytan will besiege and defeat them. Therefore continue attending jamaah, for a sheep that abandons the flock is carried away by the wolf.” (Abu Dawud, Salat, 46/547)
“Either people stop abandoning jamaah, or Allah will seal their hearts and render them among the heedless.” (Ibn Majah, Masajid, 17)
 Ribat carries meanings like bonding the ego to obedience, standing guard near the borders or struggling in the way of Allah, glory unto Him. A cause for great rewards, ribat has been emphatically praised in both the Quran and Sunnah.
Source: Osman Nuri Topbaş, The Prophet Muhammed Mustafa the Elect II, Erkam Publications