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The Importance of Praying in Congregation

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

31 December 2016 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillaahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. Nawaytu 'l-arba`een, nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu 'l-khalwah, nawaytu 'l-`uzlah, nawaytu 'r-riyaada, nawaytu 's-salook, nawayna siyaam, lillahi ta`ala al-`Azheem fee hadha 'l-masjid.

Siyaam `adam at-takallum, the intention of siyaam is not to speak.

There is a very important aspect in any religion; for sure our religion is Islam, but in every religion there is an emphasis on salaat and they encourage young ones and adults to make salaat. Alhamdulillah, that Allah (swt) has guided us through His Prophet (s) on the importance of salaat in our religion. That is why Allah said in the Holy Qur'an:

إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَابًا مَّوْقُوتًا

Truly prayer has been enjoined upon the Believers in prescribed times. (Surat al-Nisaa, 4:103)

The importance of prayer that is written on every person that it has to be completed in its time, so every person has the responsibility to perform his salaat, there is no excuse. Some people missed their salaat when they were young, may Allah (swt) forgive them. For those who missed it and make it up, whenever they are reminded they can continue doing as much as they are able.

إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاء وَالْمُنكَرِ

Indeed the prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds. (Surat al-`Ankaboot, 29: 45)

Here the important matter is that Allah says in the Holy Qur’an that salaah prohibits and takes you away from something wrong: sins, fahsha, corruption, too many sins, too many mistakes. When you pray, Allah (swt) will turn your fahsha into better `amal. Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul, said, “If you want to understand how you much your salaah is accepted or not, check if you are improving day after day: if you are not improving, it means there is a problem in your salaah that you have to fix.”

Inna ‘s-salaata tanha ʿan al-fahshaa’i wa ‘l-munkar, Indeed the prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds. Finished. Prayer will stop you from doing something wrong, corruption. It has to stop you! Allah (swt) will bless you when you pray because then you are bayna yaday ar-Rahman, between the Hands of Allah (swt). As soon as you raise your hands to say “Allahu Akbar,” you are really saying, “Yaa Rabbee! We are coming to You.”

It is very important not to miss your prayers. Even on a plane you can pray in any possible way. If you cannot find a way, you can pray sitting or by moving only your eyes or your head, because there are so many obstacles these days, but don’t let the prayer be lost. You can pray sitting in the car sitting, then when you go home repeat it.

It is mentioned that one very sincere person, `Ubaydullah ibn `Umar al-Qawaariri (r), said, “In my life I never missed a prayer in jama`ah.” It is mentioned in the Hadith of Prophet (s) that Salaat fi ’l-Jama`ah ta`dillu sab`a wa `ashreen salaah, the prayer in jama`ah is equal to twenty-seven prayers. Why twenty-seven and not twenty-eight or twenty-five? We will see why. The Prophet (s) said:

صلاة الجماعة أفضل من صلاة الفذ بسبع وعشرين درجة

Prayer in congregation is twenty-seven times the value of prayer by oneself. (Bukhari, Muslim)

عن القاسم البغوي ، سمعت عبيد الله القواريري ، يقول : لم تكن تكاد تفوتني صلاة العتمة في جماعة . فنزل بي ضيف ، فشغلت به . فخرجت أطلب الصلاة في قبائلالبصرة . فإذا الناس قد صلوا . فقلت في نفسي : يروى عن النبي - صلى الله عليه وسلم - أنه قال : صلاة الجميع تفضل على صلاة الفذ إحدى وعشرين درجة وروي خمسا وعشرين درجة وروي سبعا وعشرين فانقلبت إلى منزلي ، فصليت العتمة سبعا وعشرين مرة ، ثم رقدت فرأيتني مع قوم راكبي أفراس ، وأنا راكب ، ونحن نتجارى وأفراسهم تسبق فرسي ، فجعلت أضربه لألحقهم ، فالتفت إلي آخرهم ، فقال : لا تجهد فرسك ; فلست بلاحقنا . قال : فقلت : ولم ؟ قال : لأنا صلينا العتمة في جماعة .

Sayyidina `Ubaydullah ibn `Umar (r) said, “All my life I prayed Salaat al-Jama`ah, until one night I missed it.” When he thought about it, he found he was guilty of not praying Salaat al-Jama`ah and one night during Salaat al-`Isha it came to his heart to make sure that he prays in jama`ah. Thereafter, whenever he went to the masjid and found they had already prayed Salaat al-Jama`ah, he went home and repeated the prayer twenty-seven times, because he said to himself, “I lost twenty-seven times the hasanaat of salaat in jama`ah and I have to recoup it, so I will pray Salaat al-`Isha twenty-seven times.” Look how pious the Awliya are: if they missed one salaat in jama`ah, they prayed twenty-seven times to recoup that benefit!

Sayyidina `Ubaydullah ibn `Umar (r) continued, “I went back home very sad that night when I missed Salaat al-`Isha in jama`ah I didn’t know what to do, so I made wudu and prayed Salaat al-`Isha twenty-seven times, then I slept.” He prayed `Isha twenty-seven times against his ego, and we want to pray so quickly in order to finish the prayer. “I slept very sad, then I saw in a dream I was on a horse following a group of people on horses. They were running and I was running trying to catch up to them, but I was not able to. My horse was not going as fast as they were going. I tried to push my horse to run after them, but I was not able to. One person turned his face towards me and said, ‘Don't tire your horse, you are not going to reach us as we are Salaat al-Jama`ah and you missed it.” (Al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi’s Tareekh Baghdad)

So why is it twenty-seven times? What importance happens in a month on the 27th day? Israa’ wa ‘l-Mi`raaj and Laylat al-Qadr! Allah (swt) sent the Holy Qur’an to His Prophet, Sayyidina Muhammad (s), on Laylat al-Qadr, the 27th night of Ramadan! So whenever anyone prays Salaat al-Jama`ah he will get the blessings as if he read the whole Holy Qur’an, because every salaat you pray in jama`ah you are not praying in this room, but this room will disappear and you will pray it bayna yaday ar-Rahman, between the Hands of Allah in the Divine Presence. For every prayer prayed in jama`ah you will receive the complete blessings of the Holy Qur’an which Allah granted His Prophet (s)! From that secret Awliyaullah like to pray Salaat-al-Jama`ah and now we ask Allah (swt) to give us that power to pray Salaat al-Jama`ah.

What is the best jama`ah, the top one? Salaat al-Jumu`ah is highest level of jama`ah in which Allah observes how His servant is praying and behaving. “Prophet (s) said that Allah (swt) said, ‘Anyone who does not lose Salaat al-Jama`ah, I give him My promise that he will enter Paradise without account.’”

... قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : " فَإِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يَقُولُ : مَنْ صَلَّى الصَّلَاةَ لِوَقْتِهَا ، وَحَافَظَ عَلَيْهَا ، وَلَمْ يُضَيِّعْهَا اسْتِخْفَافًا بِحَقِّهَا ، فَلَهُ عَلَيَّ عَهْدٌ أَنْ أُدْخِلَهُ الْجَنَّةَ ، وَمَنْ لَمْ يُصَلِّ لِوَقْتِهَا ، وَلَمْ يُحَافِظْ عَلَيْهَا ، وَضَيَّعَهَا اسْتِخْفَافًا بِحَقِّهَا ، فَلَا عَهْدَ لَهُ ، إِنْ شِئْتُ عَذَّبْتُهُ ، وَإِنْ شِئْتُ غَفَرْتُ لَهُ "

The Prophet (s) said, “Your Lord says: ‘Whoever prays the prayer on time, protects it and does not drop any of its rights, then I owe it to him to admit him to Paradise. And whoever does not pray on time, does not protect the prayer and drops its rights, then I do not owe him. If I wish I punish him, and if I wish I forgive him.’”

(Ahmad, at-Tabarani, ad-Darimi)

So Salaat al-Jama`ah is very important and if you cannot do it, then say, “Yaa Rabbee! Let the mu’min jinn and angels around me complete my jama`ah.” Whenever you say ‘Laa ilaaha illa-Llah’ and when you enter prayer and say, ‘Allahu Akbar,’ angels will come and you make your intention to pray in jama`at and you will be dressed with that. Today when I was looking in the book, Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) mentioned to me, “Salaat al-Jama`ah is the salaat that takes you to Paradise.”

بين الكفر والإيمان ترك الصلاة

Between disbelief and faith is abandoning the prayer. (Muslim, Tirmidhi)

If you lose your prayers, you are between kufr and imaan, so you have to be very careful to immediately come back to your prayer.

As we just mentioned, “Whoever prays his prayer on time and protects it and does not drop any of its rights,” one of the rights is in wudu, to make sure you rub your arm above the elbow: asbagh al-wudu, to complete and perfect wudu, making sure water flowed off all parts required to be washed. When you completely rinse well all the parts required in wudu, then enter your prayer and make sajda, that salaat will make also make sajda and radiate white noor that covers the whole area you are in, and the barakah of your salaat will reach every mu’min and Muslim in your area. Similarly, if you do the opposite and lose your prayer and do not make it on time, it will come out black, muzhlima, the prayer will say to you, “May Allah make you lost as you lost me.” The prayer will speak to you and your rooh will understand it, so make sure you don't lose your prayers. May Allah (swt) keep us with our prayers.

Whoever says, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah” before or after his prayer, as we say it one-hundred times daily or whenever you want, there will be no `amal better than this `amal.

Al-Imam Razi said that whoever says ‘Laa ilaaha illa-Llah’ before or after his prayer, a servant that comes with sins like mountains, but at that moment in dunya he stopped and said, ‘Laa ilaaha illa-Llah’ will find that mountain was destroyed by dhikrullah! You have to remember, you committed sins and must then hold yourself accountable in order not to be audited in Akhirah. It says, “Anyone who mentions ‘Laa ilaaha illa-Llah’ before or after prayers,” which means prayers are the post you can lean on up to Judgment Day, when they will appear and intercede for you before Allah (swt). We have to make sure Allah (swt) forgives us!

It is said that whoever says “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah”, when he goes back to sleep his soul will go under the `Arsh in sajda and that sajda will be continuous until Ishraaq (sunrise).

The Prophet (s) said that if anyone says “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah” from his heart, the doors of Heavens will be opened for him. May Allah (swt) bless us and make us to carry that prayer on time, not to lose it.

It is related from the Prophet (s), Yassiru wa laa tu`assiru, “Make things easy, do not make them difficult.” When we travel, we follow the Prophet’s Sunnah to shorten his prayers during travel. He prayed two raka`ats instead of four raka`ats and sometimes he fasted and sometimes he did not fast. And he used to say the best of his time is when he shortens his prayers and when he fasts part of the month and not all of the month. And he (s) said, “Allah is giving you this as a shortcut generously, to make it easy, shorter prayers, so take it and do it like that and then you are not declining Allah's order and generosity.”

Some people say, “I want to pray four raka`ats when traveling.” No, rather pray two, accepting Allah's sadaqa and His Generosity, and Allah loves the one who fulfills His order. So don't say, “I am pious, I pray four raka`ats.” No, pray two, especially when you are traveling. You know when you are on train or plane or on ocean at that time pray in shortcut and in the Hanafi madhhab you pray two raka`ats Zhuhr in its time and two raka`ats `Asr in its time. In the Shafi`ee madhhab you may combine the two prayers. Make sure you pray prayers on time. May Allah accept from us.

Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah. Wa ‘s-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. [Du`a.]

That book is very important, it combines everything. So when they are coming from Montreal, they have to pray, but how? Pray while sitting in the car or on the plane. Allah wants your intention to be good when you say, “Yaa Rabbee! This is a difficult time as we cannot pray openly as before.” If you pray in the car it will be accepted, inshaa-Allah. May Allah forgive us. May Allah bless us. May Allah open our eyes to complete our prayers on time and forgive us for past prayers that we did not complete.

Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul, used to say if you missed a prayer, every time you pray also pray a second time to complete the one you missed, and if you did not miss it, still it will be barakah, but pray. For example, pray Fajr and then pray a second Fajr. First pray the current one, then another one: the same for `Isha, Maghrib, `Asr and Zhuhr. Then at least you will sleep a little bit happily, to not be judged for it on Judgment Day, when you could be asked, “Why did you not pray your prayer?”

You will say, “I lost it.”

“So why didn’t you make it up?”

Like fasting, prayer has to be made up: if you miss it, you miss it. Look, that Wali was so upset when he missed the prayer in jama`ah that he prayed twenty-seven times extra. Allah will forgive everyone, don’t worry, Rahmatahu wasi`ah, “Allah's mercy is great.” Mashaa-Allah, I don't want to say more, but your presence here takes away all difficulties from you and those who live around you, your friends and neighbors, because this is a blessed moment and Allah blessed this place to be like a Garden of Heaven.

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا مررتم برياض الجنة فارتعوا. قالو وما رياض الجنة؟ قال "حلق الذكر"

Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet (s) said, "When you pass by the Gardens of Paradise, avail yourselves of them." The Companions asked, "What are the Gardens of Paradise, O Messenger of Allah?" He replied, "The circles of dhikr.” (Tirmidhi)

The Prophet (s) mentioned, “Where dhikrullah is made, it becomes a Garden of Heaven.” So we are in a Garden of Heaven and even your home can be a Garden of Heaven; if you sit with your wife and make dhikrullah, it will turn that place into a Garden of Heaven. If she is busy, you can do it by yourself and still it will turn that place into a Garden of Heaven.

Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul, and Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim, may Allah bless his soul, used to tell us to sit in a room in the house and cover ourselves with a cloth from top to bottom and say, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah, laa ilaaha illa-Llah, laa ilaaha illa-Llah, laa ilaaha illa-Llah, laa ilaaha illa-Llah….” What is the benefit? If you say it one time, Allah opens all the Doors of Heavens for you. Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah.

I will share this with you. One time a long time ago, when Grandshaykh (q) was still alive, I was sitting and covering myself and as I was saying, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah, laa ilaaha illa-Llah, laa ilaaha illa-Llah,” I felt the Rawhaaniyyat an-Nabi (s) completely overtaking me and I continued saying, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah” in that position. So say, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah” in your life and inshaa-Allah Rawhaniyyat an-Nabi is always there, Prophet (s) will come to you and inshaa-Allah he will come to us all. Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.

He is present and observing, haadir wa naazhir, waiting for you to call on him. W'aatoo al-buyoota min abwaabihiaa, “Come to the homes by their doors.” The door of the Divine Presence is Sayyidina Muhammad (s). He takes you and dives you in that Ocean of Power, Bahr al-Qudra, and takes you out, ready to receive inspirations and visions through your heart. If you want to see visions, cover yourself and say “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah” for ten minutes; inshaa-Allah, you will be able to see.


We plant the seed now. Inshaa-Allah it will grow up. Taqabal-Allah. Any questions? I saw the men. Any questions from the ladies? No questions. They are preparing themselves for tonight for a new year and we are preparing ourselves with dhikrullah for a heavenly year.


Allahumma salli `alaa Sayyidina Muhammad (s) hatta yardaa Sayyidina Muhammad (s).

[Shaykh Sahib recites Surat al-Fatihah and the first part of Surat Maryam.]


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