The Official Website of the Office of His Eminence Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Husseini Al-Sistani

Question & Answer » Congregational Prayers

1 Question: Some times, I see a group of believers say prayer collectively. As far as I know that kind of prayer is called 'congregational prayer'. Let me know what the procedure of congregational prayer is.
Answer: If there are two or more people, they can conduct a congregational prayer. The important requirement here is that the person who is going to lead the prayer (Imam) must fulfill certain conditions, for example, being just (Adil) and reciting the prayers correctly.
2 Question: Is it permissible for me to pray behind a Sunni Imam for Friday and for regular congregational prayers, and is it required to prostrate on Turbah inside a mosque, for example, in the mosque of the holy city of Medina?
Answer: Taking part in Friday and congregational prayers of the Ahl-e Sunnat is permissible in areas where Taqiyah (dissimulation) is required. If you are not going to face a problem, you should, as far as possible, prostrate on something upon which Sajda (prostration) is permissible. Prostration on carpets in the case of Taqiyah or out of necessity is permissible and there would be no objection in it. Also, it is obligatory upon you to recite first chapter al-Hamd and the second chapter yourself – with the recitation in a low voice though.
In any case, Friday prayers performed with them is not sufficient for Dhuhr prayers. Therefore, it is necessary to perform Dhuhr prayers separately.
3 Question: Which is better, praying in congregation or praying individually?
Answer: Praying in congregation (jama'at) the daily prayer is preferable than praying individually. Its preference is further in the dawn (Fajr), sunset (Maghreb) and night (Isha) prayers.
4 Question: Which is better for a woman, performing prayers in a congregation or performing prayers individually?
Answer: It is recommended for women to attend congregational prayers as evidenced by an authentic tradition from the Commander of the Faithful, Ali (AS) that women used to attend congregational prayers but they were ordered to linger their sajda (prostration) because some men were wearing tight garments but there is another authentic tradition which says that a woman's prayer at home is more virtuous than her prayer in a mosque. However, the conclusion that can be drawn from both traditions is that a woman's prayer at a place where she is not seen by non-mahram men (strangers) is more virtuous. If she can perform her prayers in a mosque without being seen by strangers, the prayer in a mosque would be more virtuous in that case.
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