Is it regarded worship to sit in the mosque in order to perform prayers there?

The Details of the Question

Somebody said it was regarded worship for a person to sit in the mosque in order to perform prayers there. Is it true? Is there a hadith about it?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Yes, one gets reward when he sits in the mosque or in the place where he will perform prayers in order to wait for the prayer as if he is performing prayers.

A hadith regarding the issue is as follows:

“The prayer offered in congregation is twenty-odd times more superior in reward to the prayer offered alone in one’s house or workplace. If a person makes wudu properly and then proceeds to the mosque with the sole intention of praying, for each step he takes towards the mosque, he is elevated a degree in reward and one sin of him is forgiven until he enters the mosque. When he enters the mosque and waits for the prayer, he gets rewards as if he is performing prayers.

As long as one of you keeps on sitting at his praying place, does not harm anyone and does not break his wudu, the angels will keep praying for him as follows:  

O Allah! Be Merciful to him!

O Allah! Forgive him!

O Allah! Accept his repentance.” (Bukhari, Salah 87, Adhan 30, Buyu 49; Muslim, Taharah 12, Masajid 272)

Islam regards unity and solidarity as indispensable and attaches great importance to praying in congregation, which is one of the things that will ensure it. Therefore, Islam regards the prayer performed with other believers in the mosque much superior to the prayer performed alone at home and at work. As it is mentioned above, the prayer performed in congregation is rewarded twenty-odd times, and in some narrations, twenty-five or even twenty-seven times more than the prayer performed alone for this reason.

Although the prayer performed in congregation at home and at work is not as valuable as the congregational prayer in the mosque, it is certainly more rewarding than the prayer performed alone.

In the hadith above, the person who goes to pray in congregation is asked to make wudu properly first. The phrase to make wudu properly means to wash the wudu organs thoroughly and to act in accordance with the sunnahs and manners of wudu. In addition, that person has to set out only to pray in congregation, not for any other business. That is, his sincerity and intention must be complete.

If one’s house is far from the mosque or the place where the congregational prayers are performed, it gives him the opportunity to be raised a degree and a sin of him to be forgiven due to every step he takes until he enters the mosque or the prayer place. As a matter of fact, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) clarifies the issue as follows:

“The ones who get most rewards due to prayer are those who come to the congregational prayer from distant places on foot.” (Bukhari, Adhan 31)

Waiting for the prayer to be performed in congregation has a different reward. A person who waits for the time of prayer to come, whether in a mosque or elsewhere, is regarded to be in a state of worship. The benefit of those who wait in the mosque is that they earn rewards as if they are praying and receive the prayers of the angels. However, it is necessary to pay attention to the following issues during that time: not to harm anyone and not to break wudu. What is meant by harming is not to gossip, and not to hurt anyone with one’s hand and tongue. Angels, who are spiritual beings, are disturbed by the people who stay in the mosque without wudu. Therefore, the condition of not breaking wudu while waiting for the prayer in the mosque is mentioned.

One of the several rewards of a prayer performed with such good feelings, namely, with sincerity and the thought of attaining Allah’s consent, is to receive 20-odd degrees of thawab. That amount is mentioned as 25 degrees in some hadiths and 27 degrees in some more sound ones. (Bukhari, Adhan 30; Muslim, Masajid 249)

It is certain that the sincerity, peace and awe of the person performing the prayer have an effect on the difference in degrees.

Another reward for the prayer performed in spiritual peace is to gain the prayers of the angels. Those angels praying for us may be the guardian angels, who protect and watch over us, as well as other kinds of angels. The prayer of the angels means that they ask forgiveness for the believers, that is, they ask forgiveness for their sins.

In that case, the angels ask for the forgiveness of the sins of the person performing prayers and pray for them.

The fact that Allah forgives His servant by accepting the prayers and supplications of the angels means that He forgives his sins; His having mercy on his servant means granting him a lot of things.

Accordingly:

- As in every deed, it is necessary to be sincere and to think only of Allah’s consent while performing prayers and going to mosque for prayer in congregation.

- The prayer performed in congregation is 27 times more virtuous than the prayer performed alone.

- Going to the mosque to pray in congregation and waiting for the time of prayer there gain man great rewards.

- Since staying in the mosque without wudu hurts angels, those who do so will be deprived of the prayers of angels.

- It gains man rewards to wait for the time of prayer in the mosque or any other place.

- Those who make wudu acting in accordance with the manners of wudu will gain great rewards. (see Riyadus Salihin - Imam Nawawi)

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