Latecomers joining the congregational prayer

Reference: Fataawa tata’allaq bi-Jamaa’ah al-Masjid – Question 31, Page 30
Fataawa Noorun ‘alad-Darb – Volume 1, Page 139

Question: Often, while we are praying – having completed the first row, someone arrives and begins praying on his own in the second row. So, someone from the first row steps back in order to pray beside him. Is this act correct?

Response: This act is not legislated. If someone comes and finds the row[s] before him complete, then he should pray [in a new row behind the last row] on his own since he is excused. If he were to find an [empty] space in the row, then he should join that row. It is not befitting [for him] to pull someone back so as to pray with him and nor is it befitting for anyone to move back and join him. This is because if he were to move back, then there would occur an empty space in front of them and it is not permissible for anyone to leave an empty space for Shaytaan.

And this which we have mentioned, that it is permissible for a person to pray in a [new] row behind the [last] row on his own, is the opinion of the majority and the middle course chosen between the two opinions, namely:

  1. It is permissible to pray on your own in a [new] row behind the [last] row.
  2. It is generally permissible to do so.

And this is what has been mentioned in detail, being that when one has an [Islaamically acceptable] reason, then it is permissible [to pray on your own in a new row behind the last row]. This is the opinion of Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah and our Shaykh ‘Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Naasir as-Sa’dee.

He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2004. He currently resides in Birmingham, UK.

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