Do you know of any Muslim that is brave enough to say that they don’t need to earn anymore good deeds? Do they have the nerve to say that they are going to be safe on the day of Judgement in front of Allah in terms of their good deeds? Hopefully none of us know of anyone that would dare to let this roll off of their tongues. The problem is, that many of us make this very statement with our actions, or refusal to do certain actions. You may be asking yourself right now how this happens, and this is what we want bring to your attention right now!
We understand that the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) told us of many ways in which we can obtain all types of good deeds from things that we do on a regular basis. There are things that we are accustom to doing that if we do them in a specific manner, we could be receiving rewards that many of us couldn’t possibly fathom. From these things is praying the Isha’ and Fajr prayers in congregation. This is something that even though many of us have heard the recommendations for and even heard about the rewards for doing it, yet we still tend to be lackadaisical in carrying this action out. Is it really reasonable to say that one believes in what is said about this reward, understands that they are in dire need of obtaining it, will constantly leaves it off on a regular basis?
Take into consideration what the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said about the individual that can easily get the reward of standing the whole of the night, without even staying up and praying throughout the entire night. He (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) said, “One who performs the Isha’ prayer in congregation, it is as if he has performed the prayer for half of the night. Also, the one who performs the Fajr prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed Salat the whole night.” This hadeeth is narrated by Imam Muslim. Can you imagine being able to get the reward of one who prays half of the night because of simply going to the Masjid and praying four raka’aat (units of prayer) for Isha’? Then it’s mentioned about gaining the reward of praying the whole of the night, even if you were far from praying and busy with what ever you needed to take care of during the night, just by simply returning and praying Fajr in the Masjid in congregation.
How is it that anyone of us feels comfortable leaving this off on a regular basis? How is it that we feel as though it isn’t a must that we gain this reward and that we must do anything and everything to be from the people that obtain this reward? The day of judgement is going to be difficult time for many people. We will need all that we can get to try to gain Allah’s pleasure. Just imagine being of those people that meet Allah with this reward on their scale, and being of those that held fast to these actions. May Allah write our names from among those that perform this regularly. Allahuma ameen.
Also, we need to take a look at the statement of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) about us being willing to come to these prayers crawling if that was the only way we could, if we truly understood the reward for praying these prayers in congregation. This means that these feable excuses that we use not to go need to be put aside. Look at how he mentioned that if there was no other way, that we would crawl to the prayer. He (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) said, “The hardest prayers on the munaafiq (hypocrite) is Isha and Fajr. If they only what’s in it (from reward) they would come to it even if the had to do so crawling.” This hadeeth was narrated by Ibn Maajah in his Sunnan. Sheikh al Albaani (may Allah have mercy upon him) graded this hadeeth as sahih (authentic).
If this does not make things clear, then I don’t know what else will. In this narration we see that not only is the issue of the reward mentioned again, but also we understand that these two prayers in particular are hard upon the munaafiqeen (hypocrites). This is a situation that we all need to be running from and asking Allah to not write us down from among the people afflicted with this issue of hypocrisy. This does not in any way mean though, that everyone that misses them is a munaafiq. Unfortunately in our days and times we find that people have a tendency to understand this and begin to label people with this horrible title. When in actuality, it should cause us to fear for ourselves and question what we are doing with our own lives. It is not as a stick to measure the sincerity of others. Even though it is something that should cause us to be cautious of someones desire to obtain true good for themselves, we must remember that there is a huge difference between having doubt about someone and labeling with a term that has such a horrible connotation.
The Salaf (best of the generations of the Muslims) used to look strangely at one that regularly missed these prayers in congregation. In order for someone to be correct in saying that they used to label everyone that fell short in this issue as a munaafiq, they would need to bring some authentic proofs. We do know though that these individuals were looked at in a funny manner, and certain things were doubted in terms of them and their situations. This is completely understandable, how could someone know about the importance of these two prayers and their reward and just be lazy about performing them in the way described, except that their situation is questioned. But again, this does not mean that we automatically label these individuals as munaafiqs.
Take a look at what Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with both of them) said about one that leaves off these two prayers in congregation. He said, “If we didn’t see a man for the Isha’ prayer and Fajr Prayer had a bad opinion about this individual.” (Reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah in his book Al Kitaab Al Musannaf).We see from this that it was definitely something that the best of generations saw as a bad or strange characteristic for one to have. It was something that caused people to doubt in that individual and their situation. These were a people that were constantly chasing after the good. They were doing all that they could to obtain the pleasure of Allah. This just goes to show you how important these two prayers in congregation were to the earlier generations, even if they are something that we do not show much importance to in these later times.
We really should take into account our own situations in terms of how we are with the performance of these two prayers in congregation. We need to ask ourselves if we are really trying as hard as we can to do all that we can to obtain Allah’s pleasure and forgiveness on that day we will all come across. We see that this is something that even though the shaytaan may make it seem as though it takes way too much time and effort, does not take much time nor effort. Especially when we are trying to send forth as many good deeds as possible for that day in which we meet our Lord.
So, take advantage of this as often as possible. We are all going to need as much as we can on that day. These two prayers in congregation will allow you to meet Allah havin earned this huge reward. Just imagine if you were one that practiced this on a regular basis. Is there anyone out there that can say after reading this, that someone leaving these two prayers off in congregation out of laziness is not a strange thing? This is all the more of a reason why each and everyone of us needs to make sure that we try to carry perform them in congregation every opportunity that we are afforded.