Student of knowledge does not pray in the Masjid ?
Answered by Shaykh Abdur Rahman Al Baraak

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What is your view of a student of knowledge who does not pray in congregation, and when there is a discussion concerning this issue he says: “I examined the proofs and I prefer the view that praying in congregation is ‘Sunnah’ (optional) and it is not obligatory.” Therefore should he be criticized for not attending the congregational prayers or not? 

Shaykh Baraak:

La hawla wala quwwata illa billah (There is no might or power except with Allah). La hawla wala quwwata illa billah (There is no might or power except with Allah).

La ilaha illa Allah (There is no deity worthy of worship except for Allah)

And how is this view preferred to you?! How does a Sunni Muslim prefer this preference of yours?!

If we agree for the sake of argument that it is optional. Is it befitting for you, and you are a student of knowledge, that you are absent from this tremendous virtue?! And if it is mentioned to you some portion of the Dunya (worldly life) you go out to obtain it. This resembles the condition of the hypocrites. Those who the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah are upon him, said about them:

“The most burdensome prayers for the hypocrites are Isha and Fajr and if they knew the virtue in these prayers they would have attended them even if they had to crawl.”

Then he said:

By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if any one of them had known that he would get a bone covered with good meat or two sheep’s feet with meat on them, he would have attended the Isha prayer.”

Meaning if he knew he would find some good meat he would have attended Isha prayer.

Subhanallah! Either this person is lying, deceiving and using this as an excuse or shaytaan has deceived him and caused the Sunni to prefer the view that (congregational prayer) is optional.

How can he be pleased with this for himself when the companions of the Prophet would come (to the congregational prayer) with a man supported, being carried by two other men?!

Will you not be shy oh student of knowledge?!

You say: “I prefer the view that it’s optional, it is optional therefore I pray with my woman.” With his wife! He prays with his wife; meaning him and his wife pray in the same manner (at home).



May Allah give you good. The one who asked about the student of knowledge not praying in congregation says: “I prefer the view that congregational prayer is optional because it is the point of view of some of the major scholars.”

Shaykh Baraak:

This is not our way. The major scholars are not used to contradict the legislation.

And if you differ in anything among yourselves refer it to Allah and His Messenger. (Soorah An Nisaa verse 59)

This is what has caused many of the Muslims to be tested; using the difference of opinion as a defense.

Subhanallah! The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah are upon him, blamed those who stayed away from the congregational prayer. He said:

“I was thinking of ordering that the call to prayer be given, then I would tell a man to lead the people in prayer, and I would go out with men carrying bundles of wood to people who do not come to the prayers, and I would burn their houses with fire around them.”

And he said, blaming the one who sought an excuse:

There is no prayer for the neighbor of the Masjid except in the Masjid.

And there are other proofs as well.

Read “The book of prayer” by Ibn Al Qayyim. Ibn Al Qayyim even mentions that those who say congregational prayer is optional, such as the Hanafees, as this statement has been attributed to them, they say it is a confirmed Sunnah; and according to their school of thought the person who leaves a confirmed Sunnah is sinning.

So the major scholars are excused and we have the best thought about them. As for those who take their statements because it agrees with their desires then they do not have any excuse similar to the excuse which is given to those scholars who made their knowledge based judgment.


Translated by Rasheed ibn Estes Barbee 

Translator’s footnote: Shaykh (عبدالرحمن بن ناصر بن براك بن إبراهيم البراك) Abdur Rahman ibn Naasir ibn Baraak (born 1352H) is from the major scholars of our time. He studied with Shaykh Abdul Aziz bin Baz for 50 years.

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