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The Ruling on Attending Congregational Prayers for Those Who Live Far from Mosques and the Ruling on Praying Behind Imams from Ahl al-Bidʿah

Imām ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Bāz

An explanation on the permissibility of not praying in congregation due to distance and the impermissibility of praying behind the people of innovation.

[Q]: [At work], we have an open space that has been provided for us that is approximately twenty to thirty kilometres away [from town]. My brother and I go there after ʿAṣr ṣalāh, and we stay there to pray Maghrib. I lead him in the ṣalāh. Sometimes, we also form a congregation with some of my muslim brothers and friends that join us. I am not able to go to the local masjid because all of the masājid that are in my locale belong to a certain group from among the people of innovation. They also consistently pray late and [if we were to join them], we would not be able to easily return to our locale. This is because of the later time of their prayer. We would have less time to return, in addition to the streets becoming crowded with small children and traffic. Although, if I was to leave half an hour before ṣalāh I would be able to pray with them [i.e. the people of innovation]. However, this would also be detrimental to some of my coworkers who are Sikh contract workers. What is the ruling of those workers who are not upon the religion of Islām?

[A]: If the reality of the matter is as described, then there is nothing wrong with praying in that open space with your brother and those who choose to join you.

As for ṣalāh with those you have mentioned from the people of innovation, refrain from praying with them. The reason for this is that it is inappropriate for the likes of them to lead you in prayer, nor would they allow you to lead them in prayer. However, if they were to permit you to always lead them in prayer then there is nothing wrong with this. The imām being a person of innovation makes him absolutely unsuited to lead anyone from the People of Sunnah. So, there is nothing wrong if you opt, instead, to pray in this open space with those who choose to join you for Maghrib and ʿIshāʾ due to the long distance between yourselves and the masājid of the People of Sunnah.

As for the presence of non-Muslim workers with you, it is obligatory that you employ Muslims instead of them. The reason for this is that your country is among those included in the Arabian peninsula and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) advised that such people be completely removed from this land. Thus, I advise you to give such opportunities to the Muslims and drive the disbelievers away, regardless of whether they are Sikh, Christian, Hindus, or other than them. It is obligatory to distance them from our land, and allow Muslims to take their place and work in the Muslim countries, especially in the Arabian peninsula.

Source: Fatāwá Nūr ʿalā al-Darb 12:86-87
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: February 24, 2024
Edited: February 24, 2024

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