Jam'ats before the Main Jam'at

By Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Posted: 8 Ramadan 1422, 24 November 2001

Q.) Currently studying in university with a very diverse set of people praying in our university mosque. People are from diverse schools of Fiqh. This is the problem:

Adhan for the Dhohr prayer is given at 1.00pm. Main jam'at is at 1.15pm. But some people start praying their own jam'at before the main jam'at (1.15pm). Sometimes it is quite a big jam'at(but not as big as the main one). This doesn't happen everyday but quite often. I mean I can understand the fact that some people come out of a lecture at 12.55pm and then they have several lectures, one-after-another, therefore they HAVE to pray and then leave for the lectures.

However this is what I would like to know:

I can understand some people have to pray early and then leave for their lectures, otherwise their Salatudh-Dhohr would become Qadha. But then again seeing these people, some other people (who have no lectures between 1-2 pm, and they have no other commitments and therefore not in a hurry) also join in with this jam'at!

(a) Is that permissible in the Hanafi school of Fiqh? (please explain)

(b) Is that permissible for the other school of Fiqh?(please explain)

(c) If a Hanafi joins with such a jam'at, thinking that it was the main jam'at, but at the end before he left the masjid, they realised that the jam'at they prayed with took place before the main jam'at, then what should he do?

[Zubair Hossain, U.K]

A.) In order for us to answer the queries, kindly explain what do you mean by university mosque. Is it a musalla (prayer room)or a masjid? [Albalagh Note: A Masjid is a dedicated building, waqf for Allah. A Musalla can be any temporary space being used for offering salat.] It is possible that a musalla is called a mosque. The rules and principles pertaining to a musalla and masjid are different. In a majsid, there is only one official jamaat. That is not so in a musalla, in which many Salats with many congregation may be performed.

In a masjid if there is a need for some people to perform Salat with congregation before the official jamaah, they may do so provided it is out of the masjid proper or at least (in the case of shortage of space) different from the official jamaah by the Imaam and followers not standing in the official place for the Imaam and followers.

In any case, whether it is a musjid or musalla, it is advisable for those students who are not in a hurry to join in the main jamaah at 1:15 pm.

If any student did not do so, the Salat performed before or after the official jammah time will be valid.

And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best.