Salaah in Jamaah when arriving late.

Q. Recently I was told that if a few brothers came late for a salaah and missed the entire Fard that they should pray separately and not in congregation because there are hadith that the Rasul (s.a.s.) said that doing so may indicate disunity in the sense that people don’t want to pray behind a particular imaam and as such is doing it intentionally. Can you explain what they mean?

A. Performing salaah in congregation is highly virtuous and greatly rewarding. Hence, if a few brothers arrived late for the congregational salaah held in the masjid, they are allowed to perform their salaah in congregation in a separate area from where the congregational salaah of the masjid was held. Their action would not indicate to disunity, in fact, performing salaah separately and individually could also indicate towards disunity. This statement may better be used when a few brothers form their own jamaah when the official congregational salaah of the masjid is in progress. Even those who may perform their salaah individually while the salaah in Jamaah is in progress would indicate to a type of disunity. However, it would not be a sign of disunity when the salaah in jamaah has come to a completion and a few brothers (having arrived late) wishes to perform their salaah in jamaah.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan