Importance of Congregational Salat:
We know that men are urged strongly to offer their obligatory Salat with the congregation. It is so important that the Holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam said,
“I feel like appointing someone else to lead the congregational Salat when the time comes and go out myself to visit every house and see if anyone has stayed behind. Then, I should set the houses of those who remained behind a fire because they neglect their duties to Allah.”
This shows the importance attached to congregational Salat. Some of the jurist regard offering Salat with the congregation as sunnah muwakkadah but some othres give it the higher status of wajib. Prayer in congregational form is a perfect form while in an individual capacity is an imperfect form. We also have the example of the Holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam when he was ill before his death and could not walk with ease and had appointed Sayyidina Abu Bakr Radiyallahu anhu as Imam in his place. At such a moment too, he came to the mosque to offer the congregational prayer supported by two men. This stresses the importance of Salat with the congregation.
When Is One Not Allowed To Go To The Mosque?:
The jurists have decided unanimously that a man who is ill and smells badly then he must not go to the Mosque. It is not merely that he is allowed to stay away from congregational prayer but he is not even allowed to join it, and if he joins it, he will be committing a sin. If he joins the congregation, he will inconvenience other people because of the bad odor. We must see that such an important thing as congregational Salat is disallowed if it becomes a cause of inconvenience to other people.
Causing Hardship to other People When Kissing the Black Stone:
We all know the importance of the Hajr Aswad (the Black Stone, at Ka’bah). We are told that kissing the Black Stone is like shaking hands with Allah, and it effaces a man’s sins. The Holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam and his companions Radiyallahu anhum themselves kissed the Black Stone which also highlights its importance. In spite of that we are advised that if in attempting to kiss it we might push other people and cause them difficulty then it is not proper to kiss it; rather that is sinful. Shariah is very particular that one does not cause another man even a little bit of difficulty. Such important forms of worship as congregational Salat and kissing the Hajr Aswad are abandoned only because we might not hurt anyone else; thus, the lesser forms that are voluntary should also be postponed when such a situation arises.
Reciting the Qur’an Loudly:
We may cite the example of reciting the Qur’an, too. It is such a virtuous act that the reciter is rewarded tenfold on reciting each letter. In other words a person amasses rewards when he recites the Qur’an. Of all the devotional exercises, recital of the Qur’an is the most excellent. Then, an audible recital is preferred. An audible recital secures more reward than an inaudible. But, if there is a likelihood of disturbing someone’s sleep because of the sound then it is not allowed to recite audibly.
‘Muslim’ includes Security:
The Hadith we are discussing may be repeated here “A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand other Muslims are secure”. The word Muslim is an Arabic word whose root is seen lam meem which is also the root word of the word meaning security. Thus implied security or safety is included in the word Muslim
The meaning of as-salam ‘Alaikum:
When non-Muslims meet they greet each other with a ‘hello’, ‘good morning1, namstay or ‘adab’. They have different words of greetings, but, the Islamic form of greeting is as-salam ‘alykum meaning Peace be on you. Apart from greeting, these words offer a prayer for the safety of the person greeted whereas every other form of greeting does not include any prayer. The addressee receives no benefit thereby. But when a man greets the other with as-salam ‘alay kum Wa rahmat Allah Wa barkatuhu he prays for three blessings as we see in the meaning of these words: Peace be on you and the Mercy of Allah and His Favors. This is a supplication and if it receives the approval of Allah even once, the person addressed benefits for the rest of his life from the blessings. Besides, by using these words the addressee is assured of safety and security at the hands of the speaker. The former is then confident that he will not suffer hardship through the latter. A Muslim, when he greets in this way, conveys to the other that he has brought the message of peace for him and will not torment him.
The Meaning of Security from the Tongue:
The Hadith describes a Muslim as one from whose tongue and hand other Muslims are safe. To be safe from the tongue is to be satisfied that he will not say anything that might dishearten the other, cause him difficulty or displease him in any way. So, even when that man is to be censored such words may be used as do not cause heart-burning. For instance, he must be told in simple terms that his action was not proper or that he must re-consider his behavior or that it was not in line with Shari ah. He must not be cursed or taunted. Anything said in an indirect manner that injures is taunt and it causes a deep wound. The Arabic couplet further explains:
“The wound caused by the sword heals sooner
or later but when it is caused by the tongue it
leaves a lasting impression”.
It is better, therefore, to tell anyone plainly that he has wronged rather than taunt him. The Qur’an says:-
O you who believe! Fear Allah and speak words straight to the point (Al-Ahzab. 3370)
Indirect speech is neither desired nor liked. In the present times, we are used to oblique references and round about approach. The listener is hurt by that. People who speak in this manner gain the appreciation of the masses and are said to possess good sense of humor as an orator.