If I miss the Fajr prayer at the Masjid, can I pray with my wife at home?

Question :

If I miss the Fajr prayer at the Masjid, can I pray with my wife at home?

Answer :

The noble Imam Muhammad bin Salih al-Uthaymeen was asked about establishing the obligatory prayer in the house if the Congregational prayer has concluded in the Masjid.

He responded –may Allaah have mercy on him- by saying:

No. (To establish the prayer) in the Masjid it is better; being that establishing the prayer in the masjid may increase the (number of people) in the (second) congregation, and there may pray along with him people who arrive (late) afterwards and this is better.

Moreover, in most cases, a person departs from his house towards the masjid in order to establish the prayer in congregation then he misses it and he arrives when they have already prayed.

Therefore, if he establishes the prayer in the masjid this is of more benefit for him and for others. (Also) because may be if he (i.e. the one who’s late for the prayer) and a companion of his, return to the house and pray in congregation (i.e. together), another person (may) then come and enter (the masjid); after the completion of the first congregational prayer and he will not find a congregation (to pray with), so he misses congregational prayer. Thus, it is better (for it) to be established in the masjid i.e. as opposed to the house.

Yes, if we assume that he had realized while in his home that the congregation has ended, then in this case we say:

There is no difference (i.e. between praying at home or attending the masjid), so pray in your house. Being that if he was to depart for the masjid, he may become embarrassed to be met by the people who have (completed) and left the congregational prayer, hence he should pray in his home.

However, if he has come and entered the masjid and found them to have already prayed, then he should not leave, but instead pray in congregation in the masjid.

Translator’s Note : The complete question and answer was quite lengthy, as such we have translated that which directly addresses the question put forward.

Source: Liqaa al-Baab al-Maftooh (41/12).

Note: Alternatively, it is imperative to know that if a person establishes the obligatory prayer in his home or any other prayer for that matter which is legislated to be established in congregation, due to a legitimate excuse and he leads his wife or the women of his family, then it is upon the woman/women to pray behind the man.

The evidence for this as the people of knowledge have mentioned is the hadeeth reported by al-Bukhari (694) and Muslim (1531) on the authority of Anas bin Malik –may Allaah be please with him- who said:

An orphan and I prayed (directly) behind the Messenger –may the salutation of Allaah and peace be upon him- while my mother; Umm Sulaim prayed behind us. This is one wording of the hadeeth reported by al-Imam Al-Bukhari.

As it is seen here in this hadeeth, the mother of Anas; Umm Sulaim prayed behind him and did not stand directly beside Anas even with her being his mother -may Allaah be pleased with them both-.

Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr stated in his explanation of Saheeh al-Bukhari titled Fath ul-Baari under the hadeeth no. 694:

His statement (i.e. Anas may Allaah be pleased with him):

{And my mother; Umm Sulaim prayed behind us}:

In this we have that a woman DOES NOT pray directly alongside the men and the basis of this (ruling returns to) what is feared from being put to trial because of her. However, if she opposes this (i.e. by praying directly beside him), her prayer is valid in the opinion of the majority of the scholars…
To the end of his speech.

Hence, the man who leads his wife, mother, daughter etc. in prayer, then it is not permitted for the woman/women to pray directly beside the man WITHOUT A BARRIER OF ANY SORT BETWEEN THEM.

But instead, she should pray behind him in another row even if that leads to her standing alone in the row as Umm Sulaim -may Allaah be pleased with her- had done.

Answered by : Noble brother Abu ‘Atiyah Mahmood bin Muhammad