Establishing a second congregation in the Masjid

Q 2: Is it permissible for those who did not attend congregational Salah (Prayer) in the Masjid to establish another congregation? Is there any contradiction between the Hadith that says: Is there any man who may do good with this (man) and pray along with him? And the saying of Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) or others: "We used to, if we missed congregational Salah, perform Salah alone."

A: Whoever comes to a Masjid and finds that people have finished their Salah with their regular or another Imam, can perform it in congregation with those who came later like him, or along with one of the people who performed Salah in the first congregation. It was reported by Ahmad in his Musnad and Abu Dawud in his Sunan on the authority of Abu Sa`id Al-Khudry (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saw a man while he was performing Salah alone. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Is there any man who may do good with this (man) and perform Salah along with him! Then a man got up and performed Salah with him. This Hadith was reported by Al-Tirmidhy on the authority of Abu Sa`id (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: A man came to perform Salah after the Prophet (peace be upon him) finished his Salah, so he said: 'Is there any man who may do good with this (man) and perform Salah along with him.' Al-Tirmidhy said that this Hadith is Hasan (a Hadith whose chain of narration contains a narrator with weak exactitude, but is free from eccentricity or blemish). Al-Hakim also reported this Hadith and considered it to be authentic. Al-Dhahaby followed him in this regard. Ibn Hazm also mentioned it in his book entitled Al-Muhalla and deemed it Sahih. Abu `Isa Al-Tirmidhy said: "This saying is adopted by more than one person from among the Companions and the second generation. They said that there is no harm in performing congregational Salah in a Masjid where there was a congregational Salah." (Part No. 7; Page No. 310) This saying is also adopted by Ahmad and Is-haq. Others said: "They have to perform Salah individually." This saying was adopted by Sufyan, Ibn Al-Mubarak, Malik and Al-Shafi`y. These people and others who adopted their views hated performing Salah in congregation in a Masjid where congregational Salah had already been performed in order to avoid arousing dissension and grudge. People with wicked inclination may use it as an excuse to not attend congregational Salah in order to establish another congregation behind an Imam who follows their views and whom they desire. Therefore, they prevented establishing another congregation after the end of the first one in order to block all avenues that lead to dissension and thwart the intentions of those who have ill desires and whims.The first saying is the soundest one because it agrees with the general saying of Allah (Exalted be He): So keep your duty to Allâh and fear Him as much as you can The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: When I command you to do anything, do of it as much as you possibly can. There is no doubt that attending congregational Salah denotes Taqwa (fear/wariness of offending Allah). It was ordered by Shari`ah. Therefore, a person should be as keen as he can be, to perform it. It is not legally acceptable to contradict authentic evidence in favor of excuses thought up by some scholars. Moreover, we should work according to authentic narrations. But if we know that anyone or a group of people come late to the Masjid out of negligence or in order to perform Salah with their fellows in sects or the like, they should be warned and punished by the ruler in order to deter them and the like. Consequently, we can block all avenues that lead to difference and dissension and get rid of the purposes of those who have wicked whims and desires without (Part No. 7; Page No. 311) abandoning working according to authentic narrations reported in favor of congregational Salah for those who missed the first congregational one.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.