Q: Someone attends the congregational Salah without having Wudu' (ablution) and fears that if he goes to make Wudu', he will miss the congregation. What should he do?
Performing Wudu' is a condition for the validity of Salah, for Allah (Exalted be He) says,
O you who believe! When you intend to offer As-Salât (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) your heads, and (wash) your feet up to ankles.
It was also authentically reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he said,
Allah does not accept the Salah of any of you if he invalidates his Wudu' until he performs Wudu' (anew).
Abu Dawud, and
Therefore, it is obligatory upon everyone to perform Wudu' before offering Salah even if he misses the congregational Salah. Furthermore, he should seek to perform Salah with another congregation if possible; otherwise he may pray individually, for Allah (Exalted be He) says,
So keep your duty to Allâh and fear Him as much as you can
(Part No. 6; Page No. 189) The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
When I command you to do anything, do of it as much as you possibly can.
This person is also not permitted to perform Tayammum (dry ablution) to catch up with the congregational Salah, because fear of missing Salah is not an excuse for replacing Taharah (ritual purification) using water
by using dust.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.