Congregational prayer at home or office

Q113 :I live with a group of my friends in a bachelor accommodation provided by our employers. When we first came, most of us used to miss some of our prayers. However, we are all praying regularly now. Sometimes we find it difficult to go to the mosque for congregational prayer and we offer prayer in congregation at home or in the office. Some people suggest that our prayer is invalid. Please comment.

A113 : It is definitely better if you offer your obligatory prayers with a congregation in a mosque. The Prophet states: "Prayer in congregation is rewarded 27 times more than the prayer of the individual." When the Prophet was asked about the best action a person can do, he answered: "To offer prayers when they fall due." Congregational prayers are offered in the mosque shortly after they are due, then prayer in the mosque with the congregation is far better than any other place. However, every one of us works within the constraints of his own circumstances. Allah has not made it obligatory that we pray any prayer at any particular moment or in a particular place. He has given us a range of time for each prayer. The Prophet says: "The whole earth has been assigned to me as a place of worship and a source of purification." A Muslim may pray anywhere. When you offer your prayers at home, they are perfectly valid. If it so happens that two of you are at home or in the office and you want to offer your prayer, it is far better if you offer in congregation. What you should guard, however, is against substituting congregational prayer at home [or office] for prayer in the mosque. In that way you cut yourself from the local community. This will not do. Whenever you can attend the congregation at the mosque, you should do so. If you are praying at home, it is far better to pray in congregation than to pray alone.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )