Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: 1. Is the last part of the congregation still part of it if it is separate from the main congregation by a horde of shoes and other obstacles stretching more than on row?

2. Is my prayer valid if during standing the soles of my feet didn’t make contact with the ground?

3. There wasn’t anything to cover the area in front of me so I made prostration on the bare ground. I couldn’t discern any filth on the floor but obviously dozens of people had walked over this ground coming into the masjid. Was it wrong of me?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum
1. You are considered part of the congregation in the scenario you describe as you are able to follow the movement of the Imam and are also effectively connected to the main congregation in front of you despite the small gap. [Kasani, Bada`i al-Sana`i; Ibn `Abidin, Hashiya Radd al-Muhtar]
2. Standing is in a integral of the prayer. This is fulfilled without having the soles actually touching the ground.
3. The default assumption regarding things is purity unless there are clear signs indicating otherwise. Deeming the ground on which you prayed as potentially filthy simply because people had walked on it is insufficient to overrule the base assumption. It should be ignored.
Salman
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

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