Is It Superior to Pray in Congregation Late or to Pray Earlier but Alone?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Sufyan Qufi


If one will delay the prayer to pray in a Jama‘a of 1 Imam and follower, is this superior to praying earlier but alone?


In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

I pray this finds you in the best of states. It is superior to pray in a congregation, even small, at a later time than to pray alone early.

According to the Hanafi school, it is an emphasized sunna for men who have no excuse to pray in a congregation. [Taqrirat Ar-Rafi‘i on Hashiyat Ibn ‘Abidin]

Thus to get used to missing the congregational prayer is sinful. [Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah]

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, has said that “Praying in congregation is twenty-seven times better than praying alone.” [Bukhari & Muslim]

As for praying at the earliest possible, it is merely recommended (mustahab) for some obligatory prayers. These prayers are Dhuhr in winter, ‘Asr and Isha during cloudy days, and Maghreb when there is no cloud. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Idah]

And Allah knows best.


[Ustadh] Sufyan Qufi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Sufyan Qufi is an advanced seeker of knowledge, originally from Algeria, who grew up in France. He began searching far and wide for answers to the fundamental questions of life and was disappointed at the answers he found.

Then he connected with various traditional teachers and gradually connected with SeekersGuidance. He embarked on his journey of learning through the various teachers at SeekersGuidance, including his mentor Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

He studied numerous texts in Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith, and other areas with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and other teachers, including Shaykh Abdurrahman al-Sha‘ar, Shaykh Ali Hani, and others.

He is an active instructor at SeekersGuidance and answers questions through the SeekersGuidance Answers Service.