Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Am I a hypocrite if I never do isha and fajr in the masjid? Its not like I don’t want to to, its just I can’t drive, my parents usually don’t want to take me, and the masjid is a 20 minute drive from my house.
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I hope you are in the best of health and spirits, insha’Allah.
No, you are not a hypocrite.
‘No prayer (salat) is more burdensome upon the hypocrites than the dawn (fajr) prayer and the night (`isha) prayer’ [Bukhari]
There is much virtue in attending these prayers due to the difficulty imposed upon the lower-self (nafs) in doing so and it is a huge encouragement, from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), for attending the congregational prayer in the mosque – though, by not attending, it certainly does not make one a hypocrite.
Praying in Congregation
According to the Hanafi school, praying in congregation is a highly emphasized sunnah (sunnah mu’akkadah). It would be optimally, though not only, fulfilled by praying in a mosque.
Moreover, if there is genuine hardship in reaching the mosque, such as its being far away, the initial blameworthiness, of missing the congregation, would be lifted.
[Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah]
When you get a chance to pray in the mosque, strive to do so. Otherwise, ‘In the bounty of God, and His mercy — in that let them rejoice’ [10:58] And actions are only by intentions. Make your intention for Allah, rely upon Him and realize that the paths to Him are many.
And Allah alone gives success.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani