1. Offering salaat with jama'at is wajib according to some ulama, and sunnat-e-mu'akkadah according to others. This will be discussed in more detail, Insha Allah.
2. To offer salaat with jama'at means that at least two people must get together and offer their salaat in such a way that one person leads the salaat and the other person follows him. The person who leads the salaat is called the imam, and the person who follows him is called the muqtadi.
3. If even one person joins the imam, jama'at becomes valid. This is irrespective of whether the person is a man, woman, slave, free person, mature person or a child who has reached the age of understanding. However, for the jumu'ah and eid salaats, there has to be at least three persons apart from the imam.
4. In order for the jama'at to be valid, it is not necessary for the salaat to be a fard salaat. Even if it is a nafl salaat and two people get together and offer it with jama'at, it will be valid. This is irrespective of whether both the imam and the muqtadi are offering nafl salaat, or only the muqtadi is offering nafl salaat and the imam is offering fard salaat. However, it is makruh to make a habit of offering nafl salaat with jama'at or for more than three people to offer nafl salaat with jama'at.
THE VIRTUES AND IMPORTANCE OF JAMA'AT
So many Sahih Ahadith have been narrated with regards to the virtues and importance of jama'at that if all of them had to be collected at one place, a large voluminous book would get filled. After examining all these Ahadith, one aspect is very apparent, i.e. jama'at is a very important prerequisite for the perfection of salaat.
Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam never ever discarded jama'at. So much so that when he fell ill and did not have the strength to walk on his own, he came to the Masjid with the assistance of two people and offered his salaat with jama'at. He used to become extremely angry on the person who did not offer his salaat with jama'at and desired to mete out severe punishment on the abandoning of jama'at.
Without doubt, very great importance has been attached to offering salaat with jama'at in the Shariah of Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. And it ought to have been like this. The high status of salaat demanded that whatever was going to complement it should also be given full importance.
We will now quote a verse which some commentators and jurists have used as a proof on the establishment of jama'at. Thereafter, we shall quote a few Ahadith. The verse reads as follows:
"And bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down." (i.e. with jarna'at)."
There is an explicit order to offer salaat with jama'at in this verse. But because a few commentators have taken "bow down" (ruku) to mean "humility" (khudu), therefore the fardiyyat (compulsion) of salaat with jama'at cannot be established (from this verse).
Source: Behshti Zewar
To be continued Insha Allah…