Muslims might offer their obligatory prayers in several congregations in the same mosque; whether due to limited space or latecomers. It is permitted by many scholars and supported by the Prophet’s hadith.

Multiple Congregations in the Same Mosque because of Limited Space

Similar Questions  

· More than one congregation for the same obligatory prayer.
   · Several congregations in the same mosque.

The Issue

As there is a limited number of mosques in countries where the Muslims are in a minority and building land is very expensive, Muslims often find it necessary to offer their obligatory prayers in several congregations in the same mosque. Is this appropriate?


This is a question that has always been given different views of which we will mention two as follows: 

The first view is expressed by leading scholars of olden days, including Ibn Mas[ud, Sufyan, Ibn al-Mubarak, Malik, al-Shafi[i. They all ruled that those who do not join the congregation should offer their prayers individually.


1. Ibn Mas[ud stated: ‘When we missed the congregation, we offered our prayers individually.
2. The fear that this may lead to division within the Muslim community. Thus some people may deliberately come to the mosque late so that they can join the congregation led by a scholar whom they prefer. This is bound to generate hurt feelings and division. 
This view addresses a different situation, but a number of scholars uphold it on the basis of qiyas or analogy. Limited space is treated in the same way as arriving late for any reason. 

The second view upholds that it is permissible to hold more than one congregational prayer in the same mosque, when people are late and the first congregation is over, or because of limited space or similar reasons.

Many contemporary scholars subscribe to this view including the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America. The Assembly expressed this view in a fatwa on whether a group of worshippers who arrived in a mosque after the congregational prayer has finished can form a new congregation and offer the same prayer. 

EvidenceThe Qur’anic verse that says

Remain God-fearing as best as you can

64: 16

The Prophet says

When I tell you to do something, do of it what you can

Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 7,288 and Muslim, hadith No. 1,337

3. Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reports that God’s messenger saw a man praying on his own. He said to his companions: ‘Would any of you do this man a kindness and join him in his prayer?’ A man stood up and joined him. A different version of this hadith is: 

A man came in when the Prophet has finished his prayer. The Prophet said to those present: “Who of you will strike a bargain joining this man?” A man stood up and prayed with him

Related by al-Tirmidhi hadith No. 217

 This hadith is graded as ‘good’, and it is also related by al-Hakim who grades it as authentic.
This hadith provides good evidence in support of the permissibility of offering an obligatory prayer in congregation by latecomers. Limited space is a stronger reason for organizing more than one congregation. 


· The website of The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA): 

· Fatawa by the Permanent Committee for Research and Fatwa in Saudi Arabia, collated and edited by Ahmad ibn Abd al-Razzaq al-Duwaish.
   · Ibraheem al-Khudairi, ‘Ahkam al-Masajid fi al-shari'ah al-Islamiyyah’.
   · Ahmad Harisi, ‘Ahkam al-ta'addud fi al-'Ibadat’.