In the Name of Allaah,the Most Gracious,the Most Merciful
Question:A questioner says:I –praise be to Allah – like to offer Salah (Prayer) at its due time but sometimes I can not go to the Masjid when the Mu’adhin (caller to Prayer) announces the Adhan,due to certain matters.Should I offer the Salah after the Mu’adhin ends the Adhan or should I wait until the Iqamah (call to start the Prayer) is announced?
Answer:You should go to the Masjid (mosque),if you are sound and able.If you are sick or unable to go,such as a person in prison or anything similar,you should offer the Salah after the Adhan (call to Prayer).You have nothing to do with Imamah (leading people in congregational Prayers) and Iqamah.You should offer the Salah when the time is due whether before or after the people and you should not wait for Iqamah.You are permitted to offer Salah before or after it,if you are unable to go to the Masjid due to sickness and the like.However,if you are able,you have to go and respond positively to the Mu’adhin by offering the Salah with the people,because the Prophet (peace be upon him) says:<<Whoever heard the call to Salah and he did not come to it,then there is no (reward for) his Salah except with an excuse.>>Moreover,when a blind man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said:I have no one to guide me to the Masjid.Do I not have permission to offer Salah at home? << The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:Do you hear the call to Prayer?He said:’Yes’.He then said:Thus,respond![Related by Muslim in his Sahih]
According to another narration reported by Hadith compilers other than Muslim:<< I do not find any permission for you.>> To conclude,if the blind person,who had no one to guide him,did not have permission,then how about others,i.e those who can see and are sound and healthy?Indeed,it is obligatory on you,brother to keep to the performance of Salah in congregation but if you are legally excused,you can offer the Salah before or after the congregation and there is no blame on you in that,praise be to Allah.
Source:Fatwas of Nur ‘Ala Al-Darb,Volume 11,part no.11;page no.150,Book on Salah (Section 6),Chapter on Congregational Salah|www.alifta.net