Salaah is considered to be the nucleus of the entire Deen, just as the heart is the nucleus of the human body. It is an established fact that improving the quality of the heart leads to the quality of health in the entire body improving. Accordingly, improving the quality of one’s salaah and perfecting it leads to the perfection of one’s entire Deen.
Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “The first thing regarding which a person will be questioned on the Day of Qiyaamah will be salaah. If his salaah is found to be in order, then the rest of his deeds (in his entire Deen) will also be in order. If his salaah is deficient, then the rest of his deeds will also be deficient.” (Targheeb #551)
When one takes a cursory glimpse and views the mubaarak life of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) and the pious predecessors, he will find that performing salaah in the musjid with jamaat was considered among the most important priorities in their lives.
Imaam Ghazaali (rahimahullah) has mentioned that the salaf (pious predecessors) were such that if they missed the takbeer-e-ula (the first takbeer which commences the salaah), they would console themselves for three days, and if they missed the salaah with jamaat, they would console themselves for seven days. (Ihyaa 1/212)
Below is an incident of Hazrat Moulana Yusuf Binnori (rahimahullah) grieving over missing his salaah with jamaat in the musjid. Hazrat Moulana Yusuf Ludhyaanwi (rahimahullah) writes:
On one occasion, some people had requested Hazrat Moulana Yusuf Binnori (rahimahullah) to come to the opening of their shop after the Jumu’ah Salaah. In response, Hazrat Moulana (rahimahullah) said to them, “On Fridays, I perform Asr Salaah in my musjid. I will come with you for the opening of your shop after the Jumu’ah Salaah, however you should ensure that I do not miss my asr salaah with jamaat in the musjid.” They assured Hazrat Moulana (rahimahullah) that they would make the arrangements for him to make it to the musjid in good time for the jamaat.
Generally, people are eager to take the Buzurgaan-e-Deen to their places (homes, businesses, etc.), as they are concerned of their own worldly interests (of acquiring barakah in their homes and businesses). However, they are inconsiderate regarding the interest of the Buzurgaan-e-Deen and others. Hence, there was a delay in them returning, and by the time they brought Hazrat Moulana (rahimahullah) back to the musjid for the Asr Salaah, Hazrat Moulana (rahimahullah) found that the jamaat was already over. Seeing this, Hazrat Moulana (rahimahullah) began to weep bitterly and cry profusely.
Hazrat Moulana Yusuf Ludhyaanwi (rahimahullah) says, “I was present at that time, and I saw Hazrat Moulana (rahimahullah) crying profusely. Then while lamenting, Hazrat Moulana (rahimahullah) said, “We do not possess the reality of salaah in our lives. All we have is the imitation of salaah. The correct manner of fulfilling the right of salaah is unknown to us. We merely imitate Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) when we perform our salaah. If even this imitation does not remain then what else do we have?” (Tuhfatul Madaaris 1/491)
Hazrat Moulana Binnori (rahimahullah) mentioned this out of his humility, that the only thing that he was holding onto was the salaah of Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), and by them causing him to miss his salaah with jamaat in the musjid, he had lost even that.
May Allah Ta‘ala keep us firm upon performing our salaah with jamaat in the musjid at all times.