Is hearing the adhan a condition for attending congregational prayers at the mosque?
Some Egyptian Muslims living in Greece managed, by the grace of Allah Almighty, to build a mosque. It is of course impermissible to use loudspeakers to make the adhan [call to prayer] or raise the volume for any other purpose. About five months ago, the number of the mosque goers started to decrease owing to a fatwa issued by a young man stating that it is not necessary to go to the mosque to perform congregational prayers as long as one does not hear the adhan. This man based his fatwa on a hadith in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) commanded a blind man to attend congregational prayers at the mosque as long as he can hear the adhan.
• Is hearing the adhan a condition for attending congregational prayers at the mosque even with the availability of prayer time schedules and calendars on which prayer times are printed?
• What is the virtue of tarawih prayers [voluntary prayer performed in Ramadan after 'Isha' prayer]?
The virtue of congregational prayer
Islam urges Muslims to observe congregational prayers due to their virtue both in this world and in the Hereafter and because they reconcile the hearts of Muslims, unify them and urge them towards brotherhood, acquaintance and cooperation. Above all, the reward of a congregational prayer is twenty seven times greater than the prayer of an individual. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "The prayer offered in congregation is twenty seven times superior (in reward) to the prayer offered alone" [Bukhari and Muslim].
The adhan is one of the Islamic rites
The adhan was legislated to inform Muslims of prayer times. It is one of the rites of Islam that must be observed even if it is kept inside the mosque; it is impermissible to neglect it for any reason.
Hearing the adhan and attending congregational prayers at the mosque
If there are means other than the adhan to inform Muslims of prayer times, it suffices to perform congregational prayers at the mosque. Therefore, hearing the adhan is not a condition for attending congregational prayers at the mosque.
The complete text of the hadith of the blind man
A blind man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said: "O Messenger of Allah! I have no one to guide me to the mosque." He asked the Messenger of Allah for permission to pray at his house and the Prophet granted it to him. But when the man turned to leave, the Prophet called him and said, "Can you hear the adhan?" He said, "Yes". The Prophet then said, "Respond to it (by going to the mosque)" [Muslim].
The above hadith enjoined all Muslims who lived during the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), including the blind, to attend congregational prayers at the mosque as long as they could hear the adhan since it was the only means for knowing prayer times. However, at present, there are other means such as watches and calendars. Therefore, it suffices you for this rite to make the adhan inside the mosque.
The hadith does not include anything, implicit or otherwise, that states the permissibility of refraining from attending congregational prayers at the mosque for those who do not hear the adhan.
We therefore call upon our Muslim brothers in Greece not to issue fatawa unless they are specialized in the sciences of the Shari'ah [Islamic law] so as not to confuse Muslims or lead them to commit sins.
Hearing the adhan is not a condition for performing congregational prayers at the mosque. It suffices to know prayer times through any means such as watches or others to attend them at the mosque.
Tarawih is a sunna for both men and women. It is performed in rak'ah (cycle of prayer) pairs after 'Isha' and before Witr during Ramadan and its time extends to Fajr.
The virtue of Tarawih prayer
Tarawih prayer has great virtue. Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to urge us to perform voluntary night prayers in Ramadan without making it obligatory. He said, "Whoever observes voluntary prayers at night during Ramadan out of faith and seeking its reward, will have his previous sins forgiven" [Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmed, Abu Dawud, Ibn Maja, al-Tirmidhi and al-Nasa'i].
The above answers the question.
Allah the Almighty knows best