6 Virtues of praying at the Masjid
The Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:
I had considered ordering for the prayer to be established, then I would order every man to pray and set loose men who have with them logs of wood upon a people who did not come to the prayer and I would burn their houses with the fire. (Bukhari, Muslim)
This clearly indicates that there is no excuse for men to make a congregation at home if they have a Masjid near them and it is possible for them to pray in one.
Imam al-Shafi`i (Allah have mercy on him) said in hisal-Umm: I do not allow anyone who is able to attend the congregational prayer to miss it, unless they have an excuse. [Shafii, al-Umm, 1.154]
Obviously we all have different situations. Some of us live near a Masjid. Some very far. For some of us it is too dangerous to venture out on our own or it maybe that we live in extreme climates etc.
By being "too far" it is meant that if it is genuinely difficult to get to a Masjid because of how far it is or if it is in such a location that it is very difficult to get to etc. If it is possible to attend with even a little hardship then one should make every effort to do so for their are HUGE rewards in praying at the house of Allah.
However, for those who are unable to pray at the mosque but able to pray in congregation with other Muslims (such as co-workers or ones wife). They get the reward of praying in congregation if they take the means and establish such congregations at work or at home. Then, when they are able to go to the mosque, they should hasten to do so. If, while doing this, they have the firm and sincere intention that had they been able to go to the mosque they genuinely would have, they get (some or all of the) reward of praying at the mosque itself, as rigorously authentic hadiths of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) clearly explain. [Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah Sharh Nur al-Idah; Tahtawi, Hashiyat al-Maraqi]
So where ever we are whether it is at work, school, shopping centre etc we should try and establish a congregation where possible and with the right intention we would gain immense reward of praying Salaah with congregation.
Here are some virtues of praying Salaah at the Masjid:
1. Superiority of praying in congregation
He (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) also said, Prayer in congregation is superior to prayer alone by twenty seven degrees. [Bukhari & Muslim, from Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him)]
2. A place in Jannah for those who attend the Masjid Morning and evening
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) said, "He who goes to the mosque in the morning or in the evening, Allah prepares for him a place in Jannah whenever he goes to the mosque in the morning and returns from it in the evening.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
3. Reward for every step taken to the Masjid
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) said, "He who purifies (performs Wudu') himself in his house and then walks to one of the houses of Allah (mosque) for performing an obligatory Salat, one step of his will wipe out his sins and another step will elevate his rank (in Jannah).'' [Muslim].
Subhanallah! Every step is a reward so the further the Masjid the more reward for every step.
4. Greatest reward for one who lives furthest from Masjid
Abu Musa (RA) reported: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) said, "The person who will receive the highest reward for Salat (prayer) is the one who comes to perform it in the mosque from the farthest distance. And he who waits for Salat to perform it with the Imam (in congregation) will have a greater reward than the one who observes it alone and then goes to sleep.'' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Abu Hurairah (RA reported: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) said, "Shall I not tell you something by which Allah effaces the sins and elevates the ranks (in Jannah).'' The Companions said: "Yes (please tell us), O Messenger of Allah.'' He said, "Performing the Wudu' properly in spite of difficult circumstances, walking with more paces to the mosque, and waiting for the next Salat (prayer) after a observing Salat; and that is Ar-Ribat, and that is Ar-Ribat.'' [Muslim].
So the further one lives from the Masjid the more reward they will gain for attending the Masjid!
5. Glad tidings for one who goes at the Masjid for Isha and Fajr
Buraidah (RA) reported: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) said, "Convey glad tidings to those who walk to the mosque in the darkness. For they will be given full light on the Day of Resurrection.'' [At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud].
'Uthman ibn 'Affan (RA) said, "I heard the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam): 'If someone prays 'Isha' in a group, it is as if he had prayed half of the night. If someone prays Subh in a group, it is as if he had prayed the entire night.'" [Muslim]
Abu Hurayra (RA) reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam), said, "And if they only knew what was in the prayers of 'Isha' and Subh, they would come to them even if they had to crawl." [Agreed upon]
Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) said, "There is no prayer heavier on the hypocrites than Fajr and 'Isha'. If they only knew what is in them, they would come to them even if they had to crawl." [Agreed upon]
6. The one who attends Masjid night & day is a true believer
Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (RA) reported: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) said, "When you see a man frequenting the mosque, testify that he is a believer because Allah says: `Allah's mosques are visited only by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day.'''
And Allah knows best in all matters