The Superiority of Praying in the Masjid and the Virtues of Walking to It
In itself, praying at a mosque is greater in reward–as that is what the specific Prophetic encouragements for praying in congregation relate to directly. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Tahanawi, I`la’ al-Sunan; Nawawi, al-Majmu` Sharh al-Muhadhdhab]
If there isn’t a mosque within reasonable distance, then praying at a musalla (designated prayer space) would get one the full reward, as actions are by intentions, as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made clear.
Some hadiths on the virtue of walking to the mosque:
189. Chapter: On the excellence of walking to the mosque
1053. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah will prepare a residence in the Garden for anyone who goes to the mosque morning and evening each morning and evening that he goes.” [Agreed upon]
1054. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Anyone who purifies himself in his house and then goes to one of the houses of Allah to fulfil one of the obligations of Allah, one step removes an error and the other raises him a degree.” [Muslim]
1055. Ubayy ibn Ka’b said, “There was a man of the Ansar and I do not know of any man who lived further from the mosque than him. He never missed a prayer. It was said to him, ‘You should buy a donkey which you could ride in the dark and when it is very hot.’ He said, ‘It would not make me happier if my house were right next to the mosque. I want my steps to the mosque to be written down for me and also my return when I return to my family. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah will combine all that for you.”‘” [Muslim]
1056. Jabir said, “The area around the mosque was empty and the Banu Salama wanted to move near to the mosque and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, heard about it. He said to them, ‘It has reached me that you want to move near to the mosque?’ They said, ‘Yes, Messenger of Allah, we do want that.’ He said, ‘Banu Salama, keep the houses you have. Your footprints are written down. Keep the houses you have! Your footprints are written down.’” [Muslim]
1057. Abu Musa reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The people who get the greatest reward for the prayer are those who live furthest away and then the next furthest. Someone who waits for the prayer so that he can pray it with the Imam has a greater reward than someone who prays and then goes to sleep.” [Agreed upon]
1058. Burayda reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Give good news to those who walk to mosques in the dark that they will have full light on the Day of Rising.” [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]
1059. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Shall I direct you to something by which Allah will wipe out errors and raise degrees?’ They said, “Yes please, Messenger of Allah.” He said, “Doing thorough wudu’ in adverse circumstances, taking a lot of steps to the mosques and waiting for one prayer after another prayer. That is what you should hold to. That is what you should hold to.” [Muslim]
1060. Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “If you see a man who frequents mosques, then testify to his belief. Allah, the Mighty and Exalted, says, “The mosques of Allah should only be frequented be by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day…’ (9:18)” [at-Tirmidhi]
And Allah alone gives success.
Answered By: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani