If someone is praying salah in congregation and his wudu breaks so he walks out of the row leaving a gap, will it be necessary for the person behind him to fill the gap? Also, if someone enters the Masjid after jama’ah has begun and the row is full, should he stand alone at the back?
If someone breaks his wudu and walks out of the row then a newcomer or a person currently in prayer from the row behind should fill that gap, or the worshippers on either side of that gap should move side-wards to fill it, or just leave it as it is.
Imam Ahmad Rida Khan رضى الله عنه said “A gap left by a muqtadi (a person following the Imam in prayer) should be filled by a newcomer or be left as it is”.
[Fatawa Ridawiyyah v.7 p.197]
Similarly, if someone comes after the congregation prayer has already begun and there is no room at all in the row then he should wait for someone else to enter the Masjid. However, if he fears that waiting for someone else will lead to him missing a rak’ah then he should touch one of the worshippers on the row in front and bring him back, even if he decides to stand alone then this is also permissible but disliked, in fact Qunniyyah says that in this day and age standing alone is better:
“ و في القنية، و القيام وحده اولي في زماننا لغلبة الجهل علي العوام ”
[Bahr v.1 p. 617]
Allah تعالى is most knowing.
Answered by Mufti Shams ul Huda Misbahi
Translated by Mawlana Muhammad Rashid Madani