We are a group of men working far away from our homes and families, in a place where there are no people living, and no buildings or mosques. The time we spend at work is equal to the time we spend in our homes, i.e., we work for 28 days in return for 28 days off. This continues all year round, and we work for 12 hours each day.
What about praying in congregation (jamaa’ah) in this place? Is it obligatory or not?.
Prayer in congregation is obligatory for non-travellers and travellers like.
You have to establish prayer in congregation; one of you should give the adhaan (call to prayer) then you should pray in congregation.
Al-Bukhaari (628) narrated that Maalik ibn al-Huwayrith (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) with a group of my people and we stayed with him for twenty days. He was compassionate and kind, and when he saw that we were missing our families he said: “Go back and stay with them and teach them; pray as you have seen me praying. When the time for prayer comes, let one of you give the call to prayer and let the oldest of you lead (the others) in prayer.”
Abu Dawood (547) narrated that Abu’l-Darda’ (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “There are no three people in a village or a desert among whom the prayer is not established, but the Shaytaan will overwhelm them. You must adhere to the jamaa’ah, for the wolf eats the sheep that strays off on its own.” Al-Saa’ib (one of the narrators of the hadeeth) said: What is meant by jamaa’ah here is prayer in congregation. It was classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about a group of travellers who were going to attend a conference; should they pray in the mosques or not? He replied:
The basic principle is that you should attend prayers in congregation in the mosque with the people if you are in a place where you can hear the adhaan without a loudspeaker because you are near the mosque. If you are in a far place where you cannot hear the call to prayer even with a loudspeaker, then pray in congregation where you are. Similarly if going to the mosque will detract from the purpose for which you came then pray in congregation where you are.
Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 15/381.