1 Question: Please let me know Friday Prayer is mustahab or wajib and whether it is sufficient for Zuhr prayer? Kindly, answer with details.
Answer: Friday prayer is Wajib Takhyiri, which means that we have an option to offer Jumuah prayers, if its necessary conditions are met or to offer Zuhr prayers. Hence, if Namaz-e-Jumuah is offered, it is not necessary to offer Zuhr prayer.
2 Question: What are the necessary qualifications of a prayer leader?
Answer: The Imam of the congregational prayers should be adult, sane, ithna Ashari Shia, adil (just), of legitimate birth and with correct recitation. Furthermore, if the follower is a male, the Imam also should be a male. To follow a boy of ten years of age is a matter of Ishkal.
3 Question: Can one say one’s congregational prayer behind a Sunni Imam with the intention of Jama'at (congregation)? And should one recite al-hamd on his own?
Answer: It is permissible to offer prayers in their congregational prayer. However, it is obligatory upon you to recite al-Hamd and Sura-e Tawhid yourself – be the recitation in low voice though.
4 Question: Some times, I see a group of believers say prayer collectively. As far as I know that kind of prayer is called 'congregational prayer'. Let me know what the procedure of congregational prayer is.
Answer: If there are two or more people, they can conduct a congregational prayer. The important requirement here is that the person who is going to lead the prayer (imam) must fulfill certain conditions. Those taking part in congregational prayers shall receive added thawab (reward from God) especially when the imam is a learned man and there are more people praying in the congregational prayers.
5 Question: I am 19 years old and a convert to Islam of five months. My question is, being a practitioner of Twelver Jaf'ari Islam is it permissible for me to pray behind a Sunni Imam for Salaatul-Jumu'ah and for regular congregational prayers, and is it required to prostrate on Turbah inside a mosque?
Answer: Taking part in Friday and congregational prayers of the Ahl-e Sunnat is permissible in areas where Taqiyah (dissimulation) is required. If you are not going to face a problem, you should, as far as possible, prostrate on something upon which Sajda (prostration) is permissible. Prostration on carpets in the case of Taqiyah or out of necessity is permissible and there would be no objection in it. But if you are not offering your prayers with them out of Taqiyah it is not necessary to attend their congregational prayers and you can offer your prayers separately. In any case, Friday prayers performed with them is not sufficient for Zuhr prayers. Therefore, it is necessary to perform Zuhr prayers separately.
6 Question: Which is better, praying in congregation or praying individually?
Answer: Praying in congregation (jama'at) is preferable to praying individually. Its preference is stronger in the dawn, sunset and night prayers. A noble hadith says: "A salat [in congregation] behind a learned scholar is like [praying] a thousand cycles; and behind a Qurayshi is like [praying] a hundred cycles." As the number of the worshipers increases, the preference [and the reward] also increases.
7 Question: Is it permissible to perform jama'at prayers behind a Sunni imam in Masjidul Haram and Masjid al-Nabi (S)?
Answer: It is permissible but you should recite al-Hamd and Surah by yourself.
8 Question: Which is better for a woman, performing prayers in a congregation or performing prayers individually.
Answer: It is recommended for women to attend congregational prayers as evidenced by an authentic tradition from the Commander of the Faithful, Ali (AS) that women used to attend congregational prayers but they were ordered to linger their sajda (prostration) because some men were wearing tight garments but there is another authentic tradition which says that a woman's prayer at home is more virtuous than her prayer in a mosque. However, the conclusion that can be drawn from both traditions is that a woman's prayer at a place where she is not seen by non-mahram men (strangers) is more virtuous. If she can perform her prayers in a mosque without being seen by strangers, the prayer in a mosque would be more virtuous in that case. God knows best.