The Quranic injuction is to establish prayers in a particular place called Masjid-Mosque. Prayers should be said in congregation under the leadership of the Imam. This was the practice of the Holy Prophet PBUH and his immediate successors who always led the congregational prayers of the believers five times a day in the mosque at Madinah.
Islam says special stress on prayer in Congregation. The Quran says:
” And bow down your heads with those who bow down (in worship). (2:43)
The Holy Prophet PBUH is reported to have sald:
“A prayer performed in congregation is twenty seven degrees more excellent then the prayer said by a single person.” (Agreed upon)
He is also reported to have said, “If there are three persons in a village or even in a desert and they do not pray together, the devil would surely overtake them. So always pray Salat in congregation, for a wolf only injures a solitary sheep.” (Abu Daud)
Congregational prayer serves as a strong force in uniting the believers, The gathering of all people living in a locality five times daily in the Mosque helps in the establishment of healthy social relations between different sections of the Muslim community. This gathering becomes larger in the weekly Friday service and still larger in the two Eid gatherings. This reaches its climax on the occasion of the annual pilgrimage when Muslims from all parts of the world assemble in Makkah.
Congregational prayer levels social differences and promotes an atmosphere of equality and brotherhood. In the mosque, a king may stand shoulder to shoulder with his poorest subjects and the white man with the black. Congregational prayer lead to the realization among the worshipers that all men are equal before Allah.
These lessons of equality, fraternity and brotherhood, when put into practice, serve as a foundation for the unification of the human race. However much Islam may have preached the equality of mankind and the brotherhood of Muslims, it would have been purposeless without being put into practice through the institution of congregational prayer.