Two congregations ‘Jamaat’ for Isha, one of them late into the night
Can Jamaat be conducted for Isha Prayers at 1:00 – 2:00 a.m. by Hostel Students? Shouldn’t they pray with the normal Isha Jamaat at around 8:30 p.m. instead of making their own one at their convinience?
The question of the latest time that Isha can be prayed is disputed. There are three opinions in this regard: The last time for saying Isha is:
1. When the night reaches one-third of its duration;
2. When it’s midnight; and
3. Before the Fajr time begins.
However, the third view is less popular than the first two. There is another consideration which is found in hadith literature regarding the Isha prayers: It should be ideally the last activity one should do before going to bed. However, that doesn’t mean that even if one were to remain awake for late into the night, one should delay saying Isha prayers as well. All it means is that one should sleep reasonably early and the last thing one should do before going to sleep is to pray Isha.
As for the question of doing Jamaat when another has already been done, I would say that ideally there should be only one Jamaat at one place.
However, if there are some genuine reasons why some people cannot join the Jamaat, they can say another when they find it workable. Saying prayers in Jamaat is always preferrable over saying it individually. However, the practice of several Jamaat prayers at the same spot shouldn’t become a regular practice, unless there are good reasons to do that, in which case it can be decided that there are going to be separate Jamaats at different times.