Q. Is it compulsory for the Imaam of a Masjid to inform the congregation to straighten their lines before starting Salaah?
A. There is great emphasis placed on the straightening of the lines (Sufoof) in Salaah mentioned in the Hadith.
It is reported from Anas Bin Maalik Radhiyallahu Anhu that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “Keep your rows straight (during Salaah in congregation), for keeping the rows straight is part of the perfection of Salaah.” (Bukhari)
It is also Mustahab (preferable) for the Imaam of the Musjid to remind the congregation of straightening their rows (Sufoof), and to close the gaps by joining the shoulders before commencing Salaah. (Shaami 1/568)
Sayyiduna Abu Masood Radhiyallahu Anhu reports: “Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam used to gently pat our shoulders (to make sure the row was straight) at the time of Salaah, and He would say: ‘Keep (the rows) straight; do not differ from one another lest your hearts should suffer from discord. Let those who are mature and wise stand closest to me, then those who are next to them, then those who are next to them.” (Muslim)
Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ismaeel Bassa