The allegation against Ahmadas is from Seeratul Mahdi which basically states that once Ahmadas was coughing extremely hard and it had reached a point where he could not even breathe and was extremely suffering. Ahmadas put pan in his mouth to stop the coughing and prayed in this way as well. The non Ahmadis ask that is this allowed? The truth is that his action emphasizes the importance of congregational prayers. The Holy Prophetsaw stated:
حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ يُوسُفَ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنَا مَالِكٌ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ “ صَلاَةُ الْجَمَاعَةِ تَفْضُلُ صَلاَةَ الْفَذِّ بِسَبْعٍ وَعِشْرِينَ دَرَجَةً ”.
Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar:Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The prayer in congregation is twenty seven times superior to the prayer offered by person alone.”(Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith #645)
In reality, what makes ones prayers really count is praying in congregation. There are certain events that might affect ones prayers but despite such complications a true believer should always try to pray in congregation. Even when the Prophetsaw prayed, sometimes Imam Hasanra and Imam Hussainraand other children would climb on him during his prayers, and he would pick them up and pray. This doesn’t mean we should start doing it in every prayer but simply shows us the importance of praying in congregation. One famous narration is as follows:
أَخْبَرَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ سَلاَّمٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا يَزِيدُ بْنُ هَارُونَ، قَالَ أَنْبَأَنَا جَرِيرُ بْنُ حَازِمٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ أَبِي يَعْقُوبَ الْبَصْرِيُّ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ شَدَّادٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، قَالَ خَرَجَ عَلَيْنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي إِحْدَى صَلاَتَىِ الْعِشَاءِ وَهُوَ حَامِلٌ حَسَنًا أَوْ حُسَيْنًا فَتَقَدَّمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَوَضَعَهُ ثُمَّ كَبَّرَ لِلصَّلاَةِ فَصَلَّى فَسَجَدَ بَيْنَ ظَهْرَانَىْ صَلاَتِهِ سَجْدَةً أَطَالَهَا . قَالَ أَبِي فَرَفَعْتُ رَأْسِي وَإِذَا الصَّبِيُّ عَلَى ظَهْرِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَهُوَ سَاجِدٌ فَرَجَعْتُ إِلَى سُجُودِي فَلَمَّا قَضَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم الصَّلاَةَ قَالَ النَّاسُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّكَ سَجَدْتَ بَيْنَ ظَهْرَانَىْ صَلاَتِكَ سَجْدَةً أَطَلْتَهَا حَتَّى ظَنَنَّا أَنَّهُ قَدْ حَدَثَ أَمْرٌ أَوْ أَنَّهُ يُوحَى إِلَيْكَ . قَالَ “ كُلُّ ذَلِكَ لَمْ يَكُنْ وَلَكِنَّ ابْنِي ارْتَحَلَنِي فَكَرِهْتُ أَنْ أُعَجِّلَهُ حَتَّى يَقْضِيَ حَاجَتَهُ ” .
It was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin Shaddad, this his father said:“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came out to us for one of the nighttime prayers, and he was carrying Hasan or Husain. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came forward and put him down, then he said the Takbir and started to pray. He prostrated during his prayer, and made the prostration lengthy.” My father said: “I raised my head and saw the child on the back of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) while he was prostrating so I went back to my prostration. When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) finished praying, the people said: “O Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), you prostrated during the prayer for so long that we thought that something had happened or that you were receiving a revelation.’ He said: ‘No such thing happened. But my son was riding on my back and I did not like to disturb him until he had enough.”(Sunan An Nasai, Hadith #1141)
This narration even tells us that the Prophetsaw made the prostration long since the children were climbing on his back and the companions asking about this shows how long the prostration in reality was.
Another narration states:
“I saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) leading the people in prayer, with Umaamah bint Abi’l-‘Aas on his shoulders. When he bowed he would put her down and when he stood up from prostrating he would pick her up again.”
It is possible that the concentration of ones prayer is affected, but one should not leave the congregation for such a problem. Despite the Prophetsaw having this distraction never did he leave the prayers.Congregational prayers count most and should not be avooided. Ahmadas did not eat pan, rather he kept it in his mouth which helped the coughing stop and relaxed his throat, allowing him to pray in congregation. It calms the throat down and the prayers the Imam reads are easy to follow in this phase, but if the person is coughing to the extent Ahmadas was, it would not be possible.
We should also keep this hadith in mind which states:
حَدَّثَنَا الْحُمَيْدِيُّ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ الزُّبَيْرِ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ سَعِيدٍ الأَنْصَارِيُّ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ التَّيْمِيُّ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ عَلْقَمَةَ بْنَ وَقَّاصٍ اللَّيْثِيَّ، يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ عُمَرَ بْنَ الْخَطَّابِ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَلَى الْمِنْبَرِ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ “ إِنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ، وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى، فَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى دُنْيَا يُصِيبُهَا أَوْ إِلَى امْرَأَةٍ يَنْكِحُهَا فَهِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى مَا هَاجَرَ إِلَيْهِ ”.
Narrated Umar bin Al-Khattab:I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying, “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.”(Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 1, Hadith #1)
It is clear that the intentions of Ahmadas were clear and he wanted to pray in congregation despite the pain he went through. Instead of an allegation, this shows how beautiful his connection with Allah was, and how much he focused on the idea of praying in congregation.