The Virtues of Being in the First Row in Solāh
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam is His Messenger.
Muslims are urged to go early to the mosque to attend congregational Solāh and be in the first row in order to get great rewards. Ibn `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) quoted the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) as saying "The reward of solāh performed in congregation outweighs that of Solāh performed individually by twenty-seven degrees" [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Elaborating more on this, we cite what Sheikh Sayyid Sabiq states in his well-known book, Fiqh us-Sunnah:
Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “If the people knew what was in the Adzlān and the first row (of the Solāh in virtue), and that they could not get it save by drawing lots, they would draw lots. If they knew the reward for praying the noon Solāh early in its time, they would race to it. And if they knew the reward for the night and the morning Solāh in congregation, they would come to them even if they had to crawl.” (Recorded by al-Bukhari and others)
According to Ubayy bin Ka`ab, (radiyallāhu`anhu) the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “If the people come to know of the great rewards and benefits of the congregational Solāh, they would never stay back but would rush to the masjid for it. The first row merits the highest reward. Two persons praying together merit greater reward than the same praying individually, the rule being that the bigger the congregation the higher it’s worth in the Sight of Allah.” (Recorded by Abu Dawud)
Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) noticed his Companions going to the back rows, and he said, “Come close and follow me and let those behind follow you. People will continue going to the back until Allāh will put them in the back” [Muslim, An-Nasā`ie, Abu Dawud, and Ibn Mājah].
‘Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu`alayhi wasallam) said, “Allāh and His angels send down blessings upon those who pray on the right side of the rows” [Abu Dawud and Ibn Mājah].
Abu Umamah (radiyallāhu`anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: "Allāh and the angels send down blessings upon the first row." The people inquired, "O Messenger of Allāh, and upon the second row?" The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) again said, "Allāh and the angels send down blessings upon the first row." The people asked again, "O Messenger of Allāh, and upon the second row?" Finally he said, "And upon the second row." [Ahmad and At-Tabarāni]
And Allāh Almighty knows best.
[Via Islam Online (Syari’ah Researchers)]