When to Stand for Salaah

Q: In one of your recent answers (Feb 10, 2010), you mention that the Sahabah (radhiallahu anhum) used to stand up for salah well before Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would enter the Masjid.

I have also learned, that we should stand up when the iqama is called and not before that.

Could you reconcile the seeming conflict here? i.e. Is it preferred to stand up and straighten rows regardless of when the iqama is called, or is the preferred time of standing up and straighten rows is after the iqama has been started?

Both practices are permissible; standing up before the Iqaamah commences (as mentioned in the first answer) and also when the Iqaamah commences, and both these practices are proven from Hadeeth. 
Generally the Sahaabah Kiraam (Radhiyallaahu Anhum) would stand when the Iqaamah commenced (when the person rendering the Iqaamah says Allaahu Akbar), but it is permissible to stand and straighten the Saffs before that too. As mentioned in the previous answer, in these times of apathy, maybe it would be better to stand up before the Iqaamah commences so that there is enough time to straighten the Saffs.
Also, this issue of when to stand up is one of better and best and not of permissible and impermissible.
Allah Ta'aala knows best.  

Moulana Yusuf Laher
Checked and approved by: Mufti Siraj Desai