Fiqh Assunah


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  • Fiqh Assunah


  • Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2: Congregational Prayer

    Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2: Congregational Prayer


    Performing the prayers in congregation is a sunnah mu'akkadah. Many ahadithdiscuss the superiority and excellence of prayers in congregation. Such ahadithinclude the following:

    Ibn 'Umar reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said:"Prayer in congregation is superior to a prayer performed individually bytwenty-seven degrees." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

    Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said:"The prayer of a man in congregation is twenty-five times more superior(in reward) to his prayer in his house or market - and this is because he makesthe wudu' and perfects it and goes to the mosque with the sole purpose ofperforming the salah. He does not take a step without being raised a degree andhaving one of his sins erased. When he prays, as long as he does not lose hiswudu, the angels keep on praying [for him] 'O Allah, bless him. O Allah, havemercy on him.' And he is considered in salah as long as he is waiting for thesalah." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim, and it is presented inal-Bukhari's wording.

    Abu Hurairah also reports that a blind man said to the Prophet: "OMessenger of Allah, I have no guide to guide me to the mosque." He askedthe Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam for permission to pray in his house and theProphet gave it to him. Then, when he turned to go, the Prophet called him andsaid: "Do you hear the call to prayer?" The blind man said"yes." The Prophet then said: "Then respond to it!" [bycoming to the mosque.] This is related by Muslim.

    Abu Hurairah also reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said:"By Him in whose hand is my soul! I have considered ordering a fire to bekindled and then ask someone to lead the people in salah. And then go to themen [who did not attend the prayer] and burn their houses over them." Thisis related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

    'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud says: "If anyone would like to meet Allah tomorrowas a Muslim, he should persevere in abserving these five prayers whenever thecall for them is made, for Allah has chosen for your Prophet the way of rightguidance. And the [five prayers in congregation] are part of this rightguidance. If you were to pray them in your houses, as this man who stays behindin his house, you would be leaving a sunnah of your Prophet. If you leave thesunnah of your Prophet, you would go astray. Verily, I have seen a time when noone stayed away from them [the congregational prayers] except for thehypocrites who were well known for their hypocrisy. A man would be brought,supported by two people [due to his weakness] until he was placed in arow." This is related by Muslim.

    Abu ad-Darda' reports that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallamsaid: "If there are three men in a village or desert and salah is notestablished among them, then the Satan takes mastery over them. So be with thecongregation since the wolf devours the remote (stray) sheep." This isrelated by Abu Dawud with a hasan chain.

    Volume2, Page 50: Women and congregational prayers

    It is better for women to pray in their houses than to attend congregationalprayers. However, they may go to the mosque and attend the congregationalprayer if they avoid wearing or using any attractive or tempting adornment orperfume.

    Ibn 'Umar reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Donot prevent the women from going to the mosques, although their houses arebetter for them." Abu Hurairah relates that the Prophet said: "Do notkeep the slave girls of Allah from the mosques of Allah. And they are to go outunperfumed." These two ahadith were related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud. AbuHurairah also reports that the Prophet said: "Any woman who uses somescent should not be present with us during the night prayer." This isrelated by Muslim, Abu Dawud, and an-Nasa'i with a hasan chain.

    As stated earlier, it is better for women to pray in their houses. Ahmad andat-Tabarani record that Umm Humaid as-Sa'diyah came to the Messenger of Allahand said: "O Messenger of Allah, I love to pray with you." TheProphet said: "I am aware of that, but your salah in your residence isbetter for you than your salah in your people's mosque. And your salah in yourpeople's mosque is better than your salah in the [larger] congregationalMosque."

    Volume2, Page 51: Praying at a larger and more distant mosque

    It is preferable to pray in a mosque that is farther away and that has alarger congregation.

    Muslim records from Abu Musa that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallamsaid: "The one who gets the greatest reward for a prayer is the one whowalks the farthest distance." Muslim also records that Jabir said:"The area around the mosque became vacant and the tribe of Salamah wantedto move there. When this news reached the Messenger of Allah, he said: 'It hasreached me that you want to move closer to the mosque?' They said: 'Yes, OMessenger of Allah, we desire that.' The Prophet said: 'O tribe of Salamah,your dwellings will record your steps.'" Al-Bukhari, Muslim, and othershave recorded this on the authority of Abu Hurairah.

    Ubayy ibn Ka'b reported that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said:"The salah of a man with another man is purer than the salah of a man byhimself. [In the same way,] his salah with two men is purer than his salah withonly one man, and what is more, it is most dear to Allah." This is relatedby Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban. Ibn as-Sakin,al-'Uqaily and al-Hakim classify it as sahih.

    Volume2, Page 51a: Going to the mosque with calm and dignity

    It is preferred for one to walk to the mosque with calm and dignity and notin a hurry or rushing. This is because the person is considered to be in prayerwhen he is going to the salah (and also while he is waiting for it). AbuQatadah says: "We were praying with the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallamwhen we heard the clamoring of some men. When they had prayed, the Prophetinquired: 'What was the matter with you?' They answered: 'We were hurrying forthe salah.' He said: 'Do not do that...when you come to the salah come in peaceand calm, and pray what you can with congregation and complete what you havemissed.'" This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

    Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said:"When you hear the iqamah, proceed to the prayer with calm and dignity anddo not rush. Pray what you can (with congregation) and complete what youmiss." This is related by the group except for at-Tirmizhi.

    Volume2, Page 51b: The imam should be "easy" on his followers

    Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet said: "If one of you leads thepeople in prayer, he should be "easy," on them for among the peopleare the weak, sick, and aged. If one prays by himself, one may make it as longas one wishes." This is related by the group. It is narrated from Anasthat the Prophet sallallahu alehi wassalam said: "Sometimes I enter prayerand I intend to prolong it, but then I hear a child crying, and I shorten myprayer thinking of the distress of the child's mother."

    Al-Bukhari and Muslim record that Anas said: "I have not prayed behindanyone who prayed a lighter salah or a more complete prayer than that of theProphet sallallahu alehi wasallam." Abu 'Umar ibn Abdul Barr said: Thescholars agree that it is preferable for an imam to make the prayer light whilepreserving the minimum without which salah is incomplete and without leavingoff any part of the salah or shortening part of it [not performing itproperly]. The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam prohibited the pecking like acrow. Once he saw a man who did not complete his ruku' and he told him: 'Goback and pray for you have not prayed.' And he said: 'Allah does not look toone who does not straighten his back during ruku' and sujjud.' I do not know ofany difference of opinion among the scholars concerning the fact that it ispreferred for an imam to be 'easy' on his followers while making the prayerproperly. It is related that 'Umar said: 'Do not make people dislike Allah, bymaking the salah so long that it should become hard on those praying behindyou."'

    Volume2, Page 52: The imam may prolong the first rak'ah to allow others to join

    It is permitted for the imam to prolong the first rak'ah while waiting forothers to join the congregation. In the same way, it is preferred for him towait for people who are coming during the bowings and during the final sitting.

    Abu Qatadah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam would prolongthe first rak'ah and the people suspected that he did it to allow thelate-comers to join the first rak'ah. Abu Sa'id says: "If the(congregational) salah was begun, one could go to al-Baqi', relieve himself,make wudu', and return and find the Prophet still in the first rak'ah for hewould prolong it (first rak'ah)." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, IbnMajah, and an-Nasa'i.

    Volume2, Page 52a: It is obligatory to follow the imam and forbidden to precede him

    Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said:"The imam is selected to be followed; therefore, do not differ with him.When he makes the takbir, make the takbir, when he goes into ruku', make ruku'.When he says 'Allah hears him who praises Him,' say 'O Allah, our Lord, to Youbelongs the Praise.' When he goes into sajdah, make sajdah. If he prayssitting, then all should be sitting." This is related by the group. In theversion by Ahmad and Abu Dawud, the wording is "the imam is to befollowed. If he makes the takbir, make the takbir, and do not make the takbiruntil he does so. When he goes into ruku', make ruku', and do not perform ruku'until he does so. When he goes into sajdah, make sajdah, and do not make sajdahuntil he does so."

    Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said:"Do you not fear that if you raise your head before the imam Allah maychange your head into that of a donkey!" This is related by the group.

    Anas reports that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam said:"O people, I am your imam, so do not precede me in ruku' or in sujjud orin qiyam or in sitting or in finishing." This is related by Ahmad andMuslim .

    Al-Bara' ibn 'Azib says: "We prayed with the Messenger of Allah andwhen he said 'Allah hears him who praises Him,' none of us would bend his backuntil the Messenger of Allah had put his forehead upon the ground." Thisis related by the group.

    Volume2, Page 53: Consitution of a congregation

    One person with the imam would constitute a congregation even if the otherperson is a child or a woman.

    Ibn 'Abbas says: "I stayed with my Aunt Maimunah and the Prophetsallallahu alehi wasallam got up to pray during the night. I got up to praywith him and stood on his left and the Prophet took me by my hand and put me onhis right side."

    Sa'id and Abu Hurairah both report that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallamsaid: "Whoever gets up during the night and wakes up his spouse and theypray two rak'at together, they both will be recorded among those (men andwomen) who remember Allah much." This is related by Abu Dawud . Abu Sa' idnarrates that a man entered the Mosque, and the Prophet and his companions hadalready prayed. The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Who will givecharity to him by praying with him?" So, a man from the people stood andprayed with him. This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and at-Tirmizhi who callsit hasan. Ibn Abi Shaibah relates that it was Abu Bakr who stood and prayedwith the man. At-Tirmizhi uses this hadith as proof that a group can pray incongregation in a mosque in which the congregational prayer had already been made.He says that this is the opinion of Ahmad and Ishaq. Other scholars say thatthey should each pray individually and this is the opinion of Sufyan, Malik,Ibn al-Mubarak and ash-Shaf'i.

    Volume2, Page 54: An imam may change his place and become a follower

    If the regular imam or appointed imam is not present, it is permissible toappoint someone else to perform the duty of imam. If the regular imam appearsduring the prayers, the substitute imam may move back to the rows and allow theregular imam to take over. Al-Bukhari and Muslim record that Sahl ibn Sa'dsaid: "The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam went off to takecare of the affairs of the tribe of 'Amr ibn 'Auf. The time for salah came andthe mu'azhzhin went to Abu Bakr and said: 'Will you lead the people in salahand I shall make the iqamah?' Abu Bakr agreed. [While he was] leading theprayer, the Messenger of Allah appeared and joined the rows. The people clapped[their thighs with their hands] but Abu Bakr would not turn around during theprayer. When most of the people began clapping, he turned and saw theProphet...[who] pointed to Abu Bakr to stay in his place. Abu Bakr raised hishands and praised Allah because of what the Prophet had told him. Then, AbuBakr moved back until he joined the rows and the Prophet stepped forward [tolead]. After he had prayed, he went to Abu Bakr and said: O Abu Bakr, whatprevented you from staying there when I told you to do so?' Abu Bakr said: 'Itis not fit for the son of Abu Quhafah to lead the Prophet in prayer.' Then theMessenger of Allah said: 'Why did I see most of you clapping? If you findsomething in the prayer you should say subhanallah, for when you say it, itwill attract his (i.e. imam's) attention and clapping [thighs with hands] is forthe women.'"

    Volume2, Page 54a: Catching up with imam or the congregation

    Whoever joins a congregation, he should perform the opening takbir whilestanding and then move directly to the act that the congregation may beperforming, for instance, if the congregation is prostrating one should performthe opening takbir and then join it in the prostration. However, such a personis not considered as having performed the rak'ah unless he performs the ruku'(bowing), even if he just bows and puts his hands on his knees, when the imamis finishing his ruku'.

    Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallamsaid: "If you come to the salah and we are in sajdah, then make sajdahwith us but do not count it [as a rak'ah]. And whoever 'catches' the ruku', hecatches the salah." This is related by Abu Dawud, Ibn Khuzaimah in hisSahih, and by al-Hakim, who considers it sahih, in his Al-Mustadrak.

    Volume2, Page 55: When it is permissible to not attend Congregation

    Ibn 'Umar narrated that the Prophet ordered the mu'azhzhin to say:"Pray in your places," on a cold, stormy night during a journey. Thisis related by alBukhari and Muslim.

    Jabir said: "We went on a journey with the Prophet and it rained uponus, so he said: 'Whoever wishes may pray in his stopping place.'" This isrelated by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and at-Tirmizhi.

    Ibn 'Abbas said to the mu'azhzhin, on a rainy day: "When you say 'Ibear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,' do not say 'Come to theprayer,' but instead say 'Pray in your houses."' The people didn't seem tolike it, so he asked: "Are you surprised by that? One better than me didit [the Prophet]. The congregational prayer is a strict order but I hated thatyou should go out and walk in the mud and on slippery ground." This isrelated by al-Bukhari and Muslim. According to Muslim's version, this occurredon a Friday.

    What applies in case of cold would also apply in cases of extreme heat,darkness, and fear of an oppressor. Ibn Batal writes: "The scholars areagreed on the permissibility of not attending the congregation due to heavyrain, darkness, wind, and so on."

    Ibn 'Umar reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Ifthe food is presented to one of you, do not rush but fulfill your need of iteven if the salah has begun." This is related by al-Bukhari.

    'Aishah narrates that she heard the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam say:"There is no prayer when the meal is presented nor when one needs toanswer the call of nature." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and AbuDawud.

    Abu ad-Darda' says: "It is a sign of the understanding of a person thathe fulfills his needs first in order to make his prayer with a clearmind." This is related by al-Bukhari.

    Volume2, Page 56: The one who should be imam is the one who is the most versed in theQur'an

    If two or more are equal in this, then it is the one who has the mostknowledge of the sunnah. If they are equal in that, then it is the one whoperformed the migration first. If they are equal in that, then it should be theeldest.

    Abu Sa'id narrates that the Prophet said: "If you are three in number,then one of you should be the imam. And the one who has the most right to it isthe one who is the most versed in the Qur'an." This is related by Ahmad,Muslim, and an-Nasa'i. The meaning of "most versed in the Qur'an" isthe one who has more of the Qur'an memorized. This interpretation is based onthe hadith from Amr ibn Salamah which says: "Your imam should be the onewho is most versed in the Qur'an."

    Ibn Mas'ud reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said:"The imam of a people should be the one who is the most versed in the Bookof Allah. If they are equal in their recital, then the one who is most knowledgeableof the sunnah. If they are equal in the sunnah, then [it is] the one whomigrated first. If they are equal in that, then [it is] the eldest. And no manshould be an imam for another man if the other holds authority [i.e., a leaderin any capacity or ruler of the Muslim people]. And one should not occupy hisplace of honor in his house without his permission." In another narrationit is stated: "No man should be the imam for another while with theother's family or where the other is in authority." This is related byAhmad and Muslim.

    As stated earlier, it is better for women to pray in their houses. Ahmad andat-Tabarani record that Umm Humaid as-Sa'diyah came to the Messenger of Allahand said: "O Messenger of Allah, I love to pray with you." TheProphet said: "I am aware of that, but your salah in your residence isbetter for you than your salah in your people's mosque. And your salah in yourpeople's mosque is better than your salah in the [larger] congregationalMosque."

    Sa'id ibn Mansur says: "A person should not be an imam for anotherwhere the other is in authority except with his permission." The meaningof this is that the one in authority, owner of a house, leader of a meeting,and so on, has more right than others to be the imam if he has not granted thepermission to any of the others. Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophetsallallahu alehi wasallam said: "It is not allowed for a man who believesin Allah and the last day to be an imam for a people, except with theirpermission, nor may he specifically make supplications for himself withoutincluding them. If he does so, he is disloyal to them." This is related byAbu Dawud.

    Volume2, Page 56a: Whose imamate is acceptable

    The imamate of all the following is acceptable: a discerning boy, a blindperson, a standing person for those who are sitting, a sitting person for thosewho are standing, a person praying fard for people who are praying nafl, aperson praying nafl for people who are praying fard. Likewise, a person who hasperformed ablution can be imam for people who have performed tayammum, as canbe a person who has performed tayammum for people who have performed ablution,a traveler for the resident, a resident for the travelers, and a less qualifiedperson for people who are more qualified.

    'Amr ibn Salamah led his people in salah while he was six or seven yearsold. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam twice appointed Ibn UmmMaktum, a blind man, to lead the people of Medinah in prayer. The Messenger ofAllah, during his last illness, prayed behind Abu Bakr in a sitting position.And he prayed in his house in a sitting position while those behind him werestanding. He pointed to them to sit and when he had finished the prayer hesaid: "The imam has been appointed to be followed. If he goes into ruku',then make ruku'. When he raises his head, raise your head. If he prays sitting,then pray sitting behind him."

    Mu'azh would pray 'isha with the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam and thenreturn to his people and lead them in the same prayer, it being nafl for himand fard for the others.

    Muhjan ibn al-Adra' reports: "I came to the Messenger of Allah in themosque and they prayed and I did not. He said to me: 'Why didn't you pray?' Isaid: 'O Messenger of Allah, I prayed in my place and then came here.' He thensaid: 'When you come [to the mosque], pray with them and make itsupererogatory."'

    The Messenger of Allah saw a man praying by himself and said: "Who willgive charity to this person by praying with him?" 'Amr ibn al-'Aas ledothers in prayer when he had made tayammum only and the Prophet approved of it.

    The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam, after the conquest of Makkah, led thepeople in prayer by praying two rak'at (except for maghrib) and said: "Opeople of Makkah, stand and pray the last two rak'at as we are travelers."

    If a traveler prays behind a resident, he must complete the whole fourrak'at even if he only prayed part of a rak'ah behind the resident imam. Ibn'Abbas was asked: "Why is the traveler to pray two rak'at if he prays byhimself and four rak'at if he prays behind a resident?" He answered:"That is the sunnah." In another version, Musa ibn Salamah said tohim: "If we pray with you, we pray four rak'at otherwise we pray two?"He told him: "That is the sunnah of Abu al-Qasim [the Prophet]." Thisis related by Ahmad.

    Volume2, Page 57: Whose imamate is not acceptable

    It is not allowed for one who has a health problem which does not allow himto remain in a state of purity to be an imam for others who do not have such aproblem. This is the opinion of the majority of the scholars. According to theMaliki school, such a person's imamate will be valid, but it is disliked tomake such a person the imam.

    Volume2, Page 58: It is preferred to have a woman imam for women

    'Aishah used to lead the women in salah and stand with the women in themiddle of the first row. Umm Salamah would also do so. The Prophet sallallahualehi wasallam appointed Waraqah to go and make the azhan for her while heinstructed her to lead the women of her household in the obligatory prayers.

    Volume2, Page 58a: A man leading a group of women in prayer

    Abu Ya' la and at-Tabarani, in al-Ausat, record, with a hasan chain, thatUbayy ibn Ka'b came to the Messenger of Allah and said: "O Messenger ofAllah, I did something last night." The Prophet asked: "What wasthat?" He said: "The women in my house said, 'You recite and we donot recite so lead us in salah. ' So I prayed eight rak'atand witr (with them)."The Prophet remained silent, and Ka'b said: "We took his silence as a signof his approval."

    Volume2, Page 58b: Evildoer or innovator forbidden to lead prayer

    Al-Bukhari records that Ibn 'Umar prayed behind al-Hajjaj. Muslim recordsthat Abu Sa'id al-Khudri prayed salatul 'id behind Marwan.

    Ibn Mas'ud once prayed four rak'at of fajr, behind al-Walid ibn 'Uqbah ibnAbu Ma'it who used to drink wine, and 'Uthman ibn 'Affan had him flogged. Thecompanions and their successors prayed behind Ibn 'Ubaid who was accused ofpropagating heresies. According to the scholars, anyone whose prayer is validon an individual basis, his imamate is also valid for others. However, theydislike to pray behind an evildoer or innovator.

    As-Sa'ib ibn Khilad relates that a man was leading the people in salah andhe spat in the direction of the qiblah. The Messenger of Allah saw this andsaid: "Do not let him lead you in salah." After this, the man wantedto lead the people in salah but they prevented him and told him what theProphet had said. The man went to the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam, to askhim about that, and the Prophet said: "Yes, [it is true] for you haveoffended Allah and His Messenger." This is related by Abu Dawud and IbnHibban. Abu Dawud and al-Munzhiri are silent about it.

    Volume2, Page 58c: Permission to leave the congregational prayer

    If the imam makes the salah too long, it is permissible, under certaincircumstances, to leave the salah with the intention of performing itindividually. The following are examples of when this may be done: becomingill, fearing that one's wealth may be lost or destroyed, missing one'scompanions or traveling group, being overcome by sleep, and so on. This isbased on the following hadith related by Jabir: "Mu'azh would pray 'ishawith the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam, and then go and lead his people insalah. One night, the Prophet delayed salatul 'isha and Mu'azh prayed with himand then went to his people and led them in the night prayer by recitingalBaqarah. One man left the salah and prayed by himself. The people said tohim: 'O so and so, you have become a hypocrite.' He said: 'I have not become ahypocrite but I shall surely go to the Prophet and inform him of what hashappened.' He told the Prophet what had happened and the Prophet said toMu'azh: 'You put people to trials, Mu'azh! You put people to trials, Mu'azh.Recite such and such surah.'" This is related by the group.

    Volume2, Page 59: Repeating a salah with a congregation

    Yazid al-Aswad says: "We prayed dawn prayer (fajr) with the Messengerof Allah at Mina and two men came and stopped at their resting places. Theprophet ordered for them to be brought and they came shaking with fear. TheProphet said to them: 'What prevented you from praying with the people? ...Areyou two not Muslims?' They answered: 'Certainly we are, O Messenger of Allah,but we had prayed in our resting place.' The Prophet told them: 'If you pray inyour resting places and then come upon an imam, pray with him, and it will benafl for you.'" This is related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud. An-Nasa'i andat-Tirmizhi record it in these words: "lf you pray in your resting placesand then you come to a mosque with a congregation, pray with them, and it willbe nafl for you." At-Tirmizhi calls it hasan sahih and Ibn as-Sakin saysit is sahih.

    This hadith shows that it is correct for one to repeat a salah as a naflwith a congregation even if he has already performed it, individually or with acongregation.

    It is related that Huzhaifah repeated the zuhr, 'asr, and maghrih prayersalthough he had prayed them in congregation. It is also related that Anasprayed fajr behind Abu Musa at the place where fruits are dried and then hewent to the congregational mosque and repeated the salah behind alMughirah ibnShu'bah. Nevertheless, this action contradicts authentic hadith of the Prophetsallallahu alehi wasallam in which he reportedly said: "Do not pray thesame salah twice in one day." The apparent conflict has been resolved byIbn 'Abdul-Barr who writes, "Ahmad and Ishaq agree that this refers topraying an obligatory salah and then, after a while, repeating it as theobligatory prayer. Now, as for the one who repeats the salah with acongregation with the intention that the second prayer is not a repeat of theobligatory salah but that it is simply a voluntary prayer, he obeys theProphet's order of not making the same salah twice, as the first salah wasobligatory and the second was nafl; hence, there is no repetition."

    Volume2, Page 60: Imam's leaving the place after the salah

    It is preferred for the imam to tum to the right or to the left after thesalah and then to leave the place of prayer.

    Qabaidah ibn Halb relates that his father said: "The Prophet would leadus in salah and then tum to both of his sides, to his right and to hisleft." This is related by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmizhi. Thelatter calls it hasan. People who are infommed on this subject act accordinglyby turning to any side they wish. Both acts have been authenticated from theProphet sallallahu alehi wasallam. 'Aishah says: "After the Prophet madethe taslim, he would not sit except for the amount of time it takes to say: 'OAllah, You are the Peace, and from You comes the Peace. Blessed are You,Possessor of Majesty and Honor."' This is related by Ahmad, Muslim,at-Tirmizhi, and Ibn Majah.

    Ahmad and al-Bukhari record that Umm Salamah said: "Whenever theMessenger of Allah finished his prayers with the taslim, the women would get upand he would stay in his place for a while before getting up." She said:"I think, and Allah knows best, that he did that to allow the women toleave before the men [would stand to leave].

    Volume2, Page 60a: The imam or followers being elevated

    It is disliked for the imam to be at a higher place than the followers.

    Abu Mas'ud al-Ansari says: "The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallamprohibited that the imam should stand on something higher than the peoplebehind him." This is related by ad-Daraqutni, while al-Hafez is silentabout it in al-Talkhis.

    Hamam ibn al-Harith relates that Huzhaifah led the people in prayer inMada'in (Iraq) and he stood on a bench. Abu Mas'ud pulled his shirt with astrong grip. When he finished his prayer Abu Mas'ud said: "Do you not knowthat this has been prohibited?" Huzhaifah said: "Certainly, I knowit. I remembered it when you pulled me." This is related by Abu Dawud,ash-Shaf'i, and al-Baihaqi. Al-Hakim, Ibn Khuzaimah, and Ibn Hibban grade itsahih.

    On the other hand, if the imam has some reason for being higher than thefollowers, the act is not disliked. Sahl ibn Sa'd as-Sa'ady says: "I sawthe Prophet sitting upon the pulpit on the first day that it was set up. Hemade the opening takbir while he was upon it and then he performed ruku'.Afterward, he moved behind the pulpit and made sajdah at the foot of thepulpit. Then, he repeated the same. When he had finished, he tumed to thepeople and said: "O people, I did that for you to follow me and to teachyou my salah."' This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and Muslim.: It ispermissible for the followers to be at a higher place than the imam

    Sa id ibn Mansur, ash-Shaf'i, al-Baihaqi, and al-Bukhari, in his comments,relate from Abu Hurairah that he prayed at the top of the mosque whilefollowing the imam. Anas used to pray in the room of Abu Naf'i to the right ofthe mosque and the room was his height's high and its door faced the mosque ofBasrah and Anas would pray in it, following the imam. The companions did notsay anything about it. This is related by Sa'id ibn Mansur in his Sunan.

    Ash-Shaukani observes: "If the follower is extremely high above theimam, for example, three hundred lengths, and he could not know what action theimam is doing then it is prohibited by consensus whether he is in a mosque orsomewhere else. If it is less than that, it is permitted on the principle thatunless proved otherwise a thing is permissible. This basis is supported by theabove mentioned act of Abu Hurairah to which no one objected."

    Volume2, Page 61: Following the imam with a barrier in between

    It is allowed for a follower to follow the imam, even if there is a barrierbetween them, as long as he or she can tell the imam's movements either by hissight or hearing.

    Al-Bukhari records: "Al-Hassan said: 'There is no problem if you prayand between you and him [the imam] there is a river.' Abu Majliz said: 'Followthe imam, even if between you and him there is a road or a wall, as long as youcan hear the opening takbir.'" We have already mentioned the hadith inwhich the people prayed behind the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam while theywere behind the room.

    Volume2, Page 61a: When imam leaves out an essential act of salah

    A person's imamate is valid even if he leaves out one of the obligatory actsor prerequisites provided the followers complete them and the imam is not awareof the fact that he had left out an obligatory act or prerequisite.

    Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet said: "If the imam leads theprayer correctly, then both you and he will get the reward. If he is mistaken,you will get the reward and he the blame." This is related by Ahmad andal-Bukhari.

    Sahl reports that he heard the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam say:"The imam is a warrantor. If he has done well, it is for him and them. Ifhe has done wrong, it is upon him." This is related by Ibn Majah.

    It has been authentically reported from 'Umar that he led the people insalah while he was sexually defiled and had forgotten that fact. He repeatedhis salah but those who had prayed behind him did not.

    Volume2, Page 62: Appointing another to lead the rest of the salah

    If the imam must leave during the salah due to some reason, for instance, heremembers that he is in need of making ablution or he loses his ablution duringthe salah, then he should appoint another to lead the remainder of the prayer.

    'Amr ibn Maimun says: "I was standing and there was no one between meand 'Umar, the morning he was killed, except 'Abullah ibn 'Abbas. He had barelypronounced the takbir when he was stabbed and he said: 'The dog has bitten orkilled me.' 'Umar bade 'Abdur Rahman ibn 'Auf to lead the salah and he led themin a short prayer." This is related by al-Bukhari.

    Abu Razin reports: "'Ali was praying one day when his nose began tobleed. He took a man by the hand and put him in front of the congregation, andhe left." This is related by Sa'id ibn Mansur.

    Ahmad observes: "If the imam appoints another [it is acceptable] as'Umar and 'Ali appointed another. If the people pray individually, [it isacceptable] as in the case of Mu'awiyyah when he was stabbed and the peopleprayed individually and completed their prayers."

    Volume2, Page 62a: When the people dislike their imam

    Many hadith have been related which warn against leading a congregationwhile one is disliked by them. Dislike here relates to one's religious conductand is based on a valid reason.

    Ibn 'Abbas relates that the Prophet said: "Three people's prayers willnot rise above their head the length of a hand's span. [They are:] a man wholeads a people in salah and they do not like him, a woman who has disobeyed herhusband and he is dipleased with her, and two brothers who are estranged."This is related by Ibn Majah. Al-'lraqi says its chain is hasan.

    'Abdullah ibn 'Amr relates that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said:"Allah does not accept prayers from three [types of] people: a man wholeads a people and they dislike him, a man who attends the prayers after theirtime is finished, and a man who re-enslaves his freed slave." This isrelated by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah.

    Elaborating upon it, at-Tirmizhi says: "It is disliked that a man shouldlead a people in salah while they dislike him. If the imam is not a wrongdoer,then the sin is upon those who don't like him."

    Volume2, Page 62b: The Positioning Of The Imam And The Followers

    It is preferred for one person to stand to the right of the imam and for a"group of two (or more)" to stand behind the imam.

    Jabir reports: "The Prophet stood to pray and I came and stood on hisleft. He took me by my hand [and led me] around him until I stood on his right.Then, Jabir ibn Sakhr came and stood on the left of the Messenger of Allahsallallahu alehi wasallam. He took both of us by our hands and pushed us backuntil we stood behind him." This is related by Muslim and Abu Dawud.

    If a woman is present with the group, then she is to stand in a row byherself behind the men and she is not to join them in their rows. If she didnot stand in a separate row, her salah will still be valid according to theopinion of majority. Anas said: "An orphan and I prayed behind theMessenger of Allah in our house and my mother prayed behind us." Inanother version it is stated: "He put me and the orphan in a row behindhim and the woman behind us." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

    Volume2, Page 63: The position of the imam while leading the prayer

    It is preferred for the imam to stand in the center of the rows and thepeople closest to him should be the people of intellect and understanding.

    Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said:"Let the imam stand in the center, and close the gaps in the rows."This is related by Abu Dawud and both he and al-Munzhiri make no furthercomment on its authenticity.

    Ibn Mas'ud reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said:"Let those who are prudent and sedate be near me, then those who are nextto them, then those who are next to them, and beware of the tumult of themarket place." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, andat-Tirmizhi.

    Anas said: "The Prophet loved that the emigrants (muhajarin) andhelpers (ansar) stand next to him so that they would learn from him." Thisis related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud. The wisdom behind having such people closeto the imam is that they can correct him if he makes a mistake and it is easyfor the imam to appoint one of them in his place if he needs to leave.

    Volume2, Page 63a: The positioning of the young and the women

    The Messenger of Allah placed the men in front of the young boys and thewomen behind the young boys. This is related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud.

    Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "The best rowsfor the men are the first rows and the worst rows for them are the last rows.The best rows for the women are the last rows and the worst for them are thefront rows." The last rows are the best for the women because they arefarther away from the men as against the first rows that are nearest to men'srows. This is related by the group except al-Bukhari.

    Volume2, Page 64: The prayer of an individual behind a row

    If a person makes his opening takbir behind a row and then he enters the rowand performs the ruku' with the imam, his salah will be valid.

    Abu Bakra reports that he came to the salah while the Prophet was performingruku' and Abu Bakra performed the ruku before he entered the row. He mentionedthis to the Prophet and he said: "May Allah increase your love forgoodness, but do not repeat that act." This is related by Ahmad,al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud, and anNasa'i.

    According to the majority, If a person prays behind the rows by himself, hissalah will be valid but diliked. Ahmad, Ishaq, Ahmad, ibn Abu Laila, Waki',al-Hassan ibn Saleh, an-Nakha'i and Ibn al-Munzhir hold that if a person praysone complete rak'ah behind the rows, his salah will be invalid.

    Wabsah relates that the Messenger of Allah saw a man praying behind the rowsby himself and the Propeht ordered him to repeat his salah. This is related bythe five save an-Nasa'i. In Ahmad's version, the Messenger of Allah was askedabout a man who prays by himself behind the rows and he said: "He is to repeathis salah." At-Tirmizhi called this hadith hasan and Ahmad's chain isgood.

    'Ali ibn Shaiban relates that the Messenger of Allah saw a man prayingbehind the row and he waited for him and (when he finished) told him: "Goforward (and join the row) for the salah of a person standing alone behind therows is not valid." This is related by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and al-Baihaqi.Ahmad says it is hasan. Ibn Sayyid an-Nass said its narrators are well-known,trustworthy people.

    The majority stick to the hadith of Abu Bakra who said that he preformedpart of the prayer, behind the row, and the Prophet did not order him to repeathis salah. Repeating the salah signifies overzeal in practicing what isrecommended and better.

    Al-Kaman ibn al-Hamam said: "Our scholars are of the opinion that thehadith of Wabsah refers to what is preferred while the hadith of 'Ali ibnash-Shaiban underlines failure to practice what is the best and, as such, theyare in harmony with the hadith of Abu Bakra. It is clear, then, that it is notnecessary to repeat the salah because such an act was not always ordered.

    If someone comes to the row and does not find sufficient space or a gap tostand in the row, then, according to some, he should stand by himself and it isdisliked that he should pull anyone back from the row. Others say that heshould pull one, who is aware of the ruling, back from the row after they haveperformed the opening takbir, and it is preferred for the one who is pulled tojoin him."

    Volume2, Page 64a: Straightening the rows and filling the gaps

    It is preferred for the imam to order the followers to straighten the rowsand fill in any gaps before he starts the salah.

    Anas relates: "The Prophet would turn his face to us before he beganthe salah and he would say: 'Be close together and straighten your rows.'"This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim. He also reported that the Prophetwould say: "Make your rows straight for the straightening of the rows ispart of the completion of the salah."

    An-Nu'man ibn Bashir says: "The Prophet would straighten us in our rowsas one straightens an arrow, until he saw that we had learned from him. Oneday, he saw a person with his chest sticking out and he said: 'You had betterstraighten your rows or Allah will cause differences among you."' This isrelated by the five. At-Tirmizhi says it is sahih.

    Abu Umamah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said:"Straighten your rows and put your shoulders close to each other and begentle with each other and fill in the gaps for the Satan passes through whatis between you like small sheep [are able to pass through gaps]." This isrelated by Ahmad and at-Tabarani with a chain that has no fault in it.

    Anas reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "Complete the front row,then the ones after it, and if there is any incompletion, it should be in thelast row." This is related by Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and al-Baihaqi.

    Ibn 'Umar says: "There is no step that carries a greater reward thanthe step a man takes to an empty gap in a row in order to fill it." Thisis related by al-Bazar with a hasan chain.

    Ibn 'Umar also related that the Messenger of Allah said: "Whoeverconnects a row, Allah will join him. Whoever cuts off a row, Allah will cut himoff." This is related by An-Nasa'i, al-Hakim, and Ibn Khuzaimah.

    Jabir ibn Samrah says: "The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam came tous and said: 'Why don't you make the rows like the angels make their rows inthe presence of their Lord?' We asked: 'O Messenger of Allah, how do the angelsmake their rows in the presence of their Lord?' He replied: 'They complete thefirst row and stand closely together, side by side, in the row.'" This isrelated by the group, save al-Bukhari and at-Tirmizhi.

    Volume2, Page 65: Encouragement concerning being in the first row and on the rightside

    We have already mentioned the Prophet's words "If the people knew what[great blessings were] in the call to salah and in the first row the peoplewould vie with one another to call the azhan and to be in the first row, and ifthey found no way to decide [who would be allowed to make the call to salah orto be in the first row] except by drawing lots, then they would drawlots."

    Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reports that the Prophet noticed his companions going tothe back rows, and he said: "Come close and follow me and let those behindfollow you. People will continue going to the back until Allah will put them inthe back." This is related by Muslim, an-Nasa'i, Abu Dawud, and Ibn Majah.

    'Aishah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Allahand His angels send down blessings upon those who pray on the right side of therows." This is related by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah.

    Ahmad and at-Tabarani record, with a sahih chain, from Abu Umamah that theProphet said: "Allah and the angels send down blessings upon the firstrow." The people inquired: "O Messenger of Allah, and upon the secondrow?" The Prophet again said: "Allah and the angels send downblessings upon the first row." The people asked again: "O Messengerof Allah, and upon the second row?" Finally he said: "And upon the secondrow."

    Volume2, Page 66: Repeating imam's words for others in the back rows

    If some people cannot hear the imam, it is preferred for one to repeat in aloud voice the imam's words for the others to hear. There is consensus amongscholars that repeating aloud after the imams without there being any real needfor it is an abhorent innovation.

     

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