Monday, 21 January 2019

Recitation Behind the Imam

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والصلوة والسلام على رسوله الكريم
والعاقبة للمتقين

Previously I wrote that it is necessary for the ma’mum to recite Surat al-Fatiha in every rak’a, including in those in which the imam is reciting audibly. However, I have reconsidered this view in light of strong proofs and in keeping with a general following of the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, which is the most superior school of the four schools because it was aided by Allah Who caused it to spread in most of the lands of the Muslims. The general proof for our position is the Ayah of the Holy Qur’an, in which Allah Most High says:
وَإِذَا قُرِئَ الْقُرْآنُ فَاسْتَمِعُوا لَهُ وَأَنصِتُوا لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ۞
And when the Qur’an is recited then listen to it and be silent that you may obtain mercy
(Sura 7:204)

The exegetes, including Sahaba and eminent individuals of the Salaf, explained that this Ayah (7:204) was revealed particularly for the Salat. It is mentioned that people would speak during the Salat, or recite behind the Prophet صلوات الله وسلامه عليه while he was reciting in the Salat, and so this Ayah (7:204) was revealed ordering them no to do so (Tafsir at-Tabari v.10 pp.658-664):

As for the opposing view, that Surat al-Fatiha has to be recited by the ma’mum behind the imam even during audible recitation, and that without it the Salat is not valid, such a view has absolutely no proof from the Qur’an itself but is based on an interpretation of the Hadith narrated by sayyidina Ubada b. as-Samit رضى الله عنه:
لاَ صَلاَةَ لِمَنْ لَمْ يَقْرَأْ بِفَاتِحَةِ الْكِتَابِ ‏
“There is no Salat for the one who does not recite the Fatiha of the Book”
(Sahih al-Bukhari)

Now this Hadith must be reconciled with the Ayah of the Qur’an (7:204) so that its correct interpretation is that the Salat of an individual is not valid if he did not recite the Fatiha in it. But in congregational prayer, only the imam is required to recite the Fatiha, and his recitation will count as the recitation for those praying behind him, as it comes in the Hadith:

مَنْ كَانَ لَهُ إِمَامٌ فَإِنَّ قِرَاءَةَ الإِمَامِ لَهُ قِرَاءَةٌ
“Whoever has an imam, the recitation of the imam is his recitation”
(Sunan Ibn Maja #850)

Although the Hadith is weak, including its shawahid, the meaning is in accord with the purpose and spirit of praying in congregation behind an imam. Hence, the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said:

إِنَّمَا جُعِلَ الإِمَامُ لِيُؤْتَمَّ بِهِ
“Verily the imam is appointed only to be followed”
وَإِذَا قَرَأَ فَأَنْصِتُوا
“And when he recites then be silent.”
(Sunan Abi Dawud #604)

In another Hadith, narrated by sayyidina Abi Huraira رضى الله عنه:

أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم انْصَرَفَ مِنْ صَلاَةٍ جَهَرَ فِيهَا بِالْقِرَاءَةِ فَقَالَ ‏‏ هَلْ قَرَأَ مَعِي أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ آنِفًا ‏‏ ‏‏ فَقَالَ رَجُلٌ نَعَمْ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏‏ إِنِّي أَقُولُ مَا لِي أُنَازَعُ الْقُرْآنَ ‏قَالَ فَانْتَهَى النَّاسُ عَنِ الْقِرَاءَةِ مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِيمَا جَهَرَ فِيهِ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِالْقِرَاءَةِ مِنَ الصَّلَوَاتِ حِينَ سَمِعُوا ذَلِكَ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم
When the Messenger of Allah finished a prayer in which he had recited (the Qur’an) loudly, he asked: “Did any of you recite along with me just now?” A man replied: “Yes, Messenger of Allah.” He said: “I am wondering what is the matter with me that I have been contended with reciting the Qur’an.” He said: When the people heard that from the Messenger of Allah they ceased reciting (the Qur’an) along with him at the prayers in which he recited aloud.
(Sunan Abi Dawud #826)

The fact that the order to remain silent when the imam is reciting the Qur’an aloud includes his recitation of the Fatiha (which is of course a part of the Qur’an) can be understood from another authentic Hadith:

إِنَّمَا جُعِلَ الإِمَامُ لِيُؤْتَمَّ بِهِ فَإِذَا كَبَّرَ فَكَبِّرُوا وَإِذَا قَرَأَ فَأَنْصِتُوا وَإِذَا قَالَ ‏{غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّينَ}‏ فَقُولُوا آمِينَ
“Verily, the imam is only appointed to be followed, so when he makes takbir then make takbir, and when he recites then be silent and when he says ‘Ghayril-Maghdubi ‘alayhim walad-dallin’ then say ‘Amin’”
(Sunan Ibn Maja #846)

So the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم has said to remain silent when the imam is reciting, but to say ‘Amin’ after he has recited the final verse of the Fatiha. This proves that the recitation of Fatiha by the imam is included in the imam’s recitation during which the ma’mum is ordered to remain silent.
The opposing view presents the saying of sayyidina Abi Huraira:
فَقِيلَ لأَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ إِنَّا نَكُونُ وَرَاءَ الإِمَامِ ‏‏ فَقَالَ اقْرَأْ بِهَا فِي نَفْسِكَ
It was said to Abi Huraira: “Verily we are behind the imam” So he said: “Recite it in yourself.”
(Sahih Muslim)

However, this statement of sayyidina Abi Huraira does not clarify whether the ma’mum is meant to recite “in himself” in both the audible and inaudible rak’at.
As for the narration attributed to the tabi Makhul (d. 100 H):
فَكَانَ مَكْحُولٌ يَقْرَأُ فِي الْمَغْرِبِ وَالْعِشَاءِ وَالصُّبْحِ بِفَاتِحَةِ الْكِتَابِ فِي كُلِّ رَكْعَةٍ سِرًّا ‏.‏ قَالَ مَكْحُولٌ اقْرَأْ بِهَا فِيمَا جَهَرَ بِهِ الإِمَامُ إِذَا قَرَأَ بِفَاتِحَةِ الْكِتَابِ وَسَكَتَ سِرًّا فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْكُتِ اقْرَأْ بِهَا قَبْلَهُ وَمَعَهُ وَبَعْدَهُ لاَ تَتْرُكْهَا عَلَى حَالٍ
Makhul used to recite Fatiha al-Kitab quietly in the prayer in which the imam recites the Qur’an loudly when he observes the period of silence. If he does not observe the period of silence, recite it before him(i.e before his recitation), or along with him or after him; do not give it up in any case.
(Sunan Abi Dawud #825)

It is weak, along with two other narrations which are attributed to the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam):
لَعَلَّكُمْ تَقْرَءُونَ خَلْفَ إِمَامِكُمْ ‏‏ ‏.‏ قُلْنَا نَعَمْ هَذَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏ لاَ تَفْعَلُوا إِلاَّ بِفَاتِحَةِ الْكِتَابِ فَإِنَّهُ لاَ صَلاَةَ لِمَنْ لَمْ يَقْرَأْ بِهَا
“Do you recite behind your Imam?” We said: “Yes, O Apostle of Allah”. He said: “Do not do so, except for the Fatiha of the Kitab, for there is no Salat without reciting it.”
(Sunan Abi Dawud #823)

It should be noted this is the primary evidence presented by the opposing view that one is required to recite the Fatiha while praying behind an imam. But this and the proceeding Hadith are both weak according to the great muhaddith, Imam al-Albani (rahimahullah):
فَلاَ تَقْرَءُوا بِشَىْءٍ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ إِذَا جَهَرْتُ إِلاَّ بِأُمِّ الْقُرْآنِ
“So do not recite anything from the Qur’an when I (recite) it loudly except the Mother of the Qur’an (Fatiha)”
(Sunan Abi Dawud #824)

As I have stated, Imam al-Albani had graded all these narrations which command the recitation of the Fatiha behind the imam as weak (Da’if Sunan Abi Dawud pp.68-69):

As stated earlier, the opposing view has no direct evidence from the Qur’an itself. Some do present the following words from the Qur’an:
فَاقْرَءُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ
So recite what is easy of the Qur’an
(Sura 73:20)

According to this opposing view, “what is easy of the Qur’an” refers to the Fatiha. If we accept this for the sake of argument, it is still a general command and cannot be utilized as an explicit proof to recite the Fatiha behind the imam, especially when the Qur’an elsewhere has strictly enjoined remaining silent when the Qur’an is being recited (Sura 7:204). Secondly, it is not established that the words “what is easy of the Qur’an” refers to the Fatiha. Firstly, these words which are from an Ayah of Surat al-Muzzammil were revealed before the revelation of Surat al-Fatiha. Secondly, the eminent sahabi, sayyidina Abi Sa’id al-Khudri رضى الله عنه made a distinction between the Fatiha and “what is easy of the Qur’an”:

أُمِرْنَا أَنْ نَقْرَأَ، بِفَاتِحَةِ الْكِتَابِ وَمَا تَيَسَّرَ ‏
“We were ordered to recite with Fatiha of the Kitab and that which is easy”
(Sunan Abi Dawud #818)

Finally, I shall present here the statements of two eminent companions of the Prophet which forbid reciting anything, including the Fatiha, behind the imam:

سَأَلَ زَيْدَ بْنَ ثَابِتٍ عَنِ الْقِرَاءَةِ، مَعَ الإِمَامِ فَقَالَ لاَ قِرَاءَةَ مَعَ الإِمَامِ فِي شَىْءٍ
Ata b. Yasar reported that he asked Zayd b. Thabit about the recitation with the imam, so he said: “There is no recitation with the imam in anything
(Sahih Muslim)

سَمِعَ جَابِرَ بْنَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، يَقُولُ مَنْ صَلَّى رَكْعَةً لَمْ يَقْرَأْ فِيهَا بِأُمِّ الْقُرْآنِ فَلَمْ يُصَلِّ إِلاَّ أَنْ يَكُونَ وَرَاءَ الإِمَامِ
Jabir b. Abdillah said: “Whoever prayed a rak’a in which he did not recite in it the Mother of the Qur’an (Fatiha), then he did not prayer, except if he was behind the imam.”
(Jami at-Tirmidhi #313)

So it is conclusively proven that these two companions, Zayd b. Thabit and Jabir b. Abdillah رضى الله عنهما agreed that there is no recitation of the Fatiha behind the imam.

1 comment:

  1. Sufyan bin Uyaynah رحمه الله explained that the Hadith:
    لاَ صَلاَةَ لِمَنْ لَمْ يَقْرَأْ بِفَاتِحَةِ الْكِتَابِ
    "There is no Salah for the one who does not recite the Opening of the Book"
    only applies to someone praying individually, لِمَنْ يُصَلِّي وَحْدَهُ and not the ma'mum (one who is praying behind an Imam) (Sunan Abi Dawud #822)


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