Saturday, April 10, 2010

Correcting the Imam in Solah

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

I wander if, during Salah, the Imam mistakes or forgets what comes next in the middle of surah, can the ones behind him correct or help him out?

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

All the Praise is to Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala. Peace and Blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad His Messenger.

The case of correcting the imam is divided into two categories:

That which is obligatory, which is correcting the imam concerning something which would invalidate the Solat if done deliberately.

If he makes a grammatical mistake which changes the meaning of Al-Fatihah, then he must be corrected, because this type of mistake which changes the meaning of Al-Fatihah invalidates the prayer. Similarly, if he omits a verse of Al-Fatihah, he must be corrected, because that invalidates the prayer.

The kind of correction which is mustahabb (recommended) is when the imam makes a mistake which does not invalidate the solat altogether, but it does undermine the perfection of the prayer.

If the imam forgets to recite another surah after Al-Fatihah, alerting him to this fact is Sunnah.

The evidence for that are the words of the Prophet s.a.w:

“I am a human being like you, I forget as you forget. If I forget, then remind me.”
[Narrated by Al-Bukhari, Al-Salah, 401]

So he s.a.w commanded them to remind him. On one occasion when he became hesitant in his recitation, he said to Ubayy Ibn Ka`ab, “What stopped you?” i.e., what stopped you from correcting me? This indicates that correcting the imam is something that is essential.

[See Al-Sharh Al-Mumti’ by Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, part 3, p. 346-347]

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