Sunday, June 13, 2010

Following the Imam in Qunut of Fajar Solat

Following the Imam in Qunut of Fajar Prayer

Question: As-Salāmu’ alaikum, I always performed congregation Fajar prayers at a mosque in our local neighborhood. As the imam is from Shāfi’e Mazhab, he would always raise his hands and recited the Qunut dua’s. Since my understanding that there is no Qunut in Fajar prayers, I would remain still without raising my hand when the imam was reciting the Qunut. One morning the same imam forgot to recite the Qunut duā’s. However, he performed the sujud sahwi before ending the prayers. I believed that there was no defect in my prayers even though the imam had forgotten to recite the Qunut. However, in such situation, must I follow the imam in the performance of the sujud al-sahwi? Thank you.

In the Name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the Praise and thanks is due to Allāh Subhānahu wa ta’ala, Peace and Blessings be Upon His Messenger.

There is a difference of opinion among the fuqaha’ on the Qunut al- Fajar. The Shāfi’e scholars of Fiqh holds that it is permissible to performed Qunut in Fajar solah following Imam Shafi'es view on the basis of the Hadith of Anas ibn Malik that Rasullulah (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) performed it and it was practised by Umar Al-Khattab; it is deem as a Sunnah Ab’adh, a sunnah that is almost equivalent to wajib part of the solat. If one misses it, one has to perform Sujud al-Sahwi. While the Hanbali, Hanafi Schools of Fiqh does not deem it for the permissibility of Qunut in the Fajar prayer.

According to the definition of the fuqaha’ al-Qunut means being obedient, humble, or act of standing but in the context of prayer it implies the name of a duā’ offered during prayer at a specific point while standing. It is performed after the rukū’..Therefore it is very significant knowing this and appreciates the differences.

In the above case if you state that “I would remain without raising my hands when the Imam is reciting Qunut” was in itself deem as you have also performed Qunut with him but without raising your hands, we hope that this is permissible, as the Shāfi’e scholars of Fiqh in itself have two famous opinions about raising hands while reciting Qunut: the first is that it is undesirable, and the second, which is the sound opinion, is that it is desirable.

But if you did not performed Qunut with the imam, then you made a mistake because you should know that you have to follow your Imam in doing Qunut even if you do not see it legislated, as declared by scholars.

Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimallāh) said, regarding the Imam’s Qunut in the solah al-Fajar, albeit it is not a Sunnah to perform it continuously:

"However, whoever believes in it, depending on his own Ijtihad (a juristic opinion on matters which are not specified in the Quran and the Sunnah), then his Ijtihad is acceptable as in the case in all other matters of Ijtihad. For this reason, the ma’mum should follow his Imam in matters in which Ijtihad is acceptable. So, if the Imam practices Qunut, he should offer Qunut with him, and if the Imam leaves it, he should not follow it accordingly. The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam)said: "The Imam is made to be followed." He further said: "Disagree not with your Imams." It is also proven in an authentic Hadith that he  (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "They (your Imams) lead you in prayer: if they do right it (the reward) would be for you and them; and if they commit a mistake, it (the reward) would be for you, and (the sin would be) on them." [Muslim] "

[Majmū’ al-Fatāwa]

Al-Buhuti (rahimallāh) quoted Ibn Taymiyyah who said:

"And if the Imam does things in which Ijtihad is acceptable, the one led in prayer should follow him, even if he himself does not believe in it, such as Qunut in Fajar prayer..."


Therefore, when the Imam offers prostration of forgetfulness before Taslim for leaving Qunut forgetfully, the one led in prayer should follow him, for the general evidence that command people to follow the imam and not to disagree with him.

Ibn Qudāmah (rahimallāh) said: "And if the imam forgets something in prayer, the one led in prayer should follow him in offering the prostration of forgetfulness, whether he also has forgotten or it was only the Imam who has forgotten.


According to Ibn Al-Mundhir (rahimallāh): "There is a consensus of opinion on that issue among all the scholars"

An-Nawawi (rahimallāh) said: "And if he (the one led in prayer) does not follow him (the Imam) intentionally, his prayer would be rendered invalid. It is the same whether or not the one led in prayer knows what the Imam has forgotten; whenever the Imam offers two prostrations (of forgetfulness) at the conclusion of his prayer, it becomes binding upon the one led in prayer to follow him."


And Allāh Knows best.

[Excerpted with modification from Fatwa No: 129369 published by Islam web on 01 Dzul Hijjah 1430- November 19, 2009]

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