Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The obligation of correcting the Imam

The obligation of correcting the Imam
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

I wander if during Solat, one behind the imam could correct or help him out if he makes mistakes or forgets in the middle of surah?

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the Praise is to Allah. Peace and Blessings be upon  His Messenger.

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

1. It is an obligatory correcting the imam concerning that 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 solat. Similarly, if he omits a verse of al-Fatihah, he must be corrected, because that invalidates the solat.

2. It is a mustahab (recommended) is when the imam makes a mistake which does not invalidate the solat altogether, but it does undermine the perfection of the solat. So 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 (Sallallāhu `Alayhi Wa Sallam) :

“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]

The Prophet (Sallallāhu `Alayhi Wa Sallam) set the example of correcting the imam when his recitation becomes mixed up, when once "he prayed, reciting loudly, and his recitation became mixed up, so when he finished, he said to Ubayy Ibn Ka'ab: Did you pray with us? He replied, 'Yes.' He (Sallallāhu `Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, So what prevented you [from correcting me]?"

[Abu Dawud, Ibn Hibban, Tabarani, Ibn `Asakir (2/296/2) ; Diya' in al-Mukhtarah with a sahih isnad]

This indicates that correcting the imam is an obligatory.

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

Allah Almighty Knows Best

[Excerpted from Fatwa No: 14278 Islam QA]

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