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Reciting Surah al-Fatiha behind the Imam?

 

Recently it has been experienced that some people stubbornly claim that whosoever does not recite Surah al-Fatiha behind the Imam then his prayer is not acceptable (i.e. It is null and void). Whether it is necessary to recite behind the Imam or not is a minor issue, but when arrogant people make rigid statements like: Prayer of people who do not recite is “NULL AND VOID” then it becomes necessary to write a detailed refutation of such extremists. With the Grace of Allah “NOT” reciting behind Imam is something which is proven directly from Qur'an itself

 

 

In Light of Qur'an

 

 

Qur'an states: When the Qur’an is being recited then “LISTEN ATTENTIVELY AND REMAIN SILENT” so that mercy will be showered upon you".(7:204)

 

 

Tafsir Ibn Kathir R.A: Imam Ibn Kathir (rah) narrates from Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (ra), Abu Huraira (ra) and Ibn Masud (ra) that this ayah was revealed regarding “REMAINING SILENT WHEN IMAM RECITES”… Then Imam Ibn Kathir says:

وقال أبو حنيفة وأحمد بن حنبل: لا يجب على المأموم قراءة أصلاً في السرية ولا الجهرية بما ورد في الحديث «من كان له إمام فقراءته قراءة له» وهذا الحديث رواه الإمام أحمد في مسنده عن جابر مرفوعاً، وهو في موطأ مالك عن وهب بن كيسان عن جابر موقوفاً، وهذا أصح


Translation: Imam Abu Hanifa (rah) and Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (rah) say that Qirat is not binding upon Muqtadi “WHETHER IN SILENT OR LOUD PRAYER” because it has come in hadith that whosoever has an Imam then his recitation is your recitation, this hadith is narrated by Imam Ahmed in his Musnad from Jabir (ra) in the “MARFU FORM” and in Muwatta Imam Malik via the route of Wahb bin Kaysan who nattated from Jabir (ra) in Mawquf form. (Ibn Kathir said) “THIS IS THE MORE CORRECT VIEWPOINT” [Tafsir Ibn Kathir, (1/281) under 7:204]


May Allah immensely bless Imam Ibn Kathir (rah) who in-spite of being a Shafi'i called the stance of Imam Abu Hanifa and Ahnaaf as “MORE CORRECT”

 

 

Imam Nasai'i (rah) made a whole chapter as:

باب تأويل قوله عز وجل: {وإذا قرىء القرآن
فاستمعوا له وأنصتوا لعلكم ترحمون}

Translation:
Interpretation of Allah’s saying: {When the Qur’an is being recited then listen attentively and remain silent so that mercy will be showered upon you}

 

Under this chapter he brought the following hadith

1.


أَخْبَرَني الْجَارُودُ بْنُ مُعَاذٍ التِّرْمِذِيُّ حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو خَالِدٍ الأَحْمَرُ عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَجْلاَنَ عَنْ زَيْدِ بْنِ أَسْلَمَ عَنْ أَبِـي صَالِحٍ عَنْ أَبِـي هُرَيْرَةَ ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلّم: «إنَّمَا جُعِلَ الإِمَامُ لِيُؤْتَمَّ بِهِ فَإذَا كَبَّرَ فَكَبِّرُوا وَإذَا قَرَأَ فَأَنْصِتُوا وَإذَا قَالَ سَمِعَ اللَّهُ لِمَنْ حَمِدَهُ فَقُولُوا اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَا لَكَ الْحَمْدُ».

Translation: Hadrat Abu Hurraira (ra) narrates that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: Imam has been appointed upon you so that you follow him, when he says takbir then you should also say takbir, “BUT WHEN HE RECITES QUR'AN THEN YOU SHOULD REMAIN SILENT”, when he goes for Ruku and says Sami Allah huliman Hamida then you should say Allahuma Rabbana Lakal Hamd [Sunnan Nasai’I (2/479, Hadith # 919)]

 

2.
حدثنـي أبو السائب، قال: ثنا حفص، عن أشعث، عن الزهري، قال: نزلت هذه الآية فـي فتـى من الأنصار كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلّم كلـما قرأ شيئا قرأه، فنزلت: وَإذَا قُرِىءَ القُرآنُ فـاسْتَـمِعُوا لَهُ وأنْصِتُوا

Translation: Imam al-Zuhri (rah) narrates that this ayah was revealed regarding a young person from Ansaar. When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) recited any ayah in prayer, then he used to recite behind him, “THEREFORE THIS AYAH WAS REVEALED” [Tafsir Ibn Jarir (9/110) under 7:204]


 

 

Leading Sahaba and Tabiyeen on 7:204

 

1.
عن بشير بن جابر، قال: صلى ابن مسعود، فسمع ناسا يقرءون مع الإمام، فلـما انصرف، قال: أما آن لكم أن تفقهوا؟ أما آن لكم أن تعقلوا؟ وَإذَا قُرِىءَ القُرآنُ فـاسْتَـمِعُوا لَهُ وأنْصِتُوا كما أمركم الله.


Translation: Hadrat Bashir bin Jabir (ra) narrates that Ibn Masud (ra) lead people in prayer and he heard some people reciting along with Imam, when he offered salutations he said: “HASN’T TIME COME YET THAT YOU UNDERSTAND” hasn’t time come yet that you use your senses? Remember when Quran is recited then you should listen to it attentively and “REMAIN SILENT, BECAUSE ALLAH HAS ORDERED IT (IN 7:204)” [Tafsir at-Tabri, (9/110) under 7:204]

 

2.
عن سعيد بن جبـير: وَإذَا قُرِىءَ القُرآنُ فـاسْتَـمِعُوا لَهُ وأنْصِتُوا قال: فـي الصلاة الـمكتوبة.


Translation: Hadrat Sa’eed bin Jubair (ra) narrates that {When the Qur’an is being recited then listen attentively and remain silent} is revealed about “OBLIGATORY PRAYERS” [Tafsir Ibn Jarir (9/110) under 7:204]

 

3.
وقال علي بن أبي طلحة عن ابن عباس في الآية قوله {وَإِذَا قُرِىءَ ٱلْقُرْءَانُ فَٱسْتَمِعُوا۴} يعني في الصلاة المفروضة،

Translation: Ibn Abbas (ra) said that {When the Qur’an is being recited then listen attentively and remain silent} refers to ruling regarding “OBLIGATORY PRAYERS” [Tafsir Ibn Kathir under 7:204]

 

 

 

Now here is proof from leading Tabiyeen:


1.
قال: ثنا أبـي، عن سفـيان، عن أبـي هاشم، عن مـجاهد: فـي الصلاة الـمكتوبة

Imam Mujahid (rah) said: (This ayah is revealed) about “Obligatory prayers” [ibid]

 

2.
قال: ثنا الـمـحاربـي وأبو خالد، عن جويبر، عن الضحاك قال: فـي الصلاة الـمكتوبة

Imam adh-Dhahak (rah) said: (This ayah is revealed) about “Obligatory prayers” [ibid]

 

3.
قال: ثنا جرير وابن فضيـل، عن مغيرة، عن إبراهيـم، قال: فـي الصلاة الـمكتوبة.

Ibrahim al Nakh’ai (rah) said: (This ayah is revealed) about “Obligatory prayers” [ibid]


Hence those people who believe that recitation of Imam is enough for Muqtadi (follower) then they have Quran in their favour whereas people who proclaim that recitation is necessary for Muqtadi have no proof from Quran whatsoever. But to their surprise even overwhelming ahadith refute the claim that recitation on Muqtadi is binding, some have been shown above but let us see some more.

 

 

In Light of Hadith

 

 

Hadith #1

Ata' b. Yasar reported that he had asked Zaid b. Thabit about recital along with the Imam, to which he said: ”THERE SHOULD BE NO RECITAL ALONG WITH THE IMAM IN ANYTHING” and alleged that he recited:" By the star when it sets" (Surah Najm) before the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and he did not prostrate himself.
[Book 004, Number 1192: (Sahih Muslim)]

References:


1. Sahi Muslim, Kitab As Salah, Chapter: Sajood At Tilawah, Volume 1, Page: 406, Hadith No #577

2. Sunan Nasai Al Kubra, Kitab Al Masajid, Volume 2, Page: 6, Hadith No #1034

3. Sunan Nasai, Kitab Al iftitah, Volume 2, Page: 160, Hadith No #960

4. Mustakhraj Abu 'Awanah, Volume 1, Page: 522, Hadith No #1951

 


Hadith #2

حدثني ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏مالك ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي نعيم وهب بن كيسان ‏ ‏أنه سمع ‏ ‏جابر بن عبد الله ‏


Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu Nuaym Wahb ibn Kaysan that he heard Jabir ibn Abdullah say, "Someone who prays a raka without reciting the umm al-Qur'an in it has not done the prayer except behind an imam." [
Book 3, Number 3.9.40: (Muwatta Imam Malik)]

1. Jami' Tirmidhi, Kitab As Salah, Volume 1, Page: 43, Hadith No #313

2. Sharah Ma'ani al Athaar, Volume 1, Page: 218, Hadith No #1300




Note: It has been noted that some people use the above hadith and they hide the last part of it, without the last part of above hadith which states: "EXCEPT BEHIND AN IMAM" the hadith is incomplete.

 

 

Hadith #3

حدثني ‏ ‏يحيى ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏مالك ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏ابن شهاب ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏ابن أكيمة الليثي ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي هريرة ‏

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Ibn Ukayma al-Laythi from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, finished a prayer in which he had recited aloud and asked, "Did any of you recite with me just now?" One man said, "Yes, I did, Messenger of Allah." The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "I was saying to myself, 'Why am I distracted from the Qur'an?' " When the people heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say that, they refrained from reciting with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when he recited aloud.
[Book 3, Number 3.11.46: (Muwatta Imam Malik)]

We would clarify something here so that no excuse is left. Some people  believe that Surah al Fatiha is to be recited by Muqtadi whether in “Jahri (loud) or Sari (silent) prayer, so they cannot say that one should refrain from reciting in loud prayer but may recite in silent prayer. Now  let us see the following ahadith which makes it crystal clear.

 

References

1. Muwatta Imam Malik, Kitab As Salah, Volume 2, Page: 118, Hadith No #286

2. Musnad Ahmad Bin Hambal, Volume 13, Page: 223, Hadith No #7820

3. Imam Bukhari in Qirat Khalf Al Imam, Volume 1, Page: 28, Hadith No #67

4. Sunan Ibn e Majah, Kitab Iqam As Salah Was Sunnah Feeha, Volume 1, Page: 276, Hadith No #848

5. Jami' Tirmidhi, Kitab As Salah, Volume 1, Page: 408, Hadith No #312

6. Musnad Al Bazzar, Volume 15, Page: 286, Hadith No #8780

7. Sunan Nasai, Volume 2, Page: 140, Hadith No #919

8. Sunan Nasai Al Kubra, Volume 1, Page: 475, Hadith No #993

9. Sharah Ma'ani Al Athaar, Volume 1, Page: 217, Hadith No #1290

10. Sahi Ibn e Hibban, Volume 5, Page: 151, Hadith No #1843

11. Ma'jam Al Ausath of Tabrani, Volume 5, Page: 308, Hadith No #5397

12. Sunan Dar Al Qutuni, Volume 2, Page: 99, Hadith No #1217

Hadith #4

حدّثنا وَكِيع عن الضحاك بن عُثمان عن عَبدِ الله بن يَزيد عن ابن ثوبان عن زَيد بن ثَابت قال: لا يقرأ خلف الإمام إن جهر ولا إن خافت.

Zayd bin Thabit (ra) said: There is no recitation behind the Imam “WHETHER IN LOUD OR SILENT (PRAYER)”[Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 1/413


1. Musannaf Ibn e Abi shahibah, Kitab As Salah, Volume 1, Page: 330,
Hadith No #3787

2. Musannaf Abdul Razzaq, Kitab As Salah, Volume 2, Page: 137, Hadith No #2802

3. Sharah Ma'ani Al Athaar, Volume 1, Page: 219, Hadith No #1314

4. Sunan Al Kubra-Bayhaqi, Volume 2, Page: 233, Hadith No #2912

 

 

Hadith #5[ Ahadith regarding not reciting behind Imam]

حدّثنا الفضل عن زُهير عن الوليد بن قيس قال: سألت سويد بن غفلة: أقرأ خلف الإمام في الظهر والعصر؟ فقال: لا.

Translation: Walid bin Qays asked Suwaid bin Ghafla (ra): Should there be Qirat behind Imam in the Dhuhr and Asr prayers? He said: No! [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 1/413]

1. Musnnaf Ibn e Abi shaybah, Volume 1, Page: 331, Hadith No #3796

2. Al Athaar of Muhmmad Bin Hasan, Volume 1, Page: 186, Hadith No #87


 

Hadith #6

ثنا بن نمير عن عبيد الله بن عمر عن نافع عن بن عمر أنه كان يقول من صلى وراء الإمام كفاه قراءة الإمام هذا هو الصحيح

Translation: Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiallahu anhu) used to repeatedly say: "Whoever performs salaah behind the Imaam, the Imaam’s qiraat suffices for him" Imam Baihaqi declared it “SAHIH”.(Sunan Baihaqi, Chapter regarding “NOT RECITING BEHIND THE IMAM” Volume No.2, Page No. 160]

 

1. Sunan Al Kubra-bayhaqi, Volume 2, Page: 229, Hadith No #2901

2. Musnad Ibn e Ja'd, Volume 1, Page: 178, Hadith No #1150

3. Sharah Ma'ani Al Athaar, Volume 1, Page: 220, Hadith No #1317

4. Sunan Dar Al Qutuni, Volume 2, Page: 260, Hadith No #1503

Hadith #7

حدّثنا عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ . حَدَّثَنَا عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مُوسى ، عَنِ الْحَسَنِ بْنِ صَالِحٍ ، عَنْ جَابِرٍ ، عَنْ أَبِي الزُّبَيْرِ ، عَنْ جَابِرٍ ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ: «مَنْ كَانَ لَهُ إِمَامٌ، فَقِرَاءَةُ الإِمَامِ قِرَاءَةٌ».

Translation: Hadrat Jabir bin Abdullah (ra) narrates that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: Whosoever has an Imam then the “RECITIATION OF IMAM IS ENOUGH FOR HIM” [Sunnan Ibn Majah (1/277, Hadith # 880)]


1. Musnnaf Ibn e Abi Shaybah, Volume 1, Page: 330, Hadith No #3779 and Volume 1, Page: 331,
Hadith No #3802

2. Musnad Ahmad Bin Hambal, Volume 23, Page: 12, Hadith No #14643

3. Sunan Dar Al Qutuni, Volume 2, Page: 113, Hadith No # 1238, Volume 2, Page: 122, Hadith No #1253, Volume 2, Page: 125, Hadith No #1264

4. Muwatta Imam Malik, Kitab As Salah,Volume 1, Page: 62, Hadith No #124

5. Sunan Ibn e Majah, Kitab Iqam As Salah Wa Sunnah Feeha, Volume 1, Page: 277, Hadith No #850

6. Sharah Ma'ani al Athaar, Volume 1, Page: 215, Hadith No #1287

7. Musnad Imam Abu hanifah, Volume 1, Page: 32

8. Ma'jam Al Ausath of Tabrani, Volume 7, Page: 308, Hadith No #7579

 

Hadith #8

حدّثنا أحمد بن داود قال: ثنا يوسف بن عَديّ قال: ثنا عُبيد اللّه بن عمرو، عن أيوب، عن أَبي قلابة، عن أنس رضي الله عنه قال: صلى رسول الله، ثم أقبل بوجهه فقال: «أتقرؤون والإمام يقرأ» فسكتوا فسألهم ثلاثاً فقالوا إنا لنفعل، قال: «فلا تفعلوا».


Translation: Anas bin Malik (ra) narrates: The Prophet (Peace be upon him) led us in prayer and then turned towards the people and asked: Do you recite while Imam is reciting? The Prophet asked this thrice! They replied Yes! The Prophet said “DO NOT DO IT” [Imam Tahawi in Sharh al Ma’ni al Athaar (Volume 1, Page: 218, Hadith no #1302)]


Qirat khalf Al Imam-Bayhaqi, Volume 1, Page: 175, Hadith No #385



Conclusion: We hope that the above article would be enough for people to understand that the great Hanafi Muslims who believe in not reciting behind Imam and that one’s prayer is valid without it, they are in “PERFECT CONFORMITY” with Qur'an and Sunnah. This article means no offense to any of the other 3 valid schools of Jurisprudence because following a valid school of jurisprudence is a source of security from wrath of Allah, however this does not apply on the La Madhabiyyah sect.