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Reading Fatiha Behind the Imam

Those of us who adhere to the madhab of Imam Abu Hanifah believe that when an individual performs salaah alone then, it is wajib to recite al-Fatiha, but when one is praying behind the Imam then, al-Fatiha should not be recited, whether the Imam is reciting loudly or quietly. The evidence available from the Qur’an and Sunnah are as follows:

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“When the Qur’an is recited, listen to it.”

[Surat-ul-A’raaf: 204]

Hafidh Ibn Kathir writes [that]:

The Prophet SallalahoAleheWasalam said: The Imam’s recitation is enough for the followers.

[Tafsir Ibn Kathir under Surah Al Fatiha]

The position taken by those who adhere to this madhab, is that it is impermissable to recite behind the Imam in any salaah.

There are people who believe that we should recite behind the Imam even when the Imam recites loudly or quietly. Their evidence is from the Hadith, in which the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said:

The Salaah of the person who does not recite Al-Fatiha, is not accepted
[Bukhari Muslim Kitabul Saklah Chapter Wujub-ul-Qiraat]

Rather than reciting this in isolation, when we read other sources of Islamic Law, we can establish that the meaning of this Hadith is that it is essential to recite Al-Fatiha when praying Salaah alone. Some people have also established from the above Hadith that it implies that the recitation of al-Fatiha in every rakaah is fard compulsary.

It is also worth mentioning that this Hadith is established from a single narration, so an action cannot be proved to be fard from such type of narration. There is proof from Qur’an and Sunnah which supports the view that if someone reads any part of the Qur’an in the Salaah, the Salaah will be accepted.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

Recite the Qur’an (in Salaah) that which is easy for you

[Surat-ul-Muzzammil: 20]

If surat-al-Fatiha was fard then, the verse would have stated this explicitly. There is also another Hadith which states that the Prophet taught a man how to perform salaah, yet he [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] did not mention Al-Fatiha.

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim write [that]:

The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] was sitting in the masjid and a man came and performed salaah. The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] ordered him to perform salaah again. When he finished, the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] told him again to perform Salaah. The man said “This is the best way that I can perform salaah. Teach me a better way.” The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said “When you stand, say takbir then recite from the Qur’an whatever is easy for you.”

[Bukhari & Muslim, baabu wujoob-il-Qiraah]

Imam Darral Qutini writes [that]:

The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said that whoever joins the salaah with the Imam in ruku (before the Imam stands straight), that ruku will not have to be repeated.

[Daar Qutini chap Adrak Imam Qabl al Rakooh]

If the recitation of Surat al Fatiha was fard, the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] would have told the man to recite al-Fatiha first and then to recite any other part of the Qur’an which was easy for him. Also the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] would not have said that the ruku of the person, who joins the Imam while the Imam is in rukoo, does not have to be repeated. In such a case Al-Fatiha is missed. If Al-Fatiha was fard, the person joining the Salaah at rukoo would have had to repeat his Salaah– simply because a fard was missing.

Alama Sa’eedi writes:

The meaning of the above debated Hadith is similar to the following ahadeeth:

The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] said that

“whoever lives close to the masjid and does not pray in the masjid his salaah is not accepted.”

There is another Hadith, which states that if a person makes wudu and does not recite Bismillah, the wudu is invalid. There is also another Hadith stating that a person is not Muslim if his neighbour sleeps in a hungry state. Another Hadith states that if a person does not fulfil their promise then, he is not a Muslim. Of course, the person who doesn’t fulfil their promise is still a Muslim, and in the same way, if someone doesn’t recite Al-Fatiha in salaah, his salaah is still accepted but without full Excellency. If this wasn’t the case, the Prophet should have said: “The salaah of the one who does not recite al-Fatiha is false.”

[Sharh Muslim Baab Wujoobe Qiraat] By Allama Sa’eedi

There is a further explanation of this Hadith, which we shall touch upon later, InSha’Allah. We accept that there are scholars who hold the view that people should recite al-Fatiha behind the Imam. The scholars have also written books on this subject.

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes:

Some scholars say that Al-Fatiha should be recited behind the Imam. The scholars of Hadith say this opinion is weak. Qur’an and authentic Hadith and the opinion of the early Muslims (salaf) is with those scholars who say that Al-Fatiha should not be recited behind the Imam.

[Tanaww Ibaadaat, Page 76 by Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah]

Hafidhh Ibn Kathir writes [that]:

Imam Ahmad and Imam Abu Hania say there should be no recitation behind the Imam during any Salaah. This is more accurate because Imam Shafi has one opinion which is similar to this.

[Tafsir Ibn Kathir under Surah Araf verse 204]

Surley, after reading such statementsit should suffice to understand which position is in accordance with the Prophets [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] command of “pray as you see me pray.”

Whoever decides to embark on their own research on this subject, will find it difficult not to arrive at the same conclusion of Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah and Hafidhh Ibn Kathir.

Let us now examine the evidence of the people who insist that they should recite behind the Imam.

Essentialiy, they claim that there are three Ahadith which state that the Prophet said that we should recite behind the Imam. In fact, there is not a single Hadith in which the Prophet has commanded us to recite behind the Imam. As we have seen thus-far there is proof from the Qur’an and Sunnah to suggest that we should NOT recite behind the Imam.

Let us examine the three narrations which have been put forward.

The first narration is from Ali bin Abdullah from Sufiyan from Zuhri from Mahmood who reported that:

The Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] said that the salaah of whoever does not recite Al-Fatiha is not complete.

[Bukhari Muslim Baabu Wujoob-il-Qiraa’h]

Those who recite behind the Imam put forward this Hadith as their evidence to recite Surah al-Fatiha in every salaah behind the Imam. There is no word in this Hadith that proves that Al-Fatiha should be recited behind the Imam. If we take the literal meaning of reciting behind the Imam, then this narration would go against the Qur’an and authentic ahadith. The actual meaning of this narration is that when a person is praying alone and does not recite al-Fatiha then, his salaah is not complete. This is the actual opinion held by narrators of this narration. The following proves this.

Imam Muslim writes [that]:

Ma’mar reported from Zuhri that the Prophet Muhammad said that the salaah of the person who does not recite Surah Al-Fatiha and another part of the Qur’an is not accepted.

[Muslim, Bab al Qira’]

Imam Muslim’s narration confirms that this Hadith is for the person who is praying alone because, when a person prays alone he reads Surah Al-Fatiha and another part of the Qur’an. Even the people who recite Al-Fatiha behind the Imam they, do not say that there should be another part of the Qur’an recited. So it is clear that this Hadith is for those people who are praying alone.

An objection raised

Imam Bukhari narrated a narration from Sufiyan which is about the wujub of only reciting Al-Fatiha and Imam Muslim narrates from Ma’mar a Hadith which says that the person’s prayer is not accepted if they do not recite Surah Al-Fatiha AND another part of the Qur’an. We prefer Sufiyan’s narration over Ma’mar’s because Sufiyan is more reliable.

This objection can be cleared easily by looking at what the books of al-jarhu-wat-ta’deel say about the quality of Hadith narrators.

Imam Dhahabi and Hafidhh Asqalani write [that]:

Imam Yahya bin Mo’een was asked by his students, who had memorised more of Imam Dhahabi’s narrations, as to whom he prefered. He replied: “Imam Ma’mar. “Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said that Sufiyan heard Ahadith from Imam Zuhri at a young age, so this is why, when he reported Ahadith from Zuhri, he made mistakes in 20 of them.

[Tahzeeb ut Tahzeeb, Meezaan ul- ‘itidaal, biography of Sufiyan and Ma’mar]

This reference proves that Ma’mar’s narration is more authentic than Sufiyan’s narration.

Hafidhh Ibn Kathir writes [that]:

Sufiyan sometimes committed Tadlees [which means that when he narrated some of the Hadith, he made out that he heard it directly from Zuhri, but he had actually heard it from someone else who in turn heard it from Zuhri]. One day, Sufiyan was sitting with his students and he told them a Hadith, which he was narrating from Zuhri. One of the students questioned: “Did you hear this directly from Zuhri?” Sufiyan paused and said: “No, I heard it from Abdul Razzaq, who heard it from Ma’mar, who heard it directly from Zuhri.”

[Iftisaaru Uloom il Ahadith, Baab ut Tadlees, by Hafidhh Ibn Kathir]

This reference, proves that Sufiyan at times committed Tadlees, but Ma’mar did not. Someone may say that Sufiyan’s narrations are prefered over Ma’mar’s, even if Ma’mar is more reliable concerning Zuhri’s narrations than Sufiyan. This claim is dealt with below.

Sufiyan’s narrations prove that we should read Al-Fatiha even if we are praying behind an Imam

The answer is No. Let us examine what Imam Zuhri and his other students, Imam Malik and others, (including Sufiyan,) understood from this narration. The main narration comes from Imam Zuhri then his students, Imam Malik, Sufyan, Yunus, Ma’mar, Auzai’ee and others narrate this narration.

Imam Abu Dawud writes [that]

Sufiyan narrates from Imam Zuhri that the Hadith that a prayer of the person who does not recite Al-Fatiha and another part of the Qur’an is not accepted is meant for the person who is praying alone. Imam Zuhri says that when the Prophet used to lead the prayer loudly the people used to recite behind him. This narration is from Imam Zuhri, narrated by Sufiyan, Ma’mar, Abdullah bin Muhammad, Auzai’ee, Abdur Rahman bin Is-haaq, Yunus, Usama and Imam Malik.

[Abu Dawud, Baab Tark ul Qiraa’h Khalf ul Imam]

From this we can prove that the Hadith concerning nullification of the prayer, of the one who does not recite Al-Fatiha in their prayer is meant for that person who is performing salaah alone, and not behind the Imam. This is what Imam Sufiyan, his teacher and colleagues understood by this narration. This Hadith is found in two versions; One version is narrated by Sufiyan, this concerning just reading Al-Fatiha – (this is without any clarification.) The other version is that the persons prayer is not accepted who does not recite Al-Fatiha AND another part of the Qur’an. This narration comes from Sufiyan, Ma’mar and others. The second narration is an explanation of the first one. Imam Sufiyan himself explained that this narration is for that person who is performing salaah alone.

More evidence supporting the recitation behind the Imam

Imam Muslim writes [that]:

Someone asked Abu-Hurairah “What do we do when we are behind the Imam, should we recite Al-Fatiha or not?” He answered “Recite it in your heart.”

[Muslim Baab Wujube Qiraat]

The people who recite behind the Imam take evidence from this narration by saying that reciting Al-Fatiha behind the Imam is fard as Abu-Hurairah said that it should be recited in the heart. These words are neither from Allah nor the Prophet, but are the words of Abu-Hurairah himself. In Bukhari, Muslim, and other books of Ahadith, there is no such narration, which says that when you are behind the Imam you must recite Al-Fatiha in your heart. There are, however, narrations, which say that when the Imam is reciting Al-Fatiha one should listen to it.

Imam Muslim writes in Sahih Muslim:

Abu Hurairah said that the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] said that when the Imam recites, listen and stay quiet.

[Muslim Baab ut Tashahhud]

How is it possible that Abu-Hurairah is contradicting his own narrations? The actual meaning of Abu-Hurairah’s words concerning reciting in the heart is to contemplate its meanings. This is the true meaning which does not go against the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

Qadhi Shawkani writes (Imam Qurtubi has also written something similar):

The word “Nafsaka(Your self)” means to think about the meaning.

[Fath ul Qadeer, under Surat ul-Araf, Aayah 203]

Imam Nawawi writes [that]:

Some Maliki scholars have explained Abu-Hurairah’s words about “reading in the heart”, as to think about the words of Al-Fatiha, because if you read something in the heart it cannot be called recitation because recitation is actually when one reads from the tongue. So it is only called recitation when the tongue is actually moving. The proof of this is that all the scholars say when a woman is in an impure state she cannot recite with the tongue, but she can think about the meaning in her heart.

[Shara Muslim Baab Wujoobe Qiraat]

From the above we can see that Abu-Hurairah’s words do not mean to recite behind the Imam but rather they mean to think about the meaning in the heart.

The status of the words of the companions

It is said that the words of Abu-Hurairah prove that recitation behind the Imam is fard. This objection can be easily cleared, as the words of the companions cannot prove something to be fard, wajib, halal or haraam. (The Qur’an and Ahadith of the Prophet can only prove this), particularly when the words of the companion contradict any Hadith that, the companion have himself or herself reported. The words of the companions are normally proof of something when there is nothing related to it, (from the Qur’an and Sunnah).

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes [that]:

The words of the Sahaba cannot prove anything to be fard, wajib, halal or haraam, especially when words go against authentic Hadith. So when the words go against the Hadith it is not necessary for Muslims to follow it. There is a narration saying that Abu-Hurairah used to wipe his neck during wudu. We know that to perform this wiping is against Sunnah. This is why groups of scholars criticise those people who wipe the neck during wudu.

[Kitab ul Wasila Baab Hadith ul Ama]

After Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah’s statement one cannot prove that reciting Al-Fatiha behind the Imam from Abu-Hurairah’s words.

More evidence supporting recitation behind the Imam

Imam Abu-Dawud writes [that]:

Ubada bin Samid reported: Once we prayed Fajr behind the Prophet, He experienced difficulty in his recitation. When he finished praying he asked “Maybe one of you was reciting behind me”. We said, “Yes”. The Prophet said “Do not recite anything behind me except Al-Fatiha”. Narrated by Muhammad bin Is-haaq, Muqhool, and Naf’e from Ubada.

[Abu Dawud Baab ul Qiraat Fi Salaah]

From this narration, one cannot prove that the recitation behind the Imam is necessary. Here are some reasons for this.

1) This narration opposes the Qur’an and the authentic Ahadith, which say that one should not recite behind the Imam of (which we have mentioned but a few above);

2) This narration is very weak. The reason for this is that the narrators of this Hadith have been criticised by the scholars of Hadith;

3) Abu-Dawud, who collected this Hadith, wrote a second chapter in which there is the full explanation of this Hadith. When we read the full explanation we can see that we should not recite behind the Imam, and

4) The narrator of this narration himself never recited behind the Imam.

The narrator of this Hadith

Abu-Dawud writes [that]:

Muqhool sometimes got this narration confused because sometimes he said he got the narration from Ubada and sometimes that he said he heard it from Naf’e and sometimes he said he heard it from Mahmood.

[Abu Dawud Baab Qiraa’ah Khalful Imam]

The other narrator of this Hadith is Naf’e who is unknown.

Imam Dahabi and Hafidhh Asqalani write [that]:

Naf’e only ever narrated one Hadith (which was the one above). This is the reason why Imam bin Abdul barr says that he is unknown. Imam Bukhari and Imam Abu Hatim never mentioned Naf’e’s name in their books. Ibn Habban said that Naf’e’s narration is weak, but he was not a liar.

[Mizan ul Ittadeel Tahzeeb al Tahzeeb biography of Naf’e bin Mahmood]

The other narrator of this narration is Muhammad bin Is-haaq, who was very knowledgeable in Islamic history but very weak in narration of Hadith.

Imam Dhahabi and Hafidhh Asqalani write [that]:

The scholars of Hadith have different opinions about Muhammad bin Is-haaq. Yahya bin Mo’een says that he is authentic but his narration of Hadith is not good. Ali Ibn Madini says his two narrations are unknown. Nasai said that he is not strong in the knowledge of Hadith. Imam Dar Qutni said that his Hadith cannot be used as evidence. Imam Abu Bakr said that Muhammad bin Is-haah was Qadri. Imam Hashaam and Imam Salaiman said that he was a liar. Imam Malik said that he is a liar and is a Dajjal. Abdullah bin Mubarak said, “I saw Muhammad bin Is-haaq in Masjid ul Haif, I did not go near him because people might have said that I have wrong beliefs like him.” Imam Ahmad said “When he narrates Hadith, he narrates Hadith from those people whom he never met. Imam Yahya bin Sa’eed says “I bear witness that Muhammad bin Is-haaq is a liar. He has narrated one thousand Hadith’s which no one else has narrated.” Imam Bukhari never wrote any Hadith that was narrated by Muhammad bin Is-haaq. No one can use his narration of Hadith as evidence for halal and haraam. But there are a few people who praised him like Imam Shoba.

[Mizan ul I’tidaal, Tahzeeb ut Tahzeeb, Tazkarat ul Huffaaz, biography of Muhammad bin Is-haaq]

We can see that the majority of scholars have criticised Muhammad bin Is-haaq so how can we use his narration as evidence?

1) Imam Abu Dawud writes [that]:

One day the Prophet [May Allah blss him and grant Him peace] was leading the prayer. After he had finished praying he said “Perhaps some of you were reciting behind me?” The followers said “Yes”. The Prophet said “That was why I was facing difficulty in reciting”. Abu Hurairah, Imam Zuhri and Imam Auzai’ee said that after this advice from the Prophet everyone stopped reciting behind the Imam.

[Abu Dawud Baab Man al Qiraat]

From this narration, we can see that people used to recite behind the Imam but stopped it afterwards.

2) Imam Abu Dawud writes [that]:

Naf’e reported: One day, Ubada and I, performed salaah behind Abu Naeem, Ubada was standing besides me. He recited behind the Imam. When the salaah was over, I asked him “Why, when the Imam was reciting loudly, did you recite behind him?” He told me about the Hadith that has been mentioned above.

[Abu Dawud Baab Qiraat Khalful Imam]

From this, we can see that Naf’e (who is the narrator of the Hadith) did not recite behind the Imam, and nor did the other people who were there. Secondly, it is proved that Ubada was reciting Al Fatiha loud enough so that the next person could hear him. So the people who use this Hadith as evidence should only recite loud enough so that the next person can hear them. If everyone recites loudly behind the Imam it would sound like similar to the “Amin” said in unison. So these are the reasons why this narration cannot be used as evidence, we also know that, there are authentic Ahadith that say when, the Imam is reciting, you should listen to it. So how can we leave the authentic Hadith and follow the weak Hadith?

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes [that]:

To listen to the recitation of the Imam is mentioned in the Qur’an and the authentic Ahadith. The whole Ummah agrees on this. All the companions say that when the Imam recites Al-Fatiha or any other Surah it is fard to listen and to stay quiet. Imam Shah’s saying is also like this. This is the reason that the knowledgeable Shafi scholars like Imam Qadri and Imam Abu Muhammad say that if the Imam is reciting loudly, and someone recites behind him, that person would be denying the Qur’an, Sunnah and the opinion of all the companions.

[Tanow al Ibadaat Page 87 by Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah]

After Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah’s statement, no one can say that recitation behind the Imam is fard and that the one who recites behind the Imam his salaah will not be accepted.

Evidence from the Qur’an for not reciting behind the Imam

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“When the Qur’an is being recited, listen to it and be silent”

[Surah Araf verse 204]

Hafidhh Ibn Kathir explains the meaning of this verse as follows:

You should remain quiet when the Imam is reciting Qur’an loudly in the fard salaah. There is a Hadith in which the Prophet said, “When offering Salaah behind the Imam you should recite takbir when he recites takbir, and when he recites Qiraat you should remain quiet”.

There is also another narration:

Abdullah Ibn Masud heard some people reciting Qiraat behind the Imam and said to them "What is wrong with you? Why are you not obeying the Qur’an?”

This implies that when the Qur’an is being recited remain quite. Imam Zuhri states that this verse was revealed because one man used to recite behind the Prophet SallalahoAleheWasalam. Abu Hurairah said that before this verse, was revealed people were in the habit of reading behind the Imam aloud in salaah Fajr, Maghrib and Isha salaah and when this verse was revealed they stopped this practice.

Imam Zuhri says that in the salaah, where the Imam recites loudly, you should not recite behind him because the Imam’s recitation is sufficient for you, even if you cannot hear. But there were some people who thought that they could recite behind the Imam if his voice did not reach them, but I (Ibn Kathir) say that this is wrong, no one should recite behind the Imam, whether his voice reaches them or not. This is because Allah says in the Qur’an

“When the Qur’an is being recited, listen to it and remain quiet”.

A group of scholars say the following:

Imam Ahmad and Abu Hanifah say that a person should not recite Qiraat behind the Imam in any Salaah, because the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] stated that the Imam’s reciting is sufficient for the followers.

Imam Shafi has two opinions on this subject:

1) A person should recite Qiraat behind the Imam

2) A person should not recite Qiraat behind the Imam.

I (Ibn Kathir) say that the second opinion is correct as it corresponds with the Qur’an.

Imam Bukhari states that a person is entitled to recite Qiraat in every salaah behind the Imam weather the Imam recites quietly or loudly, but the Sahaba and Tabi'een say that it is essential to listen to the Imam and remain quiet. This is the opinion held by Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ibn Jubair, Ibn Masud, and many other great Sahaba and Tabi'een.

[Tafsir Ibn Kathir under Surah Araf verse 204 By Hafidhh Ibn Kathir]

Imam Tabari writes [that]:

This verse was revealed about salaah, but some scholars say that the verse is not for salaah but is also for the Jumma and Eid Khutbah. The companions agree with this. Ibn Masud, Abu Hanifah, Imam Zuhri, Zaid, Ibn Musaib, Hasan Basri, Ubaidh, Ata, Dhahak, Ibrahim, Nakhai, Qatada, Shabi (who had seen 500 of the Prophets companions), Sadai all hold this opinion.

[Tafsir Tabari, Surah Araf verse 204 by Imam Tabari]

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes [that]:

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal says that the whole Ummah has agreed upon the fact that the verse which states “When Qur’an is recited, listen and remain quiet”, was revealed for salaah, and all scholars agree that it is not essential for the Muqtadi (follower) to recite but he should stay quite and listen. This opinion is authentic because it is in line with the Qur’an.

[Fatawah Ibn Taymiyyah Volume 2 Pages 143, 168 and 412 by Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah]

From the tafsirs of Hafidhh Ibn Kathir and Imam Tabari it is clear that the verse from Surah Araf was revealed for salaah. The Sahaba and Tabi’een also agreed on this. It may still be said that the Sahaba and Tabi'een, who say that this ayah was revealed for salaah, made a mistake. To remove this doubt, Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Kathir were quoted. These are the names of the people who along with other great scholars have passed the deen down to us. When these people interpret any verse of the Qur’an, they say that their interpretation is authentic and any other opinion is useless. This is because of their knowledge in the Islamic Sciences.

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes [that]:

The Tabi’een gained knowledge from the Sahaba and settled in different places. The people of Makka had the most knowledge in Qur’anic Tafsir because Ibn Abbas once lived there, and his students gained knowledge of Tafsir from him. An example is Mujahid who was the most knowledgeable in interpreting the Qur’an. Imam Shafi, Ahmed and Bukhari used to prefer the Tafsir of Mujahid over others. Indeed, Mujahid was the “sign of Allah on this earth”. Students of Abdullah Ibn Abbas were Ata Ibn Rubah, Ikrima, and Sa’eed bin Jubair.

In Kufa Abdullah Ibn Masud taught the people the knowledge of the Qur’anic Tafsir. They, and their students, had great knowledge in the field of Tafsir.

In Madina, Zaid bin Salaam had the most knowledge of the Qur’anic Tafsir. This is the reason why Imam Malik's quotations of Tafsir are from Zaid bin Aslam. Hasan al-Basri, Musrooq, Qatadah, and Abu Aliya, who were also great scholars of Tafsir.

[Usool ut Tafsir p21, 66 by Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah]

Hafidhh Ibn Kathir writes [that]:

Mujahid, Ikrima, Ata, Hasan Basri, Musrooq, Sa’eed and Abu Aliya had great knowledge of Tafsir but Mujahid was the “Proof of Allah on this earth”. Sufiyan ath Thawri used to say that if Mujahid's Tafsir had said such and such a thing then futher research is useless as his Tafsir is sufficient.

[Muqadama Tafsir Ibn Tafsir by Hafidhh Ibn Kathir]

Therefore, if anyone should state that Surah al Araf’s verse was not revealed for salaah, his statement can be ignored. This is because this opinion would be against the Sahaba and Tabi’een. This is proved from the above statements.

Not reciting Qiraat behind the Imam, evidence from the Hadith

Imam Muslim writes [that]:

Abu Musa Ashari reported that the Prophet SallalahoAleheWasalam taught us how to perform salaah, and said “First straighten the rows, then one person should become Imam, then follow him, when he says takbir say takbir and when he recites, remain quiet.”

[Sahih Muslim book of Salaah Chapter Tashahud, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Musnad Ahmad, Nayl ul Awtaar, Kitabul Qiraat, Muhallah Ibn Hazm Chapter Salaah]

Imam Muslim writes [that]:

My student, Abu Nasr, asked me if the Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah in which it says “…when the Imam recites, stay quiet…” is authentic. I (Imam Muslim) said “Yes, it is authentic.”

[Sahih Muslim Chapter Tashahhud]

Imam Muslim writes [that]:

Zaid bin Thabit was asked if a person should recite behind the Imam, he in reply said “Behind the Imam there is no Qiraat”

[Sahih Muslim Chapter Sujud e Tilawah]

Imam Malik writes [that]:

Jabir reported that if a person performs Salaaqh and fails to read Surah Al-Fatiha, his Salaah is nullified, but if he is behind the Imam then his Salaah is valid.

[Muatta Imam Malik Chapter Majati Umal Qur’an]

Imam Malik further writes [that]:

Nafi (who was a famous student of Ibn Umar) reported that when anyone asked Ibn Umar: Should a person recite Surah Al-Fatiha behind the Imam, he used to reply that the Imam’s reciting of Surah Al-Fatiha is sufficient for you. Ibn Umar did not read Surah Al-Fatiha behind the Imam.

[Muatta Imam Malik book of Salaah Chapter Qiraat Khalful Imam].

Imam Ahmad writes that Ibn See’reen asked Ibn Umar “Should I recite Al-Fatiha behind the Imam?” He replied that the Imam’s recitation is sufficient for you.

[Musnad Ahmad narration’s of Ibn Umar].

Imam Ahmad writes [that]:

Jabir bin Abdullah reported that the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] said that the Imam’s recitation is the persons recitation who is reading behind him.

[Musnad Ahmad narration’s of Jabir bin Abdullah].

Ibn Majah also wrote this Hadith in his book of salaah. In Ibn Majah’s narrative chain, there is a person called Jafar who is considered weak.

Imam Ahmad writes [that]:

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet SallalahoAleheWasalam said that the Imam is selected to be followed and when he says takbeer you say takbir, when he goes into raku you go into raku, when he goes into sajdah you go into sajdah, but when he reads Qiraat you remain quiet.

[Musnad Ahmad narration’s of Abu Hurairah also Nasai Nayl al Awtaar Muhalla Ibn Hazm Chap of Salaah Kitabul Qiraat, Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah volume 2 Page 144].

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal reports [that]:

Abu Darda reported that one day the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] told us (and I was the closest to the Prophet) about recitation behind the Imam. He said that the Imam’s recitation is sufficient for the Muqtadi.

[Musnad Ahmad narration’s of Abu Darda].

Imam Tirmidhi writes [that]:

Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said that instruction from the Hadith that states, “…Salaah is not accepted if Surah Al-Fatiha is not read…” is for that person who is reading alone.

[Tirmidhi Chapter of Qiraat Khalful Imam].

Imam Abd al Razzaq (who was a great teacher of Imam Bukhari and Muslim) writes [that]:

Ali said that he who recites Qiraat behind the Imam goes against nature. One person asked Ibn Musood whether he should recite behind the Imam, Ibn Musood replied “No”. Zaid bin Aslam reported that the Prophet had prohibited a person from reading Qiraat behind the Imam.

Abu Is-haaq said that Ibn Masood’s students did not recite behind the Imam. Abaidullah asked Jabir bin Abdullah whether he recited behind the Imam at Zuhr and Asr? He replied “No”?

[Musanaf Abdul Razzaq Chapter on Qiraat Khalful Imam].

Imam Abdul Razzaq, who died in 221H, was neither a Hanafi nor Abu Hanifah’s student. No one can say that Imam Abdul Razzaq made up the narration to support the Hanifi position, so it should be accepted that this narration is not fabricated.

Imam Ibn Abi Shaiba writes [that]:

The Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] said that for any person, who recites behind the Imam, my wish is that fire should be placed in his mouth.

Nafi, Zahid bin Aslam, Ibn Umar, Jubair and Said Ibn Jubair say that there is no Qiraat behind the Imam whether he reads aloud or reads quiet.

[Musanaf Ibn Abu Shayba Chapter on Qiraat Khalful Imam].

Imam Ibn Abi Shayba, who strongly opposed Abu Hanifah, had written a full chapter against Abu Hanifah. In the same book he wrote the above narration without criticism. If this narration had not been true then, he would have rejected them it or criticised them it. Also, because he has not criticised this reports, it is proof in itself that the narration had taken place. No one can say that he had fabricated these narrations in order to support Abu Hanifah.

Imam Dar Qutini writes [that]:

The Prophet said that there is no recitation behind the Imam. Ali says that a person who recites Qiraat behind the Imam has gone against Sunnah.

[Dar Qutni Chapter on Qiraat]

Dar Qutni was also opposed to Imam Abu Hanifah, and tried to tamper with ahadiths, which supported the Hanafi School. He did not critisise the above, true narrations, which means that the above narrations are authentic.

Imam Dahabi writes [that]:

One man was performing Salaah behind the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] and was reciting. The person next to him tried to stop him with certain signals or signs. When the prayer had finished, they went to the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] and told their case. The Prophet SallalahoAleheWasalam said the Imam’s Qiraat is sufficient for the followers.

[Talqis Mustadrak Chapter on Salaah by Imam Dahahbi].

The book, Mustadrak, is written by Hakim. In this book there are all sorts of narrations both authentic and fabricated. Imam Dhahabi has, in his book, examined every Hadith to see whether it is authentic. Imam Dhahabi’s above Hadith has been recorded as authentic; therefore, there can be no doubt about this Hadith.

Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes [that]:

When the Imam recites loudly it means that the Muqtadi should listen. This is the reason that the Imam recites loudly so the Muqtadi can say Amin with him. When the Imam recites quietly, they do not say Amin with him. If the Imam should recites and the Muqtadi's also recites, this will mean that the Imam has been given the order to recite to people who do not want to listen to the Qiraat. This is the same as saying to a person to do a speech to a nation that does not want to listen to it. This is such nonsense that Islam does not permit it. There is a Hadith, which states that when a ­­­­Khutba is being read and a person is talking, it is as though a pile of books is loaded onto a donkey. This is similar to a person reciting Qiraat behind the Imam in the audible prayers.

[Fatawah Ibn Taymiyyah Volume 2 Page 147 by Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah].

So now it should be clear, without any doubt whatsoever, with all that has been mentioned and all the evidence to support the claim that when the Imam recites qiraat the Muqtadi should stay quiet and listen – for the Imam's recitation is sufficient for the Muqtadi.

 
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