Monday, December 10, 2012

Mufaaraqah - Separating from Jamaah

Seeking Refuge and Spitting lightly in Prayer to ward off disturbances from the Devil.

'Utsman ibn Abi al-‘As  said: "O Messenger of Allah! The devil comes between me and my prayer and confuses me in my recitation!" So the Messenger of Allah said:

)  ذلك شيطان يقال له : خِنْزبٌ ؛ فإذا أحسست فتعوذ بالله منه، واتفل على يسارك ثلاثا(

That is a devil called Khinzab/Khinzib, so when you detect him, seek refuge with Allah from him, and spit lightly[1]  on your left three times. He said, "So when I did that, Allah caused him to go away from me." [2]

Separating oneself from following the imam in prayer (al-Mufaraqah - المفارقة)

The followers (ma’mums) are obliged to follow the imam as long as they do not have any valid reason or excuse, from the beginning of the prayer the moment they initiated it with the Takbierat al-Ihram. The following ahadeets clarify the extent of this obligation and how crucial it is to follow the imam and how grievious it is to anticipate him and it is a forbidden act.
The scholars arrived at a consensus that whoever anticipated the imam, doing the Takbierat al-Ihram or the Tasliem (the Salam to end the prayer), before the imam, his prayer is invalid. Invalid here meaning, he needs to re-do his solat and not just losing it’s rewards. However, they disputed with regard to a ma’mum who does any other actions of the solat anticipating or before the imam. According to Imam Ahmad, irregardless of which action of the prayer, the solat is invalid, that was his statement taken at face value. As for competing with the imam, doing the actions of solat together with him, then it is a makruh (dislike or detestable) act.  [3]

No : 1

)  إنما جعل الإمام ليؤتم به ، فلا تختلفوا عليه ؛ فإذا كبر فكبروا ، و إذا ركع فاركعوا ..و إذا صلى قاعدا فصلوا قعودا أجمعون (

The Imam is (appointed) there to be followed, so do not oppose him. So when he makes at-Takbier, you make the takbier and when he bows down, you bow down immediately after him… and when he prays sitting down so all of you are to pray sitting down too. [4]

As for the issue of following the Imam praying sitting down; the scholars differed in their opinions, i.e whether the ma’mums should follow the imam doing the same or they are not to follow him in this act. Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalaniy made a detail and extensive commentary on this as in Fath al-Bari: 2/204-208 and he made the best conclusion, WalLahu a‘lam, after citing the arguments and justification of a number of scholars with the supportive evidences they used to justify their rulings/verdicts/opinions, of almost similar strength. In brief, if the imam prays sitting, the ma’mums can pray behind him standing, taking that this instruction has been abrogated and it is no longer obligatory to do follow the imam parying in sitting position, due to the incident which the Prophet prayed sitting down while Abu Bakar acted as the “second imam” prayed standing, relaying the Prophet’s takbier and the people (Companions) prayed behind Abu Bakar, following Abu Bakar’s prayer. They all stood in their prayer, even though the Prophet, who was the actual imam, who prayed sitting down, due to his illness that brought to his death (NB al-Bukhariy).

Therefore, it is permissible to pray in standing position, following an imam praying sitting down with the conclusion that, it was originally obligatory then abrogated and made permissible. Nevertheless, they can still pray sitting following the imam and it is a recommended act, Wallahu a‘lam.  

No : 2

)  إنما جعل الإمام ليؤتم به ، فإذا كبر فكبروا ، ولا تكبروا حتى يكبرَ، و إذا ركع فاركعوا ولا تركعوا حتى يركعَ... (

The Imam is (appointed) there to be followed.  So when he makes at-Takbier, you make the takbier and do not make the Takbier until he has done it and when he bows down, you bow down immediately after him and do not bow before he does….
 [NB Imam Ahmad and Imam Abu Dawud]

No : 3

)  أما يخشى أحدكم إذا رفع رأسه قبل الإمام أن يُحوِّل الله رأسه رأس الحمار أو يُحوِّل الله صورته صورة الحمار ؟ (

“Does one among you not fear if he raises his head before the imam, that Allah will change his head to the head of a donkey or transform his image to the image of a donkey?.”
[NB al-Jama‘ah i.e. Imam-imam Ahmad, al-Bukhariy, Muslim, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidzi, an-Nasa-i  and Ibn Majah from Abu Hurayrah t].

No : 4

)أيها الناس، إني إمامكم فلا تَسْبِقوني بالركوع و لا بالسجود و لا بالقيام و لا بالقعود و لا بالإنصراف (

 “O’ men, verily I am your Imam, so do not anticipate me in bowing (ruku‘), not in prostration (sujud), not in rising and not even in sitting down or ending the prayer”
[NB Ahmad and Muslim from Anas].

No : 5

al-Bara’ bin ‘Azib t reported:
“We used to pray with the Prophet and when he said: {Sami‘AlLahu liman hamidah}, none of us would bend to his body forward, until he placed his forehead on the ground.”
[Narrated by al-Jama‘ah].

Therefore, the permissibility of “Mufaraqah” or “Separating oneself and stop following the imam”, is a matter which is not to be taken lightly. Only when there is a desperately urging need, that may invalidate the Solat of the ma’mum if he continues to follow the imam or may cause the ma’mum to have a disturbed state of mind in his Solat. This is the view of the Jumhur (Majority) of scholars.[5]

Among the valid excuses which permit a ma’mum to separate himself would be like when the imam’s prolonging of the Solat, makes the ma’mum to be in a disturbed state of mind. For example if the ma’mum is very weak, tired or sleepy or that he fears of losing something valuable or will be left behind by his group of travellers, or when one feels the urge of the two excretion (urinate & defecate) and so forth.

Yet, it is obligatory upon the ma’mum to complete his prayer individually (after making the intention to separate himself from following the imam), until he ends his own prayer with the Salam/Tasliem. Likewise, it is forbidden for any praying person to deliberately nullifies his fard/obligatory prayer, except if “hadats” occur to him or due to other factors of the nullification of Solat or Wudu’. This was the conclusion made by Ibnul Mundzir in his Kitab al-Ijma‘: no 44.

The following is the narration pertaining to the permissibilty of “Mufaraqah” as narrated by Jabir:

“Mu’adzt would pray the Isha’ prayer with the Prophet. Then he would go to his village and pray Isha’ again, as their leader (imam). The Prophet defered the Solat and Mu‘adz prayed with him and then he went to lead his people and he recited Surah al-Baqarah. Among his followers (ma’mums) there was a young man who retreated and went  on to pray alone. The people scolded him saying: You have commited an act of hypocrisy. He responded saying: I’ve not commited hypocrisy, instead I will meet the Messenger of Allah to complain to him about this.
When the Prophet came to know about it, he reprimanded Mu‘adz saying: Do you want yourself to be a source of fitnah/trouble, O’ Mu‘adz? Do you want yourself to be a source of fitnah/trouble, O’ Mu‘adz? read so and so Surah…”  
 [NB al-Jama‘ah].

Some scholars suggested that a mufaraqah ma’mum should retreat a little or take a step forward, depending on the situation, as how the young man did in the previous narration. This is to avoid any disturbance to the other fellow followers (ma’mums) and acts as an indication of his mufaraqah. It is advisable for him to immediately leave his place of prayer or the masjid upon completion of his prayer individually. It is permissible for him to walk in front of the ma’mums’ ranks. Due to this, if one brings along something to the masjid, which is not too big, he is encouraged to place it in front of him when he prays, such that it will ease him to take it, if the need arises for him to mufaraqah. This has been mentioned in the book “The Prophet’s Prayer Described – Sifat Solat an-Nabiy” with the narrations from the Messenger. If he remains sitting in the masjid or the exact spot where he prayed doing mufaraqah, it will create a fitnah and people will be wondering as to why he did his mufaraqah. WalLahu a‘lam.


[1] At-Tafl: to blow with a minimun amount of saliva as in an-Nihayah.

[2]NB Muslim and Ahmad. an-Nawawi said: This hadeets contains a recommendation to seek refuge from the devil when it disturbs, along with the spitting to the left 3 times.

[3] Fiqh as-Sunnah: 1/218. asy-Syeikh Al-Albaaniy did not comment on this, indicating his agreement to the conclusion of Sayyid Sabiq. This is similar to the explanation in al-Fiqh al-Islami: 2/234-240.

[4] NB Imam al-Bukhariy and Imam Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurayrah..

[5]al-Fiqh al-Islami : 2/208-209.
Copyright 2011
Template by freethemelayouts