Sunday, December 9, 2012

Makmums' Recitation behind the Imam

Bab: Salat al-Jama‘ah (مسائل تتعلق بالمأموم – القراءة خلف الإمام ): Matters pertaining to Ma’mum (Recitation behind the Imam).

The Ruling of Reciting al-Fatihah for the Followers@Ma’mums:

            It is very clear that Rasulullah stressed on the importance of reciting Surah al-Fatihah in Salat, to the extent that he made it a pre-requisite or an integral part of Salat and without it, in every single raka‘ah, the Salat of the person offering the prayer, will be invalid.

This is the general ruling of reciting al-Fatihah, such that scholars unanimously agreed, without differences in their opinion, it is to be recited in every single raka‘ah, by a person who leads the prayer i.e “the Imam” and a person praying individually, not in a congregation, termed as “al-munfarid” (performing the prayer individually, not in a jama‘ah). It is also a consensus among all scholars, that it is compulsory upon a makmum (one who prays in congregation/jama‘ah, following his/her imam) to recite al-Fatihah, in every raka‘ah which the imam recites silently (termed as Salat sirriyah or sirr), for eg the Zohr or ‘Asar prayer. Not reciting al-Fatihah in any raka‘ah of such prayers, will cause the Salat of the makmum to be invalid.[1] 

However, they differed as to whether a makmum is obliged to recite his own al-Fatihah, in all the raka‘ahs (or any raka‘ah) which the imam recites aloud (termed as Salat/Qira’ah jahriyah or jahr). There are basically 2 views;

1.      It is compulsory (Rukun) for the ma’mum to recite his/her own al-Fatihah, in every raka‘ah, regardless of the imam reciting silently or aloud.

2.      The ma’mum need not recite his/her al-Fatihah, in every raka‘ah which the imam recites aloud. 
Hence, we will mention the evidences of both views and their argument as well as justification. In this way, we will understand the reason for their dispute and the more righteous view to be followed.
  1. The ahadeets on the importance of al-Fatihah:
i.                    لاَ صَلاَةَ لِمَنْ لاَ يَقْرَأُ [فِيْهَا] بِفَاتِحَةِ الْكِتاَبِ [فَصَاعِداً]” 
Meaning: “There is no prayer for the one who did not recite [in it] the opening chapter [at least]. [2]

ii.                  لاَ تُجْزِىءُ صَلاَةٌ لاَ يَقْرَأُ الرَّجُلُ فِيْهاَ بِفَاتِحَةِ الْكِتَابِ” 
Meaning: “That prayer is not sufficient in which a man does not recite the Opening of the Book. [3]

iii.                مَنْ صَلَّى صَلاَةً لَمْ يَقْرَأْ فِيْهاَ بِفَاتِحَةِ الْكِتَابِ؛ فَهِيَ خِداجٌ، هِيَ خِداج، هي خداج غَيْرُ تَمَامٍ” 
Meaning: “He who performs a prayer in which he does not recite the Opening of the Book, then it (i.e. the prayer) is deficient, it is deficient, it is deficient, incomplete. [4]

iv.                قَالَ اللهُ تَبَارَكَ وَ تَعَالىَ : {قَسَمْتُ الصَّلاَةَ بَيْنِيْ وَ بَيْنَ عَبْدِيْ نِصْفَيْن  فَـنِصْفُهَا ليِ نِـصْفُهَا لِعَبْدِيْ، وَ لِعَبْدِيْ مَا سَأَلَ} وَ قَال رَسولُ اللهِ: اقْرَؤُواْ : يَقُوْلُ الْعَبْدُ {الحمد لله رب العالمين} يَقُوْلُ اللهُ تَعَالَى: {حَمِدَنِي عَبْدِيْ} وَ يَقُوْلُ الْعَبْدُ: {الرحمن الرحيم} يَقُوْلُ اللهُ تَعَالَى: {أَثْنَى عَلَيَّ عَبْدِيْ}، وَ يَقُوْلُ الْعَبْدُ: {مالك يوم الدين} يَقُوْلُ اللهُ تَعَالَى: {مَجَّدَنِي عَبْدِيْ}، يَقُوْلُ الْعَبْدُ: {إياك نعبد و إياك نستعين} قَالَ: {فَهِذِهِ بَيْنِيْ وَ بَيْنَ عَبْدِيْ وَ لِعَبْدِيْ مَا سَأَلَ} ، يَقُوْلُ الْعَبْدُ: {اهدنا الصراط المستقيم صراط الذين أنعمت عليهم غير المغضوب عليهم و لا الضآلين} قال: {فَهُؤُلآءِ لِعَبْدِيْ وَ لِعَبْدِيْ مَا سَأَلَ}” 
Meaning: “Allaah the Blessed and Exalted has said: "I have divided the prayer between Myself and My servant, into two halves: half of it is for Me and half is for My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for." Then the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: Recite! The servant says "Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds"; Allaah the Exalted says "My servant has praised Me". The servant says, "The Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy"; Allaah says, "My servant has extolled Me". The servant says "Master of the Day of Judgment"; Allaah the Exalted says, "My servant has glorified Me". The servant says, "It is You (alone) we worship and it is You (alone) we ask for help"; [He says:], "This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for". The servant says, "Guide us to the Straight Path, the Path of those whom You have favoured, not of those who receive Your anger, nor of those who go astray". [He says:], "All these are for My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for. [5]

  1. The evidences which indicate that the ma’mum doesn’t have to or should not recite, if his/her imam recites aloud.
i.                    Once he was praying Fajr (as the imam) and the recitation became difficult for him. Upon completing the prayer he said: 

{لَعَلَّكُمْ تَقْرَؤُونَ خَلْفَ إِمَامِكُمْ} قُلْنَا نَعَمْ هَذًّا يا رسول الله قال {لاَ تَفْعَلُوا ؛ إِلاَّ [ أَنْ يَقْرَأَ أَحَدُكُم ] بِفاتحة الكتاب فَإِنَّه لاَ صَلاَةَ لِمَن لَم يقرأْ بِهَا}

Meaning: “Perhaps you recite behind your imaam. We said: "Yes, quickly, O Messenger of Allaah." He said: Do not do so, except for [each of you reciting] the opening chapter of the Book, for the prayer is not valid of the one who does not recite it [6]

ii.                  Later, he forbade them from reciting in the loud prayers at all i.e totally; 

{هل قرأ معي منكم أحد آنفا؟} فقال رجل: نعم ، أنا يا رسول الله، فقال: إني أقول: ما لي أنازع؟! [قال أبو هريرة: فانتهى الناس عن القراءة مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم - فيما جهر فيه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم - حين سمعوا ذلك من رسول الله و قرؤوا في أنفسهم سِرّاً فيما لا يجهر فيه الإمام ”  

Meaning: “He finished a prayer in which he was reciting loudly (in one narration: it was the dawn prayer) and said: Were any of you reciting with me just now?! A man said: "Yes, I was, O Messenger of Allah". He said: I say, why am I contended with? [Abu Hurairah said:] So the people stopped reciting with the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) when he was reciting loudly after hearing that from him [but they recited to themselves quietly when the imam was not reciting loudly]. [7]

iii.                He also made silence during the imam's recitation part of the completeness of following the imam, saying

إِنَّمَا جُعِلَ الإمَام لِيُؤْتَمَّ بِه ، فإذا كَبَّرَ فَكَبِّرُوا ، وَ إِذا قَرَأَ فَانْصِتوا” 

Meaning: “The imam is there to be followed, so when he says takbeer, say takbeer, and when he recites, be silent[8]

iv.                In another hadeets he made listening to the imam's recitation is enough to not have to recite behind him, saying: 

مَنْ كَانَ لَهُ إِمَامٌ فَقِرَاَءةُ الإِمَام لَهُ قِرَاءَة

Meaning: “He who has an imaam, then the recitation of the imaam is recitation for him” and this applies to the raka‘ahs which the imam recites aloud. [9]

Scholars of the 1st opinion (it is compulsory (Rukun) for the ma’mum to recite) justified their ruling, based on the ahadeets which stressed on the importance of al-Fatihah as an essential pre-requisite of a valid Salat. 

Their argument:
Firstly: The generality of the ahadeets includes every single praying person, whether imam, munfarid or ma’mum; regardless of the imam’s recitation, silent or aloud and this is related to an integral part of the Salat. There is no hadeets that teaches otherwise. 
Secondly: Hadeets “b” – i – is a clear explanation from the Messenger that the ma’mum must recite al-Fatihah and not other Surah. It is considered an assertion that even if the imam recited aloud, as in this narration “Fajr” prayer, the ma’mum must read his/her own al-Fatihah. 
Thirdly: The hadeets “b” – ii – is a prohibition for the recitation of Surah other than al-Fatihah, as understood from the “b” – i. The claim that this narration is a proof of the abrogation of recitation of al-Fatihah behind the imam is rejected because there is no historical proof which of these 2 incidents happened earlier and which was later. 
Fourthly: As for hadeets “b” iii – it only prooves that when the imam is reciting, the ma’mum must be quiet not reciting anything, it doesn’t in anyway imply that al-Fatihah is not to be read by the ma’mum. 
Fifthly: The hadeets “b” iv – is disputed in it’s authenticity, thus not valid as a proof for justification. 

Wallahu a‘lam.

Scholars of the 2nd opinion came out with these arguments and justification:
Firstly: To accumulate all the evidences and then reconcile them, is preferable than taking some ahaadeets and neglecting others. This is termed as “al-Jam‘u” as scholars of Usul established the principle: “al-Jam‘u awla min at-Tarjieh – reconciliation of all the evidences takes precedence over preference of some evidences (thus neglecting some other)”. Why should we resort to “at-Tarjieh” when we are able to “reconcile” or do “al-Jam‘u”? In this context, we can take it that all the evidences “a” - i to iv – are applicable for the imam and munfarid as well as for the ma’mum in the silent prayer. Whereas “b” i to iv – are applicable for a ma’mum when the imam recites aloud.  The claim that what is “general” is to be understood in it’s generality, should be understood with certain specification when there are evidences of specification termed as “at-Takhsies”, in this case, generally each praying person recites al-Fatihah, but there are evidences specifically, excluding the ma’mum who has an imam reciting aloud. 
Secondly: Hadeets “b” iii and iv – are authentic after further research and they are evidently clear as proofs that the ma’mum should not recite, when the imam is reciting and when the imam recites al-Fatihah aloud. Furthermore, this interpretation suits the narrations mentioned by Ibn Katsier (d: 774H) and others, that verse 204 of Surah al-A‘raf “وَ إِذَا قُرِئَ الْقُرْآنُ فَاسْتَـمِعُوا لَهُ وَ أَنْصِتُـوا لَعَلَّـكُمْ تُـرْحَمُونَ was revealed in relation to Salat and as explained by some Companions and at-Tabi‘ien, is in relation to recitation behind the imam. 
Thirdly: Hadeets “b” i. and ii – indicate very clearly that an abrogation of reciting al-Fatihah for the ma’mum when his/her imam recites aloud, if we take it that initially it was compulsory. The underlined phrases explicitly prooved that initially reciting al-Fatihah was compulsory for the ma’mum although his/her imam recites aloud (as in “b” i.), but then, later on, the Companions “stopped” reciting after hearing the Messenger’s prohibition (hadeets “b” ii). 
Fourthly: There is no evidence to support “the imam waiting for the ma’mum” such that the ma’mum is able to complete his al-Fatihah. So the question arises as to when is the time for the ma’mum to recite his/her own al-Fatihah. Hence, the hadeets “b” i. the Companions initially recited al-Fatihah in a fast manner, before the Messenger started reciting Surah (the interval between recitation of al-Fatihah and Surah). Later, this was abrogated. It is not in accordance to the Sunnah for the imam to prolong the interval. [10]

These are the 2 opinions of the scholars. However, it is worthy to reiterate here the consensus of the scholars; 

According to Ibn Hazm, it is also (almost) a concensus among them, that a person who gets the ruku‘ with his imam, having the time allowance of phrasing the tasbieh in his at ease ruku‘ position, is considered to have got the unit of raka‘ah, even though he missed standing before ruku‘ and listening to the Imam’s recitation of al-Fatihah or recite his al-Fatihah” – Maratibul Ijma‘: 25”. This Ijma‘ was also mentioned by al-Qurtubi in his tafseer (1/182), when he adrressed the 6th issue of the 2nd Bab (chapter of al-Fatihah).

We are to choose, according to our knowledge and certainty, in our Salat, one of these 2 opinions, yet bearing in mind that, whichever we choose, the opposite view is the opinion of great respected scholars. It is just that, we choose the other view because it has been made clear to us, by respected scholars too, the most righteous conclusion to act upon, for the sake of adhering to the Messenger’s teaching and abiding by his guidance.

If one were to say as a conclusion, to be on the safe side and to avoid the “grey” area, to recite al-Fatihah is the way out of this conflict. Yet this is to be analyse, because some of the narrations contain this wording: “be silent”, “Do not do so”, “why am I contended with? … So the people stopped”, thus in this case, that cannot be said as a righteous conclusion. Wallahu a‘lam.

Let it be known to us, among the scholars who held the 1st opinion; Shafi‘ie (jadied/later – by al-Buwaiti one of Shafi‘ie’s disciple w: 231H), al-Bukhariy as in his “Juzu’ Qira-ah khalfa al-Imam”, at-Tirmidzi, Abu Tsaur, al-Qurtubi (with elaboration in his Tafseer of al-Fatihah) and many others and the 2nd opinion; al-Hafiz Ibn Katsier, ‘AbdulLah ibn al-Mubarak, Sa‘ied ibn Jubayr, az-Zuhri, one of Shafi‘ie’s opinons (old/former), Malik, Ahmad in one narration, Abu Haniefah and Ahmad bin Hambal as well, as both of them said: “He who has an imaam, then the recitation of the imaam is recitation for him”  as in the hadeets and to them this encompasses both Solat Jahriyyah (aloud) or Solat Sirriyah (silent).

These are among the issues that are “delicate” and one need to follow what is righteous to him/her but not to claim others as wrong or worse, misguided.

Wallahu a‘lam.


[1] With the exception of a masbuq, who joins the prayer when the imam is doing his ruku‘ or when the imam is about to do his ruku‘, in a timeframe which is impossible for the masbuq to complete the recitation of al-Fatihah – as explained on page 17: “According to Ibn Hazm, it is also (almost) a concensus among them, that a person who gets the ruku‘ with his imam, having the time allowance of phrasing the tasbieh in his at ease ruku‘ position, is considered to have got the unit of raka‘ah, even though he missed standing before ruku‘ and listening to the Imam’s recitation of al-Fatihah or recite his al-Fatihah” – Maratibul Ijma‘: 25 authored by Ibn Hazm; Abu Muhammad, ‘Aliy bin Ahmad bin Sa‘ied bin Hazm al-Andalusi, al-Qurtubiy al-Yaziedi Maula al-Amier Yazied bin Abi Sufyan bin Harb al-Umawiy. 384H-456H Qurtuba (Cordova-Spain) – His biography as in - al-Fisal fie al-Milal wa al-Ahwa’ wa an-Nihal: 1/5-6

[2] NB al-Bukhariy, Muslim, Abu ‘Awanah and al-Baihaqiy, see the takhriej in al-Irwa’: 302

[3] NB ad-Daraqutni and he classified it as Sahih and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih it’s takhriej is detailed in al-Irwa’: 302

[4] NB Muslim and Abu ‘Awanah.

[5] NB Muslim, Abu ‘Awanah, Malik and this hadeets has a supportive route narrated by as-Sahmi from Jabir in “Tariekh Jirjan”: 144.

[6] NB al-Bukhariy in his “Juzu’”, Abu Dawud, Ahmad, ad-Daraqutniy and at-Tirmidzi who graded Hasan.

[7] NB Malik, al-Humaidi, al-Bukhariy (in his Juzu’), Abu Dawud, Ahmad, al-Muhamiliy (6/139/1) and at-Tirmidzi who classified it Hasan and Abu Hatim ar-Razi, Ibn Hibban and Ibn Qayyim, all of them graded it Sahih.

[8] NB Ibn Abi Syaibah (1/97/1), Abu Dawud, Muslim, Abu ‘Awanah, ar-Ruyaniy in his Musnad (24/119/1) and the takhriejis given in al-Irwa’: 332 dan 394.

[9] NB Ibn Abi Syaibah (1/97/1), ad-Daraqutniy, Ibn Majah, at-Tohawiy, Ahmad from many chains of narration, some are mursal while others with complete sanad. Ibn Taimiyah graded this hadeets as Strong as in “al-Furu‘” authored by Ibn ‘Abdil Hadi (48/2 - manuscript) and al-Busairiy classified some of it’s narration as Sahih It’s detailed explanation is in “al-Asl” and in “Irwa’ al-Ghaliel”: 500.

[10] There were some scholars, as mentioned by al-Hafiz Ibn Katsier, of the opinion that the ma’mum should recite his/her al-Fatihah at the intervals of the imam’s recitation. This was the view of ash-Shafi‘ie in “al-Jadied” and some Companions and the Successors (Tabi‘ien). – Tafsier Ibn Katsier: Surah al-A‘raf: 204.
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