Offering Prayer with and behind the followers of Bid`ah


Offering Prayer with and behind the followers of Bid`ah

Q: What is the ruling on staying in a country where people practice Bid`ah (innovations in religion)? Is it permissible to offer Jumu`ah (Friday) Prayer and the congregational Prayer with them? Should the person offer Prayer separately? Is Jumu`ah Prayer waived for him? If those who follow the Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet) are less than twelve, is it permissible for them to perform Jumu`ah Prayer or not?

A: Offering Jumu`ah Prayer behind any Imam (the one who leads congregational Prayer), whether he is pious or disobedient, is obligatory. If the Bid`ah which the Imam commits does not take him out of Islam, it is permissible for Muslims to offer Prayer behind him. It is stated by Imam Abu Ja`far Al-Tahawy (may Allah be merciful to him) in his famous book on `Aqidah:”We hold that it is permissible to offer Prayer behind every pious or disobedient Muslim, as well as offering Funeral Prayer for those who die among them…” In his explanation of this statement, the well-grounded and eminent scholar who commented on this book said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Offer Prayer behind the Imam, be he pious or disobedient. (Related by Mak-hul

(Part No. 12; Page No. 113)

from Abu Hurayrah [may Allah be pleased with him] and compiled by Al-Daraqutni, who said that Mak-hul did not meet Abu Hurayrah) Its chain of transmission includes Mu`awiyah ibn Salih whose authenticity is questioned. However, Muslim narrated this Hadith in his Sahih book of Hadith.

Al-Daraqutni and Abu Dawud also related from Mak-hul on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Prayer is obligatory on you behind every Muslim, pious or impious, even if he commits major sins. Jihad (striving in the Cause of Allah) is obligatory upon you along with every ruler, whether he is pious or impious. It is related by Al-Bukhari in his Sahih (authentic) book of Hadith that `Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) used to offer Prayer behind Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf Al-Thaqafy. Anas ibn Malik offered Prayer also behind Al-Hajjaj and Al-Hajjaj was a corrupt tyrant. It is also recorded by Al-Bukhari in his Sahih that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If the Imam leads Prayer correctly, then he and you will receive the rewards, but if he makes a mistake (in Prayer) then you will receive the reward for Prayer and the sin (will be his). It is reported on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Offer Prayer behind whomever says, “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,” and offer Funeral Prayer for whomever says, “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.” (Related by Al-Daraqutni through some ways of transmission that he deemed to be weak)

(Part No. 12; Page No. 114)

Kindly be informed (may Allah be merciful to you and us) that the scholars agree that it is permissible to offer Prayer behind an Imam who is not known to have committed any Bid`ah or an act of transgression. However, it is not a condition for the Ma’mum (person being led by an Imam in Prayer) to know the beliefs of the Imam or examine him saying, “What are your beliefs?” Rather, the Ma’mum should offer Prayer behind the Imam without knowing his beliefs. According to the majority of the Salaf (righteous predecessors) and their successors, it is permissible to offer Prayer behind the regular Imam, behind whom the Prayer should be offered such as the Imam of Jumu`ah Prayer and Salat-ul-`Eid (the Festival Prayer), or the Imam of Hajj Prayers at `Arafah and the like, even if he calls the people to follow his Bid`ah or is a Fasiq (someone who flagrantly violates Islamic law). The person who neglects offering Jumu`ah and congregational Prayers behind a corrupt Imam is considered a follower of Bid`ah, according to the opinion of the majority of Muslim Scholars. The sound opinion is that one must offer Prayer behind a corrupt Imam and need not repeat it.

The Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) used to offer Jumu`ah Prayer and the congregational Prayers behind corrupt Imams without repeating them. For example, `Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) used to offer Prayer behind Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf. Likewise, Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) used to offer Prayer behind him as mentioned before. `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) and other Companions used to offer Prayer behind Al-Walid ibn `Uqbah ibn Abu Mu`ayt who was a drunkard to the extent that one day he led them in Fajr (Dawn) Prayer in the form of four Rak`ahs. He then said: “What about offering more Rak`ahs?” Ibn Mas`ud replied: “You have already offered more than due.” It is related in Sahih Book that when `Uthman

(Part No. 12; Page No. 115)

(may Allah be pleased with him) could not reach the Masjid to lead the people in the congregational Prayer, another Imam led the people in Prayer. It was said to `Uthman: “You are the Imam of all the Muslims but the person who led people in Prayer is one of the leaders of Fitnah.” `Uthman replied, “Verily, Prayer is the best thing people can do. However, if they offer it properly, do it along with them; but if they offer it improperly, eschew their wrong.”

The Prayer offered by a Fasiq or a follower of Bid`ah is correct. If a Ma’mum offers Prayer behind any of them, his Prayer will not be invalid. Yet, some dislike offering Prayer behind them because enjoining good and forbidding evil are obligatory.

In addition, the one who exhibits Bid`ah and corruption is not to be appointed as a leader for Muslims. Rather, Ta`zir (discretionary punishment) should be inflicted upon him, so that he may repent. If it is possible to desert him till he repents, then this will be good. If some people abandon offering Prayer behind him, as a form of forbidding evil till he repents or is fired, or people cease from imitating him, then abandoning Prayer behind him is for a legal benefit so long as the Ma’mum does not miss the Jumu`ah or congregational Prayers.

However, if leaving Prayer behind such an Imam means that the Ma’mum will not perform Jumu`ah and the congregational Prayers, then it is not permissible to abandon offering Prayer behind him and the one who does so is a follower of Bid`ah who does not follow the attitude of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them). If the Imam is appointed by those in charge and there is no legal benefit behind abandoning Prayer behind him, in such a case it is not permissible to abandon Prayer behind him.

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Rather, offering Prayer behind him is better.

Thus, if it is possible, a person who commits evil openly should be prevented from leading the people in Prayer. However, if this Imam is appointed by those in charge and it is not possible to stop him or it is only possible by causing greater evil that is more harmful than the evil which the Imam commits openly, then it is not permissible to ward off a lesser evil by means of a greater one. Islam was revealed to achieve and protect interests, and to stop and reduce evils as much as possible. The act of leaving Jumu`ah and Prayers is worse than offering Prayer behind a corrupt Imam, especially if not attending them does not eliminate corruption. In this case, we will hinder the Shar`y benefit without removing this evil.

If a person can offer Jumu`ah and congregational Prayers behind a pious Imam, this is better than offering them behind the corrupt one. However, if this person offers Prayer behind a corrupt Imam without an excuse, this is a matter of dispute among scholars; some held that one must repeat the Prayer while others held the opinion that one does not have to. This issue is explained in the books of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) that deal with secondary questions. [End Quote]

The most preponderant opinion is not to repeat Prayer according to the evidence mentioned above. Since the general principal is not to repeat Prayer, no one is obliged to do so except with specific proof and we know no proof on this point. May Allah grant us success.

As for the second question, there is a known difference among scholars in this regard.

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However, the most preponderant opinion is that it is permissible to establish Jumu`ah Prayers with at least three Muslims. As far as I know, there is no reliable evidence to support the view that establishing Jumu`ah Prayer is conditional upon the existence of twelve, forty persons, more, or less. It is obligatory to be performed in congregation of at least three persons. This is the opinion of a group of scholars and Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy upon him) and is the correct view as stated previously.

Fatwas of Ibn Baz

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Fatwas of Ibn Baz
Browse by Volume Number > Volume 12 > Book on Salah, Part Three > Rulings on Imamate > Ruling on offering Salah behind a man whose doctrine contradicts that of Ahl Al-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah, such as the Asha`irah and the like

Ruling on offering Salah behind
a man whose doctrine contradicts that of Ahl Al-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah, such as Al-Asha`irah and the like

Q: Is it permissible to offer Salah (Prayer) behind a man whose doctrine contradicts that of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream), such as Al-Asha`irah (a Muslim group that bases its issues of faith on logic)?

A: The most preponderant opinion -Allah knows best- is that it is permissible to offer Salah behind any Muslim, while it is impermissible to do so behind non-Muslims. This is the opinion of a large group of scholars and it is the most correct opinion.

As for whomever claims that it is impermissible to offer Salah behind sinners, such opinion is not the best since the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave license to offering Salah

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behind rulers, although many rulers are sinners. Ibn ‘Umar, Anas, as well as a group of Muslim scholars, offered Salah behind Al-Hajjaj who was one of the most oppressive people.

In conclusion, Salah is valid behind a mubtadi` (one who introduces innovations in religion) whose Bid`ah (innovation in religion) does not render him non-Muslim. It is also permissible to be offered behind a fasiq (someone flagrantly violating Islamic law) who commits manifest sins which do not take him out of the fold of Islam.

However, Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah (those adhering to the Sunnah and the Muslim community) should be given priority in this regard. The same applies to any group of people when performing Salah, they should give preference to the best among them.

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