Their Imaam does not recite Quran with Tajweed
Fatwa No: 147375

Question

asslamu alaikum. im from a western country so we have to import sheikhs from other countries. we have got one sheikh from India and well he is a great speaker excellent i would say, he knows arabic and understands the quran, he did not memorize the quran however he knows some surahs and ayats which he recites evry now and then. However when he leads the prayer he does recite with tajweed. He pronounces the letters correctly. As by one of his speachers he says that it is best to pray behind an imam who follows the prophet saw way.also i know about the relevance of going to the mosque. except for this mosque where we go there are the other mosques which are filed with bidatis. So my question is. 1. does the sheikh we have causes sins or invalidates our prayer? 2. is it best to pray at home since we know how to pray with tajweed? 3. What are your recommendations? Thanks very much. May Allah give you more knowledge.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, it should be mentioned that the scholars  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them differed in opinion whether it is an obligation when reciting the Quran to observe the rules of Tajweed (i.e. the rules of the recitation of the Quran) or that this is just desirable. Some of them are of the view that it is not an obligation when reciting the Quran to observe the rules of Tajweed and that this is only desirable, whereas some others are of the view that this is an obligation.

However, it might be that the most correct opinion is to discuss the matter in detail:

- There are some rules of Tajweed that if one neglects, the meaning or the make up of the word changes, in this case, these rules must be observed.

- There are some rules of Tajweed that if one neglects, this does not make such change; therefore it is not an obligation to observe them.

The Fiqh Encyclopedia reads: “The early scholars of Qira’aat (the ways of the recitation of the Quran) and Tajweed are of the view that applying all the rules of Tajweed is an obligation and the one who neglects them is sinful…,whereas the late scholars of Qira’aat and Tajweed distinguished between what is ‘a religious obligation’ in the rules of Tajweed, that if one neglects, this leads to the change in the make up or the meaning of a word, and what is a ‘technical obligation’, in the sense that the scholars of this science [Tajweed] made it necessary for the proper recitation. This is what the scholars  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them mentioned in the books of Tajweed about issues that are not as such; like Idghaam (assimilation, i.e. joining two letters together to form one letter), Ikhfaa’ (concealment, i.e. pronouncing a letter with a quality between manifestation and assimilation without doubling) and so forth. So, if one neglects this kind of Tajweed, he is not sinful according to them.”

Based on the above clarification, you should know whether or not your Imaam is sinful for not observing the rules of Tajweed. For example, if he makes a mistake in the recitation, like changing the meaning in Al-Faatiha (the opening Chapter of the Quran), like saying "An’amtu" instead of "An’amta", then the prayer is void, as we have clarified. But if such mistake is in other Chapters than Al-Faatiha, then the prayer is not void unless he does so deliberately. Also, if he neglects the rules of Tajweed that if neglected will not change the meaning or the make up of the word, then he is not sinful and his prayer is not void, like if he articulates the Madd (elongation) in Adh-Dhaaleen only with two Harakaat (pl. of Harakah, i.e. a count which is equal to the time taken to curl or stretch one finger) instead of six Harakaat.

In any case, it is someone who masters the rules of Tajweed who should lead the people in the prayer as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “The person who can best read the Book of Allaah should lead them (the people in the prayer).” [Muslim]

On the other hand, it is better for you to observe the prayer in congregation in the mosque even behind an Imaam who does not observe the rules of Tajweed provided his recitation is correct and he does not make mistakes that change the meaning of the words. This is more rewarding to you than performing the prayer at home because many jurists  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them are of the view that it is an obligation to perform the prayer in congregation in the mosque. For more benefit, refer to Fataawa, 82264 and 82694.

Finally, our advice to you is first of all to fear Allaah and then seek religious knowledge and you should endeavor to learn both the recitation of the Book of Allaah and its interpretation, and be keen on calling non-Muslims to Islam. "By Allaah, if Allaah guides one single man (to Islam) through you, that will be better for you than possessing the red camels (i.e. the most precious breed of camels)," as confirmed in a Saheeh Hadeeth from the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ).

Allaah Knows best.

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