Assalaamu Alaykum. In the funeral prayer, if the person (not an imam but a relative of the deceased) leading the prayer only raises his hands for the first Takbeer (saying: Allaahu Akbar [Allaah is The Greatest]) and not for the other three Takbeers, should the followers follow him in that, or can they raise their hands for the four Takbeers? Is the prayer valid if we do not follow the person who is leading the prayer? May Allaah reward you.
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Most scholars are of the view that raising the hands is desirable in all the Takbeers of the funeral prayer; the Fiqh Encyclopedia reads:
“The scholars of Fiqh unanimously agreed that the person praying the funeral prayer raises his hands up to the level of his shoulders (or of his ear-lobes) at the first Takbeer. Then they differed in opinion about raising the hands in the remaining Takbeers:
The Shaafi'i and Hanbali Schools – and it is also one of the two narrations from (Imaam) Maalik and the view of many Hanafi jurists of Balkh – are of the opinion that the praying person raises his hands with each Takbeer.
However, the Hanafi School, in their preferred opinion, and (Imaam) Maalik in his second narration – which is the preponderant opinion of Maalikis – are of the view that the person who prays the funeral prayer does not raise his hands with the remaining Takbeers.”
Regarding the followers in the case that you asked about, then they are not obliged to follow their imaam in not raising his hands; rather, it is permissible for them to raise their hands in the remaining Takbeers of the funeral prayer because raising the hands does not affect their following of the imaam directly in the prayer.
Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen said in Ash-Sharh Al-Mumti’:
“With regard to matters that will not lead to doing something late after the imaam or early before him, the follower may do what he believes is correct. For example, if the imaam does not believe that the hands should be raised when saying the Takbeer before bowing, when rising from bowing and when standing up after the first Tashahhud, but the follower believes that this is Mustahab (desirable), then he may do that because it will not lead to him doing something too late after the imaam or early before him. Hence, the Prophet said, 'When he (the imaam) says Takbeer, then say Takbeer; when he bows, then bow; and when he prostrates, then prostrate.' The use of 'then' indicates that one thing is done directly after the other in this order. Similarly, if the imaam sits in the Tawarruk posture (in which one's buttocks are on the ground while the left foot is laid down and the right foot is held upright, and both are held out to the right) in every Tashahhud that is followed by the Salaam, even in the two-Rak‘ah (unit of prayer) prayer and the follower does not think that he should sit in the Tawarruk posture except in the second Tashahhud of the prayer in which two Tashahhuds are prescribed, then in this case he may refrain from sitting in the Tawarruk posture with his imaam in a two-Rak‘ah prayer because this will not lead to him doing something too late after the imaam or early before him.”
For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 86446.
Allah knows best.
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