Assalaamu alaykum. I made a mistake in Al-Faatihah during the prayer. Instead of saying An-‘Amta (starting with the letter Alif), I said ‘An-‘Amta (starting with the letter ‘Ayn) in the verse "Siraat Al-Ladheena An-‘Amta ‘Alayhim." Does this distort the meaning, causing my prayer to be invalid, or is it still valid? May Allah 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, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.
Changing a letter in Al-Faatihah to another letter invalidates the prayer. An-Nawawi said, "If he omits a letter from it (meaning Al-Faatihah), pronounces a doubled consonant (mushaddad) as a singular one (mukhaffaf) without the Shaddah, or replaces a letter with another while able to recite it properly, his recitation (and accordingly his prayer) is invalid." [Al-Majmooʻ]
Accordingly, reciting the word AnʻAmta as ʻAnʻAmta (replacing the Hamzah with the letter ʻAyn) invalidates the prayer and changes the meaning.
The Maalikis, on the other hand, held that if the reciter makes a mistake in recitation unintentionally, his prayer is valid, whether the mistake is in al-Faatihah or in other soorahs. The Maaliki scholar Ad-Dusooqi said,
"In brief, the ruling on the person who makes mistakes that alter the meaning is one of the following:
1. If he made the mistake intentionally, his prayer along with the prayer of the people he is leading in prayer are invalid according to the agreement of scholars.
2. If he made the mistake out of forgetfulness, his prayer is valid according to the agreement of the scholars.
3. If he is unable by nature to pronounce it properly and he is unable to learn, then the ruling is the same (i.e. the prayer is valid) because he cannot pronounce it properly.
4. If he is ignorant and he is eligible to learn, then there is a difference of opinion regarding the ruling in this regard, regardless of whether he is able to learn or not, and whether he can be led in prayer by someone who does not make mistakes or not. The most valid opinion about him is that the prayer of the people led by him is valid, and so is his prayer with greater reason." [Haashiyat Ad-Dusooqi]
If these doubts about recitation are mere Waswaasah (obsessive whispers), then the questioner should disregard them in the future and seek refuge with Allah from the accursed satan; and her prayer is valid. Please refer to fatwa 356302.
Allah knows best.
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