Praying behind an Innovator Imam
Fatwa No: 369256

  • Fatwa Date:18-1-2018 - Jumaadaa Al-Oula 2, 1439
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Question

Assalam Alaikum, I am following shafi imam and sunni, where i work there imam is following an innovator imam. That is the reason I skip Juma because having doubt that my prayer wont be correct if I pray behind them. Can I skip Juma and pray 4 rakat normal luhur?

Answer

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  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

If the innovation of the Imam is one that takes a person out of the fold of Islam, such as him saying that the Qur'an is created, then the prayer is not valid behind him. In which case, you pray the Jumu’ah as Thuhr prayer [4 Rak’ahs] if you do not find a mosque where there is a valid Jumu’ah.

However, if his innovation is not that which takes the person out of the fold of Islam, then if you can find another Imam, then it is better not to follow him, but if you do not find another Imam, it is not permissible for you to abandon the Friday prayer [with this Imam].

The Fatwa of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fataawa reads:

As regards the prayer behind innovators: if their innovation is that which takes the person out of the fold of Islam, such as calling upon other than Allah, and making vows to other than Allah, and believing in their Shaykh about something that is only peculiar to Allah, such as absolute knowledge, the knowledge of the unseen, or having an influence or effect on the universe, then the prayer behind them is not valid. However, if their innovation is not that which takes the person out of the fold of Islam, such as mentioning Thikr that is confirmed from the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) but they do that in congregation while leaning their bodies left and right, or front and back, then the prayer behind them is valid."

But a Muslim should pray behind an Imam who is not an innovator, so that his prayer will be greater in reward and he will be far from evil and falsehood.

Allah knows best.

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