Reciting Al-Faatihah Behind the Imam
Fatwa No: 393400

  • Fatwa Date:6-3-2019 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 29, 1440
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Question

AS SALAM WALECOM Q IS WHAT IS RULING ABOUT TO READ SURAH FATIYA BEHIND THE IMAM

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.

The issue of reciting Surah Al-Faatihah behind the Imam is one of the issues on which the scholars have greatly differed in opinion about since the era of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, and those who came after them up until today.

The opinion that we consider to be the preponderant one, is that it is obligatory to recite Al-Faatihah for a person led in prayer in every Rak'ah of the prayer, whether it is in silent Rak'ahs or the ones recited aloud. This based on the general statement of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ): “The prayer of the one who does not recite the opening Chapter of the Book [i.e. Al-Faatihah] is void.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

However, many scholars are of the view that reciting Al-Faatihah is not obligatory for the person led in prayer, neither in silent prayers nor in ones recited aloud. Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

"To conclude, the recitation [i.e. of Al-Faatihah] is neither obligatory for the person led in prayers which the Imam recited aloud, nor in prayers that are recited silently. Imam Ahmad explicitly stated this as conveyed by the majority of his students. This is also the view of Az-Zuhri, Ath-Thawri, Ibn ‘Uyaynah, Maalik, Abu Haneefah, and Is-Haaq. However, Ash-Shaafi'i and Daawood said that it is obligatory.” [End of quote]

For more benefit, please refer to Fataawa 132147, 359251, 366496, 352786, 178109, and 389314.

Allah knows best.

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