The Imam Standing Higher Than Those Behind Him
Fatwa No: 404629

Question

Assalam 'alaykum, Please i need a comprehensive evidence that prohibits the Imam having an elevated platform higher than the rest of the congregation for Salah.

Answer

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

Based on proofs reported in this regard, scholars deduced that it is disliked for the Imam to stand in a higher place than the worshippers during the congregational prayer for no need. For instance, it has been narrated on the authority of Hammaam  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him that Huthayfah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him once led the people in prayer in Al-Madaa’in (in Iraq) while standing on a bench. Abu Mas‘ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him took him by his shirt and pulled him down. When he [Abu Mas‘ood] finished his prayer, he exclaimed: “Do you not know that this has been deemed prohibited?” He [Huthayfah] replied: “Yes, I remembered this when you pulled me down.” [Abu Daawood]

Moreover, Ibn Mas‘ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) forbade that the Imam should stand on something higher than the people behind him. [Ad-Daaraqutni]

Ash-Shawkaani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him commented in his book Nayl Al-Awtaar on the narration saying: “It is inferred from this Hadeeth that it is disliked for the Imam to sit in a higher place than those who are present.” [End of quote]

However, if there is a need for the Imam to stand in a higher position, it is not disliked for him to do so as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) did when he performed the prayer on top of the pulpit so that the people could see him and learn the correct manner of performing the prayer, as authentically narrated in Saheeh Al-Bukhaari.

Allah Knows best.

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