How to perform prayer behind Imam
Fatwa No: 85326

Question

What is the correct way to pray the Salats of Zuhr and Asr behind Imam? Also, please, explain what is the correct way to perform third Rak'ahs of Maghrib and third and fourth Rak'ahs of Isha behind imam. Should a Muqtadi (person praying Jamaat behind Imam) recite Fatiha and Surah in the first two Rak'ahs of Asr and Zuhr and then recite Fatiha only in the last two Rak'ahs of Zuhr and Asr? Also should the Muqtadi recite Fatiha in the third Rak'ah of Maghrib and in third and fourth Rak'ah of Isha or should stay quite?

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

The correct way of performing the first two Raka'hs of al-Fajr, al-Maghrib and al-Isha prayers behind the Imam is as follows:
1) To raise one's two hands and say Allah-u-Akbar after the Imam.
2) To recite al-Istiftaah supplication if it is possible before the Imam starts reciting al-Fatiha in aloud voice; otherwise, one should listen to the Imam since it is Sunnah (al-Istiftaah) while listening to the Imam is a must.
3) To recite al-Fatiha when the Imam completes its recitation even though he starts recitation of the additional portion after al-Fatiha, since - according the most correct opinion - it is obligatory to recite it.
4) To listen to the Imam after the completion of al-Fatiha.
5) To follow the Imam's movements while making Ruku' and to say: Subhana Rabiyal 'Azeem.
6) To return to the erect position after the Imam and to say: Rabbana Walaka-al-Hamd after the Imam's saying Sami'allahu Liman Hamdah.
7) To follow the Imam while making the Takbir of Sujud and to say in Sujud: Subhana Rabiyal A'ala.
8) To follow the Imam in the sitting position and pray saying: Rabbi Ighfirli.
9) To reprostrate himself after the Imam and make the supplication of Sujud as before.
10) To follow the Imam when he says Allah-u-Akbar to start the second Rak'ah, and to do as done in the first Rak'ah.
As for the first 2 Raka'hs of al-Zuhr and al-Asr, one has to recite al-Fatiha prayer in secret, and then, any portion of the Qur'an.
As for the 3rd Raka'h of al-Maghrib and the 3rd and fourth Rak'ah of al-Isha, one has to do as done in the 2nd Rak'ah and should recite only the Surah al-Fatiha in secret and without reciting any portion of Qur'an as stated by the majority of Muslim scholars.
Allah knows best.

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