If the Imaam is absent on Friday can any other person, from among the people gathered in the Mosque, can lead the Friday prayers, if so, what is the criteria? Is there any verse in the Quran or authentic Hadeeth of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, on this subject.
Moreover, Is there any Hadeeth that says that if among the people gathered for prayers there are Arabs then only an Arab should lead the prayer?
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.
The conditions of leading the prayer on Friday are the same conditions for leading congregational prayers. Nonetheless, the jurists differed in opinion with regard to a travelling person or a slave leading the prayer. It is not a condition for the Imaam of Friday prayer to be a scholar, or to be from a specific race. Whoever fulfils the conditions of leading the prayer [being an Imaam], and knows the conditions and pillars of Friday speech, has the right to lead the people in prayer on Friday. Nonetheless, when the Imaam of the mosque is absent, a person who is more likely to fulfil those conditions is more deserving to be chosen, or a person who is more likely to achieve the objective of Friday speech in influencing the congregation and the like.
Finally, it should be noted that the conditions of leading the congregation in prayer are in general as follows:
1- Islam [being a Muslim].
2- Being free from innovations that take a person out of the fold of Islam.
3- Being a male.
4- Being in the state of ritual purity.
5- Being Sane.
6- Being able to perform the pillars of the prayer like standing, bowing, prostrating and the like.
7- Not being illiterate to an extent that one does not read Al-Faatihah (the opening chapter) correctly if there is among the congregation a person who is not illiterate.
Allaah Knows best.
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