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Surah fateha in Prayer

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)


One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:


Kindly explain with Quran , Sunnah & hadith reference that in prayer when Imam recites in both cases (bil Jahar & bil Sar) Surrah Fateha then whether followers should recite Surrah Fateha or not? Please write with reference to explain our question


Allah Hafiz


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Surah fateha in Prayer

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


Whether one should oneself recite Surah Fatehah when offering prayers in congregation is an issue on which the scholars of Islam have differed in their opinion. The Prophet of Allah (saws) always led the congregational prayers and did not pray behind any imam, as he was always the Imam leading the believers in their prayers.


Imam Abu Hanifa is of the opinion that the reading of Surah Fatihah of the Imam is enough for the congregation, and it is not a must for the muktadi (people praying in congregation) to pray Surah Fatehah again after the Imam has prayed it. Imam Abu Hanifa bases his opinion on the narration of the Prophet (saws) whereby he (saws) said that the recitation of the Imam is the recitation of the muktadis.

Fiqh-us-Sunnah Fiqh 1.146

The Messenger of Allah (saws) said, whoever is praying behind an imam, the imam's recital is his recital.


Imam Shaafie is of the opinion that the reading of the Surah Fatihah is a must for the muktadi in every rakah. He bases his opinion on the narration of the Prophet (saws) who said that no prayer is valid without the recitation of Surah Fateha.


Ibadah ibn as-Samit related that the Prophet (saws) said, "There is no prayer for one who does not recite the opening of the Book: al-Fatihah."

Related by Bukhari, Muslim and others.


Imam Maaliks opinion is probably the most accepted and logical on this issue. His opinion is a combination of the above two narrations and in conformity with the aayah of the Holy Quran Chapter 7 Surah Aaraf verse 204:

When the Quran is recited to you, listen to it with attention and keep silent. It may be that you also are blessed with mercy.

Imam Maliks opinion is that in the prayers where the imam prays aloud (fajr, magrib, isha), one should listen to Imams recitation and keep silent. And in the prayers where the imam prays silently (Dhuhr, asr, the last rakah of magrib, the last two rakahs of isha), the muktadi must pray the Surah Fatehah himself. This opinion of Imam Malik is the most accepted and practiced in the Ummah.


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your Brother in Islam,





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