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Choosing imam for taraweeh

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:


We intend to call a Hafeez to perform the Namaz Tarawee in our Masjib. But the Hafeez is a Shafihee Hafeez.. We saw his performance on cassette and we notice that he read Bismillah before each Surah in Namaz. In the past we always called a Hanafee Hafeez to do the Namaz Tarawee and he never read Bimillah before each Surah. According to Shariah, can we do Namaz behind him and our Namaz is counted or not. We should be much grateful to you if you could advice us urgently as we will discuss this matter in the Masjid Committee on Saturday morning (we have some persons do not believe in Hanafee, Shafihee School of thought). Sorry for the trouble



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Choosing imam for taraweeh

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.


The scholars of all the schools of thought in Islam are unanimous in their opinion that the ‘Bismillah…..’ which is stationed at the beginning of the Surahs in the Quran must be recited; the only difference of opinion is whether it should be recited aloud or silently.


Our duty as believers is follow the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws); and there is evidence in the Sunnah that at times the Prophet (saws) used to recite the ‘Bismillah ar Rahmaan ar Raheem’ aloud at the beginning of the Surah, and at times he would recite it quietly; thus both ways are acceptable.


Evidence for reciting ‘Bismillah ….’ aloud in the prayer:

Na'em al-Mujammir said, "I prayed behind Abu Hurairah and he recited aloud, 'Bismillah ar Rahmaan ar Raheem’, and then he recited al-Fatihah ." At the end of the hadith, he is quoted as saying, "By the One in whose Hand is my soul, I have done what resembles how we prayed with the Messenger of Allah (saws)."


Evidence for reciting ‘Bismillah….’ in a quiet tone:

Anas said, "I prayed behind the Messenger of Allah (saws), Abu Bakr, 'Umar, and 'Uthman, and they did not recite it (Bismillah…..) aloud."

Related by an-Nasa'i, Ibn Hibban and at-Tahawi.


Thus, whether one recites the ‘Bismillah….’ at the beginning of each Surah aloud or quietly, he would be following the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws); and thus both of them would be deemed valid and acceptable in Shariah.


Your Question: According to Shariah, can we do Namaz behind him and our Namaz is counted or not.

There is absolutely no evidence in the Glorious Quran or the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws) which declares that only the prayers behind a Hanafee, or a Shafei, or a Maliki, or a Hanbali imam is valid, and all others are invalid!! These are names we have invented ourselves and have nothing to do with the validity of ones prayers in the sight of Allah Subhanah.


The guidance of the Messenger of Allah (saws) when choosing an imam to lead the prayers is very simple: “The one who knows the Quran most should be chosen to lead the prayer”.


Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 5.595 Narrated by Amr bin Salama

That he heard the Prophet (saws) say: “Offer such-and-such prayer at such-and-such time, and when the time for the prayer becomes due, then one of you should pronounce the Adhan (for the prayer), and let the one amongst you who knows Qur'an most to lead the prayer."


Thus as true believers in Allah and the Last Day, we must strive to rise above these petty sectarian and non-consequential issues, and follow the guidance of the Messenger of Allah (saws) in all aspects of our lives. Regardless of whether one follows the Hanafee or Shafei or any other school of thought, he should be respected and recognized first and foremost as a believer; and the one who knows the Quran most and best, should be chosen to lead the prayer.


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s 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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