Praying Behind the People of Innovation | 7 | A Question from America: Can A Group of Brothers Establish the Prayer at Home if the Imaam is Upon Innovation?
by The Albaani Site
Al-Albaani: Wa alaikum salaam.
Questioner: Is his eminence, the Shaikh present?
Al-Albaani [out of humility]: The old, aged, Shaikh is present.
Questioner: May Allaah reward you with good, O Shaikh.
Al-Albaani: And you.
Questioner: Can we ask some questions, O Shaikh?
Questioner: We called you yesterday and didn’t find you, so the brother al-Khateeb gave us some answers about the issue.
Questioner: And he asked us to call you today, so we are here in the city of Arlington in Texas, in the US, and we have a Mosque here with an Imaam …
Al-Albaani: He [i.e., al-Khateeb] explained the issue to me, so listen to the answer.
Any Imaam who leads the Muslims [in prayer], in any place, whether in a mosque or a musalla, or a house, or any other place, as long as the Muslims praying behind him hold that that Imaam is a Muslim, then their prayer behind him is correct–whatever their opinion about him is, whether in relation to aqidah or in terms of manners and actions.
So as long as his violation in aqidah or manners does not lead them to believe that he has disbelieved and left the fold of Islaam, then their prayer behind him is correct, due to his saying عليه الصلاة والسلام about the Imaams who lead you in prayer, “If they lead the prayer correctly then they and you will receive the rewards, but if they make a mistake, then you will receive the reward for the prayer and the sin will be theirs.” This hadith is in Sahih Bukhari, what does it say? “If they lead the prayer correctly then they and you will receive the rewards, but if they make a mistake, then you will receive the reward for the prayer and the sin will be theirs.” [Bukhaari, no. 694].
But in addition to this, if those who are being led in prayer are discontent with their Imaam in something related to aqidah or manners, then I advise that they try to replace him with someone else, someone better than him, if that is within their ability, and if it isn’t, then Allaah does not burden any soul with more than it can bear.
So it is either within your control or power to distance this Imaam of yours from being the Imaam and to bring someone better than him … this is something obligatory on you, or if the other case is true [i.e., it is not within your power], then your prayer behind him is correct as I told you before.
And through this legislated ruling it is possible for the Muslims to come together despite their differences and for them not to cut off or turn away from each other, has the answer become clear for you?
Questioner: It’s clear.
Al-Albaani: Good, what else do you have?
Questioner: It’s not allowed after … [tape unclear] … to pray on our own, is it allowed?
Al-Albaani: If the mosque, if the congregation is in the mosque and not outside it and the mosque has an appointed Imaam and an appointed muezzin behind whom the Muslims are gathered, yes.
Questioner: There is an appointed Imaam but not an appointed muezzin.
Al-Albaani: There is an appointed Imaam but not an appointed muezzin? This is something we cannot picture except in the land of disbelief which you live in. For this reason, it is upon you to emigrate from there.
As for the legislated ruling [Transl. note: the person’s question seems to have been about repeating the prayer in the mosque], then repeating the prayer in a mosque which has an appointed muezzin and Imaam who the Muslims gather behind, then here it is not allowed to split the congregation with a second congregational prayer and then a third and so on. But if the two conditions [i.e., the presence of both an appointed Imaam and muezzin] or one of them is not met as you mentioned, then fleeing that country is obligatory.
Questioner: May Allaah reward you with good.
Al-Albaani: And you.
Questioner: Your eminence, Shaikh, in this situation, is it allowed to establish the congregation at home and not in the mosque, three or four brothers, for example, praying in a house?
Al-Albaani: Which situation do you mean?
Questioner: I don’t understand [your question], O Shaikh?
Al-Albaani: Which situation do you mean, you said, ‘In this situation …’
Questioner: In the situation where an Imaam has such things and such characteristics as lying and other things, we, for example, in … [unclear] …we are not innovators who would establish [a second, third etc.] congregation in the mosque, but, for example, we will establish it in a house, for example, three or four brothers or a number of brothers establish it in a house and do not pray behind that Imaam, and we pray the congregation in a house on our own, is that allowed or not?
Al-Albaani: Why won’t you pray behind him [i.e., the Imaam in the mosque]?
Questioner: Ya’ni, our prayer [behind him] is permissible even if he has those characteristics?
Al-Albaani: By Allaah, what did I just speak about [i.e., wasn’t my whole answer about that]?
Questioner: Yes, may Allaah reward you with good, O Shaikh, can I ask you a second question?
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 442.