Q&A (Fatwa)

#210: Ruling on Imaam who does not Recite Sūratul Fātihah Correctly


“Assalaamu ‘alaykum warahmatuLlaah

I am pondering over an issue so I want to know your view point.

Since there is no solah for whoever does not recite Sooratul Faatiha, how about someone who observes solah behind an Imaam who does not recite it properly?

It is better to know the ruling because of this our environment. May Allaah not make our ‘ibadaats void.”


Wa alaykum salaam warahmatullaah wabarakaatuh.


Firstly, we will like to correct your statement. The Ulama a have mentioned that it is disliked to seek Legal Ruling (fatwa) on a matter with the clause ‘knowing the opinion’. May Allaah guide us aright.

Secondly, it is important to know and to understand that what is waajib and obligatory is that the one who knows best the Qur’an by memory and understanding must be the one to lead the Salaat. This is what the Rasul -salallaahu alayhi wasallam – said as was recorded by Imaam Muslim in his Sahih when he said:

“A people are led (in Prayer) by the one amongst them who is most learned of the Qur’an”

However, whenever the one who leads the Salaat happens to be one who does not recite well, the Ulamaa have differed slightly on the ruling of such:
The majority of the Ulamaa hold the following:

1. That if this Imaam knows how to recite well and was only reciting it with errors intentionally, then both his Salaat and the Salaat of the followers is void and must be repeated.

2. If this Imaam recites with errors due to an impediment on his tongue or due to his inability to pronounce certain words or due to the limitations of his tongue caused by his mother tongue, the Malikis and the Hanafis hold that his Salaat is valid for both himself and his followers but it is makruh that he should be the Imaam; whereas majority of the Shaafi’is and the Hanbalis hold that it is haraam in this case that he leads the Salaat. In other words, his salaat is valid for himself but invalid for others as their Imaam and such a Salaat must be repeated.

The position of the Maalikis and the Hanafis in this regard is the one supported by the evidences and there is a precept in Fiqh in which the Ulamaa say:

من صحت صلاته لنفسه صحت لغيره

“whosoever his Salaat for himself is valid, then his salaat for others too is valid”

3. If the Imaam recites with errors due to ignorance and refusal or inability to learn, then the majority of the Ulamaa hold that if his follower was ignorant like he is then both of their Salaat is valid but if the follower was learned and could recite well, then both of their Salaat is invalid and must be repeated within the time range of the Salaat – that is if the errors were in Suratul Faatiha – but valid if the errors were in other Surahs.

It is important that we state that the kind of errors that we are speaking about here is the error that changes the meanings of the Qur’an such as reciting the wording “iyyaaka na’budu” as “iyyaaki na’budu” or the wording “an’amta ‘alayhim” as “an’amtu alayhim”, etc.
It is not part of the conditions of the acceptance of a person’s Salaat that he perfects Tajwid.

And it is important that we realise that our duty as Muslims is to correct people when they err and to teach them how to recite what they lack the knowledge of reciting.

Whenever it becomes clear to you that the Imaam of a masjid does not recite well, you should begin by attempting to correct him by beautiful preaching and leniency. And if that does not work, then there are a lot of Masaajid out of which you can choose the Imaam whose recitations put your heart at rest. You must not however, under any circumstance abandon Salaat in Jamaa’a due to the concerns of the Imaam not reciting well. That is because in accordance with the soundest Legal Opinion, Salaat in Jamaa’a is Waajib.

Allaahu A’alam.

May Allay be with us and accept our Ibaadaat. Aameen.

Baarakallaahu feekum.



Islamnode is a platform for the dissemination of sound Knowledge of Islam and an orientation of Muslims of the Sciences of the Din in accordance with the Pristine Knowledge taught by the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – to the Companions – Ridwanullah ‘Alayhim – and understood by them, their Students and those who followed them of the earliest generations. We follow the Sunnah of the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – and promote the Works of the Ulama of Sunnah from the first generation to date. Our goal is to propagate the Sciences of Islam, to disseminate the sound understanding of the Salaf and to enable the sound education of Muslims in this era.

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