In jama`ah of fajr, maghrib, and `ishaa’, do shafi`is need to silently repeat the fatiha to themselves after the imam has done so? does the imam need to repeat it to himself silently as well? I ‘ve always been taught to do this, yet someone who’s shafi`i said I shouldn’t. what’s the basis for doing so (if there is one)?

Answered by Sidi Omar Mahmood

  In jama`ah of fajr, maghrib, and `ishaa’, do shafi`is need to silently repeat the fatiha to themselves after the imam has done so? does the imam need to repeat it to himself silently as well? I ‘ve always been taught to do this, yet someone who’s shafi`i said I shouldn’t. what’s the basis for doing so (if there is one)?

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

as salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,

bismillah ar-rahman ar-rahim

In the shafi`i madhab, recitation of the fatiha is a rukn (necessary integral) of prayer. That is, it is required for *everyone* to recite the fatiha in order to have a valid prayer…whether you be the imam or ma`mum (following an imam).

If you are praying zuhr, asr, or some prayer where the recitation is silent, or you are following an imam in fajr, maghrib, or isha…then the recommended manner of reciting the fatiha is to recite it silently upon your lips (just loud enough for you to hear yourself as though you were praying in a silent room).

However, while following an imam, it is also recommended for the followers to listen quietly to the imam’s recitation of fatiha…therefore, in order to conform with all the recommended acts regarding the fatiha, followers of an imam in the shafi`i madhab recite the fatiha silently to themselves only after the imam finishes his fatiha and everyone says “ameen”.

It is not necessary for the imam to recite the fatiha again to himself silently since he already fulfilled the rukn of reciting the fatiha for his own prayer. However, the common etiquette is for the imam to allow some duration after saying “ameen” and before starting his sura to give the followers a chance to recite their own fatihas. You will see this sometimes in the masajid of many countries where the madhab of Imam as-Shafi`i is followed….the length of this duration differs according the customary practices of each land.

wa Allahu a`lam

forgive me,

wassalaam
-Omar