Imam Doesn’t Say Salam Correctly

Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed

What should I do if the imam finishes his prayer by saying “salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah” without either the definite article [h: “al-salamu ‘alaykum …”] or the nunation [h: “salamun ‘alaykum …”]? [h: The reason for this question is that in the Shafi‘i school, the final salams must be said with the definite article (“al”), i.e., “al-salamu …” Merely saying “salamu …” is not sufficient and results in an invalid prayer. See Reliance of the Traveller, f8.47]

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

 

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمد لله رب العالمين و صلى الله على سيدنا محمد و على آله و صحبه و سلم أما بعد

The follower should simply say his salams after the imam: [h: however the imam says his salams, it does not affect the validity of the follower’s prayer] and the follower does not have to do anything.




The reason for this is that [h: the imam did one of three things]: (1) he either said the definite article but the follower did not hear it—in this case there is no harm done—or (2) he deliberately said the salams without the definite article knowing full well that it was unlawful to do so, thereby invalidating his prayer—in this case the follower becomes as if he is praying alone (munfarid) when the imam’s prayer is invalidated [h: and he simply completes his own prayer by saying the salams]—or (3) the imam was excused in his doing so [h: by doing it out of ignorance, for example]—in which case it is valid to follow him as scholars have explicitly stated. [h: This last case] is different from [h: an imam] who makes mistakes in his fatiha [h: where it would not be valid to follow him].

Amjad Rasheed
Amman, Jordan

(Translated by Hamza Karamali)

 

السؤال : ماذا أفعلُ إذا كان الإمام يُنهي الصلاةَ بقول ( سلامُ عليكم ورحمة الله ) من غير تعريفِ لفظِ السلام ولا تنوين ؟الجواب : لا شيء على المأموم في ذلك ، فيسلم بعد سلام إمامه ؛ لأن غاية الأمر أن الإمام إما أنه يأتي بالتعريف لكن المأموم لا يسمعه فلا يضرّ ، أو أنه يأتي به ناقصَ التعريف عامداً عالماً بالتحريم فيكون قد أبطل صلاته ، وإذا بطلت صلاةُ الإمام صار المأموم منفرداً ، وإذا كان الإمامُ معذوراً في ذلك فالقدوةُ به صحيحةٌ كما صرحوا به بخلاف من يخل بالفاتحة .