Does the Saff always start behind the Imam? If a Saff is made by a single person elsewhere (made in a hurry to catch a Rakaah), should we continue with this person or start from behind the Imam?
As Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh
The proper method of forming the saff is it should be started from behind the Imam and completed from both sides, right and left. When one saff is completed another saff should be started in a like manner from behind the Imam. It is incorrect to start a saff from any random place because on wants to catch a Rakaat. To unsure one doesn’t miss a rakaat, one should try to come early.
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam has instructed us in one Hadith saying: “keep the Imam in the middle (by forming the saff’s evenly on both sides of the Imam) and fill in the gaps” (Abu Dawood Hadith number 781)
Hence, those who join the congregation should start their Salaat from behind the Imam as it is disliked to start from somewhere else. (Raddul Muhtaar vol 1, pg 568, Fatawa Raheemiyah vol 5, pg 20)
AND ALLAH TA’AALA KNOWS BEST
Muhammad Z Panchbhaya