Q: We in Long Island, NY, USA are a multiethnic Muslim community who runs a mosque. It is one of the largest mosque in Long Island (Alhamdulillah). Our Imam has started adding Qanoot-e-Naazilah in every salat including Zuhr and Asr prayers where recitation is not done loudly but he makes du’a in the last rak’at loudly, and he does the same thing in other three prayers too. He is also reciting many other du’as in addition to Qanoot-e Naazilah. Majority of the people behind him are Hanafi although Shafii and Maliki are also there. My question is what is the fiqh position of this act according to all school of thoughts? Is it allowed in the Sunnah of Muhammed, peace be upon him? How much and what is allowed to make dua during this act?
A: According to the Hanafi Madhab, Qunoot-e-Naazila will only be recited at times of hardship, difficulties and when the Ummah has been affected by calamities. This Qunoot Naazila can only be recited by the Imaam in the Fajr Salat after Ruku before going down for Sajdah in the second Rakaat. It cannot be recited in any other Salat besides Fajr Salat.
According to the Shaafi’ee Madhab, the general Qunoot has to be recited in the daily Fajr Salat. When in times of difficulty and need, then the Qunoot-e-Naazila may be recited in all prayers. The Imaam and also one who is performing Salat individually both may recite it audibly even though it is Dhuhr or Asr Salat.
According to the Maaliki Madhab, the general Qunoot can be recited in Fajr Salat only. However, there is no obligation to recite it (as in the Shaafi’ee Madhab). It may be recited softly in the Fajr Salat only and not in any of the other prayers, even though the need arises because of difficult and severe conditions.
According to the Hanbali Madhab, Qunoot Naazila can be recited during difficult situations with the exception of plague. If people are affected by plague, then Qunoot-e-Naazila cannot be recited for them. The Qunoot-e-Naazila may be recited in all prayers besides Jummu’ah. The Imaam will recite it after the Ruku and it is Sunnat for the followers to follow by stretching out their hands in front of their chest (as in du’a). When the Qunoot is over, they should wipe their hands over their faces.
As for the actual du’a, then according to all the schools of thought, it is preferable to recite the du’as that have been narrated in the Ahaadith. However, other du’as are permitted. The du’as must be in Arabic and must not resemble Kalaamun-Naas (talk of people).
We are not fully aware of the situation, however, outwardly it seems as though the Imaam in your Masjid is a follower of the Shaafii Madhab. And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best