Answered by: Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Assalamu alaikum, Could you please give advice on whether you can pray behind an imam who:
Called a brother a disbeliever
3) Doing Sihr using a hindu priest.
4) Chats/sees non-mehram woman.
There are evidence to back up the above from people.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
We cannot imagine that an Imam doing the following things. There may have been a mistake in what people have seen or saying about him.
But we will answer on the basis of what is mentioned in the question.
Such a person will be considered a faasiq (transgressor) according to the Shariah and it will be Makruh Tahrimi to read salah behind him.
(Raddul Muhtar P.298 v.2)
One should read their salah in such a mosque where the imam does not do the aforementioned things. However, because of some necessity if a person reads his salah behind such an imam then it will be permissible and more preferable to read behind him than reading it by himself. (Raddul Muhtar P.299 V.2)
An additional point to remember is that if a person did read behind such an imam it will not be necessary to repeat the salah.
Mufti Habibur Rahman, a senior mufti of Darul Uloom Deoband gives the following reasons why a person would not need to repeat his salah:
The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam has said: “Read salah behind every pious person and transgressor.” (Surah Abu Dawud P.95 V.1)
When the insurgents (Baghee’s) surrounded Saaiduna Uthman Radiallahu Anhu’s house. The sahabas continued to read their salah behind them.
There is a possibility that by not reading behind such an imam it might cause fitnah or differences in the community and Islam has prohibited from creating fitnah.
It is not mentioned in any hadith, that such a salah that has been performed with severe detestability (Makruh Tahrimi) has to be repeated. The ruling written by Allahmah Ibn Abedeen Shami (RA) “Every salah which is performed with detestability has to be repeated.” (Raddul Muhtar p.147 v.2) Applies where the salah has become Makruh by missing one of the obligatory (wajib) actions of salah.
(Masaail Imamat P.141)
Finally, I would like to add that if this Imam is getting advice from a Hindu priest on Sihr without adhering or accepting his religion, then it will be permissible and would not take him out of the fold of Islam. However, if one is getting advice on the basis that he is saintly or God fearing and having conviction on his religion, then that will be impermissible and there is a danger of leaving the fold of Islam. In such a situation it may not be permissible to pray behind such an Imam.
Only Allah Knows Best
Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham