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Imam Reciting Surah Fatihah Fast in Salah

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham

Answered by: Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah


Sometimes when I pray behind the imam in our local mosque I notice that the imam is extremely fast in his recitation when he recites silently (like in dhuhr, asr). I have checked myself if I recite al-Fatiha as fast as I can trying to make no mistakes in tajweed then it will take me about 10 seconds to finish.

When I check the imam I hear him sometimes say “walladdaaleen ameen” after three seconds. I feel not comfortable with his recitation. Sometimes I get the feeling that he is not reciting the whole al-Fatiha because in my view it is not possible to recite the Fatiha in such a short period of time. And as a Hanafi, I am dependent on the imam’s recitation.

I also do not want to miss the congregational prayer in the mosque during Zuhr and asr. Can you advise me on what to do in this situation? Should I keep praying behind this imam or not?

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful


The Hanafi jurists have mentioned the following rules with regards to making a mistake in recitation during salah:

  1. If the person makes such a mistake in which the meaning of the Holy Quran is changed.  The Salah, in this case, will be deemed invalid irrespective of whether three verses of the Holy Quran was recited or not.
  2. If the mistake is such that the harakat were changed.  For example, zabar was read instead of zer etc.  In this situation, the salah will not be rendered invalid.  However, if by changing the harakat the meaning of the Holy Quran changed then the salah will become void.
  3. If a person reads a certain letter instead of another letter and it was possible to differentiate between both without any difficulty the salah will break.  However, if it was difficult to differentiate between the letters for example ‘seen and saad’ then if he changed it intentionally the salah will be rendered void, otherwise it will be considered intact.
  4. If a person read extra words in which the meaning of the verse changed the Salah will be rendered invalid, whether the extra words he read were in the Holy Quran or not.  However, if the meaning does not change then whether the extra words he read are mentioned in the Holy Quran or not, his salah will remain intact.  (Fatawa Hindiyyah p.79 v.1)

The conclusion to your question is that if the Imam by reading fast is making such a mistake where the meaning of the Qur’an has changed, the Salaah will break, otherwise, it will still be intact.

Regarding your specific situation, I think you should not worry too much about the length of the Imam’s recitation as this will lead to unnecessary doubts and waswasas in your mind. If the Imam is praying incorrectly, you will Insha Allah get the reward and the sin will be upon him. (Mazahirul Haqq p.95 v.2)

Saaiduna Abu Hurairah Radiallahu Anhu narrates that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said, “Your prayers will be led. If they (Imam) are right, then it is for you (reward); and if they commit a mistake, then it is for you (reward) but against them (sin).” (Sahih Bukhari p.96 v.1)

Only Allah Knows Best

Written by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.

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