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Praying salah behind a transgressing Imam

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham

Could you please explain whether it would be right to pray behind an Imam who does the following?
1. Lie
2. Stares at women.
3. Receiving benefit due to saying income is low when in fact he is receiving the full income
4. Not declaring the private income through tax return/self assessment, which is deceiving the authorities and the law of this country.
5. Backbites

I would be grateful for your response to clarify these issues.

In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.


The majority of the aforementioned sins are considered to be big sins, thus, making a habitual perpetrator of these sins a fasiq (transgressor).

It will be Makruh Tahrimi to pray salah behind such an Imam, but, the obligation will be rendered valid. (Raddul Muhtar p.298 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:

  1. The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam has said: “Read salah behind every pious person and transgressor.” (Surah Abu Dawud P.95 V.1)
  2. When the insurgents (Baghee’s) surrounded Saaiduna Uthman Radiallahu Anhu’s house, the sahabas continued to read their salah behind them.
  3. 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.
  4. 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)

Only Allah Knows Best

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.