Peace be with you,
Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude for your answer to my previous question as praying has become much easier for me. But still, there are some uncertainties I hope you could clarify with regards to the extent of tolerance for errors of pronounciation.
If I may, I would like to refer you to an answer on islamqa.info (146489: Ruling on leading of the prayer by one who cannot recite al-Faatihah well) which I found particularly concerning, because it presented some criteria for the excuse to take hold which brings me to my first point.
1.) Quoting from that answer it says (note the highlighted phrases):
“With regard to the validity of prayer offered behind one who cannot recite well […] when he is [able to correct] this mistake, [but he is careless], then his prayer is not valid and prayer offered behind him is not valid either.”
This worries me for two reasons:
a) I can actually correct a mistake by simply repeating the word once, or multiple times until it is correct. Does this mean that I actually have to correct my mistakes? Then how many attempts should I give myself before moving on? Sometimes I repeat an Ayah or a part of it and make a different or sometimes worse mistake than the first time so it gets complicated.
b) What could be meant here by “careless”. If I am excused for my poor pronounciation, does that mean that I still have to remain vigilant in order to prevent mistakes? Unfortunately, sometimes I am taken by a lapse of concentration which causes a mistake which could have been prevented had I been more careful. Is such a mistake not tolerated because it was out of carelessness? Similarly, when praying in the proximity of other people I try to pray as quietly as possible. Other people seem to be able to do this and pray without being heard, but when I wish to reduce the volume, I have tu reduce the airflow which drastically increases the probability of mistakes. Again, are additional mistakes caused by praying very quietly overlooked?
2.) I live in a country where many imams are not native Arabs, thus their pronounciation of the Quran may be somewhat lacking. I do not know whether they are able to correct their mistakes or whether they even recognise the need to do so. If for instance a non-Arab imam pronounced the Fatiha correctly in the first Rak’ah and made a mistake in the second, does that mean that he was careless or is it excused even though he did it right the first time? Should I only go to mosques where I know are Arab imams?
My apologies, if my repeated questioning have become inconvenient.
Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
1) We have answered question 1048 for your specific case, in light of the detailed question which you have submitted. Thus, in your case based on all that you explained, you should only endeavour to correct a word once if its in Surah al-Fatiha, or the first three verses thereafter. And if you have recited more than the necessary recitation, then you should go into Ruku’.
2) If the Masjid where the Imam recites correctly is not far or difficult to reach, then its best to perform Salah there.
If it is difficult to go to such Masjids, and the Imams at the Masjids close to you do not recite correctly, then as long as the meaning does not change, you should not concern yourself with the Imams recitation. The onus will be on him to recite correctly, and on the committee who hired such an Imam. You should only be repeat your prayer if the meaning changes drastically.
And Allaah Ta’aala knows best
Ismail Moosa (Mufti)
This answer was collected from Fatwaa.com which is an excellent Q&A site managed by Mufti Ismail Moosa from South Africa. .