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Intention Struggles: How to Ensure Your Prayer is Valid When Following an Imam

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Muftionline.co.za

Q: I understand it is a condition of the prayer when following an imam to intend to be linked to the imam. I also understand that the intention should be such that if a person was asked regarding his prayer, he should respond immediately without having to think-otherwise his prayer is invalid. I spend several minutes trying to make the intention for prayer, for example, to intend to read Fard of Isha Behind the imam. Despite this even after a few minutes of trying to make the intention, if one was to ask me what prayer I was praying I am able to respond immediately without thinking Fard of Isha. However, I have think very briefly remind myself I am praying behind the imam. And this happens almost every time even after five minutes of intention making. I am getting depressed over this because apparantly it makes my prayer invalid. Please can you help me?


A: Do not stress over this. Before performing any Salaah just make the intention of that Salaah within your heart and thereafter commence your Salaah.

And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.

قال وينوي الصلاة التي يدخل فيها بنية لا يفصل بينها وبين التحريمة بعمل والأصل فيه قوله عليه الصلاة والسلام الأعمال بالنيات ولأن ابتداء الصلاة بالقيام وهو متردد بين العادة والعبادة ولا يقع التمييز بالنية والمتقدم على التكبير كالقائم عنده إذا لم يوجد ما يقطعه وهو عمل لا يليق بالصلاة ولا معتبرة بالمتأخرة منها عنه لأن ما مضى لا يقع عبادة لعدم النية وفي الصوم جوزت للضرورة والنية هي الإرادة والشرط أن يعلم بقلبه أي صلاة يصلي أما الذكر باللسان فلا معتبر به ويحسن ذلك لاجتماع عزيمته (الهداية 1/ 96)

Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)

This answer was collected from MuftiOnline.co.za, where the questions have been answered by Mufti Zakaria Makada (Hafizahullah), who is currently a senior lecturer in the science of Hadith and Fiqh at Madrasah Ta’leemuddeen, Isipingo Beach, South Africa.

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