Answered by Shaykh Sikander Hashmi
What should one do if they led a prayer without ablution?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
If after leading a prayer (salat), an imam realizes that he mistakenly led without ablution (wudu), he should:
– make an announcement (preferably at the next Prayer and the same Prayer the next day) and ask the congregation to repeat the affected Prayer;
– post a notice at the masjid asking the congregation to repeat the prayer.
A short statement with the day, date and name of the affected prayer (i.e. Dhuhr of Monday etc.) will suffice. Of course, the imam must repeat his prayer as well.
If there is a chance that the congregation can be told to repeat the prayer before its time goes out, then the imam should act immediately to get the message out as soon as possible.
If, even after the Imam makes an effort to get the message out, a person who prayed behind the Imam does not get the message, it is hoped (insha’Allah) that the imam will not be held responsible, since the Prophet (SAW) has said:
“Allah has pardoned for me my people for [their] mistakes and [their] forgetfulness and for what they have done under duress.” (Imam Nawawi’s Forty Hadith; reported by Ibn Majah, Bayhaqi, and others)
Verily, Allah knows best.
Sikander Ziad Hashmi