Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: As salam alaykum,
My Imam raises the microphone to his mouth when he says takbirs, recites surah and says salam. Also he keeps holding his microphone when he moves into prostration. Is it valid to pray behind him?
Also some imams no doubt wipe over their socks. To what extent must one go to to ensure that a person is praying behind an Imam who understands the basic fiqh of wudu and prayer?
I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.
(1) Yes, you can pray behind an imam who holds the microphone in his hand during the prayer as this is not invalidating. However, it would be considered disliked as he is leaving a sunna— by not placing both hands in their respective places during the prayer— without need. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]
(2) The basis is that the actions of another are valid and sound, and that you are not required to investigate. If you see somebody wiping over their socks, you can assume that (a) they are simply repeating their ablution (wudu) for the reward of doing so, or (b) the socks that they are wearing meet the conditions of valid footgear. If you have a choice of congregation, the way of caution is clear.
Please also see: Is It Permitted to Wipe Over Thick Socks?
And Allah alone knows best.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani