Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaikum,
What is the minimum age for leading the congregational prayer?
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
The minimum age requirement for the imam is that he be an adult (i.e. has reached puberty) because children are not morally responsible (mukallaf), thus their prayers are considered to be non-binding and voluntary (nawafil), and you cannot pray the obligatory prayer behind somebody who is praying a voluntary prayer.
Similarly you cannot pray a [binding] voluntary prayer behind somebody whose prayer is non-binding, namely, that of a child.
[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah, with Tahtawi’s Gloss (hashiya)]
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And Allah alone gives success.
في حاشية الطحطاوي على مراقي الفلاح: (قوله : والبلوغ) فلا يصح إقتداء بالغ بصبي مطلقا سواء كان في فرض لأن صلاة الصبي ولو نوى الفرض نفل أو في نفل لأن نفله لا يلزمه أي ونفل المقتدي لازم مضمون عليه فيلزم بناء القوي على الضعيف اهـ.
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