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Can I Pray Behind the Imams of Masjid al-Haram?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani 


I have been given conflicting viewpoints regarding the permissibility of reading with jamaat behind the imams of Masjid al-Haram. This is said due to their beliefs and that they do not follow a school of thought. Is this correct? Can you please give some clarification?


In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate

Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.

It is valid and proper to pray behind the imams at the Haram, and other sound congregations of the Muslims, in general. We adhere to the mainstream and the community and don’t cut ourselves off from them.

The Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him) said, “Pray behind every righteous and corrupt imam.” [Abu Dawud, others; and while it is mursal, such hadiths are accepted by the Hanafi and others]

Imam Tahawi (Allah have mercy upon him) included this as a point of belief in his admired credal statement. [Tahawi, al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya]

When one has a ready choice, one chooses the superior and more worthy congregation. But one doesn’t miss the main congregation of the Muslims, even if one disagrees with the imam.[Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

The Imams of the Haram tend to be of the Hanbali school. While they may have Salafi/Wahhabi views, this doesn’t mean that praying behind them is wrong. Rather, doing so is superior—and ensures one has the tremendous reward for congregational prayer at the Masjid al-Haram and the Kaaba.

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.