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Is the Prayer Valid if the Followers Can’t See the Imam?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Sidi Faraz A. Khan

Question: Is it an obligation for a follower of a prayer to be able to see the imam (either directly or through following another brother/sister)? I’ve noticed that many masjids and prayer spaces for Islamic centers or MSAs have full dividers, even though more than enough space is available for both men and women to pray without them. If such space is available, is it advisable to at least leave a gap in the barriers so the women can more easily follow the prayer? I understand this might even be a question of the validity of the prayer.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith.

As long as the follower can ascertain the movements of the imam—whether by seeing the imam or by seeing other followers, or by hearing the takbirs from the imam or from other followers—then the prayer of the follower is valid.

Another condition is that the prayer of the follower be in the same “place” as that of the imam, without a large gap separating any row. However an empty area inside a mosque, no matter how large, is not a problem, since the entire mosque is deemed one “place.”

[Hashiya Tahtawi/Maraqi l-Falah]

Any means to facilitate the women’s ability to follow the imam would be advisable. The mosque should definitely invest in good-quality speakers.

And Allah alone gives success.


Faraz A. Khan

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.

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