Q. Does the Salaah of a follower in Salaah become invalid if he performs Ruku or Sajdah before the Imaam?
A. A follower (Muqtadi) must not precede the Imaam in Salaah and must follow the Imaam in every posture of Salaah.
If a follower makes Ruku’ or Sajdah before the Imaam does so, the Salaah of the follower will remain valid on condition that the Ruku’ or Sajdah of the Imaam and follower occurs together. Hence, if a follower preceded the Imaam in Ruku’ or Sajdah but the Imaam’s Ruku’ or Sajdah occurred together with the followers Ruku’ or Sajdah before the follower proceeded to the next posture of Salaah, the Salaah of the follower will remain valid.
However, if after the follower preceded the Imaam in Ruku’ or Sajdah, the follower proceeds to the next posture of Salaah before the Imaam’s Ruku’ or Sajdah occurs together with the follower, the Salaah of the follower is invalidated. (Tahtaawi Ala Maraaqil Falaah 1/337 – Fataawa Raheemiyyah 5/109)
Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ismaeel Bassa
This answer was collected from TheMufti.com, which is a fatwa portal managed by Mufti Ismaeel Bassa from South Africa.