Can’t Hear My Imam

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Sidi Moustafa Elqabbany

Many mosques in the west consist of many floors, and speakers are used to carry the sound to the top floors. Now say you have started praying (in jama’at) and you go into ruku – the speakers stop working so you can’t hear the Imam anymore – what would you all do? This happened last week but luckily we could just make out the Imam enough to keep following. Say we could not hear a thing then what?

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Preliminaries

The following answer assumes one is a mosque.

 

Answer

One of the conditions of following an imam is to be aware of his motions, whether by seeing the imam himself, some of those behind him, hearing his voice, or the voice of someone else informing about the imam’s motions (such as a mukabbir – one who says Allahu Akbar in a loud voice after the imam). If you lose track of the imam’s motions, then you have to intend to stop following him. If you are hopeful of being able to regain track of his motions, then you can delay this intention up to the amount of time (according to your best estimate) it would take him to perform two integrals.

In summary, you must either,

  • regain track of the imam’s motions, or
  • intend to stop following him

before the amount of time it takes him to complete two integrals.

In the case of the Friday prayer, the follower must complete his first rak’ah in congregation in order for it to count. If he intends to stop following the imam after completing the first rak’ah, he can pray the second rak’ah on his own.

References

Al-Jurdani, Muhammad ibn Abdullah. Fath al-Allam bisharh Murshid Al-Anam. 4 vols. 1408/1988. Reprint. Cairo: Dar as-Salam.

Allah the Exalted knows best and He alone gives success.

Moustafa Elqabbany
Metro Vancouver, Canada

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