If the imam makes a small mistake such as saying the takbir after moving into the bowing position, must one correct him?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Thank you for your important question.
The takbir that is said while moving from position to position in prayer is a recommended invocation and not an essential part of the prayer. [Minhaj al-Talibin, Nawawi] As such, the prayer will be valid however the imam says it, so there is no need for anyone to correct him.
Furthermore, one should not assume that imam has does something that calls for the forgetfulness prostration simply because it is possible that he recited the takbir in the bowing position. This is especially the case given that the imam would only perform the forgetfulness prostration if he said part of the takbir in the bowing position intending it as a recommended act that has been moved from its proper place. [Tuhfat al-Muhtaj, Ibn Hajar] Given that this is quite hard to judge, one should just assume the prayer is perfectly fine.
In summary, just follow the imam, and do not correct him unless he is clearly doing something wrong.
I pray this helps.
[Ustadh] Farid Dingle
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.