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Imam Missing a Pillar in Prayer

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick 

Question Summary

I prayed Fajr in a congregation but could not see the Imam. In the first cycle (raka’a), the Imam started reciting the Fatiha while I was sitting between the two prostrations (sujud). I assumed I had unknowingly lagged. I stood up to follow the Imam for the second cycle (raka’a). After the Imam ended his prayer, I added another cycle (raka’a). The Imam later announced that he missed the bowing and straightening (ruku’ and i’tidal). Do I need to redo the prayer, or does my additional cycle (raka’a) suffice?

Question Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah guide every dimension of our lives to that which pleases Him, Amin.

Thank you for your question.

As long as your prayer fulfilled all the required integrals (two complete cycles) through your additional cycle (raka’a), then your prayer was valid, and there is no need to repeat it. If you did not complete two full cycles by the end of your prayer, you should repeat the prayer, and Allah knows best.

Following the Imam

Based on your description, you were following the Imam to the best of your ability and with the assumption that he was correct and that you were not. You were right in following the Imam based on where you thought he was, and you could only discern what happened after he ended the prayer.

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “The Imam is only appointed to be followed, so do not differ from him. When he bows, then bow, when he says ‘Sami’a Allahu li man hamida (Allah hears the one who praises Him)’ then say ‘Rabbana laka al-hamd (Our Lord, to You, be praise),’ and when he prostrates, then prostrate.” [Agreed Upon]

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.

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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