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Reciting a Surah behind the Imam in Dhuhr and ‘Asr

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Shafiifiqh.com


I want to know whether in the Zohar and Asar Prayers where the imam prayers quietly, whether Shafi’i followers recite surah fatiha alone or surah fatiha and more quran in the first two rakaats? Please can you answer my question asap. Jazakallah.


Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlah,

It is recommended for the imam and one praying alone to recite a surah after the Fatihah in the first two rak’ats, regardless as to whether the prayer is audible or inaudible. This is the madhdhab according to Sheikh al-Islam Zakariyya mentions in Fath al-Wahhab (1/290). Reciting a surah is recommended and is achieved by reciting some portion of the Qur’an, be it a single verse or more. Ramli expounded on this in his commentary on Imam Nawawis Minhaj al-Talibin. (Nihayat al-Muhtaj 1/491)

This is for the imam and the person praying alone. As for one following an imam, he may be in one of two situations:

1)     He is able to hear the imam‘s recitation, like when the prayer is audible, such as: subh, maghrib, and ‘isha.

2)     He is unable to hear the imam‘s recitation, such as when the prayer is inaudible or one is unable to hear the imam’s recitation.

In the first situation, it is not recommended that a follower recite a surah, as our School considers it to be disliked. The follower (after reciting the Fatihah) should instead, listen attentively to the imam‘s recitation, taking heed to Allah’s injunction, “when the Quran is recited,  listen closely to it.” (Surat al-’Araf 204)

In instances where one is unable to hear the imam‘s recitation, the follower is recommended to recite a surah after the Fatihah according to what is relied-upon (ar: al-asahh).

Not being able to hear the imam‘s recitation can be for a number of reasons, including: the prayer being inaudible (like as zuhr and asr), being far from the imam, being able to hear the imam‘s voice but unable to comprehend what he is reciting, etc.

Consequently, it is recommended for the follower to recite a surah after the Fatihah in inaudible prayers. Likewise, the follower may recite a surah in prayers that are normally audible, but due to being far from the imam one is unable hear his recition or when one can hear but is unable to make out what is being recited.

And, Allah knows best

Sidi Mahmud Adams



Shams al-Din al-Ramli. Nihayat al-Muhtaj ila Sharh al-Minhaj. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 2004

Sheikh al-Islam Zakariyya al-Ansari. Fath al-Wahhab bi-Sharh Manhaj al-Tullab. [Printed with Bujayrmi’s marginalia al-Tajrid li-Naf’ al-‘Abid]. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 2005

This answer was collected from Shafiifiqh.com which was a repository of Islamic answers as per the Shafi’i madhhab. The website no longer functions. At its peak, many ‘ulama were involved with the site including Shaykh Mawlana Taha Karaan, Shaykh Abdul-Fattah ibn Abdullah, and Shaykh AbdurRagman Khan.

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