As Salamu Alaykum Wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh, I have just started following the Shafii Madhab. Now that I am reading a lot of information on this website, praise be to Allah, I found that I have been making mistakes. For example, I read that not saying Bismillah before Fatihah nullifies prayer and that you have to recite Fatihah after the imam in a jahr prayer. Because I made such mistakes, does that nullify all my past prayers? Do I have to repeat them? I will appreciate your kind help in resolving this matter Jazakum Allah Khair wa As Sallam Alaykom wa Rahmat Allah Wa Barakatuh.
Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuHu,
The issue of taqlid ba’d al-‘amal [making taqlid after one has performed an action, thus retrospectively] is discussed by the Shafiyyah. Various authorities in the Madhhab have addressed this issue. For instance, Sh. Muhammad b. Sulayman al-Kurdi discussed the issue in his fatawa. A copy of his fatawa is not on hand to cite from directly; therefore, we will suffice with citing him from Ba’Alawi’s Bughyat al-Mustarshidin p. 16.
There, taqlid ba’d al-‘amal is stated to be permissible with two stipulations. They are: 1) that one did not know that his action was invalid when he performed it and 2) that the opinion of which he is subscribing to and adopting is held by one who also maintains that taqlid ba’d al-‘amal is permitted.
The issue of the Basmalah and not reciting Fatihah in the prayers may be valid according to the Hanafi School, for example. In his al-Fiqh al-Islami v. 1, p. 59-60, Dr. Zuhayli cited an incident where Qadi Abu Yusuf from the Hanafis accepted taqlid ba’d al-‘amal. While if the Hanafis’ accept taqlid ba’d al-‘amal, one who wishes to know such would have to consult one qualified to answer according to that particular Madhhab. This would be needed to ensure that the aforementioned condition be fulfilled.
Allah knows best.
Shafiifiqh.com Fatwa Dept.