During congregational prayers, if I am to continue prayers while the imam is reciting the tashahhud and tasleem of the last rakah (unit), I put my hands on the floor, raise my knees and wait for the imam, but do I have to wait until he finishes the tasleem, or can I stand up when he starts the tasleem?
It is better to wait for the imam of the congregational prayer to end his prayer, but one may leave the congregation and continue his prayer alone before that.
Question : If one is praying behind a Sunni imam for unity, and one recites the Surahs in the first two Rakâ€™ats, will he have the intention of praying in congregation or praying on an individual basis (furada)?
Answer : His intention will not be offering congregational prayers.
Question : What qualification should the imam of congregational and Friday prayers have? Is it necessary that he had studied in the Seminaries of Qum or Najaf?
Answer : It is necessary in the imam of the congregational prayers to fulfill certain conditions, such as being adil â€“ i.e. to be adhering to the religions laws â€“ and he should be able to recite correctly, and be aware of the religions laws on what is permissible and prohibited.
It is not necessary for the imam of the congregational prayer to have been a student of the seminary of Qum or Najaf or any other seminary.
Question : At what point can I consider one adil, so to accept him as a witness or in leading the congregational prayers? Is there a certain amount of time I must spend with him, or is it sufficient to spend a short amount of time but to feel generally sure of his adalah?
Answer : There is no specific time for this, but it depends on socializing for a usual period that is sufficient for the manifestation of goodness from him and the absence of ill deeds.
Question : If I go to a mosque or a shrine of an Imam and find a scholar whom I do not know leading prayers in front of a very large group of people, none of whom I know, is it permissible for me to pray with them in congregation? Or is it necessary for me to first get to know the scholar, spend time with him and so on to ascertain that he is adil?
Answer : The Adaleh of the imam must be considered before one offers congregational prayer. It can be determined by knowledge and certainty that originates from dealing with him or from other ways of reaching such knowledge, testimony of two Adil witnesses and by good apparent behavior. Having a big crowd that offer the prayer behind a person is not sufficient.
Question : If I arrive at a place and find someone I do not know leading prayer, but up until that point I have not seen him perform sin, is it permissible for me to pray behind him?
Answer : The prayer behind him is invalid unless the conditions of the Imam of the congregational prayers are met. Presenting himself to lead the congregational prayer by itself is not sufficient.
Question : If I see a pious brother almost rarely fall into a sin, excepting the odd occasion of backbiting, is it still permissible for me to pray behind him? If not, when can I consider him as having repented and pray behind him?
Answer : If the Adil believer has committed a sin and it is known that he did it because of disobedience, then the prayer behind him is invalid, unless it is know that he repented to Almighty Allah from such a sin or he repented from committing all sins.
If it is probable that the believer had a religious excuse when he committed what appeared to be a sin, then his Adalah remains, for instance, when he backbites against a person and it is probable that the latter oppressed the believer or was openly committing that sin and similar reasons that justify such backbiting.
Question : If one knows without a doubt that he himself is a sinner, but people do not know this and consider him pious and ask him to lead prayers, is it permissible for him to do so and will their prayers be accepted?
Answer : It is not permissible for him to present himself to lead the congregational prayer if he knows that he does not fulfil the requirements of the Imam of the prayer, in such a way he would be considered as cheating them.
If they asked him to lead the prayer, it is permissible to do so, although it is better not to in this particular case as well.
If he was praying alone and someone decided to pray behind him in congregation, then his prayer is in order and he has not committed a sin. If he was not qualified to lead the prayer, he should not apply the laws of the congregational prayer on him, for example, referring to the people praying behind him when he has doubts.
Question : If one joins the congregation of Maghrib prayer late, so that he needs to recite Sura al-Fatiha and another Sura while the Imam recites the four tasbihaat, is the follower supposed to recite the Suras in a usual audible voice or in a low whisper in such a case?
Answer : If one join the congregational prayer in the third or fourth Rakaâ€™a and the Imam was reciting the Tasbihat, he should recite the Fatiha and the other Sura in a low whisper.
Question : Can a qualified person, who has all qualifications of the imam of the congregational prayer, lead some people who are ready to pray behind him when others object to it?
Answer : Yes, it is permissible to lead the prayer in such a situation and it is permissible for others to pray behind him.
Question : Is it necessary for the imam of the congregational prayer to be appointed by the Marja?
Answer : No, it is not one of the conditions.
Question : If one is praying behind a Sunni imam in congregation, and the imam recites one of the Quranic verses that makes prostration obligatory and the rest of the congregation goes into prostration, what is one supposed to do?
Answer : It is permissible to offer the prayers behind a Sunni imam if such prayers cause closeness between the hearts. It is not permissible to do so if this was for the sake of adulation. However, one should recite himself in the first two Rakaâ€™at (units).
If he hears the verse of prostration with them and they prostrate he can do so as well and his prayer will be in order.
Question : Is it permissible to pray behind someone who does not recite Suratil-Fatiha and the chapter after it properly?
Answer : If the imam of the congregational prayers knows the correct recitation but he made a mistake out of negligence in a prayer, the person following him in the prayer, who knows the correct way, should recite the mistaken part himself. He can continue to pray behind such an imam.
If the imam made the mistake in the recitation because he does not know the correct recitation, the person following him should recite the mistaken part properly and should not pray behind this person again based on compulsory precaution.
Question : If one does not consider himself Adil and knows that he commits sins that only he and Almighty Allah know about, without falling into sin publicly, and people do not know he sins and consider him Adil, is it permissible for him to lead prayers?
Answer : It is permissible for the person to lead the prayer after repenting to Almighty Allah and seeking His forgiveness.
Question : If a person committed major sins like adultery, theft and lying but he asks sincerely the forgiveness from Almighty Allah, will his sins be pardoned and can he lead the prayers as an imam?
Answer : If repentance was sincere then the attribute of Adaleh is returned and one can follow him in the prayer.
Question : If the imam of the congregational prayers is in the third or fourth Rakaâ€™ah and decided to recite Suratul-Fatihah, do we have to follow him in reciting Suratul-Fatihah, or can we choose to recite Tasbihat?
Answer : It is permissible to recite Tasbihaat three times or recite the Al-Fatihah. If the latter is chosen, the Bismillah should be recited silently during the mentioned Rakâ€™ahs.
Question : I am western and converted to Islam, my parents are not Muslims, and I am of illegitimate birth. Can I lead a congregational prayer?
Answer : The sexual relations that lead to having a baby, if it was based on a form of marriage, even if it was not Islamic, the child born from such a marriage will be considered to be from legitimate birth, and it is permissible for such a person to lead the congregational prayer.
If the aforementioned relation of the parents was not based on such a marriage, then the child is not considered from legitimate birth and cannot lead the prayers.
Question : If the imam of the congregational prayer does not possess a body part or it has been cut off, is it permissible to offer prayers behind him?
Answer : It is permissible to pray behind him provided that other conditions of the imam of congregational prayer are met.
Question : Can my brother and I pray in congregation together, just the two of us? What qualities must one of us have to lead the other?
Answer : Yes, it is permissible to do so. One of the descriptions of the imam of the congregational prayer is adalah, which means observance of the religious rulings and not breaking them. If a person committed a sin by which he is no longer considered adil, but he repented after that and decided to refrain from committing the sin again, then he can be considered adil again.
Also, the imamâ€™s recitation of the two chapters of the Quran in the first two rakaâ€™ahs should be correct and according to Arabic grammar.
Question : Someone joins the congregational prayer while the imam is in the bowing position, but he later changes his intention not to follow the imam. He subsequently decides to follow him again during the same prayer. Can he do so?
Answer : If he intended to break the congregational prayer and pray alone, and then he or the imam had performed an act of prayer, then he has left the congregational prayer and must complete his prayer alone. Rather, the same is the case if neither of them performed any act, as an obligatory precaution.