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What is meant by the term "Adalah"?
Adalah – as a condition in the imam of the congregational prayer and in the witness – is a level of fearing Almighty Allah that leads to avoiding the committing of major sins. Committing small sins without insistence does not affect it.
Adalah – as a condition in the marja – is a high level of God-fearing which leads the person to refraining from disobeying the religious laws and committing sins – whether the sins are small or major. If on the rare occasion he commits a sin, he would rush to repent to Almighty Allah and seek his forgiveness.
A person who holds 'adālah is called "adil".
How can one determine if the person leading the congregational prayers is Adil? How do you define Adalah?
It can be determined by one of the following:
1. Knowledge and certainty that originates from dealing with him or from other ways of reaching such knowledge.
2. Testimony of two Adil witnesses.
3. Good apparent behavior.
Adalah is defined as not committing the big sins, and when committed the individual repents, and not repeatedly committing small sins.
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?
The Adalah 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.
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?
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.
Can I follow a prayer imam if I do not know whether he is Adil?
The prayer behind a person whose Adalah is not established is void.
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?
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.
A person is an open or an exposed liar. The person has lied to me and also to the public in general. Is it permissible for us to pray behind him in congregational prayers?
Your prayer behind such a person is invalid.
Is it permissible to pray behind one who doubts the authenticity of Ziyarat Ashura?
Adalah is a condition in the Imam of the congregational prayer, which is observing the religious laws and its boundaries. One of the main boundaries of the religion is precision in the religious aspects and not rushing into judging them.
I want to ask that as a Shia am I allowed to offer prayer behind those who does not believe in the imamate of the Ahlulbait?
It is permissible to do so if such prayers cause closeness between the hearts. It is not permissible if this was for the sake of adulation. However, one should recite himself in the first two Raka'ats.
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?
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 Raka'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.
If one is praying behind a Sunni imam for unity, and one recites the Surahs in the first two Raka'ats, will he have the intention of praying in congregation or praying on an individual basis (furada)?
His intention will not be offering congregational prayers.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
It is permissible for the person to lead the prayer after repenting to Almighty Allah and seeking His forgiveness.
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?
If repentance was sincere then the attribute of Adalah is returned and one can follow him in the prayer.
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?
Yes, it is permissible to lead the prayer in such a situation and it is permissible for others to pray behind him.
Is it permissible to pray behind an imam who cannot pronounce Arabic correctly? Is the prayer void?
If the person offering the prayer behind the imam knows the correct recitation, then following him in the morning prayers or in the first two Rakats of the Maghrib and Isha prayers is invalid based on compulsory precaution.
If he is following the imam in the last two Rakats of the Maghrib and Isha then the prayers is valid. The prayer is also valid if the praying person and the imam make the same mistakes in the recitation. Following such an imam is also valid during the Dhuhr and Asr prayers if the praying person recites for himself.
Can somebody who is not able to recite in correct Arabic pronunciation lead the congregational prayers? (For example, mixing up "saad" and "seen", the soft "ha" and the hard "ha" etc.)?
Yes, he is allowed to lead, but whoever can recite better than him is not permitted to pray behind him based on compulsory precaution in the first two Raka'as of the Maghrib and Isha prayers and during the Morning Prayer. Whoever can recite better can follow him in the Dhuhur and Asr prayers but he must recite for himself.
There is a good believer who leads the prayers, but mispronounces the vowels (harakat), for example he says "Bismillahir-Rahmanur-Raheem" instead of "Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Raheem", i.e. he puts a Dhammah on the Noon instead of Kasrah. I approached him privately and explained to him the mistake but he took offense and still recites it incorrectly. Can we pray behind him?
Based on what you have mentioned about the recitation of the said person, your congregational prayer behind him is invalid during Maghrib, Isha and Morning prayers based on compulsory precaution. You can pray behind him in Dhuhur and Asr prayers but you should recite for yourself.
Is it permissible to pray behind someone who does not recite Suratil-Fatiha and the chapter after it properly?
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.