بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Answer to Question
Praying Behind an Imam, the Only Link is through Speakers
To Abu Qutaiba Jitawi
Is it permissible to have a congregation prayer in a building, a building floor, a courtyard, or somewhere else, behind an Imam who is completely in a separate mosque, which means that the Imam and those behind him in the congregation cannot be seen or heard in their mosque except through speakers or screens that transmit the sound or image through modern electrical electronic devices or the Internet?
Please advise us, because the issue is starting to spread, may Allah reward you.
My brother, the issue of this Friday prayer was addressed by the jurists and they have opinions about it, and I have heard that some screens are used! I am not saying that all their opinions are invalid, but what I outweigh is the following:
First: Some related texts:
1- Al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of Al-Araj on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that he said: The Prophet (saw) said:
«إِنَّمَا جُعِلَ الْإِمَامُ لِيُؤْتَمَّ بِهِ؛ فَإِذَا كَبَّرَ فَكَبِّرُوا، وَإِذَا رَكَعَ فَارْكَعُوا، وَإِذَا قَالَ سَمِعَ اللَّهُ لِمَنْ حَمِدَهُ فَقُولُوا رَبَّنَا وَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ، وَإِذَا سَجَدَ فَاسْجُدُوا، وَإِذَا صَلَّى جَالِساً فَصَلُّوا جُلُوساً أَجْمَعُونَ»
‘The Imam has been appointed to be followed, so when he says Allahu Akbar, then say Allahu Akbar, when he recites, then listen attentively; when he says: Not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray,[1:7] then say Amin; when he bows then bow; when he says Sami’ Allahu liman hamidah (Allah hears those who praise Him), then say Allahumma Rabbana wa lakal-hamd (O Allah, our Lord, to You is the praise);” when he prostrates then prostrate; and if he prays sitting down then all of you pray sitting down.’”
2- A Muslim narrated on the authority of Al-Araj on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
«إِنَّمَا الْإِمَامُ لِيُؤْتَمَّ بِهِ فَلَا تَخْتَلِفُوا عَلَيْهِ، فَإِذَا كَبَّرَ فَكَبِّرُوا، وَإِذَا رَكَعَ فَارْكَعُوا، وَإِذَا قَالَ سَمِعَ اللَّهُ لِمَنْ حَمِدَهُ فَقُولُوا اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَا لَكَ الْحَمْدُ، وَإِذَا سَجَدَ فَاسْجُدُوا، وَإِذَا صَلَّى جَالِساً فَصَلُّوا جُلُوساً أَجْمَعُونَ»
“The Imam is appointed, so that he should be followed, so don't be at variance with him. Recite takbir when he recites it; bow down when he bows down and when he says:" Allah listens to him who praises Him," say:" O Allah, our Lord, to Thee be the Praise." And when he (the Imam) prostrates, you should also prostrate, and when he says prayer sitting, you should all observe prayer sitting down.”
3- Abu Dawud transmitted: from Ahmad Bin Ibrahim, from Hajaj from Ibn Juraij Abu Khalid from Adi Bin Thabit Al-Ansar, a man mentioned that, ‘Ammar said he was leading the people in al-Mada’in in prayer, and stood on a bench and prayed while the people were lower than he was.
Hudhaifa came forward and took him by the hands, and ‘Ammar followed him till he brought him down. When ‘Ammar finished his prayer Hudhaifa said to him:
Did you not hear Allah’s Messenger say:
«إِذَا أَمَّ الرَّجُلُ الْقَوْمَ فَلَا يَقُمْ فِي مَكَانٍ أَرْفَعَ مِنْ مَقَامِهِمْ أَوْ نَحْوَ ذَلِكَ»؟ قالَ عَمَّارٌ: لِذَلِكَ اتَّبَعْتُكَ حِينَ أَخَذْتَ عَلَى يَدَيَّ»
“When a man leads the people in prayer he must not stand in a position higher than theirs,” or words to that effect? ‘Ammar replied, “That is why I followed you when you took me by the hand.”
In “Al-Binayah Sharh Al-Hidayah” by Abu Muhammad Al-Ghaiabi Al-Hanafi, Badr Al-Din Al-Ayni in the explanation of the Hadith above:
(ش/O) - Ahmad bin Ibrahim: Ibn Katheer bin Zaid bin Aflah bin Mansour bin Muzahim Al-Abdi Abu Abdullah, known as “Al-Durqi.” He heard: His brother: Yaqoub, Ibn Mahdi, Al-Hajjaj, Abu Dawud Al-Tayalisi, and others. The following narrated from him: Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and others. Abu Hatim said: Saduq. He died in the army on the Saturday a week before the end of Sha’ban in the year 246 A.H. Hajjaj: Ibn Muhammad Al-Awar, Abd Al-Malik: Ibn Jurayjh and Abu Khalid: Narrated on the authority of: Uday bin Thabit Narrated by: Ibn Jurayjh Narrated by Abu Dawud His saying: “(Asfala Minh): “below it” (In Arabic grammar: is mansoob because it is Dharf (adverb of place).
His saying: “Therefore” i.e., because the Prophet (saw) said this. In the sanad (chain of narration) of the Hadith, an unknown man. Nevertheless, this Hadith was used in “Al- Binayah Sahrh Al-Hidayah” as we mentioned above, Abu Muhammad Mahmoud bin Ahmad bin Musa bin Ahmad bin Hussain Al-Ghaitabi Al-Hanafi Badr Al-Din al-Ayni (died: 855 AH). In it is stated: (I said: Abu Dawud narrated in his “Sunnan” from the Hadith of Hamam that Hudhaifah, led the people in Al-Mada’in, on a bench, so Abu Masoud took his shirt and grabbed it, and when he finished his prayer, he said: Did you not know that they were forbidding that? He replied, I rememberd when you pulled me. It was also narrated from the Hadith of Adi bin Thabit Al-Ansari, from a man who was with Ammar bin Yasir (ra) in Al-Mada’in, when prayer was called, Ammar stood on a bench and prayed while the people were lower than he was. Hudhaifa came forward and took him by the hands, and ‘Ammar followed him till he brought him down. When ‘Ammar finished his prayer Hudhaifa said to him:
Did you not hear Allah’s Messenger say, “When a man leads the people in prayer he must not stand in a position higher than theirs,” or words to that effect? ‘Ammar replied, “That is why I followed you when you took me by the hand.”) End.
Although most jurists dislike the Imam’s lofty position over the one who is praying behind him, they make an exception for being a bit higher... It is stated in Al-Bayan Fi Madhhab Al-Imam Al-Shafi’i (2/427): “And it is makrooh for the Imam’s position to be higher than that of the follower. Sheikh Abu Hamid said: Rather it is disliked if it is a hill of great height, but if it was a bench, or a hill of low height: it is not disliked.
4- Al-Bayhaqi narrated in Al-Sunan Al-Kubra:
(In the Chapter of the follower praying outside the mosque with the Imam’s prayer in the mosque and between them a barrier), from Abu Saeed bin Abi Amr from Abu Al-Abbas Muhammad bin Yaqoub from Al-Rabee’, he said: Al-Shafi’i said: Women prayed with Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (saw), in her room, and she said: Do not pray with the Imam’s prayer, there is a barrier between you and him. Al-Shafi’i, may Allah have mercy on him, said: As Aisha said in her room, if she said it, we say it.
Abu Ahmad Al-Mahrajani told Abu Bakr bin Ja’far who told us Muhammad bin Ibrahim told us Ibn Bakir told us about his trust that people used to enter the sanctuary of the Prophet’s wives (saw), after the death of the Prophet (saw), and they would pray there Friday. He said: The mosque was small to contain all the people, so they prayed there to make room. The quarters of the Prophet’s wives (saw) are not part of the mosque but its doors are open to the mosque. Malik said: Whoever prays in any of the courtyards of the mosques that connects to the mosque or in its open spaces that are part of it, that is acceptable. People followed this, and no one among the people of jurisprudence disregards it. Malik said: As for a closed house that is not entered except with a permission, no one should pray in it with the Imam’s prayer on Friday, even if it is close, because it is not from the mosque.
5- Al-Bayhaqi narrated in Ma‘rifat al-Sunan Wa’l-Athar... Al-Rabee’ told us, Al-Shafi’i said: Whoever was in a house near or far from the mosque, it is not permissible for him to pray there unless the rows are connected to him while he is at the bottom of the house, and there is no barrier between him and the rows. Then he proceeded to speak until he said: If it is said: Do you have anything to narration about this? It was said: Women prayed with Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (saw) in her room, and she said: “Do not pray with the Imam’s prayer; there is a barrier between you and him.” He said: And as Aisha said in her room, if she had said it, we said: His chain of transmission (Isnad) was not mentioned in the new and he mentioned it in the old one.
And in another narration by al-Bayhaqi, on the authority of Muhammad ibn Ishaq and al-Mu’amil, they said: Al-Za’farani told us on the authority of al-Shafi’i, he said: Ibrahim ibn Muhammad told us, on the authority of Laith, on the authority of Ata, on the authority of Aisha, “that women prayed in her room, and she said: “Do not pray with the Imam’s prayer; there is a barrier (Hijab) between you and him.” And the Hijab: the barrier, the cover, and the veil.
Second: The meaning of an example (Qudwa) and following the example (Iqtida’) in the language in “Lisan Al-Arab”
[(Qida) It is said (Qidwa) and (Qudwa), to that which is followed... what is followed is the way The Qida is similar to Qidwa, It is said: I follow your example (Qidwa), (Qudwa) and Qida, similar to saying So and so has attained (something), (Hidhiwa), (Hudhwa) and (Hidha). The person followed is the example (Qudwa), (Qiwa) and (Uswa), It is said so-and so is an example (Qudwa) that is followed]
The jurists use it in this linguistic sense, and in prayer they define it as: (the one being led by the Imam in the action of prayer)
Third: Based on the above, what I outweigh to achieve these meanings is the adherence of the follower in the congregation to the following matters:
1- That the place where the follower in the congregation prays is inside the place where the Imam prays, i.e. the mosque building or its courtyard... without a natural separation between the square and the mosque, such as a running water channel or a main street where cars roam... that is, there is no actual separation between the mosque and arena.
2- To pray in a place where the follower can see his Imam, or to pray in an open place from which he can see that followers in the congregation who can see the Imam...so he should not be in a completely closed vicinity, a "room" where those who are inside cannot see those outside. Seeing the image of the Imam is not considered seeing the Imam. The rulings on the image differ from the rulings on the real body. If you injured the image with a knife, that does not mean that you injured the Imam! In fact, seeing the image has nothing to do with being lead, as you may see the image on the TV screen from a place far from the mosque and its square, even from a far country that has nothing to do with the Imam or being led by him. Therefore, such a sighting is not taken in the rules of being led.
3- To hear the Imam’s Takbeers, whether that is directly or through loudspeakers, because hearing the Imam’s voice is permissible, whether that is by repeating the Takbeer by someone behind the Imam or by increasing the volume of the voice, then the follower hears the Takbeer of the Imam, and follows him.
It was stated in Hashiyat Al-Desouqi Al-Maliki on the Great Commentary by Sheikh Al-Dardeer:
[(and) it is permissible (to adopt a style that makes others hear the audio (Musami’) i.e., to take make the followers in prayer hear him, by raising the volume of his voice in Takbeer, so they follow the actions of the Imam, (and) it is permissible (to follow him), i.e., to follow the Imam because he is heard, and it is better that the Imam raises his voice and let go of the tool/person that used to make him audible to the followers)]
4- The Imam must not be in a place higher than the followers in the congregation, such as the Imam being on the highest floor of the mosque, and the congregation are all below him.
If these things are realized, then the action of following the Imam has taken place, and then the conditions of the followers in the congregation behind the Imam in the Friday prayer are fulfilled, Allah willing... I reiterate what I said at the beginning: I am not saying that all the opinions of those opposing this opinion are invalid... Rather, this is the opinion that I outweigh (to be stronger) in this matter. And Allah (swt) Knows Best and is Most Wise.
Ata Bin Khalil Abu Al-Rashtah
29 Sha’ban 1443 AH
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