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Etiquettes When Leading People In Prayer


AsSalamualikum I have 1 question. You see, in my country, some shopping malls are equipped with prayer rooms. And most of the time, I am asked to be the Iman to a small group of people (around 2-4 it depends actually). Therefore, I was hoping that you could educate me on the rules and etiquette or everything I need to know to be an imam to both my family members and other people. As being an imam is a huge responsibility. Thank you


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

The first of the etiquettes that the Imam should observe when leading the people in prayer is to have a sincere intention for Allah, as Allah does not accept any deed except if it is purely devoted for His Sake.

By leading the people in prayer, one should seek the reward from Allah and act according to His Command and intend to increase his reward, and other good intentions. Then he should be keen to perform the prayer according to the Sunnah of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Pray as you have seen me praying.” [Al-Bukhaari]

Also, he should not elongate the prayer; rather, he should pray a moderate prayer that fulfils the pillars of the prayer and its desirable acts, as the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: “When any one of you leads the people in prayer, he should be brief (moderate in length) for among them are youngsters, elderly people, weak ones and those who have matters to attend to. However, when one of you prays by himself, he may prolong as much as he wishes.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

He should do his best to learn the jurisprudence of the prayer and the prostration for forgetfulness so that he would know what to do if he forgets during the prayer.

If it happens that you know someone who memorizes more than you and who recites the Quran better than you, then you should make him lead the prayer since you are not an appointed Imam (i.e., a hired Imam). This is because in principle the Imam should be the one who memorizes more and is the best in the recitation of the Quran; the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “The person who is best versed in the recitation of the Book of Allah should lead the prayer.” [Muslim]

This is in brief the most important matters an Imam should take into consideration when leading the people in prayer.

For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 87002.

Allah knows best.


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