Offering Fardh Behind a Person Offering Sunnah

By Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Posted: 9 Jamad-u-Thani 1422, 28 August 2001

Q.) I was of the understanding that in the view of the Ahnaaf, if the "imaam" is performing sunnah/nafil Salat, and someone joins him in jamaat with the intention of performing fardh, then the latter's Salat will be invalid. Someone informed me, "That is not what I have heard from (Hanafi) scholars" and he quoted a hadith where Muaadh ibn Jabal, Radi-Allahu anhu, would perform Salat behind Rasoolullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam and then go to his clan and lead them in Salat as he was the most knowledgeable amongst them. Please clarify the matter and explain what is understood by the above mentioned hadith, if there is such evidence.

Also, what if I join the jamaat as masbooq and while completing my remaining rakaats, others who missed the jamaat make me imaam and start following me. Living in the US, at times I am making sunnah or, having missed a few rakaats of jamaat, I am completing my fardh as a "masbooq", and followers of Shafi'i fiqh, as well as non-muqallideen come and join me to perform their fardh. I feel extremely uneasy during my Salat, but don't have the courage to tell them to not follow me and to repeat their Salat, as I am afraid of "jidaal" and fitnah. Please advise me. [Hashir M. Zuberi]

A.) Your understanding is correct.

Regarding the Hadith you have quoted, Mullah Ali Qari (RA) comments in Mirqaat (vol.3 pg.104; Imdaadiyyah) that the Salat of Mu'aadh, Radi-Allahu anhu, behind Nabi Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam was most likely with the intention of Nafl. Since there was no way to ascertain the intention of Mu'aadh, Radi-Allahu anhu, during that Salat, it is not correct to claim that Salat was Fardh and the one performed with his people was actually Nafl. If that is proven, even then it is possible that that was in the beginning stages of Islam when it was permissible to perform Fardh Salat twice --- a permission that was later discontinued. Nabi Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam said to Mu'aadh, Radi-Allahu anhu, 'Either perform your Salat with me or lighten upon your people (by not lengthening the Salat you lead them in). (Ibid)

You should endeavour to perform your Salat in such a place, e.g. corner or close to the wall, that makes following you difficult. Also, try to be early for Salat so that this situation may not arise. You may perform your Sunnat Salat at home. And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best