Question # 13-14: What to do if an Imam makes mistakes in a fard (mandatory) action of the salat?

Question:

What to do if an Imam makes mistakes in a fard (mandatory) action in the salat? For example: The imam forgot to recite suratul Fatiha or forgot to make RUKU' or any other part of salah which is fard. So in this case the Imam should make up what he has missed or make sajdatul Sahw, right? What about if doesn’t do any of these and he gives salam?

Believe me sheikh this happens a lot with some Imams. Sometimes the imam knows that he made a mistake but still he gives salam to both sides. Sometimes he completes the salah without correcting because either he doesn’t want people behind him to know that he made a mistake or maybe because of KIBR (arrogance). Also, sometimes the imam wasn’t sure if he made a mistake, meaning that he was sure only 20% that he didn't make a mistake. What this Imam should do in these situations? Should he pray the salah again with that jamaat or does he have to repent and ask Allah for forgiveness? Please make it clear for me sheikh. JAZAKALLOHU HAYIR!!!

Answer:

In the name of Allah the Most Merciful.

Assalamu alaykum brother,

  1. If the imam makes a mistake in one of the Fard actions of the salat (Fatiha, Ruku, opening Takbir etc.) then the imam needs to repeat the rakat and make sahw at the end of the salat.
  2. When an imam makes a mistake, it is the obligation of the followers to correct him or remind him by saying “suppon-Allah”.
  3. If the imam continues without listening to the call of the followers, then:
    1. It could be that he forgot one of the Fard actions and he has to repeat the rakat and make sahw at the end of the salat after the salam.
    2. Or it could be that maybe he forgot a Sunnah action and he will correct it with 2 sahw at the end before the salam.

If the imam doesn’t listen to the followers due to arrogance and brings an extra rakat and the followers that their salat is complete (meaning that they have completed the appropriate number of rakats), then the followers should sit down and wait until imam finishes his extra rakat. If the imam doesn’t correct his mistake with the sahw at the end of salat, then the salat of the followers will be correct and the salat of the imam will be void and he will have to repeat the salat alone.

If the imam makes the salat short (i.e. three rakat instead of 4) and after he is reminded by the followers as described above, then his salat will be denied. He will have to repent to Allah and repeat the salat. As for the followers, they must complete the missing rakat after the imam exits the salat by saying salam and, insha’Allah, their salat to be valid.

For further details, please review our classes on Fiqh of salat in our website.

Allah knows best.

Sheikh Mostafa

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