Rule of Incorrect Recitation by a Congregational Prayer Imam
Q 583: Is there any difference in the ruling regarding the correctness of recitation undertaken by the imam, the followers, or a person praying individually? Or do the rules apply to the cases in the same manner with regards to its correctness?
A: When one’s recitation is not correct and they are not able to improve it, the prayers they perform are correct. However, it is not correct for others to pray behind them.
Q 584: Some imams are unable to pronounce some letters properly. Is it, therefore, correct for a person who can pronounce the letters properly to perform prayer behind them? Some people say that it is possible to recite one’s prayers in congregation. But it is necessary to repeat this prayer individually. However, I do not have the time to repeat these prayers. What is my duty in this situation? Do I have the permission to recite the Fātiḥah and the other chapter quietly while participating in the prayer?
A: If the follower maintains that the imam is not pronouncing properly, then to perform prayer behind him would not be valid and would cause the congregational prayer to be void for him. If the person does not have the ability to repeat the prayer, then there is no problem in not joining the prayer. To read quietly in a prayer which should be recited loudly in order to give the impression that one is joining the congregational prayer is not correct and does not fulfill one’s obligation.
Q 585: Some people suggest that the recitation of some imams is not correct because either they do not pronounce some consonant letters as they are or they alter the related vowels which change the consonant letters as well. Is it correct to offer one’s prayers behind such a person without repeating it?
A: In recitation, the standard is that the words should originate from their appropriate places in such a manner that the native speakers recognize the word and do not confuse it with another. If the followers find that the imam’s pronunciation does not meet the specified standard, they cannot perform prayer behind him. If they perform prayer behind him, then their prayer is not correct and it would be obligatory for them to repeat it.
Q 586: An imam has doubts about the pronunciation of a word after it is said. After he completes the prayer, he realizes that there was in fact an error in its pronunciation. Are the prayers of the followers and that of the imam valid?
A: The prayers are ruled to be correct.
Q 587: What is the religious duty of an individual, especially a teacher of Qur’an, who is certain that as far as tajwīd is concerned the imam reads his prayer wrongly? At times when this person does not participate in the congregational prayer, he is subjected to much slander?
A: Observing the rules which provide betterment of pronunciation is not necessary. But if the follower considers the recitation of imam to be incorrect, and, as a result his prayer is also incorrect, they should not perform prayers behind him. However, there would be no problem with pretending that one is taking part in the prayers for a rational purpose.
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