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Musafir imam and related matters

Fatwaa ID: 1224

Asalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu..

I am a muqeem in my office and we pray normal 4 rakah zuhr in jamaah here (we have a mix of hanafi and shafi followers).

We had 2 visitors who were musafir and they insisted that 1 of them needs to lead the prayer because they have to pray qasr 2 rakah and cannot pray full 4 rakahs.

I prayed behind them with niyyah of nafl and did my prayers later.

Please let know what was the correct way in such situation, i.e. should i join with them and instead of salam after 2 rakah i complete my remaining 2 rakahs?

Also, what happens in similar case if i join late and do not know whether the imaam is praying qasr or not?

After zuhr qasr they did qasr jamah of asr. What is ruling if i join such prayer without knowing intention of imaam ?

Related query:
I see that this is common here that people just tap on shoulder and join but imaam who could be reading his sunnah or qadha etc. and i understand that hanafi cannot pray fardh behind imam who is not praying fardh of same salah (i.e. both imam and muqtadi should have niyyah of fardh of same prayer). Should i stop joining jamah in masjid, if i am late and where i doubt such could be the case ?

JazakAllah khairan and sorry for the lenghty questions.

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

The answers to your queries and misunderstandings are as follows:

  1. A musaafir will perform qasr of the applicable salaahs when praying individually or leading. However, if he prays salaah behind a muqeem, then he will follow the imaam and pray in full. There is nothing wrong in this. Rather, he will be rewarded for the additional two rak’ahs in this case. To reiterate, a musaafir may pray salaah behind a muqeem. He does not have to do anything different. He will pray as he normally does.
  2. A muqeem may pray his fardh behind a musaafir. Once the musaafir imaam completes his salaah, the muqeem will get up and complete the remaining two rak’ahs, but as a laahiq, i.e., he will not recite Faatihah or the surah thereafter as though he is behind the imaam.
  3. If the general congregants are not aware of the laws pertaining to praying behind a musaafir, then it will be unadvisable to put up a musaafir to lead salaah unless the congregants are first educated.
  4. If you join the salaah and you do not know if the imaam is a musaafir or not, you will perform your salaah and complete it as usual.
  5. If non-Hanafis join salaahs due to being travelers, the muqeems with them may join but with the intention of nafl. This will not count as ‘Asr fardh for them. That must be prayed at its respective time.
  6. If you enter a masjid and you see a congregation going on, you may join them and assume that the imaam is performing the same salaah as you, i.e., the fardh salaah of that time, unless you have a substantial reason to believe otherwise.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Muajul I. Chowdhury
Darul Iftaa New York

وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين


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