Is there evidence that standing ahead of the Imam invalidates prayer?

Question

Firstly I’d like to say I am an adherent of the Shafi’i madhab. When praying side by side with only the Imam, I was taught to stand slightly behind the Imam in prayer and that if my feet were to go slightly in front of the Imam’s feet, it would invalidate my prayer. Someone told me this is baseless as there is no proof and should stand in line with the Imam. I read that standing slightly behind the Imam is the adopted position of the madhab, but I could not find any evidence for it. I would greatly appreciate it if you can provide some evidence for this. Jazakallah Khayran

Assalamu alaykum

Shukran for writing to us.

The preponderant view in the Shafi’i school holds that if the follower (ma’mum) stands in front of the Imam in prayer, his salah will be invalid. Standing ahead of the Imam is determined by placing one’s heels in the standing position and not toes, as you stated.  [Kifaya al-Akhyar]

Taqi al-Din al-Hisni’s commentary on the Mukhtasar Abu Shuja is an excellent resource when looking for the proofs of the Shafi’i madhhab. He says therein that this ruling mentioned above is deducted from the practice of the companions with the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the companions/successors with the rightly guided caliphs. In those eras, the followers never stood ahead of the Imam.

Nonetheless, it is crucial to appreciate that scholars differed regarding this ruling and that the evidence in itself is not definitive. The Maliki communities around the globe often have a large portion of the congregation praying in front of the Imam. As followers of the Shafi’i madhhab, we should have confidence and practice the views expressed by our scholars. At the same time, we should have respect for others that may adopt a different opinion. Likewise, in turn, those who hold an opposing view of our school should similarly respect the stance taken by our scholars.

And Allah knows best.

MJC (SA)

Other Fatwa

Children

Stepfather and Rights of Biological Father

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته   1. When a man marries a woman who already …

Read More →
Mufti Abdurragmaan Khan

Selling Property to a Church

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته   1. There is a consensus that it is not …

Read More →
Fasting

An Explanation on Fitrah and Fidyah calculation

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته 1. The Ḥanafī School is the only school that permits …

Read More →
Children

Rights of Custody

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته   1. The rights to the custody of a child …

Read More →
Mufti Abdurragmaan Khan

The Cast, Tayammum and Repeating Salah

 السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته   1. The Shafi’i school’s stance regarding the above query …

Read More →
Inheritance

Inheritance of land expropriation compensation

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته   1. Compensation for land expropriation forms part of the …

Read More →
Fasting

Can I Break a Qada Fast?

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته   1. Once someone has made the intention for an …

Read More →
Marriage

Shaping eyebrows & eyelash extensions

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته   1. Opinions differ around the permissibility of removing part …

Read More →
Aqidah

Circumcision for a New Muslim

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته   Circumcision is not a prerequisite for an individual to …

Read More →
Children

Ruling on Vasectomy

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته   The Shari’ah prohibits any medication or procedure that results …

Read More →
Scroll to Top