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al kafi 1414


Assalamualaikum SS Dato’ Seri Mufti. What is the ruling of praying following a fasiq imam?



Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

The phrase fasiq originates from ‘فسَق يَفْسِقُ ويَفْسُقُ فِسْقاً وفُسوقاً’. Ibn Manzhur states: Al-Fisq is disobedience and neglecting the commandments of Allah Azza wa Jalla’s as well as deviating from the path of truth. (Refer Lisan al-‘Arab, 10/308).

Fasiq is a term used to describe a person who commits major sins or continuously commit minor sins. (Refer Hasyiyah al-Qalyubi wa ‘Umairah ‘ala Syarh al-Mahalli, 3/227)

Imam al-Syaukani cited the opinion of Imam al-Qurtubi which states: “Meanwhile, the general corruption (fasiq) meant by Shari’a is: (Actions that lead to) a deviation from the obedience of Allah SWT. Sometimes, the actions might cause kufr (disbelief) and might also be considered as ma’siah (sin/transgression).” (Refer Tafsir Fath al-Qadir, 1/583)

This is as mentioned in the hadith where the Prophet PBUH said:

سِبَابُ الْمُسْلِمِ فُسُوقٌ، وَقِتَالُهُ كُفْرٌ

"Abusing a Muslim is Fusuq (evil doing) and killing him is Kufr (disbelief).”

Sahih al-Bukhari (7076)

Ibn Battal upon commenting on this hadith says the meaning of the prohibition of insulting other Muslims is because the dignity of a Muslim is preserved (prohibited to be insulted) the same as the prohibition on their blood and wealth. An Islamic legal maxim states:

الأَصْلُ بَرَاءَةُ الذِّمَّةِ

“The original rule of a person is the purity of his dignity (free from any allegation and accusation).” (Refer al-Asybah wa al-Naza’ir by Ibn Nujaim, pg. 59)

In the above issue, we cite the statement of Imam al-Nawawi in al-Majmu’ which states: The prayer of Ibn Umar following Hajjaj bin Yusuf is stated in Sahih al-Bukhari and others in al-Sahih, and there are numerous hadith which show that it is valid to follow a fasiq or an oppressive leader as imam.

Our ashab (companions) said: Praying following fasiq imam is still valid and it is not haram (prohibited) but is makruh (undesirable). The same goes for following an imam who commits bid’ah (inventing new matters in religion) that does not exceed to the extent of kufr. If they exceed to the extent of a kufr, then we already explained that it is invalid to pray following them for it is the same as praying following another disbeliever.

Imam al-Syafie already explained in al-Mukhtasar regarding that it is makruh (undesirable) to pray following a fasiq and mubtadi’ imam. However, the prayer is still valid. (Refer al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 4/151)


Referring back to the above question, we divide this issue of fasiq into two parts; one, based on our observation, there are Quranic and prophetic texts which show that fasiq could lead to kufr (disbelief). If it reaches this stage, then praying following them is invalid if the ma’mum knows. Second, for fasiq that does not lead to kufr, then it is not a problem to pray following them, but it is makruh to do so especially when there is another imam who is not a fasiq.

By observing the hadith of the Prophet PBUH, it is clear that one should follow imam with good character, soleh (pious) and aslah (good to others) compared to others. In a hadith narrated by Abu Mas’ud al-Ansari, the Prophet PBUH once said:

يَؤُمُّ الْقَوْمَ أَقْرَؤُهُمْ لِكِتَابِ اللَّهِ وَأَقْدَمُهُمْ قِرَاءَةً فَإِنْ كَانَتْ قِرَاءَتُهُمْ سَوَاءً فَلْيَؤُمَّهُمْ أَقْدَمُهُمْ هِجْرَةً فَإِنْ كَانُوا فِي الْهِجْرَةِ سَوَاءً فَلْيَؤُمَّهُمْ أَكْبَرُهُمْ سِنًّا وَلاَ تَؤُمَّنَّ الرَّجُلَ فِي أَهْلِهِ وَلاَ فِي سُلْطَانِهِ وَلاَ تَجْلِسْ عَلَى تَكْرِمَتِهِ فِي بَيْتِهِ إِلاَّ أَنْ يَأْذَنَ لَكَ أَوْ بِإِذْنِهِ

“The one who is well-grounded in Allah's Book and is distinguished among them in recitation should act as; Imam for the people. and if they are equally versed in reciting it, then the one who has most knowledge regarding Sunnah; if they are equal regarding the Sunnah, then the earliest one to emigrate; If they emigrated at the same time, then the oldest one in age. No man must lead another in prayer in latter's house or where (the latter) has authority, or sit in his place of honour in his house, except that he gives you permission or with his permission.”

Sahih Muslim (673)

May Allah SWT make us from among those of sincere faith and taqwa as well as protecting us from actions that could lead to fasiq. We end this with du’a:

اللَّهُمَّ أَرِنَا الْحَقَّ حَقًّا، وَارْزُقْنَا اتِّبَاعَهُ، وَأَرِنَا الْبَاطِلَ بَاطِلًا، وَارْزُقْنَا اجْتنِاَبَهُ، وَلَا تَجْعَلْهُ مُلْتَبِسًا عَلَيْنَا فَنَضِلَّ، وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

“O Allah! show us the truth as true, and inspire us to follow it. Show us falsehood as falsehood, and inspire us to abstain from it. And protect us from being from those who are confused and astrayed. And make the people of taqwa as our leaders.”