Catching the Rak’ah of Congregational Prayer – Shaykh Muhammad ‘Umar Baazmool


QUESTION

If someone joins the congregation while the imaam is making rukoo’, has he caught that rak’ah? And what do you know about the position of those who say that he has not caught that rak’ah and it must be repeated?

ANSWER by Shaykh Muhammad ‘Umar Baazmool, Instructor at Umm Al-Quraa University in Makkah

This is an old issue, an issue of great differing amongst the scholars: Does the person who reaches the congregation during the rukoo’ get credit for that rak’ah or not?

The majority of the scholars, among them some of the senior Companions (may Allaah be pleased with them all), view that the rak’ah has been caught when one catches the rukoo’.

Other scholars, some of the Companions as well, like Aboo Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), and like the great scholar Imaam Al-Bukhaaree, have understood that the rak’ah has not been caught in such a case. This position has also been attributed to Ibn Khuzaymah and his student, Aboo Bakr Ad-Duba’ee. Also, Taqee Ad-Deen ‘Alee ibn ‘Abdil-Kaafee As-Subkee supported Al-Bukhaaree’s position in a small book he wrote about this subject. Al-Mu’al-limee also chose this position and supported Al-Bukhaaree. And Shaykh Taqee Ad-Deen Al-Hilaalee also authored a small book in this subject, supporting the position of Al-Bukhaaree.

They held the position that the rak’ah has not been caught by merely catching the rukoo’, and that a man absolutely must catch the qiyaam (standing) with the imaam and recite Soorah Al-Faatihah. This is due to his statement (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa salam):

لا صلاة لمن لم يقرأ بفاتحة الكتاب
“There is no prayer for the one who does not recite the ‘Opening of the Book’ (Soorah Al-Faatihah).” [1]

The generality of this hadeeth proves that a person has not caught the rak’ah if he has not recitedSoorah Al-Faatihah.

However, the majority of the scholars hold the position that such a person has actually caught therak’ah, and that the imaam‘s recitation of Soorah Al-Faatihah suffices the followers. Their proof for this is the hadeeth of Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam), when Aboo Bakrah Nufay’ ibn Al-Haarith came to the masjid while the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) was making rukoo’. He (Aboo Bakrah) made rukoo’ on his own before reaching the row, and then stepped forward until he reached the row. After the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) completed the prayer, he asked:

من هذا الذي ركع ثم مشى إلى الصف؟
“Who was the one who made rukoo’ and then stepped up to the row?”

So Aboo Bakrah said, “It was I, O Messenger of Allaah.” So he said:

زادك الله حرصًا ولا تعد
“May Allaah increase you in vigilance! Do not repeat (that).” [2]

So they say that the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) did not order him to make up thatrak’ah that he caught when he made rukoo’. They say: Laa yajooz ta’kheer al-bayaan ‘an waqtil-haajah. [3]

They also use another hadeeth that comes by a number of routes on the authority of Jaabir. Many of the scholars authenticated it (by way of its numerous routes). It is the hadeeth of the Messenger (sallallaah ‘alayhe wa sallam) when he said:

من كان له إمام فقراءة الإمام له قراءة
“Whoever has an imaam, then the imaam‘s recitation is his recitation.”
[4]

So they say that this hadeeth proves that the imaam‘s recitation suffices the follower’s obligation to recite Soorah Al-Faatihah.

This opinion is also aided by the fact that it is the reported position of Aboo Bakr As-Siddeeq, and ‘Umar as well, and a number of the senior Companions, like Ibn Mas’ood and others from the Companions known for their fiqh, may Allaah be pleased with them all.

As for the opinion of Imaam Al-Bukhaaree, then he used the generality of the narrations of the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam), and general principles understood from the narrations that order us to stand, recite Soorah Al-Faatihah, make rukoo’, and perform the rest of the pillars of the prayer.

So they say a rak’ah that is missing two pillars, the pillar of qiyaam and the pillar of the recitation ofSoorah Al-Faatihah, how could it be acceptable? So they judged, based on this, that the man who came and made rukoo’ with the imaam has been credited with joining the congregation, in shaa’ Allaah, but he did not catch that rak’ah. They say this is because he has not recited Soorah Al-Faatihah in this rak’ah, as the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said:

لا صلاة لمن لم يقرأ بفاتحة الكتاب
“There is no prayer for the one who does not recite the ‘Opening of the Book’ (Soorah Al-Faatihah).” [1]

And also in the hadeeth of the one who prayed badly, when he taught the man to recite Soorah Al-Faatihah in every rak’ah, he then said (what means): “And do likewise in all of your prayers.”[5]

This shows that a person is required to recite Soorah Al-Faatihah in each and every rak’ah.

They also reply to those who use the hadeeth:

من كان له إمام فقراءة الإمام له قراءة
“Whoever has an imaam, then the imaam‘s recitation is his recitation.”
[4]

saying that this is for those who are actually praying behind him. So the one who joins during therukoo’, he was not present when the imaam was reciting Soorah Al-Faatihah, so then the imaam‘s recitation is not sufficient for him, thus nullifying their angle of proof from the narration.

As for the narration of Aboo Bakrah Nufay’ ibn Al-Haarith:

زادك الله حرصًا ولا تعد
“May Allaah increase you in vigilance! Do not repeat (that).” [2]

They responded with a number of replies:

Firstly, this hadeeth is collected by Al-Bukhaaree in his book Recitation Behind the Imaam and by At-Tabaraanee in Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabeer, and it has an additional phrase. He said:

زادك الله حرصًا ولا تعد، صل ما أدركت واقض ما سبقك
“May Allaah increase you in vigilance! Do not repeat that. Whatever you have caught, then pray it; whatever you missed, then make it up.” [6]

This authentic additional phrase has witnessing narrations in Saheeh Muslim and elsewhere to support it. For example, he (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said:

إذا نودي بالصلاة فأتوها وأنتم تمشون وعليكم السكينة فما أدركتم فصلوا وما فاتكم فأتموا
“If the prayer is established, then go to it and be peaceful. Whatever you catch, then pray it; whatever you miss, then complete it.” [7]

They say that this order from the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) was already well established, so it shows something that it was repeated to Aboo Bakrah to explain what was upon him. So the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said to him:

زادك الله حرصًا ولا تعد، صل ما أدركت واقض ما سبقك
“May Allaah increase you in vigilance! Do not repeat that. Whatever you have caught, then pray it; whatever you missed, then make it up.” [6]

So based on this hadeeth, those who hold this second opinion that a person has not caught therak’ah in this case, then he must stand up and pray that rak’ah when the imaam finishes.

The fatwaa that we have here is the position of the majority of the scholars. Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Shaykh Al-Albaanee, Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, and other scholars, may Allaah have Mercy on the dead from them, and preserve those of them who are alive, have all issued this same verdict [that the rak’ah has been caught by catching the rukoo’ with the imaam].

The one I choose for myself is the position of Imaam Al-Bukhaaree, due to the generality of the texts. Imaam Ash-Showkaanee, may Allaah have Mercy on him, preferred the position of Al-Bukhaaree in Nayl Al-Owtaar. Although it appears he also has another statement about this issue elsewhere, this is still something found in Nayl Al-Owtaar, that the rak’ah has not been caught by merely catching the rukoo’.

Shaykh Badee’ Ad-Deen As-Sindee also wrote on this issue specifically. He also preferred the position of those who do not see that the rak’ah has been caught. He called this book Al-Lum’ah fee ‘Adami Idraakir-Rukoo’ liman adraka ar-Rak’ah, or something like this.

This issue, in reality, is an issue of great differing, and one that is difficult to conclude one way or the other. So the position that I have chosen for myself seeking the safest position, just as Shaykh Al-Mu’al-limee chose to safeguard himself, that the rak’ah is not caught merely by the catching of therukoo’, due to the deficiency found, since two of the pillars of the prayer are missing: the pillar of qiyaam and the pillar of the recitation of Soorah Al-Faatihah.

I also came across a book by Shaykh Muhammad Taqee Ad-Deen Al-Hilaalee on this same topic a while ago. In it, he also supported the position of Imaam Al-Bukhaaree, and Allaah knows best.

FOOTNOTES

[1] Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree #756, Saheeh Muslim #394

[2] Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree #783, Musnad Ahmad (5/45), this is the wording of Ahmad.

[3] Laa yajooz ta’kheer al-bayaan ‘an waqtil-haajah: a fiqh principle meaning that so long as there was a need for clarification, the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) would have been obliged to clarify the ruling. Thus, the absence of any clarification indicates that what was done was sufficient and valid.

[4] The authenticity of this hadeeth is differed over.  Al-Albaanee discusses its many chains in Irwaa’ Al-Ghaleel #500 (2/268).

[5] Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree #757

[6] Al-Haythamee mentioned it in Majma’ az-Zawaa’id (2/76), declaring it unauthentic due to the presence of an unreliable narrator in the chain, ’Abdullaah ibn ‘Eesaa al-Khazzaaz.  However, Dr. Muhammad considers it authentic due to support from other narrations, as understood from his words here.

[7] Saheeh Muslim #602

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