Sanctity of the position on the Imam

Question:

As salaamu alaykum, Mufti sabh there is this imam during christmas time he celebrates the event and even dress as santa. recently i’ve heard that he buys the nutrina chicken to eat. is it jaaiz to pray behind him because the imam of my masjid usually let him give khutba by me

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Celebrating and taking part in Christmas is clearly prohibited in Islam. As Muslims we are sensitive to our belief of pure Tawīd (Oneness of Allah Taʿālā). This requires us to also completely disassociate ourselves from all practices related to Christianity and other religions

The position of an Imam is a sacred one that brings with it great responsibilities. An Imam is a representative of the people between them and Allah.[1] The validity of the peoples Salah rest upon him. Therefore, Taqwa and Allah consciousness of an Imam is vital. This is also understood in the following Ahadith; Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alahi Wa Sallam) said,

إنْ سَرَّكُمْ أَنْ يَقْبَلَ اللَّهُ صَلَاتَكُمْ فَلْيَؤُمَّكُمْ خِيَارُكُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ وَفْدُكُمْ فِيمَا بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَ رَبِّكُم (البحر الرائق (1/ 370) أخرج الحاكم في مستدركه)

 

If you desire that Allah accepts your Salah then the best from amongst should be the Imam, for verily he is your delegation between you and Allah.(Bahrur Raiq with reference to Mustadrak Alhakim)

In another Hadith Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alahi Wa Sallam) said,

الإِمَامُ ضَامِنٌ

“The Imam is responsible (for the Salah of the followers) (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 207)

Only a person who adheres to the Shari’ah and Sunnah is best suited for the position of an Imam. It is quite daring to assume the position of being an Imam while violating the laws and clear prohibitions of Shari’ah. The Imam being a representative should have the greatest Taqwa and adherence of Shari’ah to make the best representation of the Salah of his congregation.

If there is any defect in the religious conduct of the Imam, this will negatively impact on the Salah of the followers[2]. That is why the Fuqaha (scholars) have stated that it is Makrooh for a Faasiq (sinner) to be the Imam.

Thus, the guardians of the Masjid must ensure that the Imam adheres to Shari’ah in every aspect.

However, if one does pray behind such an Imam, the Salah will be valid. The defect of the Salah of the congregation due to the Imams negligence and violations of Shari’ah will rest on him.

We cannot comment on the aspect of consuming Nutrina chicken, as we have not researched the matter.

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Arshad Ali

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)

www.fatwa-tt.com /www.jaamia.net

 

[1]

مرفوعا إن سركم أن يقبل الله صلاتكم فليؤمكم خياركم فإنهم وفدكم فيما بينكم وبين ربكم

 

[2] المحيط البرهاني في الفقه النعماني (1/ 407)

ومن صلى خلف فاسق أو مبتدع يكون محرزاً ثواب الجماعة، قال عليه السلام: «صلوا خلف كل بر وفاجر» ، أما لا ينال ثواب من يصلي خلف تقي المذكور في قوله عليه السلام: «من صلى خلف تقي عالم فكأنما صلى خلف نبي