1. Islam – the jama’at of a kaafir is not valid.
2. To be in one’s senses – the jama’at of an intoxicated, unconscious or lunatic
person is not valid.
3. In addition to making the intention of salaat, the muqtadi must also make the
intention of following the imam. In other words, he must have this intention in
his heart that he is offering a particular salaat behind this imam. The masaa’il
related to intention have already been mentioned.
4. The place of the imam and the muqtadi must be the same. This is irrespective
of whether being in one place is in reality, such as offering salaat together in
one musjid or in one house; or in principle. For example, the imam stands on one
end of a bridge over a river and the muqtadis stand behind him with the saffs
reaching the opposite end going beyond the bridge. Although there is a river
intervening between the muqtadis of the opposite end and the imam, resulting in
the place not being the same in reality, but because the saffs inbetween are
continuous, therefore their (the imam’s and the muqtadis of the opposite end)
places will therefor be regarded as the same in principle and the jama’at will
Masaa’il related to number 4:
a) If the muqtadi is standing on the roof of the musjid and the imam is standing
inside the musjid, this will be permissible. This is because the roof of the
musjid is considered to be part of the musjid and both places will be regarded
as one. Similarly, if someone’s roof is attached to the musjid and there is no
barrier between the two, then that place will also be regarded as being part of
the musjid. It will be permissible to stand on that roof and follow the imam who
is in that musjid.
b) If a musjid or house is extremely large or one is in a jungle and there is
such an open space between the imam and muqtadi wherein two saffs could stand –
then both these places, i.e. where the imam is and where the muqtadi is
standing, will be regarded as two separate places and it will not be permissible
to follow the imam.
c) Similarly, if there is a river between the imam and the muqtadi and it is so
large that a ship can sail on it, or there is such a large pond which the
Shariah has ruled as being pure (in other words, the pond measures approximately
ten square feet), or there is a public road on which an ox-wagon could pass –
and there are no saffs in between, then these places will not be regarded as one
and it will not be permissible to follow the imam.
d) Similarly, if there is such a river or such a road between two saffs, it will
not be permissible for that saff which is on the other side to follow the imam.
e) It is not permissible for the one who is on foot to follow the person who is
mounted. Nor is it permissible for a mounted person to follow another mounted
person. This is so because both their places are not the same. However, if both
of them are mounted on one animal, jama’at will be permissible.
5. The salaat of the imam and the muqtadi must be the same. If the salaat of the
muqtadi is different from the salaat of the imam, it will not be permissible for
him to follow the imam. For example, the imam is performing zuhr salaat and the
muqtadi makes intention for asr salaat. Alternatively, the imam is performing
qada for the zuhr of yesterday and the muqtadi makes intention for the zuhr of
today. However, it will be permissible if both make the intention of qada for
the zuhr of yesterday or both make the intention of qada for the zuhr of today.
If the imam is performing a fard salaat and the muqtadi makes intention for nafl
salaat, his following the imam will be valid because the salaat of the imam is
“stronger”. If the muqtadi wishes to offer taraweeh salaat and the imam is
offering nafl salaat, it will not be permissible to follow him because the
imam’s salaat is “weaker”.
6. The salaat of the imam has to be valid. If the salaat of the imam becomes
invalid, the salaat of all the muqtadis will also become invalid. This is
irrespective of whether the invalidity becomes known while in salaat or after
the completion of the salaat. An example of this is that there was
najaasat-e-ghaleezah on the imam’s clothing which was in excess of a fifty-cent
coin and he came to know of this after completing his salaat or while he was in
salaat. Another example is that the imam did not have wudu and he only realized
this after completing his salaat or while he was in salaat.
If the salaat of the imam becomes invalid due to some reason and the muqtadis do
not come to know of this, it is necessary on the imam that as far as possible he
should inform the muqtadis so that they could repeat their salaat. This is
irrespective of whether he informs them by sending a message to them or by
writing letters to them.
7. The muqtadi should not stand in front of the imam. He could stand in line
with the imam or behind him. If the muqtadi stands in front of the imam, his
following the imam will not be correct. Standing in front of the imam will be
considered when the heels of the muqtadi are ahead of the heels of the imam. If
the heels are not ahead, but the toes are ahead due to the muqtadi’s feet being
bigger or his toes being longer, then this will not be regarded as being in
front of the imam. In this case, his following the imam will be correct.
8. The muqtadi must have a knowledge of the movements of the imam. Movements
such as the bowing, standing, prostrating and sitting postures. This knowledge
could either be based on looking at the imam, listening to his voice, the voice
of a mukabbir (person who conveys the takbirs of the imam when the congregation
is generally very large and there is no mike system) or by looking at another
muqtadi. If the muqtadi does not have knowledge of the movements of the imam,
either because of a barrier between them or for some other reason, then his
following the imam will not be correct. However, if there is a barrier such as a
curtain or wall, but the muqtadi has knowledge of the movements of the imam,
then following the imam will be correct.
If it is not known as to whether the imam is a musafir or not, but due to
certain indications the muqtadi feels that he is not a musafir – on condition
that he is in the city or town and he offers his salaat as a musafir, i.e. if it
is a four rakaat salaat, he makes salaam after two rakaats, and the muqtadi
suspects that this salaam of the imam is for sahw – then in this case, this
muqtadi must complete his four rakaats and thereafter it will be wajib on him to
find out about the state of the imam as to whether he made salaam because of
sahw or because he was a musafir. If after finding out, he learnt that he was a
musafir, his salaat will be valid. But if it was for sahw, the muqtadi will have
to repeat his salaat. If the muqtadi did not make any inquiries but offered his
salaat in that doubt and went away, then even in this case he will have to
repeat his salaat.
If the muqtadi feels that the imam is not a musafir, and he is not performing
his salaat in the city or town but out of it, and he performs the four rakaat
salaat as a musafir – and the muqtadi suspects that the imam made salaam for
sahw, then even in this case he should offer his full four rakaats and it will
be better for him to inquire about the state of the imam. If he does not make
any inquiries, his salaat will not become invalid. This is because the fact that
the imam is outside the city or town shows that he is obviously a musafir. As
for the muqtadi’s suspicion that he made salaam for sahw, this is not something
that is obvious or apparent. Therefore, in this case it will not be necessary to
make any inquiries.
Similarly, if the imam performs a four rakaat salaat in the city, town or in any
jungle, etc. and the muqtadi suspects that he is a musafir – but the imam
performs the full four rakaats, it will not be wajib on the muqtadi to make any
inquiries. As for the fajr and maghrib salaats, under no circumstances will it
be necessary to inquire as to whether the imam is a musafir or not. This is
because the musafir and the muqeem are equal for these two salaats.
To put it briefly, it will only be necessary to make inquiries in one instance.
That is, when the imam is in the city, town or some other place, and performs
only two rakaats for a four rakaat salaat and the muqtadi suspects that he made
salaam for sahw.
9. The muqtadi has to be with the imam in all the postures except the qira’at.
This is irrespective of whether he carries them out with the imam, after the
imam or before the imam – as long as the imam is with him till the end of that
posture. Example of the first instance: he makes ruku, sajdah, etc. with the
imam. Example of the second instance: the imam makes ruku and stands up.
Thereafter the muqtadi makes ruku. Example of the third instance: he goes into
ruku before the imam, but stays for so long in ruku that he even gets the ruku
of the imam.
If the muqtadi is not with the imam in any particular posture, for example, the
imam makes ruku and the muqtadi does not make, or the imam makes two sajdahs and
the muqtadi only makes one, or he goes into a particular posture before the imam
and does not get the imam till the end of that posture – for example, he goes
into ruku before the imam and stands up before the imam can even go into ruku –
then in all these cases, his following the imam will not be valid.
10. The state of the muqtadi must be inferior or equal to that of the imam.
Examples are as follows:
a) The one who is able to stand can follow the person who is unable to stand and
offer his salaat. In the Shariah, the sitting of one who is excused is equal to
b) The one who has made wudu or ghusl can follow the one who has made tayammum
irrespective of whether this tayammum was made for wudu or for ghusl. This is
because the rule concerning tayammum, wudu, and ghusl is equal in tahaarat. One
is not inferior or superior to the other.
c) The one who has washed his limbs can follow the one who has made masah
irrespective of whether he made masah on his leather socks or on his bandage.
This is because the one who washes and the one who makes masah are equal in
purity. No one is higher than the other.
d) The one who is a ma’zur can follow another person who is also a ma’zur on the
condition that both are ma’zur for the same reason. For example, both have the
sickness of continuous dripping of urine or both have the sickness of continuous
passing of wind.
e) An ummi can follow another person who is also an ummi on condition that there
is no one who is a qari among the muqtadis.
f) Women and immature children can follow an imam who is mature and a male.
g) A woman can offer salaat behind another woman.
h) An immature male or immature female can follow an immature male.
i) A person who offers a nafl salaat can read behind one who is offering a wajib
salaat. For example, a person has already offered his zuhr salaat and he goes
and follows another person who is offering his zuhr salaat. Or, for example, a
person has already offered his eid salaat and he goes and joins the jama’at
j) It is permissible for a person offering nafl salaat to follow another person
who is also offering a nafl salaat.
k) A person who is offering a salaat of qasm (oath) can also follow one who is
offering a nafl salaat. This is because the salaat of qasm is also regarded as a
nafl salaat. For example, a person takes an oath that he will offer two rakaats
of salaat and thereafter he goes and offers two rakaats of salaat behind a
person who is offering a nafl salaat. His salaat will be valid and he would have
fulfilled his oath.
l) It is permissible for the person who is offering the salaat of nazr (vow) to
follow another person who is also offering the salaat of nazr on condition that
the nazr of both is the same. For example, a person made a nazr and another
person says that he is making the same nazr that the other person made. But if
this is not the case and one person made a separate nazr for two rakaats for
example, and the other person made some other nazr, then none of them can follow
In brief, if the muqtadi is “inferior” or equal to the imam, his following the
imam will be valid. We will now mention those instances when the muqtadi is
“superior” to the imam, either with certainty or on the possibility that he is
“superior” – whereby his following the imam will not be valid.
a) It is not permissible to follow an immature person irrespective of whether
the person following is a male or a female.
b) It is not permissible to follow a female irrespective of whether the person
following is a mature or immature male.
c) A hermaphrodite cannot offer salaat behind another hermaphrodite. A
hermaphrodite is one in whom the male and female characteristics are so
conflicting that it is difficult to say with certainty whether he is a man or a
woman. This type of creation is very rare and infrequent.
d) A woman who does not remember the period of her haid cannot follow another
woman who is like her. In both these instances, there is the possibility that
the muqtadi is “superior” to the imam. It will therefore not be permissible to
follow them. In the first instance, it is possible that the imam who is a
hermaphrodite could be a female; and the hermaphrodite who is the muqtadi could
be a male. Similarly, in the second case, it is possible that the woman who is
the imam is in her period of haid while the one who is the muqtadi could be in
her period of purity.
e) A hermaphrodite cannot follow a woman because there is a possibility of the
hermaphrodite being a man.
f) A person who is conscious and in his senses cannot follow the person who is a
lunatic, intoxicated, unconscious or mentally deranged.
f) A person who is taahir cannot follow one who is a ma’zur, eg. the person who
has the sickness of continuous dripping of urine, etc.
g) A person who is ma’zur on account of one sickness cannot follow the one who
is ma’zur on account of two sicknesses. For example, a person who passes wind
continuously cannot follow the person who passes wind continuously and who also
has the sickness of continuous dripping of urine.
h) A person who is ma’zur because of a particular type of sickness cannot follow
the one who is ma’zur because of another type of sickness. For example, a person
who has the sickness of continuous dripping of urine cannot follow one who has
the sickness of continuous bleeding of the nose.
i) A qari cannot follow an ummi. In this context, a qari refers to that person
who can read a certain amount from the Quran whereby salaat will be regarded as
valid, and an ummi is one who cannot even do this.
j) It is not permissible for an ummi to follow another person who is also an
ummi while there is another muqtadi who is a qari. This is because the salaat of
the ummi imam will become invalid, since it was possible to make that qari the
imam and his recitation would have been sufficient for all the muqtadis. But now
that the ummi imam’s salaat has become invalid, all the other muqtadis salaat
will also become invalid and among them was that ummi muqtadi as well.
k) It is not permissible for an ummi to follow a person who is dumb. This is
because although the ummi cannot recite, he can still get the opportunity to
learn while the dumb person does not have the power to even do this.
l) A person who has covered the necessary portions of his body cannot follow one
who is naked.
m) A person who is able to go into ruku and sajdah cannot follow one who cannot
execute these postures. It is also not permissible to follow one who cannot go
into sajdah only.
n) It is not permissible for the one who is offering a fard salaat to follow the
person who is offering a nafl salaat.
o) A person who is offering a salaat of nazr cannot follow the person who is
offering a nafl salaat. This is because the nazr salaat is wajib.
p) A person who is offering a salaat of nazr cannot follow the person who is
offering a salaat of qasm. For example, if a person takes a qasm that he will
offer four rakaats of salaat today and another person had made a nazr for four
rakaats. If the person who made the nazr follows this person, his salaat will
not be valid because the salaat of nazr is wajib while that of qasm is nafl.
This is because it is not wajib to fulfil the qasm. It is also possible for him
to give kaffarah and not offer the salaat.
q) A person who can pronounce the letters clearly and correctly cannot follow
the person who cannot pronounce the letters clearly. For example, he pronounces
the “seen” as “thaa” or the “raa” as “ghayn” or any other similar
mispronunciation. However, if he mispronounces one or two words in the entire
recitation, it will be permissible to follow him.
11. The imam must not be a munfarid as a compulsion (wajibul infiraad). In other
words, it is not permissible to follow a person who has to be a munfarid at that
particular time. For example, the person who misses one or two rakaats of the
congregation has to stand up and complete the rakaats which he missed. It is
necessary for him to do this alone. So if another person goes and follows this
person, his following him will not be valid.
12. The imam must not be a muqtadi of another person. In other words, a person
who is a muqtadi himself should not be made an imam. This is irrespective of
whether he is a muqtadi in reality, such as a mudrik; or he is a muqtadi in
principle, such as a laahiq. The laahiq is regarded as a muqtadi in those
rakaats which he did not offer with the imam. Therefore, if anyone follows a
mudrik or laahiq, his following will not be permissible. Similarly, it will not
be permissible for a masbuq to follow a laahiq or vice versa.
If any of these twelve conditions are not found in a muqtadi, then his following
will not be permissible. And when the muqtadi’s following is not valid, then the
salaat in which he followed someone will also not be valid.