Translated by Yusuf Laher
When should the muqtadis stand up for salah in congregation? Should they stand before theiqamah begins, when the iqamah begins or when the words hayya ‘ala al-falah are reached?
The answer to this question lies in the practice of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the Noble Companions (may Allah be pleased with them).
Practice of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)
(1) Sayyiduna Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) would render the adhan for Zuhr after zawal(i.e., when the sun reaches its zenith or midway point). He would not say the iqamah until the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) emerged from his quarters. When he emerged and he saw him, the iqamah would begin. (Muslim)
(2) The people would stand for salah in preparation for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). The people would take their place in the prayer rows (saffs) before the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) stood up from his place. (Muslim)
(3) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) says that once they stood up forsalah and straightened the rows even before the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) emerged from his quarters. (Muslim)
(4) The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) told the Companions: “Do not stand for salah until you see me”. (Al-Bukhari)
(5) Ibn Shihab narrates that the people would stand up for salah when the muezzin would sayAllahu Akbar Allahu Akbar. The rows would be straightened before the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) reached his place [to lead prayer]. (Musannaf ‘Abd al-Razzaq)
(6) The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) would stand up from his place when Sayyiduna Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) would say: “qad qamat al-salah“. (Majma’ al-Zawa’id)
These are six narrations describing the practice of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).
The first narration explains that the general habit of Sayyiduna Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) was to keep an eye on the quarters of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). When he emerged from his quarters, Sayyiduna Bilal would commence the iqamah. ‘Allamah Zurqani in his commentary of the Muwatta of Imam Malik and Qadi ‘Iyad in Sharh al-Shifa have mentioned the above-mentioned explanation.
The words of ‘Allamah Zurqani:
“Sayyiduna Bilal would await the appearance of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). As soon as he saw him, he would begin the iqamah; and this was even before most of the people saw him. The people would stand as they saw him. He would not stand in his (Allah bless him and give him peace) position until the rows were straightened.” (Sharh al-Zurqani,1:214)
The second and third narrations substantiate that the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) would usually stand up when the iqamah started and would begin straightening the rows.
Explaining the words “straightening the rows” in the third narration, Imam Nawawi writes in the commentary of Sahih Muslim: “There is an indication (in the words ‘straightening the rows’) that they considered this a Sunnah. The ‘ulama are unanimous on the merits of straightening the rows.” (Sharh al-Nawawi ‘ala Muslim, 5:103)
The fourth narration is indicative that at times Sayyiduna Bilal would commence with theiqamah even before the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) emerged from his quarters and the Companions would stand up and prepare the rows when the iqamah started. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) for some reason got delayed in emerging from his quarters so he advised them not to stand before he came out. Obviously this was to save the people from the inconvenience of waiting while standing for a long period of time.
The words “do not stand until you see me” means that do not stand until I emerge from my quarters. It is also indicative that there is no harm in standing as soon as he emerged from his quarters.
The fifth narration explains the common routine; Sayyiduna Bilal would commence with theiqamah when he saw the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) emerging from his quarters and the people would stand up as soon as the iqamah commenced and begin straightening the rows.
The sixth narration makes clear that at times the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) would be present in the masjid well before the commencement of salah. In this case he would stand up for the salah when the muezzin said qad qamat al-salah. It seems that in this case the Companions stood up when he stood up.
The common factor derived from these narrations is that when the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was not present in the masjid beforehand but would come out from his quarters, Sayyiduna Bilal would commence with the iqamah as soon as he emerged from his quarters and the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) would stand immediately on hearing the iqamah and straightened their rows and the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) never forbade this practice.
Yes, he did discourage them from commencing the iqamah and standing up before his appearance from his quarters and this was because of his consideration for them, and if done, it is termed makruh tanzihi (slightly disliked) by the jurists [because of his discouragement].
Practice of the rightly-guided Caliphs
(1) Sayyiduna Nu’man ibn Bashir (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) would straighten our rows when we stood up for salahand only said the takbir (i.e., Allahu Akbar) for salah after we were straight [in the rows]. (Sunan Abu Dawud)
(2) Sayyiduna ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) would appoint people to straighten the rows. He would not begin the salah until he was told that the rows were straight. Imam Tirmidhi has recorded this narration and he has also written that this was also the practice of Sayyiduna ‘Ali and Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with them both). (Nayl al-Awtar, 2:187)
The first narration explains the method of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the second narration the method of Sayyiduna ‘Umar, Sayyiduna ‘Ali and Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with them). They would also themselves check on the rows and would not begin the salah until they were satisfied that the rows were straight, i.e., there were no gaps in-between the rows and all were in a straight line. They would not begin the salah until then.
This is possible when the people stand up for salah from the commencement of the iqamah, as mentioned in the narrations above that this was the usual procedure of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them). If they had stood when the muezzin said hayya ‘ala al-salah orhayya ‘ala al-falah or qad qamat al-salah, and thereafter the straightening of the rows took place, the salah would have been delayed for a long period after the completion of the iqamah, which is unanimously condemned by the ‘ulama.
Rulings of the jurists
The jurists (fuqaha) have included this issue under the heading Adab al-Salah, i.e., Etiquette of Salah. Etiquettes are those factors that if a person leaves them out, he is not committing amakruh (disliked) act nor is he worthy of reproach. Fulfilling the etiquettes is best but to reproach a person who fails to fulfil them is not permissible and in fact a bid’ah.
The following is recorded in Al-Durr al-Mukhtar:
“The salah consists of a few etiquettes. No sin is incurred by leaving them out nor is reproach like leaving the Sunan al-Zawa’id but to act upon them more virtuous.” (Al-Durr al-Mukhtar,1:477)
Regarding the views of the mujtahid Imams, Imam Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) writes in the commentary of Sahih Muslim:
“According to Imam Shafi’i (may Allah have mercy on him) and a group of scholars, it ismustahabb (recommended) not to stand up until the muezzin has completed the iqamah. Qadi ‘Iyad has related from Imam Malik (may Allah have mercy on him) and from many ‘ulama that it is mustahabb to stand up when the muezzin commences the iqamah. Sayyiduna Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) would stand up when the muezzin said qad qamat al-salah and Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on him) is of the same view. The view of Imam Abu Hanifah and the ‘ulama of Kufah is the people should stand when the muezzin says hayya ‘ala al-salah.” (Sharh al-Nawawi ‘ala Muslim, 5:103)
The details of the Hanafi madhhab are recorded in Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah (or Fatawa Alamgiri):
“If the muezzin and the imam is not the same person and the imam and muqtadis are in the masjid, the imam and muqtadis will stand when the muezzin says hayya ‘ala al-falah, according to our three ‘ulama (Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammed) and this is the correct view.
“If the imam is outside the masjid and he enters from behind the rows, each row [of muqtadis] will stand when he passes that particular row. This is the opinion of Shams al-A’immah Al-Halwani, Al-Sarakhsi and Shaykh al-Islam Khuwahar Zadah. If the imam enters the masjid from the front, the people will stand as soon as they see the imam. They will not stand before he enters the masjid.” (Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah, 1:57).
The following is recorded in Al-Badai’ al-Sanai’:
“The qiyam (standing) is for the purpose of salah [in Congregation] and it is not possible without the imam. Thus, standing [without the presence of the imam] is not beneficial. If the imam enters from the front of the masjid, the people will stand as soon as they see him because when he enters he will directly proceed to the place of leading the salah (imamah). If he enters from the back of the masjid [from behind the rows], the correct view is that each row [of muqtadis] will stand as he passes the particular row, for by his passing of each row it becomes valid for that row to follow him in salah. It is as if the imam is already on his place [in front of them] for each row passed.” (Al-Badai’ al-Sanai’, 1:200)
Imam Malik himself has expressed his view in his compilation Muwatta in reply to a question:
“Imam Malik was asked when is it necessary for the people to stand for salah. He replied: ‘I have not heard of any definite ruling regarding this, but I suppose that this is according to the strength of the people. For, among them are those who are heavy and those who are light-bodied. All of them are not the same [and cannot stand at the same time]’”. (Muwatta Imam Malik, 2:96)
The views of the four Imams have been mentioned above. The summary is as follows: According to Imam Shafi’i it is mustahabb to stand after the completion of the iqamah. According to the statement of Qadi ‘Iyad, the view of Imam Malik is that it is mustahabb to stand from the commencement of the iqamah. But according to the statement in Muwatta, there is no fixed ruling for this and people should stand up according to their ability, respectively. A heavy-bodied person takes longer to stand up compared to a light-bodied person. A sick person also takes longer to stand up. A light-bodied person can stand up quickly.
The view of Imam Ahmad is to stand when the muezzin says qad qamat al-salah. The details of the view of the madhhab of Imam Abu Hanifah is explained in Fatawa Alamgiri and Al-Badai’ al-Sanai’ (above). If the imam and muqtadis are present in the masjid, then according to the reliable narration, they should stand when the muezzin says hayya ‘ala al-falah. If the imam is entering from outside then there are two scenarios: (a) if he is entering from the front of the masjid, themuqtadis will stand upon seeing the imam and (b) if the imam enters from the back of the masjid, each row will stand as he passes it.
Where the Hanafi madhhab is explained in Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq that if the imam and muqtadis are present in the masjid before time, the imam and muqtadis will stand when the muezzin sayshayya ‘ala al-falah, the following reason is furnished:
“It is better to stand up on the words of hayya ‘ala al-falah because these words carry an instruction [to come to success]. Therefore on these words a person will make an effort and hasten [towards success]”. (Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, 1:321)
This implies that those who are of the opinion that it is mustahabb to stand at hayya ‘ala al-falahand qad qamat al-salah because of the instruction contained in it, consider it against etiquette to still be seated thereafter but do not consider standing up before these words to be against etiquette, because standing before these words are said is also hurrying [towards success] on a greater level.
Thus, those who consider it mustahabb to stand at hayya ‘ala al-salah are not saying that to stand before it is contrary to mustahabb, but to remain seated after those words is against etiquette, for this will be against hastening towards obedience.
After pondering it will be realised that the four Imams are unanimous on two aspects:
(a) The differences of opinion is based on better and best and not a matter of impermissibility and blameworthiness (makruh). Thus, no one has the right to object or oppose anyone in this regard. The followers of the four madhhabs do not oppose each other in this matter.
(b) The consensus of the Companions, Followers (tabi’un) and unanimity of the four Imams proves that it is wajib (compulsory) to straighten the rows which should be attained before thesalah commences and this can be easily achieved when the people stand up at the commencement of the iqamah. According to Imam Malik, there is no harm if the weak and the ill stand up a bit later.
The essence of this is as follows: When the Imam and muqtadis are present in the masjid before time, it is best to stand at hayya ‘ala al-falah and qad qamat al-salah according to Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and according to Imam Shafi’i after the iqamah is complete. According to Imam Malik, at the beginning of the iqamah and the general practice of the rightly-guided Caliphs and most Companions substantiate this view. Thus, the ruling of Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab is that to stand up at the beginning of the iqamah is not only mustahabb butwajib.
Not one of the four Imams have ruled that it is necessary for the imam to first sit on the place of prayer to reprimand those who are standing and to consider those standing wrong. It is not themadhhab of any Imam to consider standing from the beginning as makruh or to or to think ill of or to insult such people.
The authentic views of the Hanafi madhhab has been mentioned in Fatawa Alamgiri and Al-Badai’ al-Sanai’ which have been approved by Shams al-A’immah al-Sarakhsi and other Hanafi scholars. No one among the Hanafi scholars in their books, commentaries and fatwacompilations have written that it is makruh to stand from the beginning except in the narration of Al-Mudmarat which has been related by Al-Tahtawi. No one else has said that it is makruh, and how could they say so whereas standing from the beginning [of the iqamah] has been proven from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), the rightly-guided Caliphs, the other Companions and Followers.
As far as the narration of Al-Mudmarat is concerned, Al-Tahtawi has recorded it as follows:
“If a person enters the masjid when the muezzin has begun the iqamah, the person will sit and will not wait while standing”. (Hashiyah al-Tahtawi ‘ala Maraqi al-Falah, 1:186)
This narration can clearly imply that the person will not wait while standing if the iqamah has begun before the imam has entered the masjid, which has been discouraged by the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) as mentioned earlier. The words “do not wait” means not to wait for the imam while standing. By taking this meaning of this narration, it now complies with the other narrations of the Hanafi madhhab and does not oppose the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and of the Companions.
On the other hand, if it is interpreted that it is makruh for a person entering to stand while theiqamah is being said [but should first sit] and the imam is present in the masjid, then because it is contrary to the other texts and commentaries of the Hanafi madhhab, this narration will be ignored, because it is also contrary to the Sunnah and because the narration can be interpreted (to comply) as mentioned above.
Al-Tahtawi has interpreted the narration of Al-Mudmarat in this manner which opposes the common texts and commentaries of the Hanafis and also the Sunnah of the Companions in this regard. The greatness and knowledge of ‘Allamah Al-Tahtawi is in its place, but to interpret the narration in this manner is reason in itself to discard it.
In fact ‘Allamah Al-Tahtawi has recorded the same view as mentioned in Fatawa Alamgiri and Al-Badai’ al-Sanai’ in his commentary on Al-Durr al-Mukhtar, i.e., if the imam enters from the front of the masjid, the people will stand on seeing him, and if he enters from the back, each row will stand as he passes it.
It is recorded in Al-Durr al-Mukhtar that if the imam himself also renders the iqamah, the people will not stand until the completion of the iqamah. Al-Durr al-Mukhtar narrates this with reference to Zahiriyyah.
Al-Tahtawi has written the following under this issue:
“From this previous discussion, sometimes some people understand (i.e., misunderstand) it to mean that it is makruh to stand from the beginning”. (Al-Tahtawi ‘ala al-Durr, 1:245)
The words “sometimes some people understand” used by ‘Allamah al-Tahtawi shows that to believe it as makruh is not a weighty opinion and he did not say that this is his opinion but said that some people take this meaning from the text.
To sum up, among all the Hanafi texts on this discussion, the text of only Al-Mudmarat is unclear and it can also be interpreted according to the views of the majority and the common texts of the Hanafi books. If the meaning of makruh is taken from it, then because it is contrary to the view of the Imams of the madhhab and texts and commentaries, it will be thrust aside.
It has been elucidated that the practice of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), the rightly-guided Caliphs and the majority of the Companions and Followers was that when the imam enters the masjid people would stand from the beginning of the iqamah and straighten the rows.
If the imam is present in the masjid before time, it is mustahabb to stand at hayya ‘ala al-falah, meaning that it is against etiquette to remain seated after these words because it will be against the instruction of hastening towards success but not against etiquette to stand up before these words because it is hastening towards success even earlier.
In some masjids there is a custom that at the time of iqamah the imam emerges from one of the corners, considers it necessary to sit on the place of prayer (musallah) first, instructs those standing to be seated and censures them, this is not the view of any Imam or jurist of this Ummah but is a pure innovation (bid’ah).
The purpose of this article was to clarify and explain this issue. Although the last method is contrary to the view of majority of the jurists and abominable, fighting and arguing over this issue is far worse. It is not appropriate to fight and argue over this issue. With affection and kindness, explain the issue to those whom there is hope that they will accept otherwise silence is better. Align your own actions according to the Sunnah and do not oppose others.
Allah Most High knows best.
Jawahir al-Fiqh, vol. 1, p. 309, Maktabah Dar al-‘Ulum Karachi, Karachi