Home > Salah, What You Should Do In The Following Situations? > Falling behind when praying in congregation. What one should do?

Falling behind when praying in congregation. What one should do?



If a person is praying in a congregation and the loudspeaker stops working or he becomes drowsy and he lags behind the imaam by one or more obligatory acts (arkaan) of prayer (i.e., the imaam performed it and he did not because of not hearing the imaam‘s voice), then when he wakes up again or the sound of the speaker comes back, he should complete the obligatory acts that he has missed, then continue following the imaam.



This problem may arise in many cases. For example: the imaam recites a verse that contains the word of prostration (sajdah) and some of the people misunderstand it to be a verse of prostration while in reality it is not, so when the imaam says takbeer for rukoo at the end of the verse and performs rukoo, some of the followers (especially those towards the rear of the congregation) take it to be the takbeer for the prostration of recital, so they prostrate. When the imaam stands up from the rukoo  saying ―samia Allahu li man hamidah‖, they stand up from their prostration, thus having missed the act of rukoo‗ and standing up from it. So it is incumbent on them to complete what they missed and then catch up with the imaam. This is because they did not do it intentionally. However, in the case of one who intentionally lags behind
the imaam (e.g., someone who prolongs his prostration to make a long supplication such that he misses the obligatory act which comes after the prostration), the majority of scholars say that the prayer of someone who misses two consecutive obligatory acts of prayer without a valid excuse, is void and he is a sinner. (Kashshaaf al-Qinaa‘, 1/467; al-Mawsoo‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 6/29). However, the principle is that the imaam must be followed, as the Prophet Sallallahu alaihi wasallam (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ―The imaam is there to be followed, so do not differ from him. When he goes into rukoo, make rukoo.  When he says ―Sami‘a Allahu li man hamidah (Allah hears the one who praises Him), say ―Rabbanaa laka‘l-hamd‖ (O our Lord! To You belongs the Praise). When he goes into sajdah, make sajdah. If he prays sitting, then all should pray sitting.(Saheeh al-Bukhaari, no. 689)


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