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Praying Behind a Handicapped Imam: Allowed?

17 June, 2021
Q As-salamu `alaykum, sir. Is it allowed to pray behind a handicapped imam?


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Mercy-Giving

All praise is due to Allah. Peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad.

In this fatwa:

1- Prayer is allowed if some people prayed behind a handicapped imam but he should be eligible for leading the Prayer.

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2- According to some scholars, if people pray behind a handicapped imam who prays sitting, they should pray sitting too.

3- If there are other people, who are eligible for leading the congregational Prayers, to lead the prayer, it may preferable for one of them to be the imam.

Answering your question, Sheikh Kifah Mustapha, the Imam and Director of The Prayer Center of Orland Park and representative for Dar El Fatwa of Lebanon in the US, states:

Scholars agreed that it is better, if the imam happens to be handicapped, to assign someone else instead.

If the imam prayed sitting down, it is still accepted. There is a hadith in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “If the Imam prays sitting, you should all pray sitting.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

But scholars said it is better if they sit like him. But if they stand, it is accepted.

I lean to the idea that the imam should allow someone else to lead.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.