Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
If the iqamah for an obligatory prayer is given, then one should cut short his sunnah prayer so that he can join the opening takbir with the imam.
Answering your question, the Fatwa Center at Islam Q and A, states:
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “When the iqamah(the call to commence prayer) for prayer is given, there is no prayer except the prescribed prayer.” (Muslim)
Ibn Qudamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “When the iqamah for prayer is given, do not be distracted from it by Sunnah prayer, whether one fears missing the first rak`ah or not. This is the view of Abu Hurairah, Ibn `Umar, `Urwah, Ibn Sirin, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, ash-Shafa`i, Ishaq and Abu Thawr.” (Al-Mughni, 1/272)
Some of the scholars also quoted this hadith as evidence that the person who is offering a sunnah prayer when the iqamah is given should cut short that prayer.
Al-Hafizh al-`Iraqi said: “His words ‘there is no prayer’ may be interpreted as meaning that he should not start a sunnah prayer in that case; or it may be interpreted as meaning that he should not be distracted by a sunnah prayer, and if he had started it before the iqamah then he should cut it short so that he can catch up with the opening takbir [with the imam], or that it is invalid in and of itself even if the worshipper does not cut it short. It may be understood as meaning both of these.”
It was narrated from Sheikh Abu Hamid, one of the Shafa`is, that it is better to stop the sunnah prayer if completing means that he is going to miss the openingtakbir with the imam. (The words of al-‘Iraaqi were quoted by ash-Shawkani in Nayl al-Awtar, 3/91).
This was also stated in a fatwa issued by the Standing Committee on Scientific Research and Fatwas, when they were asked if it is permissible to cut short a sunnahprayer and join the opening takbir with the imam, or one should complete the sunnah prayer, they replied,
Yes, if the iqamah for an obligatory prayer is given, then you should cut short yoursunnah prayer so that you can join the opening takbir with the imam, because it was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “If the iqamahfor prayer is given, then there is no prayer but the prescribed prayer.”(Fatawa al-Lajnah ad-Da’imah lil-Buhuth al-`Ilmiyyah wa’l-Ifta’, 7/312)
Sheikh Ibn `Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said that the correct view is that if the iqamah for prayer is given while the person is still in the first rak`ah of a sunnah prayer, then he should cut it short; if that happens when he is in the second rak`ah then he should complete it quickly and not cut it short.
He said (may Allah have mercy on him): What we think concerning this matter is that if you are in the second rak`ah, then you should complete it quickly, but if you are in the first rak`ah, then you should cut it short. Our evidence for that is the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): “Whoever catches up with one rak`ah of the prayer has caught up with the prayer.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
So the person who has prayed a rak`ah before the iqamah for prayer is given has caught up with a rak`ah that is free of any impediments, which here means theiqamah for prayer, so he has caught up with the prayer by doing a rak`ah before the prayer becomes disallowed, so he should complete it quickly… Then he said: This is the view that reconciles all the evidence. (Ash-Sharh al-Mumti`, 4/238)
If he cuts short the sunnah prayer, he should do so without saying the tasleem(salutation).
The Standing Committee on Scientific Research and Fatwas was asked: If the iqamah for prayer is given and there is a person who is doing two rak`ahs of sunnah prayer or “Greeting the Mosque”, should he cut short his prayer so that he can offer the obligatory prayer with the congregation? If the answer is yes, then should he say thetasleem (salutation) when cutting short his prayer, or should he cut it short without thetasleem?
They replied: What is believed to be the most correct of the two scholarly views is that he should cut short that prayer, and there is no need to say the tasleem when doing so. Then he should join the imam.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.