Assalamu ‘alaikum. I go to my village occasionally. There is only one Imam for leading the followers in my village. Due to ignorance, the Imam believes that Allah is in everywhere. I know it well that it’s a very dirty belief. I will try to bring him back to the right faith , next time I go to my village. InshaAllah. But I need some time to do the work properly (after my going on my village). During this period I have to pray behind the wrong believed Imam. If I do not, this will hamper my work( bringing the Imam back to the right faith). Will my prayer be accepted? Do I have to perform the same prayer/Salah again if I pray behind that 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 alone; peace and blessings be upon Our Prophet Muhammad.
This statement “Allah is everywhere” is used by many Muslims to refer to the divine omniscience. Indeed, Allah is All-Knowing, but as it could be misunderstood as implying pantheism, it should be avoided. Thus, if this imam uses this statement in reference to such a proper meaning, you just need to advise his to avoid it lest ignorant people might mistake it for a pantheistic belief.
“Allah is everywhere” is also used by some deviant sects to mean that the very divine entity is literally everywhere, which in essence is a pantheistic belief that is in utter contradiction to the Islamic concept of God. So, if this imam entertains such a pantheistic belief, you may not pray behind him and you should advise him to renounce this belief, if you can.
Still, many of those who say that “Allah is everywhere”, referring to the divine entity, do not actually conceive the pantheistic connotation of this statement and just use it to renounce the anthropomorphic belief that God is limited by space. In other words, they adopt a wrong belief in opposition to another wrong belief. Besides, they misunderstand some Quranic verses and ahadith and quote them in support of their belief.
This is why such Muslims are excused, although they need to be educated about the correct belief in this regard. Accordingly, if this imam belongs to such a category of Muslims, then you may pray behind him; particularly if he is not preaching this doctrine. But if he preaches it, then praying behind him is undesirable. Anyhow, you need to approach him gently, discuss the issue with him, and provide him with textual evidences from the Quran and the Sunnah along with scholars’ statements in this regard.
Allah knows best.
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