Should We Recite Surah Al-Fatihah Behind the Imam?

When we aim to understand Surah Al-Fatihah, a pleasant side effect is developing more focus (khushu) in prayer. We want all of our focus to be on Allah the Almighty during prayer so making an effort to really understand the surah that’s called the summary of the Quran, is very important. 

Surah Al-Fatihah is recited dozens of times a day by Muslims. We recite it in every rakah of every prayer…or do we? 

What if we are praying behind the imam and he’s reciting Al-Fatihah, should we also? Or is ‘ameen’ sufficient?

The answer to this question depends on what school of Islamic law you follow. There are 4 Sunni schools; Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i, and Hanbali. None of them are better than the other, they’re just different. 

What each of these four schools agree upon is that when praying by yourself or if you’re the imam, you must recite surah Al-Fatihah in every rakah of every surah. 

Where the difference lies is whether we need to recite Al-Fatihah if praying behind the imam.

Sheikh Yasir Qadhi explains how each of the 4 schools rule on the question, a question that has long been debated since the time of the Companions.

Whatever school of law you follow, follow their rule on this question.

It’s important to remember that surah Al-Fatihah is an essential part of the Prayer. So keep learning about this special chapter. Because even though the chapter is small, it holds so much. 

May Allah accept it from us all.

Surah Al-Fatihah Series:

Source: Yasir Qadhi Channel