What is the proof for us? -2-

When Hadrat Imâm-i A’zam said, “When performing namâz in jamâ’at, the followers (muqtadî) behind the imâm do not read the Fâtiha and an additional sûra,” ten people hearing about this statement of Hadrat Imâm-i A’zam’s came before him:

“We have heard that you, saying the imâm’s recitation suffices, prevent the jamâ’at from reciting the Qur’ân when they perform namâz in jamâ’at. However, a namâz is not a namâz without the Fâtiha. We have sound proofs confirming our argument. We came here to discuss this matter in order to elicit the truth,” they pronounced.
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“I am one person, but you are ten. How can I manage to discuss with all ten of you at the same time,” Hadrat Imâm-i A’zam asked.

“In which manner do you want to hold a discussion?” they countered.

“Choose the one who is the most knowledgeable and profound from among you, so that I talk to him only. Let that person speak on behalf of himself and all of you,” he offered.

“Your offer is agreeable,” they come to a mutual agreement.

“If he gains a victory against me, it will come to mean that all of you have gained a victory against me. But if I gain a victory against him, it will come to mean that I have gained a victory against all of you. Do you accept this proviso?” Hadrat Imâm-i A’zam inquired.

“Yes, we accept it,” they replied.

“I have achieved a victory over you now,” Hadrat Imâm-i A’zam said.

“It is impossible. We have not started our discussion yet!” they retorted.

“Didn’t you accept that the person you chose would speak on behalf of all of you?” he asked.

“Yes,” they answered.

“I, too, accept what you have accepted and say what you have said. The imâm, followed by the jamâ’at, recites the Qur’ân al-karîm both for himself and for the followers. Consequently, the followers do not have to recite it. Is the matter settled once and for all?” he finalized the discussion.

In the end, they were all agreed on that.

Hadrat Imâm-i Rabbânî declares:
It is not jâiz [permissible] for us to give up the rules of our madhhab and to act upon hadîth-i sharîfs, for we think they do not agree with one another. Some hadîth-i sharîfs, which are seemingly incongruous with the rules of our madhhab, cannot be proofs or documentary texts to challenge the words of our scholars. It is to deviate from the madhhab for a person in the Hanafî Madhhab to recite the Fâtiha behind the imâm. (Maktûbat, 312th Letter; Mabda’ wa Ma’âd, 31st Chapter)
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A person who does not follow one of the four madhhabs will have dissented from Ahl as-Sunna and become either a person of bid’a [heretic] or a kâfir [disbeliever]. (Tahtâwî)

The book Kifâya says:
When a non-mujtahid man of the dîn [religion] hears a hadîth, he cannot act upon his own inference from the hadîth. He has to act upon the fatwâ which the mujtahids gave after learning the matter from âyat-i karîmas and hadîth-i sharîfs. The same is written in the book Taqrîr.

Is it permissible to recite the Fâtiha behind an imâm?

Three hadîth-i sharîfs concerning this issue are as follows:

(A namâz without the Fâtiha is deficient.) [Tirmudhî]

(Do not recite behind your imâm when he is reciting. Read the Fâtiha in silence!) [Bayhaqî]

(A namâz without the Fâtiha is not valid.) [Bukhârî, Muslim]

In the light of above-mentioned hadîth-i sharîfs and other documents, the Shâfi’î scholars determined recitation of the Fâtiha behind an imâm to be fard [obligatory].

In the Mâlikî Madhhab, when the imâm recites silently, it is mustahab to recite the Fâtiha. When he recites loudly, then one does not recite the Fâtiha. To recite the Fâtiha in namâz is fard in the Mâlikî Madhhab but wâjib in the Hanafî Madhhab. Let us take a glance at the following hadîth-i sharîfs:
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(When performing namâz behind an imâm, remain silent! The recitation of the imâm is the recitation of the jamâ’at.) [Khatîb]

(He who performs one rak’at without reciting the Fâtiha is never considered to have performed a namâz, except when he performs it behind an imâm.) [Tirmudhî]

(What was it? Was there rivalry for the recitation of the Qur’ân? One of you was reciting with me in namâz.) [Tirmudhî]

The scholars of Hanafî Madhhab, basing their inference on the aforesaid hadîth-i sharîfs and other documents, state that it is makrûh to recite the Fâtiha behind the imâm.

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