The Imaam who people despise

بســـم اللــه الرحــمــن الـرحـــيــم

▪️The Imaam who people despise▪️

Our Shaykh, Muhammed bin Hizaam – may Allaah preserve him – was asked the following question:

? Question:

The questioner says: Is it permissible for someone to lead people in prayer while they despise him?

? Answer:

If they despise him wrongly, then it’s permissible for him to lead the prayer; that is if they despise him without any right. For example, a man calls others to good, he calls people to stick to the book and the Sunnah, and warns against worshipping others besides Allaah, against Sufism and against speaking ill of the Prophet’s companions ﷺ; they hate him due to this. If they hate him because of this, then this hatred is wrongful and impermissible. Another example is, someone busies himself teaching others good, but some make remarks about him saying, ‘he has wasted himself, he has nothing better to do, he’s unemployed’, as a result they begin to despise him; this is also wrongful hatred.

But if they despise him rightfully, then it’s not permissible for him to lead over them in prayer. If for example, he is an immoral individual (faasiq), one who oppresses others, or a sinful individual who people hate, he harms his neighbors, behaves disrespectfully towards his parents, causes problems between the people, or one who is trialled with Bid’ah (innovation) or Hizbiyyah (Bigoted partisanship); this is the one people despise (rightfully). If this type of person were to lead over them in prayer, his prayer is valid, but he will be sinful for this, because Abu Umaamah narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

ثَلاَثَةٌ لاَ تُجَاوِزُ صَلاَتُهُمْ آذَانَهُمُ الْعَبْدُ الآبِقُ حَتَّى يَرْجِعَ وَامْرَأَةٌ بَاتَتْ وَزَوْجُهَا عَلَيْهَا سَاخِطٌ وَإِمَامُ قَوْمٍ وَهُمْ لَهُ كَارِهُونَ

“There are three whose prayers (salaah) will not rise beyond their ears: The runaway slave until he returns, a woman who spends a night while her husband is angry with her, and an Imaam who people dislike.” This hadeeth is reported by Tirmithi and it is fairly authentic (Hassan).


Translated by:

Abu Ishaq Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ba-Alawi

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