The ruling on praying Salaatul Taraaweeh behind an innovator whilst there is a Salafi Imam available

Answered by our Shaykh, the ‘Allaamah, the Sincere Advisor, Abu ‘Abdirrahman Yahya bin ‘Ali Al-Hajoori – may Allaah preserve him – on the 30th, Jumaada Al-Uwlaa, 1423H


At the arrival of Ramadhan there is differing between some of the Salafi’s concerning the topic of Taraaweeh, Some of them pray in their local Masjid behind an innovator, some of them pray at home saying : ‘I will not pray behind an innovator, and no honour to them‘ , and some of them travel a long distance so that they can pray behind a Sunni, so what is the correct thing to do?

And also is the Taraaweeh prayer legislated for the traveller?


What’s correct is that whoever is able to cover some distance even if it may cause a little difficulty, until his able to pray behind a Sunni Imam, as long as it doesn’t reach the level of travelling, then that is good, Allah mentions in his book :

‎وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا”

“and make us leaders for the Muttaqun.”

The position of Imam is a place of honour, also it is a must to know that the Salafi Imam can have an effect even by way of his recitation and his reading and his presence, and likewise the innovator Imam also has with him an effect even by way of his recitation. What’s to say you won’t become deceived by his recitation where by you eventually follow him one day or defend him and say ‘this is a righteous man’!!

This is not unforeseen. It’s known and understood that the prayer behind one who’s innovation hasn’t reached disbelief is valid, however Salaatul Taraaweeh is a voluntary prayer, so if your able to pray behind a Salafi then do so, and if your unable then pray in your house. In the likes of this scenario the following hadeeth is used as a proof:

(أَفْضَلَ صَلاَةِ الْمَرْءِ فِي بَيْتِهِ، إِلاَّ الصَّلاَةَ الْمَكْتُوبَةَ)

“The best prayer for a person is that what he prays in his house, except for the written ones” i.e the obligatory congregational ones. [Bukhari]

Prevention is better then seeking a cure, meaning instead of going to pray behind an Innovator and finding yourself wanting to cure your heart after a doubt has settled or falling into a trial, the distancing from them in these situations is safer for you.

Two men entered upon Ibn Sireen wanting to recite one verse to him from the Quran , he refused and said either you both stand away from me or I will move from you, he said ‘I feared if they were to recite even a verse from the Quran to me and then distort its meaning and for it to then settle in my heart’.

We say: in the likes of this scenario it’s better for one to pray in his house.

Undoubtedly the prayer is better in congregation, due to the statement of the messenger of Allah ﷺ: “He who prays with the Imam until he finishes its written for him like he has prayed the whole night”, this being if a person prays behind a Salafi.

As for a person praying at home due to not finding a congregation behind a Salafi then the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

(اجْعَلُوا فى بُيُوتِكُمْ مِنْ صَلاَتِكُمْ)

“Make some of your prayers in your houses” [Bukhari]

and another statement of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ:

(أَفْضَلَ صَلاَةِ الْمَرْءِ فِي بَيْتِهِ، إِلاَّ الصَّلاَةَ الْمَكْتُوبَةَ)

“The best prayer for a person is that what he prays in his house except for the written ones” [Bukhari]

However the Taraweeh prayer has exempted from this due to what was mentioned above.

As for Salaatul Taraaweeh for the traveler and Witr for the traveler and the night prayer and Salaatul Duha and other than that from the voluntary prayers are all legislated for the traveler. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ and his Companions didn’t depart on a journey until they prayed Duha and heﷺ prayed Witr on his riding beast and Salaatul Witr is from the night prayer.

Translated by : Abu Ibrahim Nassir Bin Rashid Al-maamry