Is it permissible to pray behind an Imam that has some (open) sins such as shaving the beard?
We advise you to pray behind someone else. If there is nobody else available except him, pray behind him and your prayer is valid.
If there is an alternative Imam available, he (the imam with the shaven beard) must not be put forward; rather the steadfast is to be given precedence.
لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِى ٱلظَّٰلِمِين
My Covenant is not obtained by wrongdoers
[Al Baqarah: 124]
Therefore, the sinner is not to be given precedence. However, if he leads you in prayer, the prayer is valid.
Answered by: Shaykh Abu Bilaal Al-Hadhramy – may Allah preserve him
Answered on: 26th Rabbi’ Al-Awal 1441 (23rd November 2019)
Translated by: Abu Sufian Sami ibn Daniel Al-Ghaani