When leading audible prayers (as-salawat al-jahriyyah), before reciting another portion of the Holy Quran after Surah al-Fatihah, should the imam recite the basmalah aloud?


A female memoriser (hafizah) of the Holy Quran sent some questions to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa. She asked: 

“[…] Should an imam recite the basmalah out loud before reciting any Surahs during audible prayers (as-salawat al-jahriyyah)?”

Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 25 July 2021, provided the following reply to the questions:

“[…] Both the practices i.e. reciting the basmalah aloud or quietly before starting the recitation of a Surah in salat are correct and validated by the practice of Allah’s Messengersa. Hence, Hazrat Anasra narrates, ‘I observed prayer along with Allah’s Messengersa and with Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman (may Allah be pleased with all of them), but I never heard any one of them reciting the basmalah aloud.’ (Sahih Muslim, Kitab as-salat, Bab hujjati mun qala la yujharu bi l-basmalah)

“Nu‘aim al-Mujmir narrates, ‘I prayed behind Hazrat Abu Hurairahra and he recited, بِسْمِ‭ ‬اللّٰهِ‭ ‬الرَّحْمٰنِ‭ ‬لرَّحِيمِ (aloud). Then he recited Umm al-Quran (Surah al-Fatihah) and when he reached ‭ ‬غَيۡرِ‭ ‬الۡمَغۡضُوبِ‭ ‬عَلَيۡهِمۡ‭ ‬وَلَا‭ ‬الضَّاۤلِّينَ, he said, ‘amin’ and the people also said, ‘amin’. And every time he prostrated he said, ‘Allahu Akbar’ and when he stood up from sitting after two rak‘ahs he said, ‘Allahu Akbar’. And after he had said the salam he said, ‘By the One in Whose Hand is my soul! My prayer most closely resembles the prayer of Allah’s Messengersa.’’ (Sunan an-Nasa’i, Kitab al-iftitah, Bab qira’ati bi-smillahi r-rahmani r-rahim)

“Hazrat Abu Hurairahra narrates that the Holy Prophetsa used to recite bi-smillahi r-rahmani r-rahim out loud. (Al-Mustadrak ‘Ala al-Sahihayn by Al-Hakim al-Nishapuri, Kitab al-imamati wa salati l-jama‘ah, Bab at-ta’min)

“Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira states, ‘It is permissible to recite the basmalah in both ways; aloud or quietly. Our Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Kari m Sahib (may God forgive him and have mercy on his soul) was of an energetic nature. He used to recite the basmalah aloud. Hazrat Mirza Sahib [i.e. the Promised Messiahas] did not use to recite it aloud. I also recite it quietly. Among the Companionsra there are two schools of thought in this regard. I advise you not to quarrel over how anyone recites it. The same is the case for amin; it too is permissible to be said in both ways. In some places, the Jews and Christians used to dislike the Muslims’ saying amin. So, the Companionsra used to say it very loudly. I enjoy both methods. One can recite it aloud or quietly.’ (Badr, No. 32, Vol. 11, 23 May 1912, p. 3)

“Hazrat Mian Abdullah Sanaurira narrates, ‘I never once observed the Promised Messiahas practising raf‘ al-yadayn i.e. the raising the hands during prayer, nor heard him saying amin audibly, nor did I hear him reciting the basmalah out loud.’ This humble one [i.e. Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra] submits that the practice of the Promised Messiahas was exactly the way Mian Abdullah Sahibra has described. However, our practice as Ahmadis since the time of the Promised Messiahas and even after that until now has been that nobody picks anyone up on this matter. Some recite Amin out loud, others do not. Some practice raf‘ al-yadayn, but the majority abstains from it. […] Some people recite the basmalah audibly but the majority do not. The Promised Messiahas used to say that, in reality, all these ways can be found in the practice of the Holy Prophetsa. However, the practice that the Holy Prophetsa adhered to on more numerous occasions is the one that was also the practice of Hazrat Sahib [i.e. the Promised Messiahas].’ (Siratul Mahdi, Vol. I, pp. 147-148, narration no. 154, [February 2008]) […]”

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