Why do Ahmadis not pray behind a non-Ahmadi imam?

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Last Updated on 16th July 2021

Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa was presented the following hadith:

الصَّلَاۃُ الْمَکْتُوبَۃُ واجِبَۃٌ خَلْفَ کُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ بَرًّا کَانَ أَوْفَاجِرًا وَاِنْ عَمِلَ الْکَبَائِرَ

[The obligatory prayer is essential behind every Muslim, pious or impious, even if he has committed grievous sins.] (Sunan Abi Daud, Kitab as-Salat)

Huzooraa was then asked as to why it was not permissible for an Ahmadi to pray behind a non-Ahmadi. Huzooraa, in his letter dated 5 October 2018, gave the following reply:

“The complete narration, as mentioned in Sunan Abi Daud, Kitab al-Jihad is as follows:

عَنْ أَبِی ھُرَیْرَۃَ قَالَ، قَالَ رَسُولُ اﷲِ صَلَّی اﷲُ عَلَیْہِ وَسَلَّمَ الْجِھَادُ وَاجِبٌ عَلَیْکُمْ مَعَ کُلِّ أَمِیْرٍ بَرًّا کَانَ أَوْ فَاجِرًا وَالصَّلَاۃُ وَاجِبَۃٌ عَلَیْکُمْ خَلْفَ کُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ بَرًّا کَانَ أَوْفَاجِرًا وَاِنْ عَمِلَ الْکَبَائِرَ وَالصَّلَاۃُ وَاجِبَۃٌ عَلٰی کُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ بَرًّا کَانَ اَوْفَاجِرً وَاِنْ عَمِلَ الْکَبَائِرَ

“In other words, the Holy Prophetsa did not only give instructions in regard to offering prayers in this narration, but he also instructed to participate in jihad under the leadership of every amir [leader] and to offer the funeral prayers of every Muslim. However, the Holy Prophetsa himself did not offer the funeral prayers of the debtor, the traitor and the one who committed suicide.

“Due to this, the scholars of hadith have debated much about the soundness of this hadith and have raised many objections regarding the authenticity of the narration.

“Moreover, the Holy Prophetsa said:

لَا یَؤُمَّنکُمْ ذُوجُرْأَۃ فِی دِینہ

meaning that a person who has become shameless concerning his religion or does not care about the religious injunctions should never lead you in prayers as an imam.

“With regard to being an imam (who leads the prayers) the hadith which is above all is one where the Holy Prophetsa says about the Promised Messiah, وَ اِمَامُکُمْ مِنْکُمْ i.e. ‘At that time, your imam will be from amongst you’. This hadith is recorded in the most authentic hadith books, namely Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.

“The Holy Prophetsa said in the hadith under discussion that whilst you may offer prayers behind a sinner or an immoral person, it does not mean that you can also pray behind someone who brands the Promised Messiahas as a disbeliever or a liar. So, even if this hadith is considered as authentic, it would only mean that the Holy Prophetsa was actually drawing our attention to an administrative matter that when one of your people is chosen as an imam, do not be curious about his actions in order to find his shortcomings, but rather pray behind him with complete obedience and leave the matter of the acceptance of your prayers to God Almighty.”

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