Fatwa ID: 05154
Answered by: Maulana Naieem Mohammad
Can an appointed Imam allow someone else to lead the prayer?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
An Imam is appointed by the Muslims to lead them in Salaat or other acts of worship that the community may stipulate. Qualities/qualifications such as being the most knowledgeable of the rules of Salaat, the best in the recitation of the Quran, etc. are considered when appointing an Imam. 
The Imam then has the sole rights of leading the Muslims in that masjid for Salaat, no one will be allowed to lead the prayer in his presence except if he has given permission to another person who is duly qualified and the Muslims of that Masjid are also pleased with him just as they are pleased with their present Imam.
It is Makrooh (highly undesirable) to lead a group of Muslims in Salaat and they are displeased with the Imam if their displeasure is for valid reasons such as him not being qualified, an oppressor or others being more qualified than himself. 
Thus it will be permissible for an appointed Imam to allow someone else who is qualified for Imamat to lead when the conditions are fulfilled.This is similar to a host allowing his guest to lead the Salaat in his presence even though the host is more deserving of Imamat.  The laws of Istikhlaaf are also considered; this refers to the occasions when the Imam breaks wudhu whilst leading or cannot continue the Salaat and has to appoint someone from the congregation to continue the Salaat on his behalf. Such incidents are also proof to show that it is allowed for an appointed Imam to give someone else the authority to lead Salaat in his presence or absence.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Naieem Mohammad
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
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