Lead salah without wudu

Fatwa ID: 02431

Answered by: Maulana Mujahid Hussain


What are the evidences for the hanafi school to say that if an imam led people In salah and he didn't have wudu the jamat must make up the prayer?
Also how does this go with the fact some sahabah led people on salah but the congregation didn't make it up despite the fact the imam led without wudu by accident
Is it true Ali Karamallahu wajhu led people in salah once and forgot
till after prayer that he didn't have wudu and he told the congregation
to repeat it

please help me in this cause.


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


It is important to point out in the beginning that if the one praying Salah behind the Imam know the Imam is without Wudu, then all scholars agree that the Salah is not valid. The difference of opinion is when the Imam prays without Wudu unknowingly then after the Salah has finished he realizes he was not in the State of Wudu. Malik,  Shafee,  Ahmad, and Auzaaie areamongst the Scholars who say the Jamat does not have to repeat it’s Salah

The Hanafiees,  Shabi and Hamad bin Salama are amongst the scholars who say the Salah must be repeated by the Jamat.

May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)  have mercy on them and us all ameen.

The evidence of the Hanafi Mazhab is the following:

 Abu Hurairah reports The prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said

الْإِمَامُ ضَامِنٌ ، وَالْمُؤَذِّنُ مُؤْتَمَنٌ ، اللَّهُمَّ أَرْشِدْ الْأَئِمَّةَ ، وَاغْفِرْ لِلْمُؤَذِّنِينَ

“The Imam is the liable one and the Muazzen is the entrusted one. O Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) guide the leaders and forgive the muazzins”[1]

The Hadees is narrated with many chains from thirteen Sahaba . Some of the chains are weak however taking all the chains into account most of the scholars of Hadees have classified this hadees as reliable including the following:

Ibn Hajar[2] Zayla’ee[3] Ahmad Shakir[4] Albani[5] Ibn Mulaqin[6]Ibn Khuzaimah[7] Ibn Hibban[8] and shuaib Arna’oot[9]

Some of the Scholars who don’t accept the authenticity of this Hadees include Ali Al Madeeni[10] and Abdul Azeez At Tareefi

So if breaking of the Wudu does not have a impact upon the Jamat, one may ask then how does the Imam remain liable as according to this Hadees?

محمد بن الحسن في كتاب الآثار : أنبأنا إبراهيم بن يزيد المكي ، عن عمرو بن دينار ، أن علي بن أبي طالب قال في الرجل يصلي بالقوم جنبا قال : يعيد ويعيدون

Imam Muhammad reports in his Athaar that Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) Said about a person who leads people in Salah in a state of Janabat ( major impurity) “ He will repeat his Salah and they will also repeat”

This narration is also narrated by Ibn Abi Shaba[11] and by Abdur Razaq in his mussannaf

Perhaps This is the narration you mentioned in your question. However the authenticity of this narration questionable.

There is also another report from Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)  mentioning the same opinion but that is also weak.

Imam Muhamad in kitaabul athaar reports with a reliable chain from Ataah bin Abi Rabaah that such a person should repeat his Salah[12]

Imam Muhammed reports with a reliable chain from Ibraheem An Nakhaiee that such a person should repeat his Salah[13]

Imam Muhammad also reports in Kitabul athaar with a chain who’snarrators  are reliable from Ibn Seereen that he said “ I prefer that they repeat their Salah[14]. In fact the very same words are narrated from Sufyasn As thoori.

The Hanafi Madhhab also uses sound logic as backup evidence. This includes the following points:

If the Imam did something else that breaks Salah, such as talking in Salah , then everyone accepts the Salah is not valid. Why is the same ruling not applied here?

If the Imam was to break his wudu in Salah and continue , then again everyone accepts the Salah is not valid. How can the Salah be valid when the Imam  is  without wudu for whole of the Salah and not be valid when the Imam is without wudu for some of  the Salah?

If forgetfulness is an valid excess then why is it not applied for any other essential part of salah? If the Imam forgot to read anything at all or forgots rukooh then everyone accepts the Salah is not valid.

The prophet (p.b.u.h)  in a reliable Hadees called Wudu as a key for Salah.  If the Imam did not have the key , then he’s not entered the building (i.e. spiritual state) to be in a position to lead anyone (figuratively speaking).

Allah Knows best.

Written by Maulana Mujahid Hussain

Checked and approved by Mufti Tosir Miah 

Darul Ifta Birmingham

[1] Abu Dawood hadees number 517 Darusalam print. The hadees is also found in Tirmizi , Ahmad , Ibn Hibban Ibn khuzaimah,  Imam Shafee’s Tarteeb.

[2] Talkeees  volume 1 p 206-207

[3]Nasbor Rayah  volume 2 page 59

[4]In his commentry on the Musnad

[5] In his takreej on Abu Dawood Hadees 517

[6]Al Badar al Muneer V 3 p225

[7]In his Saheeh volume 3 page 16

[8] In his Saheeh Hadees number 362

[9] In detail, in his Takreej on Musnaad Ahmad Hadees 7818

[10] As mentioned by Tirmizi in his sunnan after this Hadees

[11]In his musannaf Hadees number 4605

[12] Volume 1 Page 360 darul kutub ilmiyyah print narration number 135

[13]Volume 1 page 357 darul kutub ilymiyyah narration number 133

[14]Volume 1 page 361 narration number 136 Darul kutub ilmiyyah print.

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