What is the ruling on joining a person who started the prayer munfarid (alone)?
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
The answer depends on the situation:
- If the person who started prayer munfarid (praying alone by themselves) is praying a supererogatory (nafl) prayer, and the person joining is going to pray an obligatory (farḍ) prayer, this would not be permissible in the Ḥanafī madhhab. If the two were praying obligatory prayers, but different prayers (for example Ẓuhr vs ʻAṣr), that would also not be permissible.
- If this is in a masjid where the times of congregational prayer are fixed and there is an appointed imām and mu'adhdhin, and the person who started prayer munfarid is praying in the main area of prayer, then this would be prohibitively disliked (makrūh taḥriman). If it is away from the main prayer area, then this would be permissible.
- If this is in a masjid that is in a marketplace or next to a highway, i.e. a place where commuters and travelers perform prayers regularly, and there is no appointed imām and mu'adhdhin, then this would be permissible.
- If it is outside of a masjid, and both the people are praying the same obligatory prayer, then it would be encouraged to join.
If doing him, the person who started prayer munfarid would change their intention in the middle of their prayer to become the imām.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Shaykh Umer Khan
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham