Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum
Is the prayer valid if a late joiner (masbuq) stood up to complete the missed number of cycles once the Imam turns to say the First “salam” (and before the second salam)?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
Yes, the prayer of the latecomer (masbuq) who starts making up his missed cycles (rak‘as) before the imam has performed the second salam is valid.
The basis is that you should wait until the second salam, namely, until the imam ends the prayer, because it is possible that he may perform the forgetfulness prostrations (sajda al-sahw) or the like after the first salam. This is important as it is necessary (wajib) to follow the imam given that you are still a follower (muqtadi) at this moment in time.
But if you are reasonably sure that he is ending the prayer, such as in the case of an imam who normally performs the forgetfulness prostrations [if any] before the salam, it would be permissible to subsequently rise and begin making up the missed cycles before the second salam.
Note that rising before the salam altogether would be permissible only in exceptional, legally justified circumstances.
[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah, with Tahtawi’s Gloss (1.375); Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (1.401-402)]
Please also see: What Does the Latecomer Say During the Imam’s Final Sitting? and: The Rulings Related To A Latecomer & A Note On The Durr al-Mukhtar and: What Should a Latecomer Do When His Imam Is Performing the Prostrations of Forgetfulness?
And Allah Most High alone knows best.
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.