Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum
Can someone who prays on a chair lead the prayer?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
According to the Hanafi school, a bowing and prostrating congregant (muqtadi) may not pray behind an imam who is praying with head movements (ima’) rather than actual bowing and prostration on the ground.
Generally, the congregation is basing and building their prayer upon the imam’s prayer, and the latter is only able to uphold the prayer of everybody else when his own prayer is legally considered to have a strong foundation. This condition is absent when he isn’t actually prostrating, and thus, he cannot lead others in a congregational prayer in such a state.
But if the imam is praying part of the prayer on a chair or seat of some kind due to illness or injury, such as the final sitting, this would be acceptable because what determines the strength of the prayer or otherwise is whether or not there is actual prostration on the ground.
(Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah, with Tahtawi’s Gloss (1.400); Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar)
Please also see this answer.
And Allah Most High 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.