Question : When its time to pray in jama'a when should one stand ?
Answer : The renowned Hanafi jurist (faqih), Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states whilst discussing the manners and etiquettes (adaab) of prayer:
“Prayer (salat) has certain etiquettes. Leaving them out does not necessitate any wrongdoing or admonishment, such as leaving out non-emphasised Sunnahs, but to carry them out is superior.”
Then, regarding one such etiquette of prayer, Imam al-Hakafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“And the Imam and the followers standing up when it is said: “Come to success (hayya ala al-falah)”…if the Imam is close to the prayer niche (mihrab), otherwise (if the Imam is not sitting close to the Mihrab) people in each row will stand up when the Imam reaches them. If the Imam enters from the front, they will stand up when their sight falls on the Imam. If the Imam himself gives the call to prayer (iqama) in the Masjid, then they should not stand up until he completes the Iqama.” (See: Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 1/479, Bab Sifat al-Salat)
In light of the above text, there are three situations here:
1) If the Imam is sitting close to his place of leading the prayer or Mihrab, then he and others should stand upon hearing the call “Hayya ala al-Falah”. This is considered to be from amongst the etiquettes of prayer; hence failing to do so will not constitute any wrongdoing or blameworthiness (karaha).
2) If the Imam is not sitting close to the Mihrab, then this has two possibilities:
a) If the Imam is entering from the back, people sitting in each row should stand up when the Imam passes by their row,
b) If the Imam enters from the front, one should stand up when one sees the Imam entering,
3)If the Imam himself is giving the Iqama, one should stand up when the Iqama is completed by the Imam.
It is worth noting here that all of the above is considered to be from the etiquettes (adaab) of prayer and not something that is necessary or a confirmed Sunnah, hence failing to comply with the above guidelines will not necessitate any wrongdoing. One should not rebuke or reproach an individual if he does not stand up at the recommended moment. At times, this issue is given more significance than it deserves.
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK