Can a Gay Person or Someone Who Commits Zina Lead Prayer?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


The following questions arise within our community, and hopefully, you can provide us with answers to these in accordance with Islamic law.

1. Can, may someone who is gay [active, passive] lead prayer [or be Imam];
2. Can, may someone who commits zina [openly] lead prayer [or be Imam ]?


In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate.

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah. Sexual relations are only permitted in the context of marriage, and in no other way. Allah Most High says,

“5. And those who keep their private parts wholly chaste;

6. Save from their wives, and the bondmaids their right hands own, for which they bear no blame;

7. For whoever seeks more than even that: Those are the utter transgressors.” [Quran, 5:5-7; Keller, Quran Beheld]

Unlawful sexual relations (zina) and homosexual activity are both major sins.

Praying Behind the Open Sinner?

In general, there are three guiding principles:

One. It is valid to pray behind any believer, if one doesn’t know their prayer to be invalid.

Two. It is prohibitively disliked to actively choose a corrupt (fasiq) person to lead prayer–including those who engage unrepentantly in unlawful sexual conduct.

Three. Prayer in congregation behind such people is valid, though.

[Ref: Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

It is best to have a defined order of who leads prayer in the mosque or place of prayer (musalla).

Note:  Given the considerations in such cases, please consult reliable local scholars about the specifics of the situation. Jazakum Allah khayr.

Related Links

Is It Sinful and Leads to Disbelief to Befriend Homosexuals and Atheists?

How Do I Address My Homosexual Feelings?

Praying with Presence

On Worship (Purification, Prayer, Fasting, Zakat, and Hajj): Shurunbulali’s Ascent to Felicity

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), and his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of “Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004).” Since 2011, the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center has named Shaykh Faraz one of the 500 most influential Muslims.