Saying the Final Salams in Prayer behind an Imam

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat answers doubts about saying the final salams behind an imam.

I have suffered from OCD in religious matters for over a year now. I used to repeat my salah and wudu due to confusion, doubts, etc., but I am getting better and your website has helped a lot. I am also receiving professional help for this. Recently, when I went for Friday prayer in congregation, I fell behind in the last sitting recitation and when imam said first salam, I was still reciting durood.

As a female, I couldn’t see the imam but I am guessing, I would have started saying my salams three seconds after he finished saying his. I am usually very anxious in the prayer about making a mistake and I got confused at that point between wajib and confirmed sunna. Later I realized that I have done something prohibitively disliked and I have repented to Allah for it.

I converted to Islam over 13 years ago and have only recently started going in congregation for jumu‘a with my husband. I know from your website that if you do something prohibitively disliked then you should repeat prayer within its time and it’s recommended to repeat the prayer after its time.

I would like to do what is recommended but I am not sure whether it’s waswas from shaytan as I have repeated salahs in the past which I know now that I should not have. If I repeat it, do I pray two rakas as in jumu‘a or four as in dhuhr?

Also, once I and my husband were praying together in the house while he was the imam and I said salam by mistake just before he said it. I don’t remember at all which salah it was. What should I do in that case?

Jazak Allah khayr.

I pray you are well.

You do not need to repeat any of these prayers. Please take a course on the rulings of purity and prayer. Learning with a skilled and experienced teacher will go a long way in helping you deal with OCD issues related to the prayer.

What occasionally happens to people with OCD is that they give excessive importance to certain details when learning by themselves, or with some someone who is not experienced. Sound knowledge is an essential step towards recovery, as the intense urges to do something can be dismissed much more easily when one knows how it should be done properly.

The Closing Salam

The dominant position in the school is that you say the closing salam at the same time as the imam. There is another position which states that it is done once the imam has concluded his.

The detail you mentioned about repeating the prayer only applies if someone deliberately did something disliked in the prayer – not if it was done by accident. Based on this we have three scenarios for the final salam:

  1. Saying the salam before the imam. This is excused, as any mistakes behind the imam are compensated for by his presence.
  2. Saying the salam at the same time as him. This is the proper way to end the prayer. If, however, one joined late and has units to make up, then this salam would require a sujud of forgetfulness to compensate. If you started your prayer at the same time as the imam there is no issue here at all.
  3. Saying the Salam after the imam. This is a valid position, and doing such a thing would not have a consequence on the prayer. The same detail for the latecomer applies here too.

As a general rule, if you have not finished the tashahhud when the imam says the salam, finish it and end your prayer, even if it takes a bit longer. If you have finished your tashahhud, say the salam with the imam. (Ibn Abidin, Radd al Muhtar)

This is an area where people frequently get confused. Don’t worry about it. Keep going with your treatment, take the course, and ask Allah for relief.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.


Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Is Praying in the Mosque Mandatory?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

Is praying in the mosque mandatory?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

No, it is not mandatory to pray at the mosque.

However, it is an emphasized sunna to pray in congregation, be it at home or at the mosque. But when not praying at the mosque, you would miss out on tremendous reward.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Allah will prepare a residence in the Garden for anyone who goes to the mosque morning and evening each morning and evening that he goes.”[Bukhari & Muslim]

Moreover, there are many benefits in praying at the mosque, and if you’re reasonably able to get there, you should try to do so.

See also: The Superiority of Praying in the Masjid and the Virtues of Walking to It

And Allah alone gives success.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Flatulence Problem and Praying in Congregation

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: I have a flatulence problem but the problem is not bad enough to establish a chronic excuse so i would like your advice in what i should do in certain cicumstances. [1] If i feel the urge to release wind during jamat i leave the jamat and i feel embarassed. Should i feel embarrassed? or this a wrong feeling to have because i should only be concerned with Allah Most High and not what other people think. [2] And i have read that if one feels the urge to break wind during prayer one should leave the jamat and break wind and then do wudu and then rejoin jamat. I would like to ask if we can leave the prayer in jamat and then wait until the urge goes away and then rejoin the prayer and carry on? Is this not better because then we can make sure that we have read with jamat? [3] Also when i feel the flatulence worse at a particular time i won’t go to the masjid to pray with jamat, is this a mitigating circumstance or should i still strive to pray with jamat in the masjid?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.
[1] If you need to relieve yourself in such a way, you should leave the prayer, renew your ablution, and then rejoin. If you are in such a situation, you should put your hand over your mouth and nose pretending to have a nose bleed or some other similar issue.
[2] No, you should remain in the prayer and ignore the urges. Unless it becomes overwhelming or you are certain that something will exit, you should not leave the prayer.
[3] Yes, you should still try to make the congregation if it is reasonably possible. The sunna for men is to pray in congregation and unless you are certain otherwise, mere suppositions and doubts should not prevent you from doing so.
If it is a recurring issue, seek some medical attention, constantly turn to Allah in asking for this to be lifted from you, and realize “When Allah desires good for someone, He afflicts him.” [Bukhari]
And Allah alone gives success.
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

On Arriving Late to Audible Congregational Prayer (Maliki)

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour
Question: Is my prayer sound if I missed the first two rakats of Isha prayer with the Imam, then recited them quietly when I got up to finish my prayer?
Answer: If one stands up to make up the first two units (rak’as) of an audible prayer, then they would have to recite loud enough to where the person standing next to them can hear them.
If a person is in an area where others are praying, then one should only recite loud enough to hear themselves. This is so as not to disturb others who are praying.
If a person does not recite audibly unintentionally when they should have, then they prostrate after the prayer (ba’dy) twice. If they left audible recitation intentionally or due to ignorance of the ruling, then nothing is owed and the prayer is sound.
For ladies, regardless of the situation, they are to recite audible prayers only to where they can hear themselves.
[Mukhtasar Khalil]

Am I a Hypocrite for Not Praying Fajr and Isha in the Masjid?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Am I a hypocrite if I never do isha and fajr in the masjid? Its not like I don’t want to to, its just I can’t drive, my parents usually don’t want to take me, and the masjid is a 20 minute drive from my house.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope you are in the best of health and spirits, insha’Allah.

No, you are not a hypocrite.

The Narration

‘No prayer (salat) is more burdensome upon the hypocrites than the dawn (fajr) prayer and the night (`isha) prayer’ [Bukhari]

There is much virtue in attending these prayers due to the difficulty imposed upon the lower-self (nafs) in doing so and it is a huge encouragement, from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), for attending the congregational prayer in the mosque – though, by not attending, it certainly does not make one a hypocrite.

Praying in Congregation

According to the Hanafi school, praying in congregation is a highly emphasized sunnah (sunnah mu’akkadah). It would be optimally, though not only, fulfilled by praying in a mosque.

Moreover, if there is genuine hardship in reaching the mosque, such as its being far away, the initial blameworthiness, of missing the congregation, would be lifted.

[Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah]

When you get a chance to pray in the mosque, strive to do so. Otherwise, ‘In the bounty of God, and His mercy — in that let them rejoice’ [10:58] And actions are only by intentions. Make your intention for Allah, rely upon Him and realize that the paths to Him are many.

And Allah alone gives success.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Key Steps to Increasing One’s Prayer in Congregation

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: I was recently asked by a learned scholar how to increase our prayer in congregation. I found it a beautiful question and while I had some ideas of building one’s resolve and bringing to mind the benefits of rewards of prayer in congregation,. I wasnt entirely sure if there were specific litanies to aid this. Could you please advise on how one can increase the number of prayers he prays in congregations? Are there any litanies that can aid one in this?

Answer: Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

The most crucial step towards increasing your prayers in congregation is to have a constant concern for the matter.

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “He who made the ablution for prayer and made it properly, then went on foot to offer the obligatory prayer and prayed it with the people, or with a congregation, or in the masjid, Allah would forgive his sins.” [Muslim, Sahih]

I am not aware of any litany (wird) to aid in this, but you can do many other things:

1. Read about the virtues of prayer with congregation. Read about the story of the ascension and reflect on how prayer is a gift, not a burden;
2. Read and reflect on the Early Muslim’s eagerness to pray each prayer in the masjid – even the hypocrites of Madina would pray five times in the masjid daily;
3. Try to live near a masjid;
4. Have an alarm or program to alert you of the prayer times – this is useful in countries where the call to prayer is not heard;
5. Give yourself enough time to wash up and reach the masjid;
6. Carpool or make buddies who also go to the masjid so you mutually remind yourselves;
7. Plan your day around prayer, not the other way around. Schedule work breaks accordingly;
8. Don’t be gone too long each prayer time. This makes it easier on your family and work life;
9. Get your family to encourage you to go when it’s time;
10. Be productive in between prayer times so the prayer is your reward;
11. Focus on Fajr and ‘Isha, as they are the hardest on the hypocrites to perform in the masjid, and insha Allah, what’s in between will be made easier.

Finally, make supplication that Allah Most High enable you, and thank Him in your heart as you approach and leave the masjid.  Allah surely increases those who thank Him.

Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani