Praying In Front Of Imaam


Does prayer count if one prays in front of the imam or behind him in the mosque with a barrier between them, or not?


Praise be to Allah.

The basic principle concerning prayer in congregation is that the members of the congregation should be behind the imam. The scholars differed concerning the ruling on one who prays in front of the imam. The most correct of the views is that it is permissible when there is an excuse.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: Is it permissible for a member of the congregation to stand in front of the imam?

He replied:

The correct view is that it is obligatory for the imam to stand in front, and it is not permissible for a member of the congregation to stand in front of the imam, because the imaam is supposed to be an example and his place is in front of the members of the congregation, so it is not permissible for a person to pray in front of the imam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray in front of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them), and based on that, the prayer of those who pray in front of the imam does not count, and they have to repeat their prayer. But some scholars made an exception in cases of necessity, such as if the mosque is small and there is not enough room for everyone; in that case they may pray to the right and the left of the imam, and in front of him and behind him, because of necessity.  End quote.

Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 13/44

"It is permissible and not disliked to stand ahead of the imam during prayer for an excuse such as lack of space in the mosque."

And Allaah knows best.

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ﺳُﺒﺤَﺎﻧَﻚَ ﺍﻟﻠَّﻬُﻢَّ ﻭَﺑِﺤَﻤْﺪِﻙَ ﺃﺷْﻬَﺪُ ﺃﻥ ﻟَﺎ ﺇِﻟَﻪَ ﺇِﻻَّ ﺃﻧْﺖَ ﺃﺳْﺘَﻐْﻔِﺮُﻙَ ﻭﺃَﺗُﻮﺏُ ﺇِﻟَﻴْﻚ


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