Praying Behind A Sufi Imam: If I Come
To A Village Where The Imam Is A Sufi Who Does Not
Hold One Hand Over The Other When Praying..." - Shaykh
Islamic Rulings - Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
We have a sufi imam.
Is it valid to pray behind him?.
Praise be to Allaah.
Of the words, deeds
and beliefs that are unique to the Sufis and have no
basis in the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),
some are bid'ahs (innovations) that constitute kufr,
and some are bid'ahs that do not constitute kufr. If
this imam follows bid'ahs that constitute kufr, you
should not pray behind him. If he follows bid'ahs that
do not constitute kufr, then it is permissible to pray
behind him although someone else who is a follower of
ahl al-sunnah would undoubtedly be better.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez
ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
If I come to a
village where the imam is a sufi who does not hold one
hand over the other when praying, and he does not go
down on his knees before his hands when prostrating,
is it permissible to pray with him?
If he is known to
believe in Tawheed and not shirk, and he is only a
little ignorant or follows a few ideas of Sufism (tasawwuf),
but he is a believer in Tawheed and a Muslim who
worships Allaah alone and does not worship Shaykhs or
any other created being, such as Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qaadir
etc, and the only problem is that he does not hold one
hand over the other when praying, then there is no
reason not to pray behind him, because this is
something that is Sunnah, not obligatory. Holding one
hand over the other means placing the right hand over
the left hand, wrist and forearm over the chest when
standing in prayer. The one who lets his arms hang by
his sides is not doing anything wrong and his prayer
is valid. …
Ibn Baaz (12/120, 121).
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez
ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was also
What is the ruling
on praying behind someone who goes to the graves of
righteous people to seek blessing from them and to
recite Qur'aan on the Mawlids and other occasions in
return for payment?
This is subject to
further discussion. If he merely celebrates the Mawlid
without any shirk involved, then he is an innovator
and he should not be an imam, because it is proven in
the saheeh hadeeth that the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Beware of
newly-invented matters because every newly invented
matter is an innovation (bid'ah) and every innovation
is a going astray." Narrated by Abu Dawood (3991). And
celebrating the Mawlid (Prophet's birthday) is an
innovation. But if he prays to the dead and seeks help
from them or from the jinn or other created beings,
and he says "O Messenger of Allaah help me or heal my
sick loved one" or he says "Ya Sayyidi al-Husayn" or
"Ya Sayyidi al-Badawi" or calls upon any other dead
person, or prays to inanimate things such as idols,
saying "al-madad al-madad (help, help)", then he is a
mushrik who is guilty of major shirk, and you should
not pray behind him and his leading the prayers is not
valid. We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound.
But if he commits
bid'ah such as attending the Mawlid but he does not do
any act of shirk, or he reads Qur'aan beside graves,
or he prays at the graves, but he does not do any act
of shirk, then he has introduced innovation into the
religion, so he should be taught and directed towards
what is good, but his prayer is valid if he does not
pray by the graves. As for his prayers in the
graveyard, they are not valid, because the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "May
Allaah curse the Jews and the Christians, for they
have taken the graves of their Prophets as places of
worship." Agreed upon.
Ibn Baaz (9/373, 374 and 12/108, 109).