Date : 20-10-2011

Question :

If the Imam is praying sitting down, should those following him do the same based on the Hadith in which Jabir said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was ill and we prayed behind him while he was sitting down. Abu Bakr relayed his takbir to the people. The Prophet turned towards us and saw that we were standing. He indicated to us that we should sit down. So we prayed sitting down with him. When he said the taslim, he said, 'You were about to do what the Persians and Romans do. They stand in front of their kings when they are seated. Do not do that. Follow your Imams. If the Imam prays standing, then pray standing. If he prays sitting down, then pray sitting down."{Related by Muslim}.

The Answer :

All praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds

One should pray standing even if the Imam is praying sitting for an excuse, and this is the view of the majority of the scholars based on the narration of Aisha upon the sickness of the Prophet (PBUH):

The Prophet (PBUH) sat on his left side. Abu Bakr was praying while standing and Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was leading the prayer while sitting. Abu Bakr was following the Prophet (PBUH) and the people were following Abu Bakr (in the prayer).'{Related by Bukhari}.

Scholars added that this Hadith was in the last days of the Prophet`s life. Therefore, it abrogates the Hadith of Jaber mentioned in the above question.

After having related this Hadith, Imam Bukhari said that Al-Humaidi said, "The Hadith of Jaber is abrogated because the Prophet (PBUH), in the last part of his life, prayed sitting while people followed him standing.
Ibn Hajar{May Allah have mercy on him} said, "The Hadith related by Bukhari was adopted as basis for abrogating the order to pray sitting when the Imam is sitting {Hadith Jaber}, because the Prophet (PBUH) has approved of the companions` praying standing while he led them in prayer sitting………{Fateh Al-Bari, V.2/P.176}.


We have already clarified this matter in Fatwa (424); kindly refer to it. And Allah knows best.