Question of Fiqh

I am a little confused after attending the midday prayer at the mosque today. I arrived early and waited inside for the call to prayer. As it was read a fairly large congregation of elderly men arrived and we did the four sunnah prayers before the actual midday prayer. I haven’t developed the ability to pray at the speed of light like my Turkish brethren, so I finished later than them. I looked around me and noticed that everyone was doing more prayers; I thought at first that they were doing more sunnahs, for I know the Turks are keen on them. Then it dawned on me – everyone was praying his own midday prayer because the imam had not turned up. This seemed strange to me because I am used to someone else being appointed to lead the prayer in congregation in the absence of the imam, say at home or at a gathering.

Afterwards a man approached me to speak to me. I decided to ask him in my very basic, broken Turkish why they did not pray in congregation, to which he responded that there was no imam to lead them. He then asked me a question which I could not understand about Turkish, English and the words of the prayer. I went home perplexed.

Not long afterwards I took my wife to see the gentleman so that she could translate his question for me. It turned out that he was asking in what language I pray – whether English or Turkish. My wife explained that as Muslims we all pray in Arabic – which means that I can walk into any mosque in the world and still take part in the proceedings. My wife then asked explained that I had been asking him why they did not pray in congregation. He explained that no one felt he knew what to do exactly and that everyone was worried about incurring a sin from doing something wrong during the prayer; therefore everybody did his own individual prayer. I suggested that they should ask the imam what they should do in such circumstances the next time they saw him, to which he responded that the imam did not know anything. Finally the man advised me that on prostrating in prayer, my hands should be placed beneath my cheeks with my thumbs either side of my nostrils and not as I have been praying for the past seven years. The reason for this, he said, being that I could block my nostrils if I suddenly got a nosebleed during the prayer.

Does any of this have a basis in Hanafi Fiqh? RSVP

One thought on “Question of Fiqh

  1. Having studied Hanafi fiqh, I certainly have not come across this position. Ignorance often creates a gap the size of one’s imagination though.

    Allah and His Messager (saw) know better


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