After reciting the Tashahhud, Ta’uz, Tasmia and Surah Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (may Allah be his Helper) stated:
In the previous sermon I highlighted the importance of prayer and spoke on observing prayer regularly. I received letters from a number of people who gave their personal accounts in which they expressed regret at their shortcomings. From many localities and auxiliary organisations I received letters in which they acknowledged that there is indeed a weakness in this regard. Strong and resilient strategies are being implemented, as well as the fact that God willing, they will try their utmost to remove this weakness. May God Almighty enable them to do so. May our mosques be occupied in the true sense and present this example in best manner possible. However, the administration should always bear in mind that in order to achieve the best results, one must demonstrate steadfastness. Initially many of us begin a task with full enthusiasm and passion, then however, after some time has elapsed one begins to feel apathy. This is also in line with the nature of man. If people become lax then, although it is a matter that requires due attention it is not alarming, however, if the administration become lacklustre then it is a grave matter indeed. If the system that was created to encourage the people becomes lax or demonstrates apathy in respect to its responsibility, then the reformation of the people becomes very difficult; since the apathy among the people occurs due to the effects of man’s nature, it therefore becomes difficult to address this.
Thus, auxiliary organisations as well as the administration of the Jama’at should devise schemes and programs to such effect that as time elapses, in order to combat laxity and shortcomings they should aim to make progress on a daily basis in that aspect of life that God Almighty declared as the very reason for our existence. Progress in our worship is what will grant us success and this aspect is very important. The entire administrative structure needs to work earnestly in this regard. Lajna Imaillah [Women’s organisation] should ensure they fulfil their responsibility in this regard. To be mindful of children when they pray at home and to inculcate this habit in them; as well as ensuring the youths and men [of the household] go to the mosque regularly is the responsibility of the women. If women fulfil their role in this regard, it can bring about an extraordinary reformation.
Similarly, I would like to put to rest the issue of those people who say not to remind them of their prayers or they say not to enquire about the state of their prayers because this is a matter between them and God Almighty. Many women have complained that if they remind their husbands [about prayer] they begin to argue and quarrel with them. To those people I would like to say that although this is a matter between man and his God, it is the responsibility of the administration to remind the people and draw their attention towards it. In the same way it is the responsibility of the wives, in fact it is incumbent upon them to do so. If it was the case that if one wishes they can pray or if they do not they can forsake it or the fact that during the Fajr [dawn] prayer they are in deep sleep, and since they have to work throughout the day, they should not be woken up for the prayer; if this was the case then the Holy Prophet (sa) would not have advised couples that whoever wakes up first, he should awaken the other. If they do not wake up or feel drowsy, then one should sprinkle some water on them. In some instances the Holy Prophet (sa) has issued strict warnings. In the previous sermon I presented some Ahadith. Thus, the concept that one is free to do as they please by saying it is between them and their God, is incorrect. If, the administration that you attribute yourself to, makes an enquiry about the state of prayers within their localities, then instead of being irritated and enraged, you should cooperate with them. However if an individual who observes prayer discloses it before others and out of pride announces it that he regularly prays in congregation, then this is a vice and is incorrect. Nevertheless, the importance of prayer should be made evident for everyone, and great efforts should be made to act upon the teachings of God Almighty and His Prophet (sa).
After mentioning this I will now present certain aspects of Salat [prayer] in light of the sayings of the Promised Messiah (as) which are of a jurisprudential nature, or they are injunctions to which the Promised Messiah (as) has drawn our attention towards. Often people enquire about these matters and is therefore important to address. By the grace of Allah, people from different Muslim sects enter the fold of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Certain habits they would adhere to previously are not practiced by the Ahmadiyya Community because the Promised Messiah (as) has explained these issues for us. Since we have accepted the Promised Messiah (as) as the Just Arbitrator we will act upon his teachings, which will verify those authentic practices, which are attributed to the Holy Prophet (sa) and his companions.
Amongst these issues there is one of Rafa’ Yadain, which is to raise both hands up to the ears every time a Takbeer [To exclaim Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest)] is pronounced, or before every action in prayer. It is these small issues which have not only caused great divisions and subdivisions amongst the Muslims, rather it has been the cause of conflict, with each sect brandishing the other as heretic. If an individual joins a funeral prayer led by an Imam of a different sect, then the religious clerics declare that persons marriage to be annulled and terminated. These issues are not a thing of the past, but in fact are arising even today. Recently in India there was a news report that some people belonging to a certain sect, offered the funeral prayer of a person belonging to another sect. An edict was issued that all the marriages [of those present] were annulled. All the residents of the village or township went to their religious cleric and formed a long queue outside. All the marriage ceremonies took place afresh. These people have made religion into a thing of ridicule or a cause of spreading chaos and disorder.
The Promised Messiah (as), who was sent to resolve all conflicts, stated: “I am the Just Arbitrator, therefore accept me.” He also presented solutions to the issues which contained minor differences and some he declared to be permissible, stating that someone may choose to do something in one way or the other. With regards to Rafa’ Yadain [raising both hands to the ears] the Promised Messiah (as) states: “There is no harm in it. There is no issue whether one chooses to do it or not, furthermore, both ways are mentioned in the Ahadith. This is also witnessed in the practices of the Wahhabis and Sunnis, as one adheres to Rafa’ Yadain whereas the other does not. It seems as if at one point the Holy Prophet (sa) adopted Rafa’ Yadain, but later abandoned it. This was not a consistent practice of the Holy Prophet, however, if he had practiced it at one point and some people adhere to it, then it is perfectly acceptable and there is no need to quarrel over this matter.”
However the Promised Messiah (as) embraced that practice, which the Holy Prophet (sa) adopted for the longest duration. In this regard there is another testimony in which Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib writes: “Hafiz Noor Muhammad Sahib, a resident of Faizullah Chak once wrote to me stating that ‘on one occasion we enquired from the Promised Messiah (as) what he thinks on the issue of repeating the Sura Fatihah with the Imam, Rafa’ Yadain and [pronouncing] Ameen?’ ‘The Promised Messiah (as) stated: “This practice can be found in the Ahadith, therefore one must adopt this.” Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib says in this regard: “This humble one would urge that as for the matter about reciting the Sura Fatihah with the Imam; this practice of the Promised Messiah (as) is proven from several other sources, i.e. reciting Sura Fatihah with the Imam during the congregational prayer. However with respect to Rafa’ Yadain and Ameen Bil Jahr [Reciting Ameen audibly] I do not believe the Promised Messiah (as) would have stated in this manner, because if the Promised Messiah (as) considered it to correct, he would certainly have adopted this practice. However there is no proof to indicate that the Promised Messiah continued this practice, or that he acted on this unceasingly, rather, the practice of the Promised Messiah (as) was quite the opposite. It is my belief that when Hafiz Sahib enquired from the Promised Messiah (as), since there were many parts to the question, the Promised Messiah (as) only addressed the first part in his answer; i.e. in the answer the Promised Messiah (as) only addressed the issue of reciting Sura Fatihah with the Imam, but Allah knows best.”
Then there is another narration which attests to the fact that reciting the Surah Fatihah with the Imam is permissible, but nothing further. Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib writes: “Mian Abdullah Sanori Sahib said to me that ‘Previously I was strongly averse to following any school of thought or a particular tradition, and would strictly adhere to Rafa’ Yadain and Ameen Bil Jahr, which is to recite the Ameen audibly. Even after meeting the Promised Messiah (as) I continued this practice for many years. After quite some time, I had the opportunity to offer prayers behind the Promised Messiah (as). When the prayer had finished, whilst turning to me, the Promised Messiah (as) smiled and said: ‘Mian Abdullah, you have continued with this practice for long enough.’ He was hinting at Rafa’ Yadain, i.e. raising up both hands after every Takbeer. Mian Abdullah sahib continued by saying: “From that day I abandoned the practice of Rafa’ Yadain, in fact I even stopped Ameen Bil Jahr [reciting the Ameen audibly].” Mian Abdullah Sahib states: “I never once saw the Promised Messiah (as) adopt Rafa’ Yadain, nor heard him say Ameen Bil Jahr, nor did I hear him recite Bismillah [In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful] out loud.” Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib states: “This humble one urges that the practice of the Promised Messiah (as) was exactly the way Mian Abdullah Sahib has affirmed, however, our practice as Ahmadis – from the time of the Promised Messiah (as) and even after that – until now has been that nobody can levy anything against another. Some recite Ameen out loud, others do not: some adopt Rafa’ Yadain, but the majority abstain from it, and in fact, now it is not practiced at all, except by those who have recently joined and are accustom to it, but even they slowly abandon this practice.” He then continues by saying: “Some people recite Bismillah audibly, but the majority do not. The Promised Messiah (as) would state that ‘in reality, all these ways can be found in the practice of the Holy Prophet (sa), however the traditions that the Holy Prophet (sa) adhered to on numerous occasions is the correct way,’ and that was the practice of Huzoor” (i.e. the practice of the Promised Messiah (as).
Then there is a question that during prayer, in the Qiyam [the upright position of prayer] when an individual folds his arms, where should he place his hands? Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib writes: “On one occasion Maulvi Sarwar Shah Sahib told me that ‘Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) once received a letter, since some people would fold their hands below the navel, some at the midriff and some would fold them fairly high up. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) received a letter stating then when an individual has made his intention for prayer, where should he fold his hands? In the letter it was written that ‘is there even an authentic Hadith in which it is written that one should position the hands above the navel in prayer?’ Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) presented the letter before the Promised Messiah (as) and stated ‘the Ahadith found in this regard are not free from controversy and there have been many debates about them. Some people declare them to be correct and some declare them to be false.’ The Promised Messiah (as) stated: “Maulvi Sahib! If you pursue this matter you will certainly find something because despite the fact” (the Promised Messiah (as) is referring to himself), “in my early years, despite the fact that everyone around me followed the Hanafi school of thought, I was never keen on placing my hands below the navel.” Regarding himself the Promised Messiah (as) states: “I never liked the practice of placing my hands below the navel during prayer, on the contrary my personal disposition was always inclined to place my hands above the navel region, and we have experimented on a number of occasions
The Promised Messiah (as) states:
‘I have experienced on numerous occasions that whenever I had a natural inclination regarding a particular practice, upon researching it, I was always able to find it consistent with the Ahadith also.’ The Promised Messiah (as) further states, ‘even in the instance where I had no prior knowledge of it [i.e. the Ahadith]’.
Thus, the Promised Messiah (as) said to Hazrat Khalifatul Maish I (may Allah be pleased with him), ‘search for it and you will certainly be able to find it because I have generally observed that if I have a natural tendency towards a particular practice, then I have also been able to find a Hadith in support of that.’
Maulvi Sarwar Shah Sahib relates, ‘upon this instruction, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) left and no more than thirty minutes had elapsed since his departure, he came back cheerfully with a book in his hand. He informed the Promised Messiah (as) that he had found the Hadith and in fact the Hadith he had found was one that is on the authority of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) and Hazrat Umer (ra) and therefore it cannot be contested or challenged. He further stated that this was due to the blessings of Huzur’s instruction’ i.e. that he was able to find a Hadith which stated that folding the arms above the navel was more predominantly practised by the Holy Prophet (sa)
Hazrat Hajji Ghulam Ahmad relates, ‘someone once queried that where should one fold the hands during prayer.’
Certain people confine themselves only to the complexities of a matter. On the one hand, the Promised Messiah (as) gave instructions to search the Hadith and said that it will surely be found because his natural tendency was to fold the arms above the navel. However, on the other hand, another person posed the same query but in this instance his reformation was necessary of a misconception. Therefore, the Promised Messiah (as)replying to him said:
‘The overt acts of respect are also of great significance and therefore the physical acts in the prayer are also important, however one’s main focus of attention in prayer should be on God.’ Although the physical acts are also important but one should also keep their attention focused on God Almighty which is the primary objective of prayer.
A question was once asked in regards to raising one’s finger while reciting the Tasshahud [declaration of faith]. A person asked that why the index finger is raised when reciting the Atahiyyat [prayer recited when in a seated position in prayer]? The Promised Messiah (as) replied:
‘In the pre-Islamic era, people would raise this finger as a gesture for expressing abuse and profanity. Hence, it is referred to as the Sabaaba [verbal abuse] finger. Allah the Almighty reformed the people of Arabia and removed this habit and instead told them to raise this finger in order to proclaim the unity and oneness of God. And thus, the finger would no longer be known as the finger of expressing abuse, rather it would be described as the finger which declares the oneness of God.’
The Promised Messiah (as) further stated:
‘Similarly, the Arabs would drink alcohol five times a day, but instead Allah the Almighty prescribed five prayers throughout the day.’
A question was asked in regards to reciting Quranic prayers while in Ruku [bowing] and Sujood [prostrating]. Maulvi Abdul Qadir Sahib Ludhianvi asked whether it was permissible to recite the Quranic prayers while in Ruku and Sujood. The Promised Messiah (as) replied:
‘Sajda and Ruku signify states of extreme humility and meekness, however the word of Allah necessitates great dignity and grandeur, but aside from this it has not been recorded anywhere in the Ahadith that the Holy Prophet (sa) would recite Quranic prayers while in a state of Sajda and Ruku.’
Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib states regarding this that Mia Khairuddin Sahib Sikhwani mentioned to him in a letter that the Promised Messiah (as) stated:
‘One should extensively supplicate in prayer and the supplications should be made in one’s own language but those words which have been established by the Holy Porphet’s own practise should be read in the same manner. For instance, reciting Subhana Raabi Al-Azeem [Holy is my Lord, the Most Great] while in Ruku and reciting Subhana Raabi Al-Aa’la [Holy is my Lord, the Most high] while in Sajda, and thereafter one can offer supplications in one’s own language.’
The Promised Messiah (as) further stated:
‘The Quranic prayers should not be recited while in a state of Ruku and Sajda because the Holy Quran is the pure word of Allah the Almighty and is full of grandeur while the state of Sajda reflects a state of extreme humility, therefore one should regard the Holy Quran with the deepest respect.’
Someone once asked Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (ra) that why it is prohibited to recite the Quranic prayers while in Sajda when in fact the Sajda reflects a state of complete humility and therefore the prayers would be more readily accepted if read in the state of Sajda? Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (ra) replied:
‘I was also of the view that it was permissible to recite the Quranic prayers in Sajda until I came across a reference of the Promised Messiah (as) in which he had forbidden reciting the Quranic prayers while in a state of Sajda and there is a Hadith in Masnad Ahmad bin Hanbal which also supports this.’
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (ra) further states:
‘Even if I did not come across the references which opposed my initial view, however I still would not deem the argument presented as appropriate: wherein he stated that since the Sajda is a state of utmost humility therefore reciting the Quranic prayers should be permissible. This does not form an argument.’
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (ra) while further elaborating on this cited the example of a belief held by Imam Malik and stated:
‘Everything which lives in the water is Halal [lawful to eat]. Once, someone asked him (Imam Malik) that swine also live in water, therefore is it permissible to eat it? Imam Malik replied that everything that lives in the water is Halal [lawful] but the swine is Haram [unlawful]. However, he continually posed this question but Imam Malik replied that I can only say that everything that lives in the water is Halal however the swine is Haram [unlawful].’
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (ra) further states:
‘I shall give the same response to this question also which is that indeed the Sajda reflects a state of complete humility but the Quranic prayers cannot be read in this state. Supplication humbles a person while the Holy Quran elevates a person and hence it is forbidden to recite the Quranic prayers while in a state of Sajda. Once we find a practise that can be attributed to the Holy Prophet (sa) and Promised Messiah (as) then it is not permissible for us to establish a practise contrary to that even if we cannot fully comprehend it. Our duty is to simply adhere to the instructions.’
Some people ask that if they join the prayer in the position of Ruku, does that still count as a Rakat [single unit of prayer]. Generally, everyone knows this and are told this form childhood that if a person arrives late for prayer and joins while in Ruku then that is counted as a Rakat. Once this subject of whether the Rakat of such a person is counted who joins only in Ruku was brought up and the Promised Messiah (as) sought the opinions of the other scholars who were present. The ruling of various other sects within Islam were also obtained. In the end, the Promised Messiah (as) gave his verdict and said:
‘Our belief is [Arabic text] i.e. without Surah Al-Fatiha there is no Salat. Whether a person is leading the prayer or offering it individually, they should recite Surah Al-Fatiha. However, they should read it slowly so that the congregants being led in prayer can hear it as well as recite it themselves (here the Promised Messiah (as) is giving instructions regarding the Imam who is leading the prayer). Or, after each verse, the Imam should give enough time so that the congregants can also recite it. In any case, the congregants should be given the opportunity to hear the recitation as well as recite it themselves. The recitation of Surah Al-Fatiha is important because it is the Ummul Kitaab i.e Mother of the Book, however if despite one’s utmost efforts to join the prayer but he is only able to join in the Ruku and missed the earlier portion of the prayer, it will still count as a Rakat for him. Though he could not read Surah Al-Fatiha, however it is mentioned in the Ahadith that whoever joins the prayer in the Ruku, his Rakat is counted.
The Promised Messiah (as) further states:
‘There are two aspects in regards to such matters. On the one hand, the Holy Prophet (sa) stated and strongly emphasised to recite the Surah Al-Fatiha in prayer and that it is the Ummul Kitaab [Mother of the Book] and is the real essence of the prayer. However, if someone despite all their efforts is only able to join the prayer in Ruku, then since the foundation of Islam rests on providing ease therefore the Holy Prophetsa stated that it will still count as a Rakat. There is no mention of Surah Al-Fatiha, in fact in such an instance, one would adhere to the exemption that has been permitted due to arriving late for prayer.’
The Promised Messiah (as) further states:
‘Allah the Almighty has moulded the condition of my heart in such a way that my heart trembles in the face of something unlawful and my heart turns me away from committing such an act. It is evidently clear that if a person fully completes three components of the prayer but due to some constraints beyond his control, he only partially completes the other then there is no harm. In such an instance a person should comply with the exemption that has been permitted. However, a person who intentionally shows indolence and joins the prayer late, then such a person’s prayer itself becomes invalidated.’
Furthermore, in regards to repeating the Surah Al-Fatiha after the Imam, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad writes:
‘Maulvi Sher Ali Sahib told me that the Promised Messiah (as) used to strictly urge the congregants to repeat the Surah Al-Fatiha after the Imam. However, along with this, he would also state, ‘though I believe that Surah Al-Fatiha is essential but I do not say that a person’s prayer is invalidated who does not recite Surah Al-Fatiha because there have been many saints and sages in the past who did not consider the recitation Surah Al-Fatiha to be essential and I cannot believe that their prayers were not valid.’
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad further writes:
‘This humble one states that the Hanafi [school of thought] are of the belief that the congregants should stand silently behind the Imam and should listen to his recitation and should not recite anything themselves. The Ahle Hadith however believe that the congregation should also repeat the Surah Al-Fatiha behind the Imam. The Promised Messiah (as) was in support of the stance of the Ahle Hadith but despite this he did not share the view of the Ahle Hadith that one’s prayer is invalidated if the Surah Al-Fatiha is not recited.’
Replying to a question that was submitted by Munshi Rustam Ali Sahib, the Promised Messiah (as) wrote:
‘The prayer of the congregation would be complete if they do not repeat Surah Al-Fatiha, however it is better to recite it. If the Imam is swift in his recitation, then one should slowly read it even if one can only repeat one or two verses. If the Imam is swift in his recitation and the congregation can only read one or two verses in that time then they should read whatever they can but not in a manner which would prevent them from listening to the recitation of the Imam itself. If one cannot repeat it then that is something that is beyond one’s own control but regardless of that one must listen to the Tilawat of the Imam and that will be sufficient but of course will not be the highest form of prayer.
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad writes that Mia Khairuddin Sahib Sikhwani told him in a letter that ‘once I asked the Promised Messiahas in regards to repeating the Surah Al-Fatiha behind the Imam. The Promsied Messiah (as) replied, ‘It is better to repeat the Surah Al-Fatiha behind the Imam.’ I then asked that is a prayer valid if one is not able to repeat after the Imam. The Promised Messiah (as) replied, ‘the prayer is valid but it is better to repeat Surah Al-Fatiha behind the imam.’ The Promised Messiah (as) further states, ‘if the prayer was to be considered invalidated due to not repeating Surah Al-Fatiha behind the Imam then how did all those righteous saints who belonged to the Hanafi [school of thought] attain such standards of righteousness? Many of the saints from the past did not recite Surah Al-Fatiha and were not in favour of repeating it.’
The Promised Messiah (as) further stated, ‘Prayer can be observed in both forms, however the difference is that which is the greater form. In the same way reciting ‘Ameen’ in a loud voice is preferred to reciting it in a low voice.’
Pir Siraj-ul-Haq relates that Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahib used to say that a person used to live in Sialkot or close to that area. Every day we would tell him to repeat Surah Al-Fatiha behind the Imam and presented every possible argument to convince him but he would fail to listen and would observe the prayer with us but without repeating Surah Al-Fatiha behind the Imam. Once, he went to visit the Promised Messiah (as) in Qadian and a discussion ensued on this subject. The Promised Messiah (as) stated that Surah Al-Fatiha should be repeated after the Imam and did not give any argument from the Holy Quran or Ahadith to support this. However, this person upon hearing this started to read Surah Al-Fatiha behind the Imam without any debate.
A person asked the Promised Messiah (as) that is one’s prayer accepted if they do not recite Alhamdulillah [recite Surah-Fatihah] after the Imam? The Promised Messiah (as) replied:
‘The question should not be whether the prayer is accepted or not. Rather what you should ask is whether one has to recite Alhamdullilah [Surah Fatihah] after the Imam or not. I say that certainly it should be recited. Allah the Almighty alone knows whether any prayer is accepted or otherwise. Those who follow the Hanafi school of thought do not recite it. Thousands of Auliyah (friends of Allah) in the past followed the Hanafi way and did not recite Alhamdulillah [Surah Fatihah] after the Imam. How can we call them Auliyah if their prayers were rejected? In one sense, we are analogous with the Great Imam (Imam Abu Hanifah) and we respect him immensely. We can never declare a Fatwah (edict) regarding the acceptability of any prayer. In that era, all the Hadith had not yet been compiled and they were oblivious to the clarity on this issue that has now clarified. Thus, they were exempt whilst today this issue has been resolved and if now one does not recite it, his or her prayers will certainly not attain a status of acceptability. My repeated answer to this question will always be that Alhamdullilah [Surah Fatihah] must be recited after the Imam.’
‘One day I asked the Promised Messiah (as) that at what point should one repeat Alhamdullilah [Surah Fatihah], to which he responded: ‘You should recite it whenever you get the opportunity.’ I enquired: ‘should it be during the moments of silence in the Imams recitation?’ The Promised Messiah (as) replied: ‘Wherever the chance arises it should definitely be read.’
Sometimes with reference to the order of the prayers when they are combined, one who arrives late may not be fully aware of which prayer is being said, such as Zuhr with Asr, or Maghrib with Ishaa.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (ra) said: ‘I have myself heard the Promised Messiah (as) say that if a person enters the mosque without having said the Zuhr prayer, yet the Asr is in progress, then he should first offer the Zuhr prayer separately and then later join the Imam. If one enters the mosque without having said Maghrib when the Ishaa prayer is in progress, then he should first offer the Maghrib prayer separately and then join the Imam after.
For the prayers that are combined, if one comes to the mosque late when the prayers are already in progress the Promised Messiah has given a Fatwah (edict) that if he comes to know that the Imam is leading the Asr prayer, then he should first offer the Zuhr prayer separately and then join the Imam after. Similarly, if one comes to know that the Imam is leading the Ishaa prayer, then he should first offer the Maghrib prayer separately and join the Imam after. However, if one is unable to determine which prayer is being led, then he should simply join the congregation. In such a situation, the prayer the Imam is leading will become the prayer he has offered. Afterwards, he should offer the earlier prayer. For example, the Ishaa prayer is in progress and a person enters who has not yet offered his Maghrib. If he finds out that it is Ishaa being offered, he should first offer his Maghrib on his own and then join the Imam once he has finished. If he does not know which prayer is being offered, then he should just join the Imam in prayer. In this case his Ishaa will be completed and he should offer his Maghrib after. The same will apply to the Asr prayer.
The Promised Messiah (as) was then asked:
It is not permissible to offer any prayer after Asr. Thus, if someone unknowingly joins the Asr prayer, how can he be allowed to say the Zuhr afterwards? The Promised Messiah (as) responded:
‘It is correct that as a rule prayers are not allowed to be offered after the Asr prayer. However, this does not equate to meaning that one cannot say the Zuhr prayer even if a situation arises by accident or inadvertently. In these circumstances one is allowed to perform the Zuhr prayer after Asr. If one was unware [that Asr was being performed] then it is permissible to say Zuhr after, however if one knew this was the case [that Asr was in process] then it is not allowed.’
He says: ‘I have myself heard the Promised Messiah (as) elucidate this issue not just once, but twice. I recall that the Promised Messiah (as) was asked about this matter again and replied: ‘I have already explained this matter before that the order of the prayers is essential. However, if one cannot establish which prayer is being led by the Imam, whether Asr or Ishaa, then he should simply join the Imam. The prayer being led by the Imam will be counted as the prayer the one who joined has offered. Afterwards the person should separately offer the earlier prayer.’
It was the routine of the Promised Messiah (as) to offer the Sunnat at home before and after the prayers. Hazrat Yaqub Ali Irfani Sahib writes that from the beginning it was the practice of the Promised Messiah (as) to offer his Sunnat and Nawaafil (voluntary prayers) at home and he would offer the Fardh (obligatory) prayers in congregation in the mosque. He maintained this routine until the end. However, on occasions when he saw that people had joined the congregational prayers from the back and had not completed them, he would offer his Sunnat in the mosque because the way out was blocked from behind. At other times when the Promised Messiah (as) remained behind at the mosque after his prayers, he would offer his Sunnat in the mosque. As this was the routine of the Promised Messiah (as), some imprudent students/seekers after knowledge started to think that perhaps offering Sunnat is not necessary, because they had never seen the Promised Messiah (as) observing them either before or after the prayers. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) once addressed this during his Darsul Quran (formal lecture on the Quran) and said: ‘It was a custom of the Promised Messiah (as) that immediately after offering the Fardh prayer (obligatory) he would go into his home. Consequently, many unwise children have begun the habit of leaving the mosque immediately after the Fardh (obligatory) prayer and I believe that they do not offer the Sunnah (I have observed that this often occurs even today). They should realise that the first thing the Promised Messiah (as) would do upon returning home was to offer the Sunnah. I also follow this practice.’ Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (as) then asked: ‘Is there anyone here who can personally testify to the Promised Messiah (as) following this routine of offering the Sunnah immediately upon returning home?’ Upon this Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-din Mahmud Ahmad (ra), who as usual was present in the Dars (lecture), proclaimed in a loud voice: ‘Without a doubt, it was always the routine of the Promised Messiah (as) to offer the Sunnah at home before leaving for the mosque, then he would offer the Fardh (obligatory) prayers at the mosque, and return home and immediately offer his Sunnat. He would attend to other work only after completing his Sunnat.’ After this Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad [son of the Promised Messiah (as)] also gave his personal testimony to attest to this. Thereafter Hazrat Mir Nasir Nawwab Sahib, Hazrat Sahibzada Mir Muhammad Ishaaq Sahib and then also an old servant of the Promised Messiah (as), Hafiz Hamid Ali Sahib, all affirmed their eyewitness testimonies.
Someone enquired from the Promised Messiah (as) whether one should take up the Imamat (leading the prayer) as an occupation. In some places, there are Maulvies (clerics) who lead the prayers only to earn money. The Promised Messiah (as) said:
‘I would be suspect of following in prayer behind one who adopts the Imamat as a post. It would be publicly known that such a person has taken up the Imamat as a job. Thus, he does not go to actually lead the prayer five times a day, rather he operates a shop which he opens at these times. His family and children rely on the livelihood earned from this ‘shop’. As a result, people go to the extent of taking their cases to court to contest appointments and dismissals from this post [of Imamat – leading the prayer]. To force the case in their favour in Imamat the Maulvies (clerics) lodge appeal after appeal. In short this is not Imamat, rather this is forbidden way of earning money in an inappropriate manner.’
Cases are lodged by those who insist on being the Imam themselves of a particular location. Prolonged disputes then erupt and this continues even today. Further expounding on whether it is appropriate to follow in prayers behind one who leads them as an occupation, the Promised Messiah (as) says:
‘In my opinion it is not appropriate to offer prayers behind one who does so for a living. They lead the prayers merely in view of earning their weekly salary and bread. They will leave it if they cannot attain this. If livelihood is earned with pious intentions, it becomes a form of worship. When man conforms to his work resolutely and determinedly he does not feel troubled or burdened by it, rather it becomes something easy for him to do.’
Regarding whether offering prayers behind those who called the Promised Messiah (as) a liar and disbeliever (Kaafir), the Promised Messiah (as) said:
‘It is absolutely wrong and Haraam (forbidden). Those who declare me out of the fold of Islam and to be a liar, are a perished and ruined people. Therefore, it does not behove anyone from my Community to offer prayers behind such people. Can someone alive say their prayers behind someone who is dead? Remember that Allah the Almighty has informed me that is it completely forbidden to say prayers behind one who deems me a liar and a heretic. Rather your Imam should be one from among you. This is indicated in the Hadith of Bukhari which states: Imamukum Minkum: ‘Your Imam will be from among you.’
Then regarding the reason it is not appropriate to offer prayers behind non-Ahmadi Muslims, someone asked the Promised Messiah (as) that why is it prohibited to offer prayers behind those who are not followers of the Promised Messiah (as). The Promised Messiah (as) said:
‘Those people have moved away from Taqwah [righteousness and the fear of Allah] who, thinking-ill, hastily rejected this movement established by Allah the Almighty and ignored the countless signs and remained unheeded to the afflictions faced by Islam. The Word of Allah [the Holy Quran] states that “Allah accepts only from the righteous” (5:28) [those who are Muttaqi i.e. who have Taqwah]. This is why it has been said to not perform the prayer behind those whose prayers will not even attain a status of acceptance.’
Two men did the Bai’at (took the oath of initiation). One asked ‘is it permissible to offer the prayers behind non-Ahmadi Muslims or not?’ The Promised Messiah (as) said: They call us Kaafir (disbelievers). If we are not Kaafir then the allegation of disbelief rebounds back on them. One who calls a Muslim a Kaafir becomes a disbeliever himself. Hence is it prohibited to offer prayers behind such people.
Then regarding such people who are silent – some say that there are people who do not say anything [against the Promised Messiah (as)]. The Promised Messiah (as) said:
‘Those who are silent are still counted among them and it is not permissible to say prayers behind them behind because they harbour within their hearts opposition to us, which is why they do not join us (although they do not speak out, they have rejected us in their hearts which is why it is not allowed to offer prayers behind them).
Speaking on his Jama’at (Community) not offering prayers behind non-Ahmadi Muslims, the Promised Messiah (as) said:
‘Be patient and do not say prayers behind non-Ahmadis. This is better and the more pious way and therein lies your [Divine] Support and ultimate victory. In this also lies the progress of the Community. Look, even in the world those who are displeased and angry with others do not speak to their opponents. Your displeasure is for the sake of Allah the Almighty. If you remain intertwined and associated with them, Allah the Almighty will no longer look upon you with His special favour that he does so at present. When a pious community separates itself is when it gains progress.
May Allah the Almighty enable us to become sincere members of this Jama’at (Community) as desired by the Promised Messiah (as).
At the end, I would like to also make an appeal for prayers for the Ahmadis for Algeria. This is a new Jama’at and the majority are new Ahmadis. However, they have resolute faith. Nowadays the government is being very severe and harsh and are needlessly lodging cases and sending them to jail [Ahmadis]. God forbid, they allege that they [the Ahmadis there] are the same as Daesh. Whereas in truth if anywhere and in any country, you want to find those people who are peaceful and law abiding, they are the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. However, their intention is simply to blame us and so they try to equate us with them [Daesh]. Often the police have forcibly entered the homes and tried to uncover our women from their Pudah. For example, just recently they told one women to remove her dupatta. She replied, ‘you can take my life, but I will not remove it and nor will I renounce Ahmadiyyat.’ The judges there are acting unjustly and are going beyond all limits. One judge said to an Ahmadi that ‘if you relinquish belief in Ahmadiyyat, I will let you go immediately.’ He replied ‘I will die but never will I leave Ahmadiyyat nor my faith, because this is true Islam which I have discovered.’ The judge responded that ‘very well, since you have said this I will sentence you to life imprisonment and you will die in prison.’ He replied ‘fine, you do as you wish’. So these are the circumstances there nowadays.
May Allah the Almighty bring about ease for the Ahmadis there. May He grant them steadfastness. May He rebound the evil upon the perpetrators who are enemies of Islam and Ahmadiyyat. And May He give refuge to all Ahmadis from their cruelties.