Prayers: Two congregations in a mosque

Q493 :In a mosque in our town, the followers of the Hanafi and Shaf'ie sects offer their prayers in two congregations, which are held separately but simultaneously, following two imams. Is this allowed?

A493 : This is an ugly aspect of ignorance which must be stopped altogether. When a person does not join a congregation, he must have serious doubts about the faith of the imam leading that congregation. If these doubts are based on the fact that the imam belongs to a different school of thought, then this attitude shows how ignorant the person is about the differences between the various schools of thought in Islam. If the two congregations start at the same time, both are invalid. If one starts after the other, then the second is invalid. What we know of the history of Imam El-Shaf'ie is that he went to Baghdad where he met with the leading figure of the Hanafi school and discussed important issues with Imam Abu Yousuf and others. As you are aware, Imam Abu Yousuf was the most important figure in the Hanafi school of thought following the death of his mentor, the founder of the school, Imam Abu Hanifa. Imam El-Shaf'ie joined the congregations there without any question. What you should try to achieve is for the two imams in your local mosque to learn more about their schools of thought and how they differ from each other. Once they get to know more, they will feel that their attitude is ludicrous.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )