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Islam for non-Muslims
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Servetus
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Quote Servetus Replybullet Topic: Selection of Imam
    Posted: 19 April 2005 at 10:36am

Nice new digs, Islamicity!

Hi Everyone (especially, in this case, Muslims),

I am sure that some of you would kindly and no doubt wisely advise me to not worry my head over matters of fiqh unless and until I have first said the shahada, but lately I am thinking about what might be involved in the re-establishment of the Caliphate and what might also prove a related subject, the return of Jesus.

That said, and more specifically, I am interested to know the dynamics, or process by which an Imam, or prayer leader is selected in Islamic Society.  I would guess that, when Muslim families pray in mixed group and in their homes away from mosque, the prayer leader is, sort of by default, the dominant (observant) household male.

But what of larger, impromptu groups?  For instance, at Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park, when Muslims align themselves to pray in public, how was the leader of the prayer chosen?  And at the large mosque in Mecca (Makkah), who determines who shall lead the prayer and what goes into that decision-making process?  I would guess, among other things, that the person's piety and education are considered, but, at this point, only a guess it is.  Finally, and although it is not particularly related except perhaps by way of analogy, I am thinking of the Roman Catholic cardinals in conclave at the moment and am wondering if, during the selection process of an Imam in Islamic Society within the broader contexts (not within families), any type of vote, or voting, is used?

Thank you, as always, for any and all responses.

Best regards,

Servetus

Ref:

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/reference/glossary/term.IMAM .html

_________________________________________________

Islamic Glossary Home

Imam

Other Commonly Used Spellings: IMAAM,EMAAM,EMAM


Imam is a religious leader. Any person who leads a congregational prayer is called an Imam. A religious leader who also leads his community in the political affairs may be called an Imam, an Amir, or a Caliph. However, an Imam is not infallible. He is responsible for his mistakes to all the members of the community and above all he is responsible to Almighty Allah.

 



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abuayisha
 
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Quote abuayisha Replybullet Posted: 19 April 2005 at 1:55pm

The one who most deserves to lead the prayer is the one who has most knowledge of the rulings on prayer and has memorized the most Qur’aan. 

It was narrated that Abu Mas’ood al-Ansaari said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The people should be led in prayer by the one who has most knowledge of the Book of Allaah; if they are equal in knowledge of the Qur’aan, then by the one who has most knowledge of the Sunnah.” 

Narrated by Imam Muslim, 1530.

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MOCKBA
 
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Quote MOCKBA Replybullet Posted: 19 April 2005 at 8:39pm

Greetings Servetus,

As the definition suggests, Imaam is a person who leads a prayer, it may also refer to a person who leads his community in the political affairs, although in such case he is more often known as Ameer or Khaleef. 

As far as the prayer leader is concerned, he is selected based on his knowledge and memorization of Qur'aan [as stated in the hadith mentioned in abuaysha's posting]. Therefore, if the son happens to have learnt more from the Qur'aan by heart among the members of his household, it is advised that he leads the prayer... even if his father and grandfathers are present.

Normally, and taking into consideration frequency of prayers, people most qualified to lead prayers are known by the community. In the event of few individuals, they often take turns... at times inviting or even pushing each other out from the rows, before the prayer, out of humbleness.  

MOCKBA



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Servetus
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Quote Servetus Replybullet Posted: 21 April 2005 at 12:47pm

That is interesting!

Thank you for answering, Abuayisha.

Hi MOCKBA,

Thank you also for elaborating and for providing examples.  By the way, I am pleased to see that you have returned and are apparently back in the moderating saddle.  I will think about this and, for now, have no further questions on the subject.

Best regards,

Servetus

 

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