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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 08: The Imam (Summary of the Chapter)


Chapter 08:
The Imam (Summary of the Chapter):


Imam is literally one who is imitated or whose example is followed from i'tamma bi-hi, he followed or imitated him. It generally means a head or a chief or a leader whether he follows the right way or not. In relation to congregational prayers, the imam is the person who leads the prayer. Abraham is spoken of as having been made an imam because he fulfilled the Divine commandments-- and every imam should try to follow his example; and an unjust person did not deserve to be made a leader--even though he may be of high parentage. (v. 1).

That the man who leads the prayers is called an imam shows that he should be one occupying the highest place of honour in his community on account of his righteousness. While alive, the Holy Prophet himself acted as imam; and when he was unable during his last illness to perform that function, he ordered that Abu Bakr should act as imam (h. 1).

The honour of acting as an imam should be conferred upon the man who occupies the highest place of honour in a community (h. 1); it is further laid down that the man having the greatest knowledge of the Qur'an should be chosen as imam (hh. 2, 3), even though he be a slave (h. 4). He should not be paid any remuneration for leading prayers (H. vi : 12). It is not, however, prohibited to say prayers behind an imam who is either a usurper (h. 5) or an unrighteous person (h. 6). A blind man is not unfit to lead the prayers (h. 7), nor is a woman (h. 8). The imam should gave regard for the weak and the sick among those who follow him (h. 9). Those who follow the imam shall not anticipate him in any movement (h. 10). When a person joins the congregational service, he should start his prayer where he finds the imam (h. 11). The position which the imam occupies in relation to the congregation is explained in hh. 12-14. There is no harm if a wall intervenes between the imam and the congregation (h. 15).

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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 08: The Imam (Summary of the Chapter)

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