Is it obligatory upon the one being lead in the prayer to recite Al Faatihah, irregardless of it being a silent prayer or an auditable prayer? And when should one recite it in an auditable prayer; should it be with the Imaam or after him?
As far as reciting Al Faatihah, then verily it has been reported by Bukhaaree and Muslim in their two Saheehs on the authority on ‘Ubaadah Bin Saamit (radi Allahu ‘anhu) on the Prophet ﷺ the he ﷺ said,
There is no prayer for the one who does not recite the opening of the Book (i.e. Al Faatihah)
In another hadeeth on the Prophet ﷺ where he ﷺ said,
Perhaps you all recite behind your Imaam
Yes O Messenger of Allah
He ﷺ said,
Do not do so except with the opening of the book (i.e. Al Faatihah)
This is what is correct, that it is obligatory upon him (the one praying behind the Imaam) to recite the opening of the book.
(Therefore), recite during the pauses of the Imaam if the Imaam pauses (after ever ayah). So after the bismillah he says, “al hamdu lil laahi rabbil aalameen (All praise belongs to Allah the Lord of the ‘Aalameen)” and then pauses, then you say during the pause “al hamdu lil laahi rabbil aalameen All praise belongs to Allah the Lord of the ‘Aalameen”, (and so on). Meaning if he breaks up his recitation (by pausing) then you can do this, if he does not pause then recite once he has finished Al Faatihah. This is in the case where the Imaam does not give you the opportunity to recite it (during the pauses), so recite it directly after the “Aameen” or after Allah’s statement “walad daalleen (and not those who are astray)”. You will find this the case (when praying behind the Hanafees) who are pained by the saying of “Aameen”; this is what they do, (you will find them reciting without pause) because (they do not anticipate that) you will say amen or recite (behind the Imaam). So recite The Opening of the Book even if it is (right) before (the Imaam) precedes you in going to rukoo’, (recite it) and then insha Allah, follow him and bow.
You have from the people of knowledge those who say, “Do not recite (behind the Imaam) The Opening of The Book during auditable prayers,” while others even say, “Do not recite (behind the Imaam) The Opening of The Book during silent prayers as well.” Those (who say this second opinion) are the Hanafees. This opinion is false and erroneous; I mean the opinion of the Hanafees. They do not have any proof from what I know that is worth mentioning.
As far as the other group (from the people of knowledge) who say, “Do not recite (behind the Imaam) The Opening of The Book during auditable prayers;” they use as a proof the statement of Allah Azza wa Jal,
And when the Qur’an is recited draw silent and attentively listen so that perhaps you may receive mercy.
Ash Shawkaanee said, “This verse is general(1) (whereas we have a text) specifically for (the recitation of) The Opening of The Book(2),” this is one issue. The second issue is that they use as a proof the hadeeth,
Whoever has an Imaam, then the Imaam’s recitation (will count as his) recitation
Imaam Ibn Katheer says in his Tafseer, “(This hadeeth has many ways (of narration) which are not confirmed. Those who grade it Hassan rely on the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad. The same hadeeth is also found (in the book entitled) “al Qiraa’a Khalful Imaam” by Imaam Bukhaaree. (However), this (hadeeth) in “al Qiraa’a Khalful Imaam” by Imaam Bukhaaree has in its chain Jaabir Bin Yazeed Al Ju’fee who is a liar. So this Hadeeth, “Whoever has an Imaam, then the Imaam’s recitation (will count as his) recitation,” is a hadeeth which is not confirmed on the Prophet (sallAllaahu alaihi wa sallam). So therefore it is obligatory to recite Al Faatihah (behind the Imaam).
I advise my brothers to read the small book “al Qiraa’a Khalful Imaam” by Imaam Bukhaaree. This book is not from Saheeh Al Bukhaaree, rather it is a small separate (collection) with its own respected title as they have named it. Al Bayhaqee also has a larger and more extensive book on this subject entitled “Qiraa’a Khalful Imaam”, and Allah’s aid is sought.
(1)Ash Shaikh Al ‘Allaamah Muhammad Siddiq Hassan Khan said in “Ar Rawdatun Nadiyah”, “ This verse is general, encompassing The Opening of the Book and other than it, just like the Hadeeth “when he (the Imaam) recites, be silent.” Imaam Shawkaanee states in Fathul Qadeer, “On the authority of Abu Hurairah (radi Allahu ‘anhu) on His statement “And when the Qur’an is recited…” the verse, he said, “This verse was revealed due to the raising of voices (in recitation) while they where behind the Messenger of Allah (sallAllaahu alaihi was sallam) in Salaat. Ash Shaikh Al ‘Allaamah Muhammad Siddiq Hassan Khan also says in “Ar Rawdatun Nadiyah”, “As far as the Hadeeth, There is no doubt that it is known, that the one being lead in the prayer’s recitation with the Imaam can only occur in the case of him reciting out loud. Whereas, if he recites in a non auditable voice (Al Faatihah); then this is not considered “reciting with the Imaam.” The same goes for contending (with Imaam in recitation), this can only happen if the Imaam can hear the recitation (of Al Faatihah) from the one praying behind him.
(2)i.e. The hadeeth on the Prophet ﷺ where he ﷺ said,
“Perhaps you all recite behind your Imaam?”
They replied, “Yes O Messenger of Allah.”
He ﷺ said,
“Do not do so except with the opening of the book (i.e. Al Faatihah).”