Is it okay to offer prayers behind an Imam who suffers from “shirk” or “bidat”?
Is it okay to offer prayers behind an Imam who suffers from “shirk” or “bid’at”?
My ordinary understanding is that ‘yes’, there is no harm in doing so. The reasons are as follows.
Firstly, if you allow people to stop praying behind each other despite being Muslims, it will create a greater evil: disunity amongst Muslims. Moreover, not every one is allowed to decide who is doing shirk, bid’at and who is not. Although you are expected to stay away from both these serious crimes, you are not allowed to accuse somebody else of doing it. It will give rise to unnecessary ‘fatwabazi’. Just help others understand what wrong they are doing.
Secondly, your prayer is yours. Even if an Imam’s prayer is not good enough because of some problem of his, your prayer is not going to be affected. The Imam is there just to lead – a job that someone has to do.
That doesn’t mean that we should be casual about picking our Imam. What I am trying to say is that if you happen to be behind an Imam who has certain religious problems in your opinion, your prayer behind him will not affect the acceptability of it, insha’Allah.