Why do people finish their prayer before the Imam?

I have noticed that while finishing salah, when the imam is in the process of saying ‘assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah’ while turning his head towards the right, the people praying behind him have already finished saying ‘assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah’, and the same thing happens when the imam says ‘assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah’ while turning his head towards the left. In practice, people finish their prayer before the imam. Some even start their tasbeeh while the imam is still saying the second salam.

It just puzzles me that when we are supposed to follow the imam, how can people praying behind the imam literally finish their prayer before him. I find myself the only person whose head is turned towards the right side while the imam is saying the second salam, and everyone else’s head towards the left, some even staring at me while in the process.

How can finishing the prayer before the imam be justified?

9 thoughts on “Why do people finish their prayer before the Imam?”

  1. @all: although the issue being discussed here is not an important one but has become important with the kind of arguments been posted herein. Quran and Hadith are clear on the issue that a ‘Muqtadi’ must not perform any action that is ‘Rukn’ of salah (Qiyam, Ruku’, Sajdah, First Takbeer, Last Qe’da) before his Imam. One of the ‘wajibs’ of salah is ‘Khurooj besune’hee’ meaning quitting salah by ones own well. That means that salah is not culminated and executed with Imam’s salam but with the Muqtadi’s own action (masnoon is to say assalam u alaikum wa rahmatullah) but a Muqtadi’ssalah will be jayez if he after his tashahhud quits his salah before even Imam’s uttering the salam words if muqtadi has an emergency like he feelslike pooping etc.

    The other thing is that Quran and Hadith are rightly the sources wherefrom guidance regarding any issue can be sought but Quran and Hadith need ilm e Tafseer and ilm e Hadith respectively to understand them. Allah says ‘ so ask those who have knowledge if u do not know (verdict on a certain issue). Quran or Hadith are not to be understood independently please. Here i would like to quote a hadith. A sahabi recited an Ayah ‘innallaha bareeum menal mushrekeena wa rasoolehee……’ a villager, gnorant, said ‘ana aizan bareeum menal mushrekeena wa rasoolehee (meaning i m also free from taking any care of mushrekeen and his prophet as Allah is free to take any care)….then the prophet guided him that the ayah was actually wrongly recited. the correct recitation was ‘innallaha bareeum menal mushrekeena wa rasooluhu (not rasoolehee)…meaning Allah and his prophet are not to take any care of mushrekeen…….

  2. I am not saying that the prayer will be nullified. All I am asking is, when people don’t precede the imam during salah, then why do so at the end? Thanks for your comments.

    Best Regards.

  3. @Yusha, If the difference is not there, it is very good and by posting any of my comments i don’t mean there is. But you believe it or not, there are people who would require fatwa on this because they think they are the most educated people and whatever they are doing is doing right, and if you tell them that their prayer, according to the rules, is nullified, they wont simply accept. So at your end, by providing fatwas, aap hujjat tamaam ker daytay hain. Now it is their responsibility to find the fact/rules and act accordingly.

  4. There is no sect in the world which precedes the imam in any action during prayer (ruku, sajdah, etc). In such a case, the need for fatwas or difference in opinion among sects does not arise.

  5. @Yusha
    Whenever one says why not follow quran and sunnah and forget about everything related with sects, IMHO, they just dont know how fiqa works, how problems are addressed based on quran and sunnah, etc. Can you prove from quran and sunnah, i mean literally in crystal clear words just like punishment for a thief is stated, that whenever one finishes its salah before the imam it is OK or it is NOT OK, you just can’t.

    Of course , I and you can very clearly state that one who commits zina has to be stoned to death just because it is very clearly stated but issues like the one addressed here are not, AFAIK. So you have to consult a mufti or if you are allergic to such words then a scholar.

    Do you know there are differences among two great sahab (which are among mufassareen of quran and so are supposed to know quran and sunnah very very well) on veil of the face? can you tell me why? Quran and sunnah are not chemistry/math/physics that your decision is based on results from a chemical reaction or some formula and so no doubt or difference of opinion at all, this is not the case dear.

    There are things which are very clear in quran and sunnah but how would you address issues which are not?. Have you read an incident in which Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa saww himself asked a sahabi how would he address issues which are not in quran and sunnah, the answer was ijtehad. Ijtehad ultimately results in sect. All sects which are based on quran and sunnah are right, differences of opinions were there among sahaba in the liftime of our beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa saww.
    Hope this would have answered your question.

  6. Does it really make any difference?

    @Tayab: You don’t think it does?

    …if Yusha would have provided references of fatawas from various sects

    @Atif: Why do we need fatwas for this, and that too from different sects?

  7. Why to focus on minor and meaningless issues whilst we have major concerns ahead of us. No need to follow any sect, just follow quran and the prophet (peace be upon him) . The prophet (peace be upon him) was not a part of any sect or cult.

  8. You are right Tayab, but i think this post should be considered with positive aspect that Yusha is trying to guid others what to do in this regard and it would have been far better if Yusha would have provided references of fatawas from various sects

  9. Why do you need to point fingers at others? Does it really make any difference?

    At least these people went to mosque and tried their best to offer their prayers rather than hurting others or stealing their rights.


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