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Looking at the Imam during the Friday khutbah

Question

Is there any hadith regarding looking at the imam during the khutba of Jumu’ah?

Have any of the Fuqaha written that this practice is sunnah?

Answer

Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) has a named a chapter in his sahih as:

Chapter on the imam facing the congregation, and them facing the imam during the khutbah

Under this chapter he has cited the hadith of Sayyiduna Abu Sa’id Khudry (radiyallahu’anhu): “Rasulullah (sallallahu’alaihi wasallam) sat on the minbar one day and we (the Sahabah-radiyallahu’anhum) sat around him.” (i.e, and faced him)

(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 921)

Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) supports this by saying: “Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar and Sayyiduna Anas (radiyallahu’anhuma) faced the imam (i.e, during the khutbah)

 

The view of the Fuqaha

Imam Tirmidhi (rahimahullah) also included a chapter like this in his Sunan. He writes: “This  practice has been preferred by the Sahabah and other ‘Ulama, like Imam Sufyan Thawri, Imam Shafi’i, Imam Ahmad and Imam Ishaq ibn Rahuyah (rahimahumullah).”

Moulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri (rahimahullah) says: “The sunnah is to face the imam”

(Faydul Bari, vol.2 pg.337)

Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) – the famous commentator on Sahih Bukhari- says: “This practice is Mustahab (good) according to the majority of the scholars.”

(Fathul Bari, Hadith:921)

The Hanafi commentator of Bukhari; ‘Allamah ‘Aini (rahimahullah) quotes Ibnul Mundhir (rahimahullah) to have said: “I don’t know of any difference of opinion on this… there is almost consensus on the issue”

He (Al-‘Aini- rahimahullah) has quoted from Al-Mabsut- a classical Hanafi fiqh book-, that Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) would sit in the row (saff) and after the (second) adhan, he would turn his head to face the imam. i.e, without turning his entire body. (‘Umdatul Qari, hadith: 921)

Note: If one cannot turn his head towards the imam without turning his chest away from the qiblah, then such a person should rather face the qiblah, instead of disrupting the straight row –saff

(Ma’arifus sunan, vol.4 pg.364)

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,

 

Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

 

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar