Is there any additional reward for offering Salah with the Takbir Ula behind the Imam?
Imam Tirmidhi (rahimahullah) has recorded the following Hadith:
Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever offers Salah for Allah for forty days in congregation catching the initial takbir (takbir ula), will be granted two exemptions; an exemption from the fire and a [protection] from hypocrisy.”
(Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 241)
The Sahabah and pious predecessors would also pay great importance to offering Salah with the initial takbir:
1) Mujahid (rahimahullah) said, “I heard a Sahabi -who I think participated in the battle of Badr- say to his son, ‘Did you perform Salah with us?’ [When he replied in the affirmative], the Sahabi asked, ‘Did you get the initial takbir?’ He replied, ‘No.’ The Sahabi said, ‘[You have missed out on] better than one hundred black eyed camels.'”
(Musannaf ‘Abdur Razzaq, Hadith: 2021)
2) Sa’id ibnul Musayyab (rahimahullah) said: “I have not missed the initial takbir for fifty years and I have not seen another man’s back in Salah for fifty years [i.e. He was always in the first row]”
(Hilyatul Awliya, vol. 2 pg. 163. Also see: Tarikhul Islam, vol. 4 pg. 1104 and Al Badrul Munir, vol. 4 pg. 402)
3) Ibrahim ibn Yazid At Taymi (rahimahullah), a Tabi’i says:
“When you see a man being unmindful and neglectful towards attaining the takbir ula [initial takbir of the Imam in Salah], then wipe your hands off him [i.e. there is no good in such a person].
(Hilyatul Awliya, vol. 4 pg. 215. Also see Siyaru A’alamin Nubala, vol. 5 pg. 62)
4) Waki’ (rahimahullah) said, “A’amash (rahimahullah) was approximately seventy years old and would not miss the initial takbir. I would frequently visit him for two years, I never saw him make up a missed rak’ah.” [i.e. he was never late for Salah].
(Musnad Ibnul Ja’d, Hadith: 755 and Hilyatul Awliya, vol. 5 pg. 49. Also see: Tahdhibul Kamal, vol. 12 pg. 88 and Siyaru A’alamin Nubala, vol. 6 pg. 228)
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And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar