اَلسّلامُ عَلیْکُم و رَحْمَۃُ اللّٰہِ و بَرَکا تُہ
Hope you are in the best of health.
I am currently at university and we have an Islamic society (isoc) here it is run by wahabis/salafis/najdis, they have jamaat salah which is usually led by students, I don't know whether the ones leading the salah are of the same sect but I have doubts that they are. Is it permissible for me to read behind them or shall I read by myself, and then will I also read tarawih alone.
Please shed some light.
جزاك اللهُ خيرًا
Wa alaykum as salam
It is important to know whether the Imam is a deviant or not, especially when there is a high possibility that he may well be a deviant, such as in your case.
It is stated in Fatawa Ridawiyyah:
“It is necessary [to confirm the Imam’s aqidah] if there is a possibility of doubt, such as when you have heard from someone that the Imam is a wahabi; even if the person informing you is not righteous but only mastur (a person whose apparent state is in accordance with the Shari'ah but his real state unknown), [in such a case] to investigate is still necessary – or if the area is of [for example] wahabis, then investigate [as to whether he is indeed]. If there is no reason for doubt, then pray salah [behind the Imam] and if it is later proven that he was, for example, a wahabi, then repetition is obligatory.” [Fatawa Ridawiyyah 6/617]
Based on this, because the society is run mainly by deviant sects, the possibility of the Imam being a deviant is high. You should, therefore, investigate and confirm the aqidah of the Imam before praying behind him. If after investigation, you come to know that the Imam is indeed a wahabi, then do not pray behind him, because salah behind the people of deviance is not permissible [Fath al-Qadir 1/304].
And Allah knows best
22 Ramadan 1438
Verified by Mufti Zahid Hussain al-Qadiri