Dear Respected Scholars of Islam,
What is the Shar'i ruling regarding Zayd, a Sunni Imam, who prays Salah behind a Tafzili and invites him to his gatherings whilst knowing of his bad beliefs. Is praying Salah behind such an Imam permissible?
Wa alaykum as salam
There is a unanimous agreement (
ijma’) of the entire Ahl al-Sunnah that Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna Umar are superior to Mawla Ali [Mulla Ali al-Qari in Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar and Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar; Allamah Taftazani in Sharh al-Maqasid; Imam Ahmad Rida in Fatawa Ridawiyyah vol 28]. The scholars have, therefore, stipulated that whosoever gives Mawla Ali superiority over Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna Umar (ie the tafdilliyah), he is an innovator and a heretic, and as a result, salah behind him is prohibitively disliked.
It is in Khulasah al-Fatawa, Fath al-Qadir, Bahr al-Rayiq, al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah and numerous other books, that he who gives Ali superiority over Abu Bakr and Umar is an innovator and a heretic.
It is stated in Gunyah al-Mustamli and Radd al-Muhtar that salah behind an innovator or heretic is disliked in every case and it is in Rasayil al-Arkan that salah behind the tafdilis is severely disliked [
karahatun shadidatun]. As a result, praying salah behind the tafdilis is
makruh e tahrimi (prohibitively disliked), so that to pray behind them is sinful and to repeat it is necessary (wajib) [Fatawa Ridawiyyah 6/622].
Therefore, the Imam who prays behind tafdilis and invites them to gatherings while knowing their beliefs, salah behind him is also disliked.
And Allah knows best
22 Ramadan 1438
Verified by Mufti Zahid Hussain al-Qadiri