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Reciting 'With the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Most Merciful' [Basmallah] audibly in prayer

We reviewed request no.881 for the year 2005 which includes a question concerning the ruling of reciting 'With the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Most Merciful' [basmallah] aloud in prayer.
 

- [If it is obligatory], is one not to pray behind a person who does not recite it aloud?
- Is there any difference between reciting it aloud and silently or are they the same?

Answer : Dr. Ali Goma Mohammed

    This is an issue over which there is a scholarly debate. Shafi' scholars maintain the permissibility of saying the basmallah aloud while others find it better to recite it silently. This is among the lesser characteristics of prayer (hay'at as-salat) which does not reach the level of being a confirmed sunna; therefore this matter is wide open. Meaning, that it is a scholarly dispute which is not related to a prohibited or permissible act related to the ritual prayers.

A legal principle

    Objections are not for issues where there is a legitimate difference of opinion, but in matters where there is an agreement. Thus, someone who recites the basmallah aloud has done well, and likewise the one who recites it silently.

    Such controversial issues must not be allowed to cause strife or divide the community. Rather, we must follow the noble etiquette of scholarly disagreement as practiced by the generation of scholars who succeeded the Companions of the Prophet [peace and blessings be upon him].

Allah the Almighty knows best

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