Sunday, August 14, 2022 - 16 Muharram 1444

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Praying behind an imam from a different juristic school

Is it permissible to pray behind an imam from a juristic school other than the one I follow?

Answer

It is reprehensible to refuse to pray behind a fellow Muslim due to differences in jurisprudence or to following different juridical schools. It is a fact that renowned scholars following different juridical schools did not show a shred of discrimination against those who followed a different school.
It was reported that Imam Al-Shafi’i did not perform qunut in morning prayer when he was praying in Iraq near the graveyard of Imam Abu Hanifah although it is a confirmed Sunnah in his school of jurisprudence. When he was asked about this, he said, “How can I refrain from following him when I am in his presence?”
Eminent Muslim scholars from among the Prophet’s Companions did not cause enmity nor sow discord due to their juristic differences. Unity and refraining from division are an essential part of the message of Islam. Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Do not have estranged relations with one another. Do not nurse enmity and do not envy one another. O worshippers of God! Be brothers!" It was also narrated by Abu Huraira that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Prayer is obligatory on you behind every believer, pious or impious, even if he commits sins.”

The ruling
It is permissible to pray behind any Muslim regardless of his juristic affiliation.
And God Almighty knows best.