Reciting 'With the name of God, the Gracious, the Most Merciful' [Basmallah] audibly in prayer
What is the ruling concerning reciting 'In the name of God, the Gracious, the Most Merciful' [known as the 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?
This is an issue over which there is a scholarly debate. Shafi'i scholars maintain saying the basmallah aloud is preferred, while others find it better to recite it silently. This is among the lesser characteristics of prayer (hay'at al-salat) which does not reach the level of being a confirmed sunnah; therefore this matter is open to interpretation.
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 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).
And God the Almighty knows best