Q. I have a question with regards to the validity of salaat in jamaat behind an imaam who has very bad tajweed. Is that salaat valid?
The problem is unique in this area as the imaam has been the imaam for the past 40+ years. I think he recognises the problem though because he would normally ask one of the younger guys who has proper tajweed to lead. But there is a problem in that some of the older heads doesn’t want one particular brother leading them (who by the way has very good tajweed) so because of that they asked the Imaam to lead.
So what do we do in a case like this because we can’t go to the neighbouring mosque as it is a breakaway from the original.
A. In reciting the Quran, two types of mistakes are normally made. The first type of mistake is known as Al Lahn Al Khafi- which refers to mistakes that are made by not reciting the Quran with the sifaat (attributes) of the letters etc., by not prolonging the Madd to the required length, by not applying the rules of Ikhfa etc. etc. These are known as minor mistakes and when made, the Salaah will remain as being valid since these mistakes do not change the words of the Quran, neither do they change the meaning of the Quran.
The other type of mistakes is known as Al Lahn Al Jaliyyu and refers to those mistakes which occur when one changes or omits the vowel of a letter, when he changes a letter, omits the letter, pronounces a letter not from the place of articulation or omits a basic inherent quality of a letter. These are known to be major mistakes and are strictly prohibited since they result in distortion. In some cases, major mistakes in the recitation of the Quran during Salaah results in distortion of the meaning of the Quran and will cause the Salaah to become null and void.
If the Imam is guilty of this type of mistake, then Salaah behind him will not be valid, and you will have to repeat your Salaah.
In the situation which you have described, some brothers should speak to the Imam about this serious problem, and ask him to appoint a competent person to lead the Salaah.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan