Praying behind a Sunni

Question: Is it true that the reward of praying behind a Sunni is equivalent to the reward of praying behind Prophet Muhammad (sawa)? 


It is narrated that Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (as) said: 

من صلى معهم في الصف الاول كان كمن صلى خلف رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله) في الصف الاول 

One who prays in the first row with them is as though he had prayed in the first row with the Messenger of Allah (s)  

This narration is mentioned in Wasael Al-Shia in the book of Salat under the following title:

 باب استحباب حضور الجماعة خلف مَن لا يُقتدى به للتقية والقيام في الصف الأول معه 

Recommendation of attending the congregational prayer (of those who are not usually followed) for the sake of Taqiyah. 

It is clear from the title that this narration was mentioned for the sake of Taqiyah in order to protect the followers of the Ahlul Bayt (as) during the time of Imam Al Sadiq (as).

Imam Khomeini (qs) in his book Risalah Fi Al-Taqiyah (pg. 198) after mentioning this narration he says:

ولا ريب ان الصلاة معه صحيحة ذات فضيلة جمة فكذلك الصلاة معهم حال التقية 

“There is no doubt that praying behind the Prophet (s) is correct and has a great reward, similar is the salat with them, it is accepted under the condition of Taqiyah.” 

Studying all the narrations related to a topic and then drawing a conclusion is the appropriate and scholarly approach when building a theory. Our esteemed fuqaha’ (maraji’) have all mentioned in their books that one of the conditions for the Imam of a congregational prayer is to be a Twelver (Ithna ‘Ashari) with the exception of joining “their” prayer under the condition of Taqiyah, or as mentioned by some of the scholars, for the sake of unity.

As such it is critical that when this narration (and other narrations) are shared it is incumbent that we also explain the context and conditions that will ultimately assist respondents in understanding the words of Ahlul Bayt (as).

Sheikh Nami Farhat AlAmeli

About Sheikh Nami Farhat