Switching Imaams During Salah (Hadith No. 652)


Hadith no. 650 and 651 are repeats. Read them here.

 Volume 1, Book 11, Number 652:
Narrated Sahl bin Sa'd As-Sa'idi:
Allah's Apostle went to establish peace among Bani 'Amr bin 'Auf. In the meantime the time of prayer was due and the Mu'adh-dhin went to Abu Bakr and said, "Will you lead the prayer, so that I may pronounce the Iqama?" Abu Bakr replied in the affirmative and led the prayer. Allah's Apostle came while the people were still praying and he entered the rows of the praying people till he stood in the (first row). The people clapped their hands. Abu Bakr never glanced sideways in his prayer but when the people continued clapping, Abu Bakr looked and saw Allah's Apostle. Allah's Apostle beckoned him to stay at his place. Abu Bakr raised his hands and thanked Allah for that order of Allah's Apostle and then he retreated till he reached the first row. Allah's Apostle went forward and led the prayer. When Allah's Apostle finished the prayer, he said, "O Abu Bakr! What prevented you from staying when I ordered you to do so?"
Abu Bakr replied, "How can Ibn Abi Quhafa (Abu Bakr) dare to lead the prayer in the presence of Allah's Apostle?" Then Allah's Apostle said, "Why did you clap so much? If something happens to anyone during his prayer he should say Subhan Allah. If he says so he will be attended to, for clapping is for women."

  • If the Imaam has to be switched during Salah, the method is pretty clear in the Hadith. The Imaam who has to take over should enter the rows from the back and come to the front.
  • If anything happens during Salah, men are to say SubhanAllah. They will be attended to (as the Prophet (SAW) said). Clapping is for women.
  • When Prophet (SAW) beckoned Abu Bakr (RA) to stay at his place and keep leading the prayer, he thanked Allah right there for the honor. But he refused to do so, as he explains in the last part: "how can Abu Quhafa dare to lead the prayer in the presence of Allah's Apostle (SAW)?"
    If you're being offered a position/rank and you know someone who's more worthy of it, don't hesitate to step back.
  • If something unusual happens during Salah, the Imaam can inquire about it afterwards and make amendments accordingly, as the Prophet (SAW) did.