A Sunnah for Latecomers – Part 2

مُعَاذِ بْنِ جَبَلٍ قَالاَ قَالَ النَّبِىُّ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- « إِذَا أَتَى أَحَدُكُمُ الصَّلاَةَ وَالإِمَامُ عَلَى حَالٍ فَلْيَصْنَعْ كَمَا يَصْنَعُ الإِمَامُ »

Mu’adh ibn Jabal (Radi Allahu Anhu) narrated the Prophet (SallAllahu alayhi wa salam) said:  “Whenever you come to the prayer and the Imam is in a position, then go into the same position he’s doing[1]

Benefits for this subject:

  • At-Tirmithi is the only Imam from the 6 books of hadith that collected this hadith with this wording.[ i.e Zawa’id At-Tirmithi]

Reason for revelation:

  • During the time of the Prophet (SallAllahu alayhi wa salam) the companions would ask about the number of Rak’ah they missed when they arrived late to the Jama’h. Following this they would pray what they missed separately, then join the Prophet (SallAllahu alayhi wa salam) . So during a prayer Mu’adh found the people sitting in prayer, so Mu’adh sat with them. After the Prophet (SallAllahu alayhi wa salam) finished Mu’adh stood up and completed what he missed . When the Prophet (SallAllahu alayhi wa salam) finished his prayer he turned around stood up and said, “ Mu’adh has introduced a “ Sunnah” for you, so follow it.[2]

Fiqh of this Hadith:

  • The hadith above from Abu Dawud establishes the Prophet (SallAllahu alayhi wa salam) could see behind him while in prayer.


  • Whenever you come to the prayer and the Imam is in a position..” This refers to standing, bowing, prostrating or sitting.


  • then go into the same position is doing” Do the same thing  the Imam is doing and don’t just stand there and wait until the Imam stands up again like some of the common folks do today.[3]


  • This Sunnah agrees with the meaning in other hadith, “The Imam is there to be followed, so when he bows, bow…” For that reason when the man comes to the Masjid and finds the Imam in Sajdah he should prostrate with him, because he doesn’t know if this is the first, middle or last sajdah of the prayer.[4]


  • Imam At-Tirmithi mentioned this hadith as a command to join to the Imam in any position you find him in even if you only catch the Tasleem.[5]


  • It’s a must to join the Imam when you reach the masjid, and when he finishes you must stand up and pray what you missed.


  • If a person comes to the masjid and doesn’t join the Imam until he stands up again, then he has disagreed with the Sunnah and prohibited himself from blessings. For example the closest a slave is to Allah is during Sujud, and maybe Allah will raise his rank and honor with this Sajdah. Sajdah is the position of Dua and Thikr. Likewise between the two Sajdahs dua is made, so how could a person prevent himself from this good.[6]



  • The Sahabah made Ijtihad during the era of the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wa salam).


  • It’s permissible to use the word, “Sunnah” for actions of the companions. The Prophet (SallAllahu alayhi wa salam) clearly sated this is the Sunnah of Mu’adh.[7]


How to join the prayer:

  • If the Imam is in Ruku make Takbir Ihram then go directly to the bowing position. And if the Imam is in Sajdah announce the Takbir Ihram and go into Sujud without another Takbir. Similarly if the Imam is in the final Tashahud say the Takbir Ihram and join him. However in thise case this isn’t considered a prayer in congregation since the Ruku was missed, but attaining some prayer in congregation is better than none.[8]

Prepared by :

Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Battle

Doha, Qatar 1436©

Have you read part 1?


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[1] Collected by At-Tirmithi (591) graded as being Hasan li-Ghayri by Al-Albani


[2] [Abu Dawud 506, At-Tabarani in Awsot 16693 graded as being Sahih by Al-Albani.

[3] [ Tuhfatul Ahwathi , by Al-Hafith Al-Mubarakfuri 1353H under hadith number 591]

[4] [‘Aarida Al-Ahwathi, by  Ibn Al-Arabi , under hadith # 591]

[5] [ ibid]

[6]  Refer to Fathu thee Al-Jalal wal Ikram by Imam Al-Uthaymeen, Vol4/533

[7] Sharh Sunnan Abee Dawudm by Imam BadrudeenAl-‘Aynee 855H) vol2/ 444

[8] Refer to Imam Al-Uthaymeen’s explanation of Bulugh, Vol 4/555 and Mihatul ‘Alam by Shaykh Abdullah ibn Salah Al-Fawzan Vol 3/ 429-434

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