Being an Imam and its Qualifications (Maliki)


How do you become an imam? What are the qualifications of the imam?

Our Prophet Hazrat Muhammad –peace be upon him-, and after Him the Rashid khalifas (the four great khalifas) carried out the duties of an imam.

In order for the imamate to be sahih, these conditions must be found; they must be a man, a Muslim, able-minded, must have passed the term of puberty, must be able to carry out all the rukuns of the prayer, must not be someone who reaches the prayer later on, must have knowledge of topics concerning fiqh and matters concerning qiraat in relation to salat.

The imamate of a blind person and the person who is from a different mazhab will be considered sahih. In matters where it is a requirement for the sihhah of the salat, the mazhab of the imam will be taken into consideration. In topics related to the sihhah conditions of following the imam, the mazhab of the person following the imam will be taken into consideration.

There are three conditions to following the imam in prayer: 1) To intend to follow in prayer, 2) for the type of the salat and the time of the salat to be the same with that of the imam and his followers, 3) For the followers to follow the imam in the matter of the takbir for the start of the salat and saying salam.

The imam must intend to carry out the duties of the imam in the Jum’a salat, salats that are prayed as jam, the salat prayed in times of fear and in the salats that he replaces himself with someone else.The person who is most qualified for being an imam is the head of state or someone that he has assigned. After this the most qualified and deserving people in order are; a regular imam of the mosque, the home owner, the person who has more knowledge of fiqh, the person who has more knwoledge of hadiths, the person who better knows the Qur’an, the person carries out alot of ibadah, the person who has spent longer years of being a Muslim, the person who is of the Kuraysh kabilah, the person whose ancestry is known, the person who has good character, the person whose appearance and clothing is pleasant.While praying with the jamaat it is makruh for the imam to be a fasiq, badawi, a person who has urinal leakage, a person who has not undergone the sunnah. Also it is makruh for the person whose eggs have been take out, a man who is similar to a woman, a child as a result of adultery and a slave to be made a regular imam at a mosque.

Source: Fiqh1 (According To The Maliki School Of Islamic Law), Erkam Publications

The Contents of Fiqh as a Science (Maliki)

The Importance of The Science of Fiqh (Shafii)