Q&A: Imaam of Taraweeh


Saturday, 09 February 2008 16:18


We have commenced with the selection process for Huffaaz to perform Taraweeh in our Musjid. Some differences have arisen in this regard with some people wanting to appoint a particular Hafiz since he recites the Qur’an Shareef beautifully while others are objecting to his appointment due to the fact that he trims his beard and allows his trousers to flow below his ankles. The issue has become quite contentious. Kindly guide us in this matter.


Salaah is among the greatest forms of Ibaadat. It is a means of communicating with Allah Ta’ala. When performing Salaah one should consider himself as standing in the Court of Allah Ta’ala. When the Salaah is being performed in Jamaat, the Imaam is the representative of the congregation in his communication with Allah Ta’ala. It is therefore necessary that such a person be appointed as the Imaam who has the basic qualities of an Imaam. Among these qualities are:

1. He must be upright and pious.

2. He must be able to recite the Qur’an correctly.

3. He must know the basic masaa’il of Deen pertaining to Taharah, Salaah, etc.

4. He must be one who knows the Sunnah and practices upon it.

5. He must not be one who openly commits sins.

6. He must at all times be humble.



The Fuqaha (jurists) have unanimously regarded the shaving or trimming of the beard to less than a fist length as an open sin. The beard is not “just a Sunnat” (such a statement is extremely dangerous for one’s Imaan as it trivialises the sunnah). According to all the four Imaams of fiqh it is waajib to keep a beard to the extent of one fist length. This compulsion of keeping a beard has been derived from various Ahadith wherein Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has given the imperative command of lengthening the beard.

When this is the injunction for ordinary Muslims, it becomes even more important and significant for an Imaam. Hence due to the great stress in the Ahadith on having a lengthened beard, the Fuqaha  have stated that it is makrooh tahrimi to appoint such a person as the Imaam who shaves off  his beard or trims it to less than one fist length. Makrooh tahrimi is a category that is next to Haraam, therefore a makrooh tahrimi action is also forbidden. If one who shaves his beard is nevertheless appointed as the Imaam, the Salaah of the muqtadies (followers) will be makrooh. However, the burden of the deficiency in the Salaah of the entire congregation will be upon the Imaam and upon those who appointed him to lead the Salaah.  

Let alone the one who continues to shave or trim his beard, it is also makrooh to appoint such a person as the Imaam who has since repented from this sin until such a time that his beard once again grows to the required length (Fatawa Mahmoodia-vol.7, pg.43).



Likewise it is also makrooh tahrimi to allow one’s pants to flow below the ankles at any time, whether in Salaah or outside it. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “Beware of lowering your pants below your ankles for verily that is due to pride. And Allah Ta’ala does not love pride” (Abu Dawood). The Salaah that is performed by a person whose pants are below his ankles is makrooh.

Therefore the Hafiz described in your question should not be appointed to lead the Taraweeh Salaah eventhough he may be able to recite the Qur’an excellently. In fact the Hafiz in question should take pity upon himself and refrain from becoming the Imaam since if he does lead the congregation he will be taking upon himself the burden of the deficiency in the salaah of the entire congregation. Nobody can afford to do this — especially in the month of Ramadhaan. (For a more detailed discussion on this aspect, refer to the booklet “Dear Hafiz” which is available from the Madrasah @R4.00 including postage and packaging).