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Q: I noticed an Imam leading two congregations of Jumuah prayer and have heard that the scholars teach that the follower must have the same intention of the Imam for the prayer to be valid.

A: In God’s name to whom all praise is due…

Some scholars have made the argument that the Imam and the congregation must have the same intention. The truth is that clear scripture is in favor of the permissibility of an Imam leading an obligatory prayer with the intention of praying an optional prayer. The authentic hadith states,

“Muath used to pray Isha behind the Prophet (PBUH) and then go to his people and lead them in Salah…” (Bukhari 711 and Muslim 465)

The prophet (PBUH) did say “The Imam was made to be followed by the congregation” (Bukhari 733). The jurists who hold that the congregation must have the same intention of the Imam rely on this Hadith. This is just the first part of the Hadith. The rest of it says so if he says takbir then they follow, if he bows then they follow, if he stands back up again then they follow …” So the Hadith in its own context is indicating movements and not intentions. It is prohibiting the followers moving to the next part of Salat before the Imam. This point is even emphasized more in the abovementioned Hadith about Muath (ra). In fact the famous Hadith we all memorize emphasizes that everyone has their own intention “All deeds are according to their intentions and each person will have what he or she intended”.

As far as the Imam giving both sermons there is nothing to prohibit this either because of the need. This was supported in the following fatwa by the.

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