Some evidences first
- "Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, 'If the Iqama is pronounced then do not stand for the prayer till you see me (in front of you).' " (Sahih al-Bukahri)
You may find other similar narrations (some with some addtions) in Sahih Muslim, Sahih al-Bukahri, Sunan abi Dawod, Sunan an-Nasa-i and Jami' at-Tirmidhi.
- Bilal summoned to prayer as the sun declined but did not pronounce Iqama till the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came out and the Iqama was pronounced on seeing him. (Sahih Muslim)
You may find the hadith ino ther sources too!
- Once Iqama was pronounced and the people had straightened the rows, Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) went forward (to lead the prayer) but he was Junub, so he said, "Remain in your places." And he went out, took a bath and returned with water trickling from his head. Then he led the prayer. (Sahih al-Bukahri)
This hadith is also compiled in other sources.
Now a "fatwa" or statement of Imam Malik:
- ... As for people standing up when the iqama for the prayer is called, I have not heard of any definite point at which it is begun, and I consider it rather to be according to people's (individual) capacity, for some people are heavy and some are light, and they are not able to be as one man .... (Imama Malik, al-Muwatta')
Commentaries on the evidences
- One could conclude form this narration that they were asked to stand up once they see the Imam.
- Here we see that Bilal (the muadhin) only started the Iqama when the Imam (the Messenger of Allah (pbuh)) came out.. in this case the people would stand up with the Iqama starting!
- This hadith shows that the congregation already stood before the Imam came out and this found no objection. One could also discuss whether this only happened because the Imam when coming to the prayer has forgotten or just remainded that he needed to take a ghusl and was somehow busy with other thoughts and didn't notice that the people were standing.
- This shows that it is up to the people and their capacity to decide when they should start standing up.
Imam an-Nawawi in his commentary on sahih Muslim quoted a statement of Qadi 'Iyad which is somehow joining all the three (first) narrations:
Bilal used to
be on the lookout searching for the Prophet (pbuh) to come out once he saw him he would start the Iqama, people wouldn't start standing up until they would see him (pbuh) and the Prophet (pbuh) wouldn't stand in his position for leading the prayer until the people have completed their rows and everybody was in position. The case abu Huraira described in the 3rd hadith is something which happened a few times (once or twice) and can be taken as an evidence to allow it in case of a (legal) justification. It also is possible that the first narration came afterwards!
Scholars also say that the reason for "prohibiting" (maybe not recommending is better here) them to stand up before they see the Imam is to not prolong the time for waiting, and maybe an Imam could come late for some reasons.
The rulings for some madhabs
The scholars had different opinions on when to stand up for the prayer and when the Imam should perform the takbir for starting the prayer:
- A-Shafi'i and others said it is recommended not to stand up until the muadhin has completed the iqama!
- Al-Qadi 'Iyad reported from Malik and most scholars that it is recommended to start standing up once the muadhin starts the iqama, Anas ibn Malik used to stand up when the muadhin says (recites) "qad qamati s-salat قد قامت الصلاة" this is the opinion of Imam Ahamd.
- Abu Hanifa and the Kufi scholars used to say they should stand up in the rows once the muadhin says (recites) "hayya 'ala s-salat حي على الصلاة " and once he says (recites) "qad qamati s-salat" the Imam make the takbir, while the majority of the scholars of the salaf say the Imam only does the takbir when the muadhin has ended the iqama.
- Ibn 'abd al-Barr made more details in his al-Istidhkar.
(Sources this fatwa and my major source in Arabic)