If someone regularly commits a major sin (such as zina) and is unrepentant and has no intention of stopping, is it proper for them to lead people in prayer?

If I know the person leading the prayer commits zina regularly and is unrepentant, should I avoid following him in prayer? Will it go as far as to make my prayer invalid? I have read conflicting answers to this online.

  • IMHO the answer depends on the Fiqh-School you follow (Shaafii, Hanafi etc.). But in general: I would avoid following such a person in prayer. – Yahia Aug 15 '13 at 12:53
  • If you know about this person's major sin, and assuming others would know it too, my question is why people ask him to lead the prayers anyway? There must be at least one person better than him to lead the prayer! – Farhan Aug 15 '13 at 13:57
  • He knows the Quran by far the best, which according to Hadith is how to decide who should lead. We should avoid it perhaps, shame it is hard to find a definitive ruling. – samiles Aug 15 '13 at 14:45
  • @samiles Agreed about knowing Quran. But he doesn't believe in it nor does he is ashamed of his actions, is he? In such case, the next person, who knows less Quran than him (regardless of how less) can lead the prayers. – Farhan Sep 16 '13 at 21:00

With regard to praying behind one whose sin is obvious, the scholars differed concerning this issue, and there are two opinions.

The first view is that it is not correct to pray behind a faasiq (rebellious sinner).

This is the view of Ahmad and Maalik.

The second opinion, that prayer behind a faasiq is valid, even if his sin is obvious, is the correct view and it is the view favoured by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him).

For more info and the evidences of each view click here

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