Istikhlaf in Prayer :
What is istikhlaf?
Istikhlaf is an Imam appointing somebody from congregation as the imam.
If the wudu of the imam breaks while he is leading the prayer, he can pull somebody from the congregation to the mihrab and appoint him as the imam acting as if his nose is bleeding, etc. When the prayer starts, somebody that has the necessary conditions of being an imam can lead the prayer. It is not permissible for a person who does not have the necessary conditions of being an imam to lead the prayer by replacing the imam.
The imam whose wudu is invalidated needs to act carefully and choose a person who has been following him since the beginning of the prayer. A person who has joined the congregation after the first rak’ah and has not performed some part of the prayer is not chosen as the imam unless it is compulsory. If something like that happens, when the prayer is completed, the imam who has been appointed to replace the imam chooses a person who has performed the whole prayer to finish the prayer before saluting. When the new imam salutes, he stands up and completes his prayer.
If the person who has replaced the imam whose wudu has been invalidated does not exactly know which rak’ah of the prayer it is and needs to ask the imam about it, the imam tries to inform him through signs which rak’ah it is. If it is not possible and if the imam speaks, the prayer is invalidated and needs to be performed again.
If the imam whose wudu has been invalidated leaves the mosque or moves forward if the prayer is performed in an open area, the prayer is invalidated. However, if somebody from the congregation starts to lead the prayer before the imam who has not appointed anybody to replace him leaves the mosque, the prayer is valid and it does not have to performed again. If there is only one person except the imam, he moves to the place of the imam and completes the prayer.
If the imam misreads a verse in prayer and if he cannot correct this mistake though he returns twice, he will go to ruku’ if he thinks what he has read up to that time is enough; however, if it is not possible, he reads another verse; if he cannot do it either, he needs to appoint another person as the imam through istikhlaf.
The imam of Al-Rajhi Mosque in Riyadh Sheikh Saleh Al-Habdan had some throat problem .He withdrew and was replaced by the muezzin. This is called Istikhlaf in prayer. A Very rare Scene.
The Istikhlaf in Prayer can also occur if the wudu of imam gets broken while leading the Prayer .
Watch this video on istikhlaf
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