In the time of Mohammed (s.a.w), the five times prayers were conducted by Mohammed (s.a.w) and then as Islam grew and people from different places accepted Islam, Rasool (s.a.w) appointed Imams to conduct the prayers, he said:


Let those who know most of Quran lead the prayers, if there are many equal who know the Quran, then let those who know most of the Sunnah lead people in Prayer; and if there are many equal who know the Sunnah, then let those who were the first to make Hijrath lead the people in prayers, if there are many equal in making the Hijrath; then let those who are the eldest among them lead the prayers, and let not anyone hamper with others leadership....
Sahih Muslim Hadith
Hadith 1420 Narrated by
AbuMas'ud al-Ansari


So being the case, everyone in the Masjid should be able to lead the people in Prayer. If the best amongst them is absent ,then the next best should lead the people in prayer,  and if that person too is absent then the next ...  and so on till everyone in the Masjid should be able to lead people in congregational prayer.  In doing so, everyone become well versed in conducting the prayers, and also well versed with the laws of our religion, and they make sure they know the Quran and Hadees so as not to make mistakes;  and one would feel really ashamed to say that he does not know to lead the people in prayer.  Thereby two things are achieved one they become familiar with the conducting the congregational prayer, and also with the rules and regulations of the religion.


But what a pity – The people are left to be ignorant, without knowing anything about Quran and Hadees as today people hire imams to conduct prayers in the Masjid. Will not Allah ask these hired imams “ you took money for your 5 times prayers so what do you expect from me???”.  Allah says in the Quran:


Therefore (O! People) fear not men but fear Me(Allah) and sell not My Signs(verses of the Quran) for a miserable price.  If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed they are (no better than) unbelievers.
 Quran – ( 5 : 44 ) 

Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w) has said in a hadees:

Read the Quran, understand it, but do not ever seek material wealth, or eat by it.
Books: Ahmed; & Tafrani.


In another Hadees:

When Imran came upon a story-teller who was reciting the Qur'an and then asking for payment he first uttered the words, " to Allah We belong and to Allah do we return" and then told that he had heard Allah's Messenger say, "When anyone recites the Qur'an, let him ask a reward for it from Allah, for people will arise who will recite the Qur'an and ask a reward for it from men."
Al-Tirmidhi Hadees  No: 2216
Narrated By – Imran ibn Husayn

I taught some persons of the people of Suffah writing and the Qur'an. A man of them presented to me a bow. I said: It cannot be reckoned  property; may I shoot with it in Allah's path? I must come to the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) and ask him (about it). So I came to him and said : Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him), one of those whom I have been teaching writing and the Qur'an has presented me a bow, and as it cannot be reckoned property, may I shoot with it in Allah's path? He said: If you want to have a necklace of fire on you, accept it.

Sunan Abu-Dawood  Hadith 3409             
Narrated by – Ubaydah ibn as Samit.


When Allah says do not sell My Revelations (Quran), He does not mean selling the bound copies of the printed Quran, He means reciting the Quran and taking a price for it, so also Rasool (s.a.w) has said read the Quran and understand and follow it, but do not use it to make a living by reciting it and taking money for it; or for teaching it and taking a salary for it.  Arabic is different, its a language and you can teach Arabic and take what ever salary you want for it and for looking after the children as warden or deputy warden number 1, 2, 3 and so on you can legally take a salary, but for reading the Quran or teaching it, it is HARAAM to take money for it.  Allah and His Rasool have made it so. Quran and Hadees (Religion) should be taught to people only in the name of Allah and not for worldly gains.  Every Alim, who take money for this know it but they do not reveal it to the common people for Allah repeats this “Do not sell my verses for a miserable price” many times in the Quran. 


Who can conduct five times prayer without reciting the Quran in it,  and if for this they want money then they are committing a Haraam and those who knowingly follow  this Imam in prayer are also contributing to his sins, and those who are paying him the salary are also incurring an equal sin.  Mohammed (s.a.w) has said : when you see a wrong (sin) try to stop it with your hands, and if you can’t, then at least tell the person it is a sin to do such a thing, and if you cannot do even this, then you have only an atom’s  eeman left in you and if you want to save this,  understand that what is being done is wrong- a sin, and abstain from it; (i.e) do not become a partner to it,  and do not join in the people’s sinful act.  Also remember that he is indeed a stupid fool who makes HALAAL of what Allah and His Messenger have made as HARAAM. For some of the namesake Alims and Ulamas try to rationalize this Sinful act of theirs and convince people that it is HALAAL. Thereby, destroying all the deeds (amals) of their followers who follow them in the congregational prayers.


Allah says in the Quran:
It is not fitting for a Believer man or woman when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Apostle to have any option about their decision: if anyone disobeys Allah and His Apostle, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.


Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls).


It is not a very difficult task for the people of a Mouhalla (area) to collectively select their Imams from their area,  they can choose as to which of them is to lead the people in Prayer, and in his absence who else could lead the prayer and in his absence who else and so on; so that everyone gets a chance to lead the Prayer and everyone takes an interest in the knowledge of the Quran and Hadees and becomes well versed in it. 


Amr bin Salama was only a lad of six to seven years old, when Prophet Mohamed (s.a.w) appointed him as Imam to lead his people in prayer, for he was the one who knew  most of the Quran.
 Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith
Hadith 5.595 Narrated by
Amr bin Salama


Oh Muslims! Unless and untill we unite as Muslims,  we will not be able to abolish this sinful Practice. Don’t only think that contributing help to a person drinking liquor or gambling or Prostitution is Haraam,  but also contributing to this evil practice of keeping hired Imams in Masjids and praying behind them is also equally HARAAM.  Please understand that there is no difference between one Haraam and another Haraam, they are all acts of Satan; and all HARAAMS are acts prohibited by Allah and His Prophet(s.a.w), and equally sinful. Just as Quran, a holy revelation from Allah, is such a wonderful miracle and you earn tremendous amount of virtues for reciting and following it, but when the same Quran or verses of the Quran are used as an AMULET (Tavees) - it  amounts to shirk – with no difference between worshiping an idol and wearing the Quran as an amulet – both are equally sinful - a sin which amounts to be one of the greatest of sins; and the person wearing it do not get a single virtue for their good deeds done, however great the good deed be. So, also praying behind an Immam who takes payments for conducting prayers, nullifies ones Prayer done behind that Immam.


May Allah Guide us and Help us to follow and keep Allah’s religion in the PURE state as it was revealed; And may Allah bring forward People who would TEACH HIS RELIGION for Allah’s sake alone without accepting any worldly gain for it; and May Allah protect each and every atom of our amal (deeds) without it being wasted or done in vain ( ameen ).



And Please forward this message to as many Muslims as Possible.



Kindly  read the article Halaal & Haraam and become more clear in this matter.



A.H.Nazeer Ahmed