When reading namaz behind the imam should the follower say allahu akber always when the imam says it i.e before going into ruku,sajadah and should the follower also say assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah with imam or is the imams recitation of allahu akber and assalamu alaikum warahmatulllah sufficient?
Al-jawab billahi at-taufeeq (the answer with Allah's guidance)
The text from Hidayah states, "When the worshipper commences prayer, he is to pronounce the Takbir." This is from the obligations of the prayer due to Allah Ta'ala saying in the Qur'an, "Proclaim the greatness of your Lord." (74:3).
Whilst saying Takbeer Tahreemah with the Imam the Muqtadi (follower) should say it that it reaches his ears and not to start and finish before the Imam, if the Muqtadi says the Takbeer Tahreemah before or completes it before the Imam then the Salah will not be valid and he will be sinful. It is best for the Imam not to stretch the Takbeer Tahreemah and it is best for the Muqtadi to start and finish after the Imam. (Ahsanul Fataawa Vol.3 Pg.305)
Thereafter, the Muqtadi will also recite the Takbir at the times of Ruku, Sajdah etc.
If the Muqtadi performed Ruku, Sajdah, Salam before the Imam, the Salah of the Muqtadi will be valid but Makruh Tahreemi, if this is done by mistake or due to a valid reason then it will not be disliked. (Nurul Idhah Pg. 62/Ahsanul Fataawa Vol.3 pg.293)
However, when the Imam is getting up from Ruku, the follower will say "Rabbana Lakal Hamd". This is mentioned in the Hadith of Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi WaSalam), "When the Imam says 'Sami'allahu Liman Hamida', then (all of) you should say Rabbana Lakal Hamd." (Bukhari)
Thereafter, when it finally comes to the Tasleem (saying of Assalamu Alaykum wa Rahamtullah), the follower will also say it. The text of Hidayah mentions, "For the follower it is essential to include his Imam in his intention." This means that when the follower is saying Tasleem, his intention should be such that he is giving Salam to the Imam also, whether the Imam be to his right hand side or left.
It is also worth noting that it is Sunnah for the Muqtadi to follow the Imam in every action he does without any delay. He should do the Takbir Tahreemah with him, the bowing with him, the free standing with him, the Sajdah with him etc. The point here being that he does every action the Imam does with him.
In the first sitting (Q’adha al Uola), if the Imam stands up before the Muqtadi has read ‘At Tahiyat’, then the Muqtadi should finish the recital of ‘At Tahiyat’ and then stand up. In the same way, in the last sitting (Q’adha Akheera) if the Imam has finished the Salaam before the Muqtadi has finished the recital of ‘At Tahiyat’ etc, the Muqtadi should finish his recital and then give Salaam.
If the Imam has stood up from the bowing (Ruku’) or prostration (Sajdah) before the Muqtadi has completed his Tasbeeh, then in this situation, the Muqtadi will not complete his Tasbeeh. (Masaa-il Baheshti Zehwar 1/ 198)
It is Wajib to follow the Imam in those acts which are Fardh or Wajib in prayer. It is not necessary to follow him in those acts which are Sunnah. For example, according to Imam Shafi’ (Rahimahullah), it is Sunnah to raise the hands in prayer at the time of Ruku’ etc. In such instance, it is not required for a Hanafi to follow this. (Masaa-il Baheshti Zehwar 1/198)
And Allah Knows Best.
Answered: Abdus Subhan Dalvi (Student of Jamia Sirajul Uloom)