Answered by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
According to the classical and the majority of contemporary scholars, there are two types of Shi’as:
a)Those that hold beliefs that constitute disbelief (kufr) such as having the belief that the Qur’an has been altered, Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) is God, the angel Jibril made an error in descending with the revelation on the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) rather than Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him), accusing Sayyida Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) of committing adultery or denying the Companionship (suhba) of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him).
The great Hanafi jurist, Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“There is no doubt in the disbelief (kufr) of those that falsely accuse Sayyida Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) of adultery, deny the Companionship of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr ( Allah be pleased with him), believe that sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) was God or that the angel Jibril mistakenly descended with the revelation (wahi) on the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give peace), etc… which is apparent Kufr and contrary to the teachings of the Qur’an (Radd al-Muhtar, 4/453).
Therefore, shi’as that hold such beliefs are without a doubt out of the fold of Islam.
b)Those who do not hold beliefs that constitute Kufr such as believing that Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) was the rightful first Caliph after the demise of the Messenger of Allah, slander other Companions (sahaba) belief in the twelve Imams, etc…
Such Shi’as can not be termed as out of the fold of Islam, rather they are considered to be severely deviated and transgressors (fisq).
Imam Ibn Abidin states:
“It is difficult to make a general statement and judge all the Shi’as to be non-believers, as the scholars have agreed on the deviation and defection of the deviated sects” (ibid).
It should be remarked here that some members of the Shi’a community display outwardly not to have believes that constitute Kufr, but keep these beliefs in their heart, which they call Taqiyya.
The case with such people is that if they did have such beliefs that constitute Kufr in their heart but outwardly denied them, them even though according to Allah and in hereafter they will be regarded as non-Muslims, but we will judge them according to their outward statements and actions.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) is reported to have said:
“I have been ordered to judge people according to their outward condition”
Keeping the above in mind, it becomes clear that to perform Salat behind Shi’as that are considered to be out of the fold of Islam is out of the question, and if one did pray behind such a person, his Salat will not be valid, thus must be repeated.
If the beliefs of a Shi’a is not to an extent that constitutes Kufr, then it is strongly disliked (makruh tahriman) to perform Salat behind him. Such Shi’as, even though they are not regarded as non-Muslims, are still considered to be deviated and transgressing (fisq), thus one must avoid performing Salat behind them.
Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states in his Durr al-Mukhtar:
“It is Makruh to pray behind a sinner, blind person or a innovator, meaning the one who holds beliefs that are not known from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace)”.
Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) comments on this by saying:
“The reason for not praying behind a sinner (m. in action or belief) is that he takes matters of religion lightly. Also, in praying behind such people, we are showing them respect, where as it is necessary to not show them respect…..It is reported in Sharh al-Munya that to perform Salat behind such people is Makruh Tahriman. According to Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad (in a narration), Salat behind them is not valid altogether” (Radd al-Muhtar, 1/560).
Therefore, Salat behind a Shi’a should not be performed. If one did so, it must be repeated, as it may not be valid.
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK
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