Is a prayer performed after an imam who did not have wudu if we did not know that he did not have wudu?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

A person who performs a prayer without wudu has to perform it again. The prayer performed after an imam who does not have wudu if we do not know that he does not have wudu is valid. However, a person who finds out about it later needs to perform it again.

If it is difficult for an imam to say that he led a prayer without wudu or if it can cause mischief, he does not have to say it.

If an imam leads prayers for two months and says to his congregation, «I have led prayers without wudu up to now», this statement is not accepted. However, those prayers can be performed again as a caution. Nothing is necessary if they are not performed again. If the imam says, «I led prayers though there was impurity on my clothes», the same decree is valid. (al-Khulasa - Fatawa al-Hindiyya)

In accordance with this rule, if it is understood after a while that an imam who led prayers was an unbeliever, mad, a woman, bisexual, illiterate or that he led prayers without uttering takbir al-iftitah or without ghusl or wudu, the prayers of the congregation are valid. However, it is appropriate for them to perform those prayers again as a caution. (at-Tabyin,  Zaylai; see Celal Yıldırım, Kaynaklarıyla İslam Fıkhı, Uysal Kitabevi: I/303)

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