Kitab al-Umm, Imam Shafi’i, and Saying ‘Amin’



In Kitab al-Umm Imaam Shafi said that one does not like ‘Amin’ to be said loudly:

‏قال الشافعي‏]‏‏:‏ فإذا فرغ الإمام من قراءة أم القرآن قال‏:‏ آمين، ورفع بها صوته ليقتدي به من كان خلفه فإذا قالها قالوها وأسمعوا أنفسهم ولا أحب أن يجهروا بها فإن فعلوا فلا شيء عليهم وإن تركها الإمام قالها من خلفه وأسمعه لعله يذكر فيقولها ولا يتركونها لتركه كما لو ترك التكبير والتسليم لم يكن لهم تركه، فإن لم يقلها ولا من خلفه فلا إعادة عليهم ولا سجود للسهو وأحب قولها لكل من صلى رجل، أو امرأة، أو صبي في جماعة كان، أو غير جماعة‏.‏ ولا يقال‏:‏ آمين إلا بعد أم القرآن فإن لم يقل لم يقضها في موضع غيره‏

Can you explain why Amin is said aloud in the Shafi’i madhhab if Imam Shafi’s view was contrary to this? Was salaam.


Wa’alaykum al-Salam.

Praise is to All-Mighty Allah and peace and blessings are upon the Last Prophet Muhammad.

There are a few points that need to be explained:

a) Imam al-Shafi’i wrote several books. And Kitab al-Umm is one of his books. (Introduction to al-‘Aziz Sharh al-Wajiz, p. 79. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1997.)

b) Generally, tarjih (the correct verdict) is given to the last of Imam al-Shafi’s views, be it stated in one of his books or voiced orally. This rule is general; there are instances where authorities after Imam al-Shafi’i preferred other views. (al-Nawawi, al-Majmu’ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab. vol. 1 p. 108. Jeddah: Maktabah al-Irshad. [al-Muti’ edition])

c) It is unadvisable for one not well grounded in Shafi’i scholarship to choose Imam al-Shafi’s books as his first reference on an issue, especially before he consults the works of the later Shafi’i authorities. Specifically, it is important to consult the books of those who played a significant role in clarifying the rajih from the marjuh. (‘Alawi al-Saqqaf, Tarshih al-Mustafidin. p. 5. Beirut: Mu’sasah Dar al-‘Ulum.)

d) There are few cases where tarjih is with Imam al-Shafi’s qawl qadim (i.e. old school). (al-Majmu’. vol. 1 p. 108)

With regard to the Shafi’i School’s position on saying ‘amin’, it is very clear that the Imam says it. When the prayer is performed audibly, then the ‘amin’ should also be said aloud. And, during an inaudible prayer, the imam should say it softly. (al-Nawawi, al-Majmu’. vol. 3, p. 331. Jeddah: Maktabah al-Irshad. [al-Muti’ edition])

Regarding one following an imam, this is a case in which the Shafi’i authorities/scholars have differed. Yet, the different views do not influence the Shafi’i School’s position. Rather, they are regarding whether this is a case of a qawl qadim conflicting with a qawl jadid, or an issue where there are two conflicting opinions [qawlayn] in the jadid, with one of them agreeing with the qadim. Both Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi and Ruyani maintained that it is a case of jadid versus qadim. (al-Majmu’ vol. 3, p. 331; Bahr al-Madhdhab, vol. 2, p. 144)

Imam al-Nawawi elaborated that there are four turuq [ways in which the madhhab has been transmitted] related on the issue of the follower saying ‘amin’ in the aloud prayers. They are:

1) The first, which Imam al-Nawawi considered to be correct and the famous tariq. It contains two views of Imam al-Shafi’i: a) the follower should say ‘amin’ aloud; b) he should say it softly.

2) Secondly, that Imam al-Shafi’i only has one view which is that it be said aloud.

3) Thirdly, when there is a large congregation in a big masjid, then he should say it aloud; otherwise softly.

4) Lastly, when the imam does not say it aloud, the follower should say it aloud; but, there are two views for when the imam does say it aloud. (al-Majmu’ vol. 3 p. 331)

Note: Between the different copies of Sharh al-Muhadhdhab there is a discrepancy in the wordings. In Muti’is edition which is published by Maktabah al-Irshad, Dar al-Fikr and Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-‘Arabi, the text gives the impression that the discussion pertains to the imam. The text reads:

والأصح من حيث الحجة أن الإمام يجهر به…

While, the edition of a group of scholars published by Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah in 2002, vol. 4 p. 466 has the following text:

والأصح من حيث الجملة أن المأموم يجهر به…

This second text appears to be the correct version as the paragraph is addressing the issue of the ma’mum.

Therefore, Imam al-Nawawi, after presenting the four turuq stated, “The correct view as far as the hujjah is concerned, is that the follower should say it aloud.” (Ibid vol. 3 p. 331-34)

Considering Imam al-Nawawi’s elaborations on the turuq, it appears that here is a case of two jadid views conflicting with one another, with one of them being supported by a qadim. (al-Nawawi, al-Majmu’ vol. 3 p. 331-34) This is also supported by the istilah [nomenclature] that Imam al-Nawawi used in Minhaj and Tahqiq. (See: Minhaj al-Talibin p. 98. Beirut: Dar al-Minhaj, 2005; Kitab al-Tahqiq: p. 203. Beirut: Dar al-Jil, 1992)

Nevertheless, some authorities relate Imam al-Shafi’is different opinions as a case of qadim versus jadid. While Imam Nawawi differs with other scholars on how the issue is related, he agrees with them that this is an instance where tarjih rests with the qadim (old school). (al-Majmu’: vol. 3 p. 332)


The position of the Shafi’ madhdhab is for the imam, munfarid, and ma’mum to all say amin aloud when the prayer is audible.

This is a case in which tarjih is with the qadim.

While the view is accepted as being found in the qadim, some authorities have also related it from Imam al-Shafi’is qawl jadid.

Answered by: Ml. Yaqub Yusuf Abdullah Fatwa Dept.


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