Is it obligatory to recite Surah Fatiha behind Imam during prayers? Muslims are ordered to pray five times daily and it is their utmost duty to follow the order of Allah. They pray to Allah in the style which was told by the Holy Prophet PBUH. We seek Islamic knowledge from two sources that are our sacred Book HOLY QURAN and the SUNNAH OF OUR BELOVED PROPHET. These two sources are helpful to get total information about Islam.
Now the main problem is the question about reciting Surah Fatiha during Salah behind an Imam. What is the correct manner to praying Fard Salah? Is it obligatory to recite Surah Fatiha behind Imam during prayers?
Individual Prayers: When a person offers his prayer himself, it is a must for him to recite Surah Fatiha. It is one of the compulsory parts of our Salah, as Narrated ‘Ubada bin As-Samit: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Whoever does not recite Al-Fatiha in his prayer, his prayer is invalid.” – Sahih al-Bukhari 756
In one of the Sahih Hadith, it is said that our prophet used to recite Surah Fatiha in every rakat of Salah. In this regard, two scholars have given two different opinions.
According to one scholar, you can recite Surah Fatiha behind the imam but without interfering anyone. Our Prophet said it is must to recite Al Fatiha during the Salah. This opinion was taken by the general meaning of the saying of our Prophet. The permission granted to recite Surah Fatiha behind the imam was given by the reference of our Prophet Hadith,
Ubadah bin As-Samit narrated: “Allah's Messenger prayed the Subh prayer, and he had difficulty with the recitation. When turned (after finishing) he said: ‘I think that you are reciting behind your Imam?'” He said: “We said: ‘Yes, Messenger of Allah, by Allah!' He said: ‘Do not do that, except for Umm Al-Kitab Sura Fatiha), for there is no Salah for one who does not recite it.'” Jami` at-Tirmidhi 311
The second scholar said we should not recite Surah Al Fatiha behind the imam, it is said that the recitation of the Imam is also the recitation for the all the one who is reciting behind the Imam. This opinion can also be taken by the reference of this Ayah of the Quran.
“So when the Qur'an is recited, then listen to it and pay attention that you may receive mercy.” – Quran 7:204
Abdullah ibn Umar, when asked if anyone should recite behind an imam, said, “When you pray behind an imam then the recitation of the imam is enough for you and when you pray on your own you must recite.”
There is another opinion of scholars in which they believe that one should not recite the Sura Fatiha in the rakat when Imam is reciting aloud. In the rakat when Imam is reciting in low voice, you should recite Sura Fatiha.
Conclusion: There is nothing wrong weather you stand with the saying of one imam or the other. You will find the difference in the saying of the scholars. You can follow both the scholars and which make you feel satisfied. As our Deen is made easy for us, we should avoid making it complicated for ourselves.
Source: Islam QA