I know that it is important for one to follow the order of the Qur’an when reciting in prayer, but is this necessary for a latecomer as well. Is it necessary for a latecomer to follow the order of the Imam? For example, I joined the congregation in the second Rak’at of Fajr prayer and the Imam recited Surah al-Layl for example. When I stand to complete my one rak’at, what rule should I follow while selecting the Surahs to recite?
The renowned Hanafi jurist (faqih), Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) defines a latecomer (masbuq) in the following words:
“A latecomer (masbuq) is one who was preceded by the Imam with all or some Rak’ats. (Haskafi, Durr al-Mukhtar `ala Tanwir al-Absar, 1/596)
In al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, a Masbuq is defined as: “One who failed to attain the first Rak’at with the Imam.” (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 1/90)
As such, a person who joins the Imam in his prayer after the Imam has completed his Ruku’ of the first Rak’at will be classed a Masbuq or late comer. There are specific rules (ahkam) relating to a Masbuq explained in the various books of Islamic jurisprudence.
One of the many rulings that pertain to a Masbuq is that he is considered to be praying alone (munfarid) when he stands up to complete the prayer after the Taslim of the Imam.
Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“…And he (masbuq) is considered to be praying alone (munfarid) thus he will recite the opening supplication (thana), Ta’awwudh and portion of the Qur’an.” (See: Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr, 1/596)
It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:
“A latecomer (masbuq) is considered to be praying alone (munfarid) in that which he is making up (after the completion of the Imam’s prayer) except in four situations.” (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 1/93)
In light of the above texts, it becomes clear that when a latecomer stands up to complete his prayer after the completion of the Imam’s prayer, he is considered to be praying alone. Thus, he will recite the Thana, Ta’awwudh, Basmala and some portion of the Qur’an. Normally when following the Imam, the follower (muqtadi) is not supposed to recite the Qur’an (in the Hanafi School), but due to the fact that a latecomer is now considered praying alone, he will recite Surat al-Fatiha and another Surah (in some or all of the Rak’ats depending on how many Ra’ats are missed).
Based on this, the latecomer (masbuq) does not need to follow the order of the Imam when reciting the Surahs from the Qur’an. He will be performing his own prayer, and as such, will ensure to recite the Surahs according to the order of the Qur’an in the remaining Rak’ats that he makes up. (See: Fatawa Darul Uloom, 2/267)
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK