Is tasmee’ (saying Sami’a Allaahu liman hamidah) and tahmeed (saying Rabbana laka’l-hamd) in prayer obligatory or Sunnah? And should the one who is praying behind an imam say Sami’a Allaahu liman hamidah?.
The scholars differed concerning the ruling on saying tasmee’ (Sami’a Allaahu liman hamidah) and tahmeed (Rabbana laka’l-hamd) in prayer. There are two views:
1 –The view of the majority – the Hanafis, Maalikis and al-Shaafa’is – is that it is one of the Sunnahs of prayer and is not one of the obligatory parts of the prayer.
2 –That it is one of the obligatory parts of the prayer. This is the view of the Hanbalis.
Ibn Qudaamah said in al-Mughni (1/578):
The well known view narrated from Ahmad is that the takbeer (saying “Allaahu akbar”) when going down and coming up, the tasbeeh during the stage of bowing and prostrating, saying Sami’a Allaahu liman hamidah and Rabbana wa laka’l-hamd in prayer, and saying Rabb ighfir li between the two prostrations, and the first tashahhud are all obligatory. This is also the view of Ishaaq and Dawood.
And it was narrated in another report from Ahmad that it is not obligatory. This is the view of the majority of fuqaha’, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not teach it to the one who did not pray properly, and it is not permissible to delay the explanation from the time when it is needed. Ibn Qudaamah quoted several points as evidence that it is obligatory:
1- The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) enjoined it, and his command means that something is obligatory.
2- He did it, and he said: “Pray as you have seen me praying.”
3- Abu Dawood (857) narrated from ‘Ali ibn Yahya ibn Khallaad from his paternal uncle that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No one’s prayer is complete unless he does wudoo’ … then says ‘Sami’a Allaahu liman hamidah,’ until he is standing up straight.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
4- The points at which these adhkaar are recited are pillars or essential parts of the prayer, therefore the dhikr at these points is obligatory, as in the case of standing.
With regard to the hadeeth about the one who did not pray properly, in the hadeeth that we quoted, mention is made of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) teaching that. It is something extra that must be accepted, but the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not teach him all the obligatory parts of the prayer, based on the evidence that he did not teach him the tashahhud or the salaam. This is to be understood as meaning that he taught him that which he saw him doing badly. End quote.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Sharh al-Mumti’ (3/433):
The evidence for that is as follows:
1 – The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) always did that, and he never failed to say Sami’a Allaahu liman hamidah under any circumstances.
2 – It is the sign of moving from bowing to standing up again.
3 – The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When he [the imam] says ‘Sami’a Allaahu liman hamidah, then say ‘Rabbana wa laka’l-hamd.”
Based on this, there are three points of evidence for tahmeed and only two for tasmee’. End quote.
Some of the Hanbalis quoted as evidence for it being obligatory the hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Buraydah from his father who said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me: “O Buraydah, when you raise your head from bowing, say Sami’a Allaahu liman hamidah, Allaahumma Rabbana laka’l-hamd mil’ al-samaa’i wa mil’a al-ard wa mil’a ma shi’ta min shay’in ba’d (Allaah hears the one who praises Him, O Allaah our Lord, to You be praise filling the heaven, filling the earth and filling whatever else You will). Narrated by al-Daaraqutni (1/339).
But this is a da’eef (weak) hadeeth, as was stated by the scholars. See Ibn ‘Abd al-Haadi in Tahqeeq al-Ta’leeq (1/394); al-Iraaqi in Tarh al-Tathreeb (2/331); and al-Shawkaani in Nayl al-Awtaar (2/278). See also al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (27/82, 92-93)
In the answer to question no. 43574 we have stated that we favour the view that tasmee’ and tahmeed are obligatory, and that the one who is praying alone should recite both tasmee’ and tahmeed, according to scholarly consensus and the imam should also recite both. This is the view of the Shaafa’is and the Hanbalis. But the one who is praying behind an imam should recite only the tahmeed, and it is not prescribed for him to say the tasmee’, as is the view of the majority. The evidence for that is also quoted in the question referred to.
And Allaah knows best.