Praise be to Allaah.
Praying in congregation in the mosque is obligatory for men
who are able to do so, according to the more correct scholarly opinion,
because of evidence that has been discussed previously in the answers to
questions no. 8918 and
Recitation of al-Faatihah is one of the pillars or essential
part of the prayer for the imam, the one who is praying behind the imam and
the one who is praying on his own. This has been discussed previously in the
answer to question no. 10995
Reciting al-Faatihah is not waived for the one who is praying
behind the imam except in two cases:
If he catches up with the imam
as he is bowing. In this case he should bow with him and the rak‘ah will
count for him, even if he did not recite al-Faatihah
If he joins the imam in the
prayer just before he bows (rukoo‘) and he is not able to complete
al-Faatihah. In this case he should bow with him and not complete
al-Faatihah, and the rak‘ah will count for him.
You should try hard with the people at the mosque to advise
the imam to slow down in his prayer and not rush. If the imam bows before
you have completed al-Faatihah, it is permissible to you to complete it even
if that will make you delay bowing, then you can follow him. But you should
recite al-Faatihah more quickly, without taking your time. Some people are
not able to recite al-Faatihah behind the imam for that reason.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was
asked: What is the ruling on a man who offers a four-rak‘ah prayer with a
congregation from the beginning of the prayer, then when the imam says the
salaam, this man stands up and does a fifth rak‘ah. When the imam asked him
about that he said: In the second rak‘ah I was not able to recite
al-Faatihah so I did this rak‘ah to make up for it?
He replied: This is correct, but what would have been better
than that is if, when he stood up and the imam bowed before he was able to
complete al-Faatihah, he had completed al-Faatihah and followed the imam,
even if the imam had already stood up from bowing.
End quote from Majmoo‘ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 13/134
We do not think you should stop attending the mosque or
repeat the prayer; rather you should pray with the imam so long as his
prayer is correct, and try hard to do what you are obliged to do, even if
you fall behind in following him, whilst continuing to advise him in a
And Allah knows best.