If you can’t hear it, does it still break it?
– “Silent But Deadly” Samir
Response: Well, Samir, you pose a rather interesting question. In fact, I myself have slipped into hours of deep reflection and introspection regarding this matter. It is, without a doubt, an issue that has perplexed scholars and educators for ages.
I mean, think about it. What is an Imam supposed to do if he passes gas while he’s leading the prayers? Technically, he’s supposed to redo his wudu afterwards and lead another makeup prayer in his newly-cleansed state.
What if he stopped in the middle, though? Could you imagine the chaos that would ensue? Is someone supposed to boldly leap into the Imam’s vacant, odoriferous spot and lead the jamaat? And what if no one steps up to the challenge? Does everyone just pause and wait for the Imam to return from performing wudu? And what if no one catches on to the fact that the Imam broke wind once he stops and leaves?
Confusion would pollute the jamat as everyone would think that the Imam simply quit and left. Utter chaos I tell you. Never in my 23 years of existence have I witnessed or even heard about an Imam leaving the prayers to re-execute his wudu.
In fact, this matter vexed me as a teenager and I actually asked the Imam of my local mosque what he would do if he happened to pass gas. With a half smile he told me, “If nobody can smell it or hear it, you just keep going. You just have to watch what you eat before you lead the prayers.”
No wonder I never saw him at Taco Bell.