Narrated ‘Aisha (RA):
Some of the wives of the Prophet (SAW) asked him, “Who amongst us will be the first to follow you (i.e. die after you)?” He said, “Whoever has the longest hand.” So they started measuring their hands with a stick and Sauda (RA)’s hand turned out to be the longest. (When Zainab bint Jahsh (RA) died first of all in the caliphate of ‘Umar(RA)), we came to know that the long hand was a symbol of practicing charity, so she was the first to follow the Prophet and she used to love to practice charity. (Sauda (RA) died later in the caliphate of Muawiya).
The more you give, the longer your hands get. ;)
Narrated Abu Mas’ud:
A man came and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! By Allah, I keep away from the morning prayer only because So and so prolongs the prayer when he leads us in it.” The narrator said, “I never saw Allah’s Apostle more furious in giving advice than he was at that time. He then said, “Some of you make people dislike good deeds (the prayer). So whoever among you leads the people in prayer should shorten it because among them are the weak, the old and the needy.”
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Apostle said, “If anyone of you leads the people in the prayer, he should shorten it for amongst them are the weak, the sick and the old; and if anyone among your prays alone then he may prolong (the prayer) as much as he wishes. “
Narrated Abu Mas’ud:
A man came and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I keep away from the morning prayer because so-and-so (Imam) prolongs it too much.” Allah’s Apostle became furious and I had never seen him more furious than he was on that day. The Prophet said, “O people! Some of you make others dislike the prayer, so whoever becomes an Imam he should shorten the prayer, as behind him are the weak, the old and the needy.”
Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah Al-Ansari:
Once a man was driving two Nadihas (camels used for agricultural purposes) and night had fallen. He found Mu’adh praying so he made his camel kneel and joined Mu’adh in the prayer. The latter recited Surat ‘AlBaqara” or Surat “An-Nisa”, (so) the man left the prayer and went away. When he came to know that Mu’adh had criticized him, he went to the Prophet, and complained against Mu’adh. The Prophet said thrice, “O Mu’adh ! Are you putting the people to trial?” It would have been better if you had recited “Sabbih Isma Rabbika-l-a-la (87)”, Wash-Shamsi wadu-haha (91)”, or “Wal-laili Idhaa yaghsha (92)”, for the old, the weak and the needy pray behind you.” Jabir said that Mu’adh recited Sura Al-Baqara in the ‘Isha’ prayer.
Alright. So, one MAY complain about his Imaam. That he lengthens the prayer too much. Or he does such and such the wrong way. But to whom? Whom does he complain to? Not the people around, please. That’s just useless.
Companions had a leader, a Head of State whom they could turn to for any problems they had. It was Prophet (SAW) himself. But in present-day hierarchy, who comes above the Imaam of masjid? The minister for religious affairs? How to reach him? (LOL)
Anyway, either I lack knowledge or truly our system is faulty. Whichever it is, one thing is clear: we do NOT go on complaining about a certain masjid’s Imaam to general public. We discuss such problems with the right person, a person who can SOLVE those problems.
Here’s another solution: if you have good communication skills, and enough knowledge and wisdom, you go to the Imaam yourself and request him to shorten the prayer (or correct whatever else he’s doing wrong). Make sure to do it in a very non-offensive way (and good luck with that!). He just might listen to you and correct himself. And as a result, everyone who comes to that masjid and gets irritated by the long qiyaams (or whatever else) will pray for you. And you get so much reward. Wow. (Y)