Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum
If praying the Zuhr prayer after the Shafi’i Asr has entered (but before the Hanafi Asr), would it be permissible to join a congregation praying Asr to complete my Zuhr prayer?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
No, it is not valid to pray the noon prayer (zuhr) behind somebody praying the mid-afternoon prayer (‘asr), even if you deem it to be the former time.
The basis is that the follower’s prayer must be equivalent to or lesser than the prayer of the imam, such as when the follower prays the same prayer or a voluntary prayer, respectively. When this isn’t the case, the follower’s prayer would not be valid because he is basing a different prayer of equivalent legal strength, or a legally stronger prayer, on a legally weaker prayer.
(Quduri/Maydani, al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab)
Please also see this answer.
And Allah Most High knows best.
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.