Q.The person is saying that if they enter the salaah and the imam is in the rukhoo position and he joins the salaah in the rukhoo position but he is not sure if he recited ‘sub’hana-rabee-al-adheem’ once before the imam rose from the rukhoo position, what should he do in this situation?
A.The shaykh (hafidhahullaah) said that if a person enters into the masjid when the imam has already begun the prayer and the imam is already in the rukhoo position, the person should not run in order to join the salaah, he should walk slowly and gently and if he reaches the imam whilst he is still in rukhoo then he has made that rak’aah and he should not make up the ra’kaah afterwards. The proof for this; the Prophet (sallaahu alayhi wa sallam) when this happened to a sahaabi named aboo Baqraa. This sahaabi aboo Baqaraa performed the rukhoo even before entering the row of the prayer and he joined the salaah whilst the imam was in rukhoo. The Prophet (sallaahu alayhi wa salam) did not tell him to repeat this ra’kah, rather he (alayhi salaatu wassalaam) told him, may Allaah (azza wa jall) increase you in your eagerness but do not do this again. Meaning, do not enter the rukhoo position before joining the salaah but the Prophet (sallaahu alayhi wa sallam) did not order him to repeat the rak’aah.
Shaykh Saalih Muhammad al-Luhaydaan (May Allaah preserve him) (Kitaab-ut-Tawheed Class, Q&A Session 08-08-2012, Riyadh)