Is it obligatory for an Imaam leading the prayer to wear an Imamah Shareef?
Wearing the Imamah shareef is a virtous act that has many blessings however it is not obligatory for an Imam to wear an Imamah shareef to lead the prayer (although the reward for the prayer does increase if he does).
Imam Ahmad Rida Khan (رحمة الله عليه) writes, “There will not be an issue in anyone’s Salah (if the Imam isn’t wearing an Imamah), the Imamah is from the mustahabaat (things which are liked) of Salah and leaving the mustahabbaat doesn’t even make the Salah makruh (disliked). This is because tying the Imamah is from the sunan-e-zawaid (acts which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم) did as a habit) and acting upon sunan-e-zawaid is like mustahab.”
[Fatawa Ridawiyyah vol 7, page 392]
Allah knows best.
Answered by Mawlana Mohammed Kashif