Position of a Ma'mum

Q 1: Is it permissible for the Imam (the one who leads congregational Prayer) to assign the place in the row behind him to certain people, so they can remind him if he forgets something? Is this permissible or not?

A: It is lawful for Ma'mums (persons being led by an Imam in Prayer) who are knowledgeable and intelligent to be close to the Imam, as it was authentically reported on the authority of Abu Mas`ud Al-Ansary (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Let those of you (standing) near to me (in the congregational Prayer) be the mature and the intelligent, then those next to them, and then those next to them." (Related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and Al-Tirmidhy) This means (Part No. 8; Page No. 17) that those who are mature and intelligent should go early to the Salah (Prayer) so they can stand behind the Imam. It does not mean that a place should be reserved for them until they arrive.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.