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Moving whilst praying

Q. Some people fiddle with their clothes, clean their nails or look at their watches etc whilst praying, especially when the imam is reciting. This often provokes feelings of annoyance among the worshippers standing next to them. What is the ruling on that?.

A. Praise be to Allaah.

Shaykh Ibn …Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) stated that the basic ruling on moving whilst praying is that it is makrooh unless it is done for a reason. However it may be divided into five categories:

1- Obligatory movements
2- Forbidden movements
3- Makrooh movements
4- Mustahabb movements
5- Permissible movements

1- The obligatory movements are those on which the validity of the prayer depends.
For example if a person notices something impure on his ghutrah (head gear), he has to move to remove it and take off his ghutrah. That is because Jibreel came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he was leading the people in prayer and told him that there was something dirty on his shoe. So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) took it off whilst he was praying and carried on praying. (Narrated by Abu Dawood, 650; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Irwa‘, 284)

Or, if someone tells him that he is not facing the qiblah, he should move to face the qiblah.

2- The forbidden movements are continuous movements done for no reason, because this kind of movement invalidates the prayer, and whatever invalidates the prayer is not permissible, because it is like mocking the signs of Allaah.

3- The mustahabb movements are those done in order to do things that are mustahabb in prayer, such as if a person moves to make the row straight, or if he sees a gap in the row in front, so he moves forward whilst praying, or if there is a gap in his row and he moves to fill the gap and other such movements which allow one to do a deed that is mustahabb in prayer, because that makes the prayer more perfect and complete.
Hence when Ibn …Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) prayed with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and stood to his left, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) took hold of his head from behind and made him stand on his right. (Agreed upon).

4- The permissible movements are small movements done when there is a reason, or large movements done in cases of necessity.
Small movements done for a reason are like what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did when he was praying and he carried Umaamah, the daughter of Zaynab the daughter of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), whose maternal grandfather he was. When he stood up he picked her up, and when he prostrated he put her down. (Al-Bukhaari, 5996; Muslim, 543)

Large movements in cases of necessity include praying whilst fighting. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

’Guard strictly (five obligatory) As‑Salawaat (the prayers) especially the middle Salaah (i.e. the best prayer ‑ …Asr). And stand before Allaah with obedience [and do not speak to others during the Salaah (prayers)].
239. And if you fear (an enemy), perform Salaah (pray) on foot or riding. And when you are in safety, offer the Salaah (prayer) in the manner He has taught you, which you knew not (before)“
[al-Baqarah 2:238-239]

If a person prays whilst walking he is undoubtedly moving a great deal, but in cases of necessity that is permitted and does not invalidate the prayer.

5- The makrooh movements are all movements other than those mentioned above. This is the basic principle concerning movements whilst praying. Based on this, we say to those who move whilst praying that their action is makrooh and detracts from their prayer. This is something that is seen in many cases, so you may see a person fiddling with his watch or pen or ghutrah or nose or beard and so on. All of that comes under the heading of makrooh, unless it is done a great deal and is continuous, in which case it is haraam and invalidates the prayer.

He also stated that there is no specific number of movements that invalidates the prayer, rather it is any movement that contradicts the idea of prayer in the sense that if anyone saw this man doing that it would look as if he were not praying. This is the kind of movement that invalidates the prayer. Hence the scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) defined it as something based on custom (al-…urf) and said: If movements are many and are continuous then they invalidate the prayer, without mentioning a specific number. Some scholars defined three such movements but that requires evidence because everyone who sets a certain limit or number or manner should produce evidence, otherwise he is introducing new ideas.

(Majmoo‘ Fataawa al-Shaykh, 13/309-311)

Shaykh …Abd al-…Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about a man who moved a great deal whilst praying: did that invalidate his prayer and how could he rid himself of this habit?

He (may Allaah have mercy on him) replied:

The Sunnah is to focus on one‘s prayer with proper humility, body and soul, whether it is an obligatory prayer or a naafil prayer, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

’Successful indeed are the believers.
2. Those who offer their Salaah (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness“
[al-Mu‘minoon 23:1-2]

He must pray in a tranquil and dignified manner. This is one of the most important pillars and obligations of prayer, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to one who prayed badly and was not tranquil and dignified in his prayer: ’Go back and pray for you have not prayed.“ And he did that three times. Then the man said: ’O Messenger of Allaah, by the One Who sent you with the truth, I cannot do any better than this, teach me.“ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ’When you stand up to pray, do wudoo‘ well, then turn to face the qiblah and say takbeer, and recite whatever you can of Qur‘aan. Then bow until you are at ease in bowing, then raise your head until you are standing up straight. Then prostrate until you are at ease in prostration, then sit up until you are sitting up straight and are at ease in sitting. Then prostrate until you are at ease in prostration, then get up until you are standing up straight. Then do that throughout your prayer.“ (Agreed upon)

According to a version narrated by Abu Dawood, he said: ’Then recite the Essence of the Qur‘aan (al-Faatihah) and whatever Allaah wills.“

This saheeh hadeeth indicates that being at ease in the postures is a pillar or essential part of the prayer, and an important obligation, without which prayer is not valid. Whoever pecks out his prayer (by moving too rapidly), there is no prayer for him. Khushoo‘ (proper focus and humility) is the essence of prayer. It is prescribed for the believer to pay attention to that and strive to achieve it.

With regard to defining the movements that contradict this ease and focus in prayer and limiting them to three movements, there is no hadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to support this idea. Rather that is the suggestion of some scholars for which there is no reliable evidence.

But it is makrooh to fidget during the prayer, such as touching one’s nose, beard or clothes and being distracted by that. Fidgeting a great deal invalidates the prayer. But if it is done a little, according to what is customary, or is done a great deal but is not continuous, then the prayer is not invalidated thereby. But it is prescribed for the believer to maintain proper focus and humility, and to avoid fidgeting a little or a lot, and to strive to make his prayer perfect.

The evidence that small movements, or repeated movements that are not continuous, do not invalidate the prayer is the report which says that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) opened the door for …Aa‘ishah one day whilst he was praying. (Narrated by Abu Dawood, 922; al-Nasaa‘i, 601; classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 601)

And it was proven in the hadeeth of Abu Qataadah (may Allaah have mercy on him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) led the people in prayer one day when he was carrying Umaamah the daughter of Zaynab. When he prostrated he put her down and when he stood up he picked her up.

Fataawa …Ulama‘ al-Balad al-Haraam, 162-164.

Islam Q&A

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Praying in half-sleeves and bare-headed

Allah has commanded the worshipper to beautify and adorn himself for prayer, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
 
’O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes) while praying“ [al-A‘raaf 7:31]
 
Adorning oneself for prayer is something that is additional to covering the …awrah. Hence women are commanded to cover their heads when praying, although they are allowed to uncover their heads in front of their mahrams.
 
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:
 
With regard to adorning oneself for prayer, it is something that is additional to covering the …awrah, and it is based on the Qur‘aan, the Sunnah and scholarly consensus. In the Qur‘aan, there is the verse (interpretation of the meaning): ’O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes) while praying“ [al-A‘raaf 7:31], which Allaah revealed because the mushrikeen used to circumambulate the Ka‘bah naked. Every place of prostration is a mosque (masjid), and this indicates that covering oneself for prayer and tawaaf is what is meant by adorning oneself to worship Allaah. Hence the word adornment is used rather than the word covering, to demonstrate that what is meant is that a person should adorn himself and not limit it to simply covering.
 
In the Sunnah, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ’Allaah does not accept the prayer of any woman who menstruates except with a head covering.“
 
With regard to scholarly consensus, Abu Bakr ibn al-Mundhir said: The scholars are unanimously agreed that a free, adult woman must cover her head when she prays, and that if she prays with her entire head uncovered, then she must repeat the prayer. Others also narrated that there was consensus that covering is an essential condition. End quote. [Sharh al-…Umdah, 4/258, 259]
 
 
 
Once this is understood, although the worshipper must adorn himself for prayer, this adornment may vary from one country to another, according to their customs, including what is mentioned in the question, which is praying in a garment with half-sleeves or praying bare-headed. If the custom of that land is that the best adornment is to cover the head or to pray in a garment with full sleeves, then praying when one is dressed as mentioned in the question is contrary to what Allaah has enjoined, even if the prayer itself is valid. But if the custom of the people in that country is to dress as described in the question, then there is nothing wrong with praying dressed in this manner.
 
It should be noted that the ruling also varies according to variations in the dress itself. The garment may have short sleeves and that may be customarily worn in some countries where it may be worn as an adornment, or a man may go to work in it and so on. In that case there is nothing wrong with praying in it. Or it may be the custom that this is not a kind of adornment, and it is something that a man wears at home only, or when sleeping only, in which case it is not appropriate to pray in it.
 
There follow the fatwas of the scholars, which include the principle mentioned above, which is that this ruling depends on the customs in each country.
 
1 – Shaykh …Abd al-…Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: an imam leads the people in prayer and he is not wearing anything on his head. What is the ruling on that?
 
He replied: “There is nothing wrong with that, because the head is not part of the …awrah, rather what is required is to pray in a lower and upper garment, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ’No one of you should pray in a single garment with no part of it over his shoulders.“ But if he wears his adornment and dresses fully, that is preferable, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
 
’O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes) while praying“ [al-A‘raaf 7:31]
 
But if he is in a country where it is not customary to cover the head, then there is nothing wrong with leaving it bare. End quote.
 
Majmoo‘ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 10/405, 406
 
2 – He was also asked: Is it permissible to pray without a turban? Is it permissible for the imam who is leading the people in prayer to pray without a head cover? Is the taaqiyah (kufi, skull-cap) sufficient?
 
He replied: “There is nothing wrong with praying without a turban because the head is not …awrah, and it is not obligatory to cover it whilst praying, whether one is praying as an imam, praying alone or following an imam. But if wearing a turban is customary then it is better to do it, especially when praying with other people, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
 
’O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes) while praying“ [al-A‘raaf 7:31]
 
and this is part of adornment. It is well known that men who are in ihraam pray bareheaded, because they are not allowed to cover their heads whilst in ihraam. Hence it is known that there is nothing wrong with praying bareheaded. End quote. [Majmoo‘ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 10/406]
 
3 – Shaykh Ibn …Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
 
It was narrated that Ibn …Umar said to his freed slave Naafi‘: ’Do you go and meet people bareheaded?“ He said: ’No.“ He said: ’Allaah has more right that you should be modest before Him.“ This indicates that it is better to cover the head, but if we apply the words of Allaah – (interpretation of the meaning): ’O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes) while praying“ [al-A‘raaf 7:31] – to this issue, we will see that covering the head is better among people who regard covering the head as a kind of adornment. But if we are among people who do not regard that as a kind of adornment, we do not say that covering it is better or that leaving it bare is better. It is proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray in a turban, and the turban is a head covering. End quote. Al-Sharh al-Mumti‘, 2/166
 
And Allaah knows best.
 
Islam Q&A

Du`a after the obligatory prayers

Q: Some fellow Muslims mentioned that your Eminence issued a Fatwa (legal opinion issued by a qualified scholar) declaring the impermissibility of offering Du`a’ (supplication) after performing the Faridah (Obligatory Salah [prayer]). This may be observed only after the Nafilah (Supererogatory Salah). If this is true, please clarify this matter along with mentioning the relevant evidence, so that we may learn more about our Deen ( Islam) and the way of our Prophet (peace be upon him)?

A: We know of no authentic report that the Prophet (peace be upon him) or any of his Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with them) raised their hands while offering Du`a’ after the obligatory Salah. Thus, it is evident that this is an act of Bid`ah (innovation in Islam) for the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: Whoever performs an act that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (i.e. Islam), will have it rejected Related by Muslim in his Sahih (authentic book of Hadith).Also, Whoever innovates anything in this matter of ours (i.e. Islam) that is not part of it, will have it rejected (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)..

However, there is no harm in offering Du`a’ without raising one‘s hands or supplicating in unison.

It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) supplicated before and after offering Taslim (salutation of peace ending the Prayer). The same applies to the Du`a’ after Nafilah, since there is no evidence on its prohibition. One may also raise the hands, for raising them in Du`a is a means to having it answered. This should not be observed all the time since it has not been authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) raised his hands every time he would make Du`a’ after the Faridah and the Nafilah.

Surely, all goodness rests in patterning ourselves after him and following his path (peace be upon him). Allah (Glorified be He) states: “Indeed in the Messenger of All�h (Muhammad sallallahu alaihe wasallam) you have a good example to follow.” [Surah Al�Ahzab, 33: 21]

Ibn Baz Fatwas (Vol.11) The Book of Salah (Prayer): Section Two > Chapter: The description of Salat (Prayer) > supplication after the prescribed Salah

 

Ruling on pointing one‘s feet towards the qiblah

Q. Some people say that you are not allowed to point your feet at the qibla while sitting down in the mosque and that it is bad adaab. Does this have any basis or is it a cultural thing or is an addition?

A. Praise be to Allaah.

Shaykh …Abd-Allaah ibn Humayd (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about pointing one‘s feet in the direction of the qiblah. He replied:

There is nothing to say that this is not allowed, but some of the scholars regarded it as makrooh (disliked) to stretch the feet out towards the Ka‘bah if one is close to it; they regarded this as makrooh but not emphatically so. But if there is a mosque somewhere else and there is a Muslim there who points his feet towards the qiblah, there is no harm in that and he is not doing anything forbidden in sha Allaah, as the scholars stated. And Allaah knows best.

See Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Humayd, p. 144

Shaykh Ibn …Uthaymeen was asked about pointing the feet towards the qiblah whilst sleeping. He said:

There is no blame on a person if he sleeps and his feet are pointing towards the qiblah.

Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn …Uthaymeen, 2/976.

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

whoever catches up with the imaam in rukoo‘ has caught up with the rak‘ah

Q: How does one catch up with a rak‘ah? If a man comes and joins the prayer when the imam is standing up from rukoo‘ (bowing), but he has not yet said ’Allaahu akbar“, does this count as a rak‘ah for him or not? And why?

Praise be to Allaah.

If a person joins the congregation when the imaam is bowing, one of the following three scenarios applies:

1- He says takbeerat al-ihraam (saying ’Allaahu akbar“ to start the prayer) whilst standing, then he bows whilst the imaam is bowing. In this case he has caught up with the rak‘ah with the imaam.

2- He says takbeerat al-ihraam whilst the imaam is bowing, but he bows after the imaam has stood up from rukoo‘. In this case he is not counted as having caught up with the rak‘ah with the imaam, and he has to make it up.

3- He bows straightaway without saying takbeerat al-ihraam. In this case his prayer is invalid, because he has omitted one of the pillars or essential parts of the prayer, which is takbeerat al-ihraam.

’The fuqaha‘ are agreed that whoever catches up with the imaam in rukoo‘ has caught up with the rak‘ah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: …Whoever catches up with rukoo‘ has caught up with the rak‘ah.‘“ This was narrated by Abu Dawood, and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa‘ al-Ghaleel, 496; on p. 262 he said: one of the things that strengthens the hadeeth is the fact that the Sahaabah acted in accordance with this:


1 – Ibn Mas‘ood, who said: ’Whoever does not catch up with the imaam when he is bowing has not caught up with that rak‘ah.“ Its isnaad is saheeh.

2 – …Abd-Allaah ibn …Umar, who said: ’If you come when the imaam is bowing, and you put your hands on you knees before the imaam stands up, then you have caught up (with that rak‘ah).“ Its isnaad is saheeh.

3 – Zayd ibn Thaabit, who used to say: ’Whoever catches up with the rak‘ah before the imaam raises his head has indeed caught up with the rak‘ah.“ Its isnaad is jayyid.

See al-Mawsoo‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, 23/133; al-Mughni, 1/298.

Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Salah behind Imams of unknown creed

Q 3: What is the ruling on eating the meat of an animal slaughtered by a person whose creed is unknown and offering Salah behind such a person?

A: If the outward deeds of a Muslim that indicate belief are unknown and there is no indication of creedal deviation, it will be permissible to eat the meat of animals slaughtered by him and to offer Salah behind him.

May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions!

Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’

Member Member Deputy Chairman Chairman
`Abdullah ibn Qa`ud `Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan `Abdul-Razzaq `Afify `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz

Permanent Committee Fatwas / Group 1 > Volume 7: (Salah 2) > Imamate > Salah behind Imams of unknown creed / the third question of Fatwa no. 7503

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