Fiqh 2.51: Praying at a larger and more distant mosque
It is preferable to pray in a mosque that is farther away and that has a larger congregation.
Muslim records from Abu Musa that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "The one who gets the greatest reward for a prayer is the one who walks the farthest distance." Muslim also records that Jabir said: "The area around the mosque became vacant and the tribe of Salamah wanted to move there. When this news reached the Messenger of Allah, he said: 'It has reached me that you want to move closer to the mosque?' They said: 'Yes, O Messenger of Allah, we desire that.' The Prophet said: 'O tribe of Salamah, your dwellings will record your steps.'" Al-Bukhari, Muslim, and others have recorded this on the authority of Abu Hurairah.
Ubayy ibn Ka'b reported that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "The salah of a man with another man is purer than the salah of a man by himself. [In the same way,] his salah with two men is purer than his salah with only one man, and what is more, it is most dear to Allah." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban. Ibn as-Sakin, al-'Uqaily and al-Hakim classify it as sahih.
It is preferred for one to walk to the mosque with calm and dignity and not in a hurry or rushing. This is because the person is considered to be in prayer when he is going to the salah (and also while he is waiting for it). Abu Qatadah says: "We were praying with the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam when we heard the clamoring of some men. When they had prayed, the Prophet inquired: 'What was the matter with you?' They answered: 'We were hurrying for the salah.' He said: 'Do not do that...when you come to the salah come in peace and calm, and pray what you can with congregation and complete what you have missed.'" This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "When you hear the iqamah, proceed to the prayer with calm and dignity and do not rush. Pray what you can (with congregation) and complete what you miss." This is related by the group except for at-Tirmizhi.
Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet said: "If one of you leads the people in prayer, he should be "easy," on them for among the people are the weak, sick, and aged. If one prays by himself, one may make it as long as one wishes." This is related by the group. It is narrated from Anas that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wassalam said: "Sometimes I enter prayer and I intend to prolong it, but then I hear a child crying, and I shorten my prayer thinking of the distress of the child's mother."
Al-Bukhari and Muslim record that Anas said: "I have not prayed behind anyone who prayed a lighter salah or a more complete prayer than that of the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam." Abu 'Umar ibn Abdul Barr said: The scholars agree that it is preferable for an imam to make the prayer light while preserving the minimum without which salah is incomplete and without leaving off any part of the salah or shortening part of it [not performing it properly]. The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam prohibited the pecking like a crow. Once he saw a man who did not complete his ruku' and he told him: 'Go back and pray for you have not prayed.' And he said: 'Allah does not look to one who does not straighten his back during ruku' and sujjud.' I do not know of any difference of opinion among the scholars concerning the fact that it is preferred for an imam to be 'easy' on his followers while making the prayer properly. It is related that 'Umar said: 'Do not make people dislike Allah, by making the salah so long that it should become hard on those praying behind you."'
Fiqh 2.52: The imam may prolong the first rak'ah to allow others to join
It is permitted for the imam to prolong the first rak'ah while waiting for others to join the congregation. In the same way, it is preferred for him to wait for people who are coming during the bowings and during the final sitting.
Abu Qatadah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam would prolong the first rak'ah and the people suspected that he did it to allow the late-comers to join the first rak'ah. Abu Sa'id says: "If the (congregational) salah was begun, one could go to al-Baqi', relieve himself, make wudu', and return and find the Prophet still in the first rak'ah for he would prolong it (first rak'ah)." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, Ibn Majah, and an-Nasa'i.
Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "The imam is selected to be followed; therefore, do not differ with him. When he makes the takbir, make the takbir, when he goes into ruku', make ruku'. When he says 'Allah hears him who praises Him,' say 'O Allah, our Lord, to You belongs the Praise.' When he goes into sajdah, make sajdah. If he prays sitting, then all should be sitting." This is related by the group. In the version by Ahmad and Abu Dawud, the wording is "the imam is to be followed. If he makes the takbir, make the takbir, and do not make the takbir until he does so. When he goes into ruku', make ruku', and do not perform ruku' until he does so. When he goes into sajdah, make sajdah, and do not make sajdah until he does so."
Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Do you not fear that if you raise your head before the imam Allah may change your head into that of a donkey!" This is related by the group.
Anas reports that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "O people, I am your imam, so do not precede me in ruku' or in sujjud or in qiyam or in sitting or in finishing." This is related by Ahmad and Muslim .
Al-Bara' ibn 'Azib says: "We prayed with the Messenger of Allah and when he said 'Allah hears him who praises Him,' none of us would bend his back until the Messenger of Allah had put his forehead upon the ground." This is related by the group.
Fiqh 2.53: Consitution of a congregation
One person with the imam would constitute a congregation even if the other person is a child or a woman.
Ibn 'Abbas says: "I stayed with my Aunt Maimunah and the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam got up to pray during the night. I got up to pray with him and stood on his left and the Prophet took me by my hand and put me on his right side."
Sa'id and Abu Hurairah both report that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Whoever gets up during the night and wakes up his spouse and they pray two rak'at together, they both will be recorded among those (men and women) who remember Allah much." This is related by Abu Dawud . Abu Sa' id narrates that a man entered the Mosque, and the Prophet and his companions had already prayed. The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Who will give charity to him by praying with him?" So, a man from the people stood and prayed with him. This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and at-Tirmizhi who calls it hasan. Ibn Abi Shaibah relates that it was Abu Bakr who stood and prayed with the man. At-Tirmizhi uses this hadith as proof that a group can pray in congregation in a mosque in which the congregational prayer had already been made. He says that this is the opinion of Ahmad and Ishaq. Other scholars say that they should each pray individually and this is the opinion of Sufyan, Malik, Ibn al-Mubarak and ash-Shaf'i.
Fiqh 2.54: An imam may change his place and become a follower
If the regular imam or appointed imam is not present, it is permissible to appoint someone else to perform the duty of imam. If the regular imam appears during the prayers, the substitute imam may move back to the rows and allow the regular imam to take over. Al-Bukhari and Muslim record that Sahl ibn Sa'd said: "The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam went off to take care of the affairs of the tribe of 'Amr ibn 'Auf. The time for salah came and the mu'azhzhin went to Abu Bakr and said: 'Will you lead the people in salah and I shall make the iqamah?' Abu Bakr agreed. [While he was] leading the prayer, the Messenger of Allah appeared and joined the rows. The people clapped [their thighs with their hands] but Abu Bakr would not turn around during the prayer. When most of the people began clapping, he turned and saw the Prophet...[who] pointed to Abu Bakr to stay in his place. Abu Bakr raised his hands and praised Allah because of what the Prophet had told him. Then, Abu Bakr moved back until he joined the rows and the Prophet stepped forward [to lead]. After he had prayed, he went to Abu Bakr and said: O Abu Bakr, what prevented you from staying there when I told you to do so?' Abu Bakr said: 'It is not fit for the son of Abu Quhafah to lead the Prophet in prayer.' Then the Messenger of Allah said: 'Why did I see most of you clapping? If you find something in the prayer you should say subhanallah, for when you say it, it will attract his (i.e. imam's) attention and clapping [thighs with hands] is for the women.'"
Whoever joins a congregation, he should perform the opening takbir while standing and then move directly to the act that the congregation may be performing, for instance, if the congregation is prostrating one should perform the opening takbir and then join it in the prostration. However, such a person is not considered as having performed the rak'ah unless he performs the ruku' (bowing), even if he just bows and puts his hands on his knees, when the imam is finishing his ruku'.
Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "If you come to the salah and we are in sajdah, then make sajdah with us but do not count it [as a rak'ah]. And whoever 'catches' the ruku', he catches the salah." This is related by Abu Dawud, Ibn Khuzaimah in his Sahih, and by al-Hakim, who considers it sahih, in his Al-Mustadrak.
Fiqh 2.55: When it is permissible to not attend Congregation
Ibn 'Umar narrated that the Prophet ordered the mu'azhzhin to say: "Pray in your places," on a cold, stormy night during a journey. This is related by alBukhari and Muslim.
Jabir said: "We went on a journey with the Prophet and it rained upon us, so he said: 'Whoever wishes may pray in his stopping place.'" This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and at-Tirmizhi.
Ibn 'Abbas said to the mu'azhzhin, on a rainy day: "When you say 'I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,' do not say 'Come to the prayer,' but instead say 'Pray in your houses."' The people didn't seem to like it, so he asked: "Are you surprised by that? One better than me did it [the Prophet]. The congregational prayer is a strict order but I hated that you should go out and walk in the mud and on slippery ground." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim. According to Muslim's version, this occurred on a Friday.
What applies in case of cold would also apply in cases of extreme heat, darkness, and fear of an oppressor. Ibn Batal writes: "The scholars are agreed on the permissibility of not attending the congregation due to heavy rain, darkness, wind, and so on."
Ibn 'Umar reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "If the food is presented to one of you, do not rush but fulfill your need of it even if the salah has begun." This is related by al-Bukhari.
'Aishah narrates that she heard the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam say: "There is no prayer when the meal is presented nor when one needs to answer the call of nature." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and Abu Dawud.
Abu ad-Darda' says: "It is a sign of the understanding of a person that he fulfills his needs first in order to make his prayer with a clear mind." This is related by al-Bukhari.
Fiqh 2.56: The one who should be imam is the one who is the most versed in the Qur'an
If two or more are equal in this, then it is the one who has the most knowledge of the sunnah. If they are equal in that, then it is the one who performed the migration first. If they are equal in that, then it should be the eldest.
Abu Sa'id narrates that the Prophet said: "If you are three in number, then one of you should be the imam. And the one who has the most right to it is the one who is the most versed in the Qur'an." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and an-Nasa'i. The meaning of "most versed in the Qur'an" is the one who has more of the Qur'an memorized. This interpretation is based on the hadith from Amr ibn Salamah which says: "Your imam should be the one who is most versed in the Qur'an."
Ibn Mas'ud reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "The imam of a people should be the one who is the most versed in the Book of Allah. If they are equal in their recital, then the one who is most knowledgeable of the sunnah. If they are equal in the sunnah, then [it is] the one who migrated first. If they are equal in that, then [it is] the eldest. And no man should be an imam for another man if the other holds authority [i.e., a leader in any capacity or ruler of the Muslim people]. And one should not occupy his place of honor in his house without his permission." In another narration it is stated: "No man should be the imam for another while with the other's family or where the other is in authority." This is related by Ahmad and Muslim.
As stated earlier, it is better for women to pray in their houses. Ahmad and at-Tabarani record that Umm Humaid as-Sa'diyah came to the Messenger of Allah and said: "O Messenger of Allah, I love to pray with you." The Prophet said: "I am aware of that, but your salah in your residence is better for you than your salah in your people's mosque. And your salah in your people's mosque is better than your salah in the [larger] congregational Mosque."
Sa'id ibn Mansur says: "A person should not be an imam for another where the other is in authority except with his permission." The meaning of this is that the one in authority, owner of a house, leader of a meeting, and so on, has more right than others to be the imam if he has not granted the permission to any of the others. Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "It is not allowed for a man who believes in Allah and the last day to be an imam for a people, except with their permission, nor may he specifically make supplications for himself without including them. If he does so, he is disloyal to them." This is related by Abu Dawud.
The imamate of all the following is acceptable: a discerning boy, a blind person, a standing person for those who are sitting, a sitting person for those who are standing, a person praying fard for people who are praying nafl, a person praying nafl for people who are praying fard. Likewise, a person who has performed ablution can be imam for people who have performed tayammum, as can be a person who has performed tayammum for people who have performed ablution, a traveler for the resident, a resident for the travelers, and a less qualified person for people who are more qualified.
'Amr ibn Salamah led his people in salah while he was six or seven years old. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam twice appointed Ibn Umm Maktum, a blind man, to lead the people of Medinah in prayer. The Messenger of Allah, during his last illness, prayed behind Abu Bakr in a sitting position. And he prayed in his house in a sitting position while those behind him were standing. He pointed to them to sit and when he had finished the prayer he said: "The imam has been appointed to be followed. If he goes into ruku', then make ruku'. When he raises his head, raise your head. If he prays sitting, then pray sitting behind him."
Mu'azh would pray 'isha with the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam and then return to his people and lead them in the same prayer, it being nafl for him and fard for the others.
Muhjan ibn al-Adra' reports: "I came to the Messenger of Allah in the mosque and they prayed and I did not. He said to me: 'Why didn't you pray?' I said: 'O Messenger of Allah, I prayed in my place and then came here.' He then said: 'When you come [to the mosque], pray with them and make it supererogatory."'
The Messenger of Allah saw a man praying by himself and said: "Who will give charity to this person by praying with him?" 'Amr ibn al-'Aas led others in prayer when he had made tayammum only and the Prophet approved of it.
The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam, after the conquest of Makkah, led the people in prayer by praying two rak'at (except for maghrib) and said: "O people of Makkah, stand and pray the last two rak'at as we are travelers."
If a traveler prays behind a resident, he must complete the whole four rak'at even if he only prayed part of a rak'ah behind the resident imam. Ibn 'Abbas was asked: "Why is the traveler to pray two rak'at if he prays by himself and four rak'at if he prays behind a resident?" He answered: "That is the sunnah." In another version, Musa ibn Salamah said to him: "If we pray with you, we pray four rak'at otherwise we pray two?" He told him: "That is the sunnah of Abu al-Qasim [the Prophet]." This is related by Ahmad.
Fiqh 2.57: Whose imamate is not acceptable
It is not allowed for one who has a health problem which does not allow him to remain in a state of purity to be an imam for others who do not have such a problem. This is the opinion of the majority of the scholars. According to the Maliki school, such a person's imamate will be valid, but it is disliked to make such a person the imam.
Fiqh 2.58: It is preferred to have a woman imam for women
'Aishah used to lead the women in salah and stand with the women in the middle of the first row. Umm Salamah would also do so. The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam appointed Waraqah to go and make the azhan for her while he instructed her to lead the women of her household in the obligatory prayers.
Abu Ya' la and at-Tabarani, in al-Ausat, record, with a hasan chain, that Ubayy ibn Ka'b came to the Messenger of Allah and said: "O Messenger of Allah, I did something last night." The Prophet asked: "What was that?" He said: "The women in my house said, 'You recite and we do not recite so lead us in salah. ' So I prayed eight rak'atand witr (with them)." The Prophet remained silent, and Ka'b said: "We took his silence as a sign of his approval."
Al-Bukhari records that Ibn 'Umar prayed behind al-Hajjaj. Muslim records that Abu Sa'id al-Khudri prayed salatul 'id behind Marwan.
Ibn Mas'ud once prayed four rak'at of fajr, behind al-Walid ibn 'Uqbah ibn Abu Ma'it who used to drink wine, and 'Uthman ibn 'Affan had him flogged. The companions and their successors prayed behind Ibn 'Ubaid who was accused of propagating heresies. According to the scholars, anyone whose prayer is valid on an individual basis, his imamate is also valid for others. However, they dislike to pray behind an evildoer or innovator.
As-Sa'ib ibn Khilad relates that a man was leading the people in salah and he spat in the direction of the qiblah. The Messenger of Allah saw this and said: "Do not let him lead you in salah." After this, the man wanted to lead the people in salah but they prevented him and told him what the Prophet had said. The man went to the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam, to ask him about that, and the Prophet said: "Yes, [it is true] for you have offended Allah and His Messenger." This is related by Abu Dawud and Ibn Hibban. Abu Dawud and al-Munzhiri are silent about it.
If the imam makes the salah too long, it is permissible, under certain circumstances, to leave the salah with the intention of performing it individually. The following are examples of when this may be done: becoming ill, fearing that one's wealth may be lost or destroyed, missing one's companions or traveling group, being overcome by sleep, and so on. This is based on the following hadith related by Jabir: "Mu'azh would pray 'isha with the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam, and then go and lead his people in salah. One night, the Prophet delayed salatul 'isha and Mu'azh prayed with him and then went to his people and led them in the night prayer by reciting alBaqarah. One man left the salah and prayed by himself. The people said to him: 'O so and so, you have become a hypocrite.' He said: 'I have not become a hypocrite but I shall surely go to the Prophet and inform him of what has happened.' He told the Prophet what had happened and the Prophet said to Mu'azh: 'You put people to trials, Mu'azh! You put people to trials, Mu'azh. Recite such and such surah.'" This is related by the group.
Fiqh 2.59: Repeating a salah with a congregation
Yazid al-Aswad says: "We prayed dawn prayer (fajr) with the Messenger of Allah at Mina and two men came and stopped at their resting places. The prophet ordered for them to be brought and they came shaking with fear. The Prophet said to them: 'What prevented you from praying with the people? ...Are you two not Muslims?' They answered: 'Certainly we are, O Messenger of Allah, but we had prayed in our resting place.' The Prophet told them: 'If you pray in your resting places and then come upon an imam, pray with him, and it will be nafl for you.'" This is related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud. An-Nasa'i and at-Tirmizhi record it in these words: "lf you pray in your resting places and then you come to a mosque with a congregation, pray with them, and it will be nafl for you." At-Tirmizhi calls it hasan sahih and Ibn as-Sakin says it is sahih.
This hadith shows that it is correct for one to repeat a salah as a nafl with a congregation even if he has already performed it, individually or with a congregation.
It is related that Huzhaifah repeated the zuhr, 'asr, and maghrih prayers although he had prayed them in congregation. It is also related that Anas prayed fajr behind Abu Musa at the place where fruits are dried and then he went to the congregational mosque and repeated the salah behind alMughirah ibn Shu'bah. Nevertheless, this action contradicts authentic hadith of the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam in which he reportedly said: "Do not pray the same salah twice in one day." The apparent conflict has been resolved by Ibn 'Abdul-Barr who writes, "Ahmad and Ishaq agree that this refers to praying an obligatory salah and then, after a while, repeating it as the obligatory prayer. Now, as for the one who repeats the salah with a congregation with the intention that the second prayer is not a repeat of the obligatory salah but that it is simply a voluntary prayer, he obeys the Prophet's order of not making the same salah twice, as the first salah was obligatory and the second was nafl; hence, there is no repetition."
Fiqh 2.60: Imam's leaving the place after the salah
It is preferred for the imam to tum to the right or to the left after the salah and then to leave the place of prayer.
Qabaidah ibn Halb relates that his father said: "The Prophet would lead us in salah and then tum to both of his sides, to his right and to his left." This is related by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmizhi. The latter calls it hasan. People who are infommed on this subject act accordingly by turning to any side they wish. Both acts have been authenticated from the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam. 'Aishah says: "After the Prophet made the taslim, he would not sit except for the amount of time it takes to say: 'O Allah, You are the Peace, and from You comes the Peace. Blessed are You, Possessor of Majesty and Honor."' This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, at-Tirmizhi, and Ibn Majah.
Ahmad and al-Bukhari record that Umm Salamah said: "Whenever the Messenger of Allah finished his prayers with the taslim, the women would get up and he would stay in his place for a while before getting up." She said: "I think, and Allah knows best, that he did that to allow the women to leave before the men [would stand to leave].
It is disliked for the imam to be at a higher place than the followers.
Abu Mas'ud al-Ansari says: "The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam prohibited that the imam should stand on something higher than the people behind him." This is related by ad-Daraqutni, while al-Hafez is silent about it in al-Talkhis.
Hamam ibn al-Harith relates that Huzhaifah led the people in prayer in Mada'in (Iraq) and he stood on a bench. Abu Mas'ud pulled his shirt with a strong grip. When he finished his prayer Abu Mas'ud said: "Do you not know that this has been prohibited?" Huzhaifah said: "Certainly, I know it. I remembered it when you pulled me." This is related by Abu Dawud, ash-Shaf'i, and al-Baihaqi. Al-Hakim, Ibn Khuzaimah, and Ibn Hibban grade it sahih.
On the other hand, if the imam has some reason for being higher than the followers, the act is not disliked. Sahl ibn Sa'd as-Sa'ady says: "I saw the Prophet sitting upon the pulpit on the first day that it was set up. He made the opening takbir while he was upon it and then he performed ruku'. Afterward, he moved behind the pulpit and made sajdah at the foot of the pulpit. Then, he repeated the same. When he had finished, he tumed to the people and said: "O people, I did that for you to follow me and to teach you my salah."' This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and Muslim.: It is permissible for the followers to be at a higher place than the imam
Sa id ibn Mansur, ash-Shaf'i, al-Baihaqi, and al-Bukhari, in his comments, relate from Abu Hurairah that he prayed at the top of the mosque while following the imam. Anas used to pray in the room of Abu Naf'i to the right of the mosque and the room was his height's high and its door faced the mosque of Basrah and Anas would pray in it, following the imam. The companions did not say anything about it. This is related by Sa'id ibn Mansur in his Sunan.
Ash-Shaukani observes: "If the follower is extremely high above the imam, for example, three hundred lengths, and he could not know what action the imam is doing then it is prohibited by consensus whether he is in a mosque or somewhere else. If it is less than that, it is permitted on the principle that unless proved otherwise a thing is permissible. This basis is supported by the above mentioned act of Abu Hurairah to which no one objected."
Fiqh 2.61: Following the imam with a barrier in between
It is allowed for a follower to follow the imam, even if there is a barrier between them, as long as he or she can tell the imam's movements either by his sight or hearing.
Al-Bukhari records: "Al-Hassan said: 'There is no problem if you pray and between you and him [the imam] there is a river.' Abu Majliz said: 'Follow the imam, even if between you and him there is a road or a wall, as long as you can hear the opening takbir.'" We have already mentioned the hadith in which the people prayed behind the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam while they were behind the room.
A person's imamate is valid even if he leaves out one of the obligatory acts or prerequisites provided the followers complete them and the imam is not aware of the fact that he had left out an obligatory act or prerequisite.
Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet said: "If the imam leads the prayer correctly, then both you and he will get the reward. If he is mistaken, you will get the reward and he the blame." This is related by Ahmad and al-Bukhari.
Sahl reports that he heard the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam say: "The imam is a warrantor. If he has done well, it is for him and them. If he has done wrong, it is upon him." This is related by Ibn Majah.
It has been authentically reported from 'Umar that he led the people in salah while he was sexually defiled and had forgotten that fact. He repeated his salah but those who had prayed behind him did not.
Fiqh 2.62: Appointing another to lead the rest of the salah
If the imam must leave during the salah due to some reason, for instance, he remembers that he is in need of making ablution or he loses his ablution during the salah, then he should appoint another to lead the remainder of the prayer.
'Amr ibn Maimun says: "I was standing and there was no one between me and 'Umar, the morning he was killed, except 'Abullah ibn 'Abbas. He had barely pronounced the takbir when he was stabbed and he said: 'The dog has bitten or killed me.' 'Umar bade 'Abdur Rahman ibn 'Auf to lead the salah and he led them in a short prayer." This is related by al-Bukhari.
Abu Razin reports: "'Ali was praying one day when his nose began to bleed. He took a man by the hand and put him in front of the congregation, and he left." This is related by Sa'id ibn Mansur.
Ahmad observes: "If the imam appoints another [it is acceptable] as 'Umar and 'Ali appointed another. If the people pray individually, [it is acceptable] as in the case of Mu'awiyyah when he was stabbed and the people prayed individually and completed their prayers."
Many hadith have been related which warn against leading a congregation while one is disliked by them. Dislike here relates to one's religious conduct and is based on a valid reason.
Ibn 'Abbas relates that the Prophet said: "Three people's prayers will not rise above their head the length of a hand's span. [They are:] a man who leads a people in salah and they do not like him, a woman who has disobeyed her husband and he is dipleased with her, and two brothers who are estranged." This is related by Ibn Majah. Al-'lraqi says its chain is hasan.
'Abdullah ibn 'Amr relates that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Allah does not accept prayers from three [types of] people: a man who leads a people and they dislike him, a man who attends the prayers after their time is finished, and a man who re-enslaves his freed slave." This is related by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah.
Elaborating upon it, at-Tirmizhi says: "It is disliked that a man should lead a people in salah while they dislike him. If the imam is not a wrongdoer, then the sin is upon those who don't like him."
It is preferred for one person to stand to the right of the imam and for a "group of two (or more)" to stand behind the imam.
Jabir reports: "The Prophet stood to pray and I came and stood on his left. He took me by my hand [and led me] around him until I stood on his right. Then, Jabir ibn Sakhr came and stood on the left of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam. He took both of us by our hands and pushed us back until we stood behind him." This is related by Muslim and Abu Dawud.
If a woman is present with the group, then she is to stand in a row by herself behind the men and she is not to join them in their rows. If she did not stand in a separate row, her salah will still be valid according to the opinion of majority. Anas said: "An orphan and I prayed behind the Messenger of Allah in our house and my mother prayed behind us." In another version it is stated: "He put me and the orphan in a row behind him and the woman behind us." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Fiqh 2.63: The position of the imam while leading the prayer
It is preferred for the imam to stand in the center of the rows and the people closest to him should be the people of intellect and understanding.
Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Let the imam stand in the center, and close the gaps in the rows." This is related by Abu Dawud and both he and al-Munzhiri make no further comment on its authenticity.
Ibn Mas'ud reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Let those who are prudent and sedate be near me, then those who are next to them, then those who are next to them, and beware of the tumult of the market place." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and at-Tirmizhi.
Anas said: "The Prophet loved that the emigrants (muhajarin) and helpers (ansar) stand next to him so that they would learn from him." This is related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud. The wisdom behind having such people close to the imam is that they can correct him if he makes a mistake and it is easy for the imam to appoint one of them in his place if he needs to leave.
The Messenger of Allah placed the men in front of the young boys and the women behind the young boys. This is related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud.
Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "The best rows for the men are the first rows and the worst rows for them are the last rows. The best rows for the women are the last rows and the worst for them are the front rows." The last rows are the best for the women because they are farther away from the men as against the first rows that are nearest to men's rows. This is related by the group except al-Bukhari.
Fiqh 2.64: The prayer of an individual behind a row
If a person makes his opening takbir behind a row and then he enters the row and performs the ruku' with the imam, his salah will be valid.
Abu Bakra reports that he came to the salah while the Prophet was performing ruku' and Abu Bakra performed the ruku before he entered the row. He mentioned this to the Prophet and he said: "May Allah increase your love for goodness, but do not repeat that act." This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud, and anNasa'i.
According to the majority, If a person prays behind the rows by himself, his salah will be valid but diliked. Ahmad, Ishaq, Ahmad, ibn Abu Laila, Waki', al-Hassan ibn Saleh, an-Nakha'i and Ibn al-Munzhir hold that if a person prays one complete rak'ah behind the rows, his salah will be invalid.
Wabsah relates that the Messenger of Allah saw a man praying behind the rows by himself and the Propeht ordered him to repeat his salah. This is related by the five save an-Nasa'i. In Ahmad's version, the Messenger of Allah was asked about a man who prays by himself behind the rows and he said: "He is to repeat his salah." At-Tirmizhi called this hadith hasan and Ahmad's chain is good.
'Ali ibn Shaiban relates that the Messenger of Allah saw a man praying behind the row and he waited for him and (when he finished) told him: "Go forward (and join the row) for the salah of a person standing alone behind the rows is not valid." This is related by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and al-Baihaqi. Ahmad says it is hasan. Ibn Sayyid an-Nass said its narrators are well-known, trustworthy people.
The majority stick to the hadith of Abu Bakra who said that he preformed part of the prayer, behind the row, and the Prophet did not order him to repeat his salah. Repeating the salah signifies overzeal in practicing what is recommended and better.
Al-Kaman ibn al-Hamam said: "Our scholars are of the opinion that the hadith of Wabsah refers to what is preferred while the hadith of 'Ali ibn ash-Shaiban underlines failure to practice what is the best and, as such, they are in harmony with the hadith of Abu Bakra. It is clear, then, that it is not necessary to repeat the salah because such an act was not always ordered.
If someone comes to the row and does not find sufficient space or a gap to stand in the row, then, according to some, he should stand by himself and it is disliked that he should pull anyone back from the row. Others say that he should pull one, who is aware of the ruling, back from the row after they have performed the opening takbir, and it is preferred for the one who is pulled to join him."
It is preferred for the imam to order the followers to straighten the rows and fill in any gaps before he starts the salah.
Anas relates: "The Prophet would turn his face to us before he began the salah and he would say: 'Be close together and straighten your rows.'" This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim. He also reported that the Prophet would say: "Make your rows straight for the straightening of the rows is part of the completion of the salah."
An-Nu'man ibn Bashir says: "The Prophet would straighten us in our rows as one straightens an arrow, until he saw that we had learned from him. One day, he saw a person with his chest sticking out and he said: 'You had better straighten your rows or Allah will cause differences among you."' This is related by the five. At-Tirmizhi says it is sahih.
Abu Umamah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Straighten your rows and put your shoulders close to each other and be gentle with each other and fill in the gaps for the Satan passes through what is between you like small sheep [are able to pass through gaps]." This is related by Ahmad and at-Tabarani with a chain that has no fault in it.
Anas reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "Complete the front row, then the ones after it, and if there is any incompletion, it should be in the last row." This is related by Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and al-Baihaqi.
Ibn 'Umar says: "There is no step that carries a greater reward than the step a man takes to an empty gap in a row in order to fill it." This is related by al-Bazar with a hasan chain.
Ibn 'Umar also related that the Messenger of Allah said: "Whoever connects a row, Allah will join him. Whoever cuts off a row, Allah will cut him off." This is related by An-Nasa'i, al-Hakim, and Ibn Khuzaimah.
Jabir ibn Samrah says: "The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam came to us and said: 'Why don't you make the rows like the angels make their rows in the presence of their Lord?' We asked: 'O Messenger of Allah, how do the angels make their rows in the presence of their Lord?' He replied: 'They complete the first row and stand closely together, side by side, in the row.'" This is related by the group, save al-Bukhari and at-Tirmizhi.
Fiqh 2.65: Encouragement concerning being in the first row and on the right side
We have already mentioned the Prophet's words "If the people knew what [great blessings were] in the call to salah and in the first row the people would vie with one another to call the azhan and to be in the first row, and if they found no way to decide [who would be allowed to make the call to salah or to be in the first row] except by drawing lots, then they would draw lots."
Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reports that the Prophet noticed his companions going to the back rows, and he said: "Come close and follow me and let those behind follow you. People will continue going to the back until Allah will put them in the back." This is related by Muslim, an-Nasa'i, Abu Dawud, and Ibn Majah.
'Aishah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Allah and His angels send down blessings upon those who pray on the right side of the rows." This is related by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah.
Ahmad and at-Tabarani record, with a sahih chain, from Abu Umamah that the Prophet said: "Allah and the angels send down blessings upon the first row." The people inquired: "O Messenger of Allah, and upon the second row?" The Prophet again said: "Allah and the angels send down blessings upon the first row." The people asked again: "O Messenger of Allah, and upon the second row?" Finally he said: "And upon the second row."
Fiqh 2.66: Repeating imam's words for others in the back rows
If some people cannot hear the imam, it is preferred for one to repeat in a loud voice the imam's words for the others to hear. There is consensus among scholars that repeating aloud after the imams without there being any real need for it is an abhorent innovation.
Fiqh 2.67: The earth as a mosque
Allah the Exalted has conferred a special blessing upon this ummah - that is, the whole earth has been declared a mosque for it. Therefore, when the time for prayer comes, a Muslim may pray wherever he may be. Abu Zharr asked the Prophet, "What was the first mosque on the earth?" He said: "The Masjid al-Haram [in Makkah]." Abu Zharr asked: "which is the next oldest mosque?" The Prophet sallallahu alehi wassalam said: "The al-Aqsa Mosque." Abu Zharr asked: "How much time was there between [the building of the two]." The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam replied: "Forty years." Then, he said: "Wherever you may be, at the time of salah, you may pray for it [the earth] is all a mosque." This is related by the group.
'Uthman reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Whoever builds for Allah a mosque, seeking by it Allah's grace, Allah will build for him a house in paradise." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Ibn 'Abbas reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Whoever builds for Allah a mosque, even if it be tiny, like a bird's nest, Allah will build for him a house in paradise." This is related by Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, and al-Bazzar with a sahih chain.
It is sunnah to make supplications while going to the mosque. The following are examples of such supplications:
Umm Salamah reports: "When the Messenger of Allah left the house he would say: 'In the name of Allah, I put my trust in Allah. O Allah, I seek refuge in Thee lest I stray or be led astray or cause injustice or suffer injustice or do wrong or have wrong done to me !" This is related by Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmizhi, who calls it sahih.
Anas reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "Whoever says upon leaving from his house: 'In the name of Allah, I put my trust in Allah. There is no power or might except with Allah,' it will be said to him: 'That is sufficient for you...you are guided, defended, and protected and the devil will be driven away from you."' This is related by Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and at-Tirmizhi who calls it hasan.
Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet left for the mosque saying: "O Allah, make light in my heart, and light in my vision, and light in my hearing, and light on my right, and light behind me, and light in my nerves, and light in my flesh, and light in my blood, and light in my hair and light in my skin."
In Muslim's version, we find "O Allah, make light in my heart and light on my tongue, and make light in my hearing, and light in my sight, and make light behind me, and light in front of me, and make light above me, and light below me . O Allah, give me light."
Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reports that the Prophet said: "If a man leaves his house to go to the prayer and says, 'O Allah, I ask You by the right of the suppliant upon You and by the right of this walking - as I have not come out in an arrogant or unthankful manner or for show or for fame; I came out in fear of Your anger and desiring Your pleasure - I ask You to rescue me from the Fire and to forgive my sins as no one forgives sins, save You," Allah will assign for him seventy thousand angels to ask forgiveness for him and Allah turns His face to him until he finishes his prayer." This is related by Ahmad, Ibn Khuzaimah, and Ibn Majah. Al-Hafez said that it is hasan.
Fiqh 2.69: Supplications upon entering and leaving the mosques
It is a sunnah for one who wants to enter the mosque to enter with his right foot first and to say: "I seek refuge in Allah, the Exalted, and by His honorable face, and in His everlasting authority, [away] from the outcast Satan. In the name of Allah! O Allah, shower blessings upon Muhammad. O Allah, forgive my sins for me and open for me the doors of Your mercy."
When one wants to leave the mosque he should step with his left foot first and say: "In the name of Allah! O Allah, shower blessings upon Muhammad. O Allah, forgive my sins for me and open for me the doors of Your bounty. O Allah, protect me from the accursed Satan."
Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "If anyone goes back and forth to the mosque [to attend the prayers], Allah will prepare for him a feast in paradise as often as he goes back and forth." This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and Muslim.
Abu Sa'id reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "If you see a man frequenting the mosque, then testify that he has faith. As Allah says,'The attendants of Allah's mosque are those who believe in Allah and the last day [At-Taubah 18]."' This is related by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban, and by at-Tirmizhi, who says it is hasan, and by al-Hakim who says it is sahih.
Muslim records, on the authority of Abu Hurairah, that the Messenger of Allah said: "If anyone purifies himself in his house, and then walks to one of the houses of Allah to fulfill one of the obligations laid down by Allah, then [each one] of his steps will erase one of his sins and the next will raise his degrees."
Abu ad-Darda' reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "The mosque is a house for every pious person, and Allah provides everyone whose house is the mosque with comfort, leisure, and a path to Allah's pleasure, to paradise." This is related by at-Tabarani and al-Bazzar with a sahih chain.
We have already mentioned the hadith which begins with words "Shall I not point out to you [an act] by which Allah erases sins and raises degrees. . . ?"
Fiqh 2.70: The prayer of salutations to the mosque (tahyyatul masjid)
Abu Qatadah reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "When one of you comes to the mosque, he should pray two rak'at before he sits." This is related by the group.
Jabir reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "Prayer in the inviolable mosque [in Makkah] is like 100,000 prayers [elsewhere]. And prayers in my mosque [in Medinah] is like one thousand prayers [elsewhere]. And a prayer in Bait al-Maqdis [in Jerusalem] is like five hundred prayers [elsewhere]. This is related by alBaihaqi, and as-Sayuti says it is hasan.
Ahmad records that the Messenger of Allah said: "Offering salah in my mosque is better than one thousand prayers elsewhere, save for those offered in the inviolable mosque. And salah in the inviolable mosque is better than salah in my mosque by one hundred prayers."
The Prophet said: "One should not undertake a journey, save to three mosques: the inviolable mosque [in Makkah], my mosque here [in Medinah], and Masjid al-Aqsa [in Jerusalem]." This is related by the group.
Anas reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "The Hour will not come to pass until the people vie with each other in (building) the mosques." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, anNasa'i, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Hibban who calls it sahih. Ibn Khuzaimah's wording is: "A time will come when the people will vie with each other in (building) the mosques but very few will attend (the mosques)."
Ibn 'Abbas reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "I have not been ordered to build high and lofty mosques." Abu Dawud's version adds: "Ibn 'Abbas said: 'You will certainly embellish them as the Jews and Christians embellished [their places of worship]."' The preceding hadith was related by Abu Dawud and by Ibn Hibban who calls it sahih.
'Umar ordered mosques to be built and would say: "Protect the people from the rain. Beware of red and yellow decorations for they distract people." This is related by Ibn Khuzaimah in his sahih and by al-Bukhari in mualaq form.
Fiqh 2.71: Keeping the mosques clean and scenting them
'Aishah reports that the Prophet ordered that mosques be built in residential areas and that they be cleaned and perfumed. This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Hibban with a good chain. Abu Dawud's wording is: "He ordered us to build the mosques in the residential areas, to build them well, and to purify them. 'Abdullah would burn incense when 'Umar would sit on the pulpit."
Anas reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "The rewards of my ummah were placed before me, even for removing a speck of dust from the mosque." This is related by Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi, and Ibn Khuzaimah who calls it sahih.
The Mosques are houses of worship and it is obligatory to keep them clean and free of filth and noxious smells.
Muslim records that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "These mosques are not meant for urine or filth but they are for the remembrance of Allah and the recital of the Qur'an.
Ahmad records, with a sahih chain, that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "If one of you expectorates, he should cover it lest it should besmear a believer's body or clothing and harm him."
Ahmad and al-Bukhari record from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah said: "When one of you stands to pray, he should not spit in front of him as he is facing Allah when he is in prayer. And he should not spit to his right as there is an angel on his right. So, he should spit to his left or under his feet and he should bury it."
Jabir reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Whoever eats garlic, onion, or leek should not come close to our mosque for the angels are harmed by what harms the children of Adam." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
On Friday, 'Umar addressed the people saying: "O you people, you eat of two plants which I consider bad [onion and garlic] for I have seen the Prophet, when he perceived their smell from someone, he would order the man to go to al-Baqi'. Whoever eats them should suppress their odor by cooking them." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and an-Nasa'i.
Fiqh 2.72: Prohibition of announcing lost objects, trading or reciting poetry in the mosques
Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "If you hear a man announcing in the mosque about some object which he has lost tell him: 'May Allah not return it to you for the mosques are not built for that."' This is related by Muslim.
Abu Hurairah also relates that the Prophet said: "If you see someone buying or selling in the mosque, say to him: 'May Allah not give you any profit in your trading."' This is related by an-Nasa'i and at-Tirmizhi. The latter calls it hasan.
'Abdullah ibn 'Umar reports that the Peophet forbade buying and selling in the mosque, reciting poetry in it, or announcing lost items, and he especially prohibited making a circle [i.e., a meeting in a circle] before the Friday prayer. This is related by the five, and at-Tirmizhi calls it sahih.
The poetry which is prohibited is that which ridicules a Muslim, praises a wrongdoer or some lewdness, and so on. Concerning that which contains wisdom or praises of Islam or encouragement to piety, there is nothing wrong with it. Abu Hurairah reports that 'Umar passed by Hassan as he was reciting poetry in the mosque. 'Umar looked at him in a disapproving manner. Hassan said: "I used to recite when one better than you was present." He turned to Abu Hurairah and said: "I adjure you by Allah to state that you have heard the Messenger of Allah say: 'Respond for me [Hassan]. O Allah, support him with the Angel Gabriel.'" Abu Hurairah said: "Yes, [I heard it]." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taimiyah says: "Begging is forbidden whether it is in the mosque or outside it, unless there is a real need for it. If necessary, one may beg in the mosque as long as one does not harm anyone and does not lie in begging, or disturb the people by stepping over them or with one's loudness, for instance, when the people are listening to the Friday khutbah, and one distracts them by one's voice.
It is forbidden to raise one's voice in such a way that it disturbs others' prayers, even if it is done while reciting the Qur'an. Teaching or imparting knowledge (to others) is exempt from this prohibition.
Ibn 'Umar relates that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam entered upon some people while they were praying and they were raising their voices in the Qur'anic recital. The Prophet said: "One who is praying is in a private conversation with his Lord so he should be mindful of whom he is conversing with. And you should not raise your voices against each other in [the recital of] the Qur'an." This is related by Ahmad with a sahih chain.
Abu Sa' id al-Khurdi reports that the Prophet was making seclusion (i'tikaf) in the mosque and he heard the people reciting aloud. He removed the covering and said: "Verily, each of you is in a private conversation with his Lord so you should not disturb each other. And you are not to raise your voices against each other in the recitation." This is related by Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, al-Baihaqi, and al-Hakim who grades it sahih according to the criteria of al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Fiqh 2.73: Talking in the mosque
An-Nawawi says: "It is permissible to engage in lawful conversation in the mosque and one may discuss worldly affairs and other things and even laugh, as long as it is about something permissible. This opinion is based on the hadith of Jabir ibn Samurah who said: 'The Prophet would not rise from his place of the morning prayer until the sun had risen, and when the sun rose, he would get up. And they would talk and laugh about [pre-Islamic] days of ignorance, and he would smile.'" This is related by Muslim.
When one wants to leave the mosque he should step with his left foot first and say: "In the name of Allah! O Allah, shower blessings upon Muhammad. O Allah, forgive my sins for me and open for me the doors of Your bounty. O Allah, protect me from the accursed Satan."
Ibn 'Umar says: "During the time of the Messenger of Allah, we would sleep and take nap in the mosque, and at that time, we were young men."
An-Nawawi said: "It is confirmed that ahl as-suffah, 'Ali, Sufyan ibn Umayyah, and a number of the companions used to sleep in the mosque. Thumamah slept there before he embraced Islam. All of that was during the time of the Messenger of Allah." Ash-Shaf'i writes in al-Umm: "If a polythiest could sleep in a mosque, then definitely a Muslim can." In alMukhtasar it is said: "There is no harm in a polythiest staying in any mosque except the inviolable mosque [in Makkah]." 'Abdullah ibn al-Harith says: "During the time of the Messenger of Allah, we would eat meat and bread in the mosque." This is related by Ibn Majah with a hasan chain.
It is disliked to clasp one's hands while going to the mosque or while waiting for the salah in the mosque, although it is perfectly permissible to do so at other times, even in the mosque. Ka'b relates that the Messenger of Allah said: "When one of you makes wudu', perfects the wudu', and leaves with the intention of going to the mosque, he should not intertwine his fingers as he is [considered to be] in salah." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and atTirmizhi .
Abu Sa'id al-Khudri says: "I entered the mosque with the Messenger of Allah while a man was sitting in the middle of the mosque with his fingers intertwined. The Messenger of Allah motioned to him but the man did not notice or understand him. The Messenger of Allah turned and said: 'If one of you is in the mosque, he should not intertwine his fingers as intertwining of the fingers is from the Satan, and you are in the prayer while you are in the mosque until you leave it."' This is related by Ahmad.
Fiqh 2.74: Salah between walls and enclosures
It is allowed for the imam or one who is offering salah by himself to pray between two walls or enclosures. Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from Ibn 'Umar that when the Prophet entered the Ka'bah, he prayed between two walls.
Sa'id ibn Jubair, Ibrahim at-Taimi, and Suwaid ibn Ghuflah led the people in salah while they were between two columns. It is disliked for the followers to pray between them if they have enough room because it cuts the row, but they may do so if they are constrained to it.
Anas says: "We were prohibited to offer salah between walls and we would keep others from it." This is related by al-Hakim who says it is sahih.
Mu'awiyyah ibn Qurrah relates that his father said: "We were prohibited to make rows between walls during the time of the Prophet and we kept others from it." This is related by Ibn Majah but one of its narrator is majhul (unknown as a trustworthy person). Sa'id ibn Mansur records in his Sunan that Ibn Mas'ud, Ibn 'Abbas, and Huzhaifah prohibited it. Ibn Sayyid an-Nass said: "There is no known difference among the companions [on this point]."
'Aishah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Allah cursed the Jews and Christians [because] they took the graves of their prophets as mosques." This is related by al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, and an-Nasa' i .
Ahmad and Muslim record from Abu Marthad al-Ghanawi that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Do not pray facing a grave and do not sit on one." They also record that Jundub ibn 'Abdullah al-Bajali heard the Prophet say, five days before he died: "The people before you took graves as mosques. I prohibit this to you."
'Aishah reports that Umm Salamah mentioned the churches she saw in Abyssinia and the pictures they contained to the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet said to her: "These are the people who, when a pious servant or pious man among them dies, build a mosque [place of worship] upon their graves and put those pictures in it. They are the worst of the whole creation in the sight of Allah." This is related by al-Bukhari, Muslim, and an-Nasa' i .
The Prophet is also reported to have said: "Allah curses those who visit the graves and take them as mosques and light lamps over them." Many scholars take this prohibition to be one of dislike, regardless of whether the grave is in front of the imam or behind him. According to the zahiri school, this prohibition is one of complete forbiddance and as such, prayer at a grave site is not valid. According to the Hanbali school, this applies only if there are three graves or more. If there is only one or two graves, then the prayer is valid although disliked if one prays facing a grave, otherwise it is not disliked.
Fiqh 2.75: Churches and synagogues
Abu Musa al-Ash'ari and 'Umar ibn 'Abdulaziz prayed in a church. Ash-Sh'abiy, 'Ata, and Ibn Sireen did not see anything wrong with praying in a church [if one happened to be in a church at the time of salah]. Al-Bukhari says: "Ibn 'Abbas would pray in churches [under unusual circumstances] except for those with statues or sculptures." The Muslims of Najran wrote to 'Umar saying that they found no place cleaner or better to pray in than a church. 'Umar wrote to them: "Sprinkle it with water and leaves and pray therein." According to the Hanafi and Shaf'i schools, it is disliked to pray in such places in general.
Ibn 'Umar relates that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam prohibited salah in seven places: "dunghills, slaughterhouses, graveyards, middle of the road, bathhouses, watering places where the camels drink and rest, and on the roof of the house of Allah [the Ka'bah in Makkah]." This is related by Ibn Majah, 'Abd ibn Humaid, and at-Tirmizhi who said its chain is not strong. The reason why it is prohibited to pray on dunghills and in slaughterhouses is the presence of impurities there. It is forbidden to pray at such places without any barrier, and if there is such a barrier one may pray, but it is disliked by the majority of the scholars, while Ahmad and other scholars of zahiri persuasion say it is prohibited. The reason why it is prohibited to pray in the resting places of the camels is the same as in the first two cases (i.e., the presence of impurities). The reason why it is prohibited to pray at the middle of the roads is because there is usually a lot of commotion, which could take one's heart away from the salah. As for praying on the roof of the Ka'bah, this contradicts the order to offer salah facing it. For this reason, many are of the opinion that a salah performed on top of the Ka'bah is invalid. The Hanafi school holds that it is allowed, but disliked as it does not honor the Ka'bah. The reason it is disliked to pray in bath-houses is the presence of impurities there, according to the majority of the scholars. Ahmad, Abu Thaur, and the Zahiriyyah hold that a salah offered in the bath-house is not valid.
Fiqh 2.76: Prayer in the Ka'bah
Offering salah in the Ka'bah is valid regardless of whether it is an obligatory prayer or a supererogatory prayer. Ibn 'Umar reports: "The Messenger of Allah entered the house [the Ka'bah] with 'Usamah ibn Zaid, Bilal, and 'Uthman ibn Talhah and they closed the door behind themselves. When they opened the door, I was the first to come upon them and I asked Bilal: 'Did the Messenger of Allah pray [while he was inside]?' He said: 'Yes, between the two Yemeni pillars.'" This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and Muslim.
It is preferred for the one who is praying to place a sutrah (or some sort of partition) in front of him in order to keep others from passing in front of him and to keep his eyesight from going behind this partition.
Abu Sa'id reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "When one of you prays, he should pray toward his sutrah and he should be close to it." This is related by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah.
Ibn 'Umar relates that "when the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam went out to pray salatul 'id, he asked for a spear and placed it in front of himself and he offered salah toward it and the people prayed behind him. And he would do that while he was traveling so that those in authority [for the affairs of the Muslims] would also do this." This is related by al-Bukhari, Muslim, and Abu Dawud.
The Hanafi and Maliki scholars are of the opinion that one should place a sutrah in front of him only if he fears that someone may pass in front of him; if he does not fear that someone will pass in front of him, it is not desirable for him to place a sutrah in front of himself. This opinion is based on the hadith of Ibn 'Abbas who said that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam prayed in an open area and there was nothing in front of him. This is related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud. Al-Baihaqi related it and said: "It is supported by a report from al-Fazhl Ibn 'Abbas with a reliable chain of transmitters."
Fiqh 2.77: Requirements for a sutrah or partition
Anything which the person sets up in front of him will qualify as a sutrah, even if it is only the end of his bed. Sabrah ibn Mu'abid reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "When one of you prays, he should make a partition for his salah, even if it is an arrow." This is related by Ahmad and by al-Hakim who said it is sahih according to the criteria of Muslim. Al-Haithami observes: "Ahmad's narrators are sound."
Abu Hurairah relates that the Prophet said: "When one of you prays, he should place something in front of him. If he cannot find anything, he should prop up his staff [in front of him]. If he does not have a staff, he should draw a line [on the ground in front of him] then nothing that passes in tront of him will harm him." This is related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud and Ibn Hibban. The later classifies it sahih as did Ahmad and Ibn al-Madini. Al-Baihaqi says: "There is no problem with that hadith regarding that ruling, Allah willing."
It is related that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam prayed toward a column in his mosque, toward a tree, toward a bed upon which 'Aishah was lying, and toward his riding animal, and toward his saddle, and so on.
Talhah says: "We used to pray and the animals would pass in front of us. We mentioned that to the Prophet and he said: "If anything the size of a saddle is in front of you, nothing that passes beyond it would harm you." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmizhi who calls it hasan sahih.
The sutrah of the imam is the sutrah of everyone behind him.
'Amr ibn Shu'aib relates from his father on the authority of his grandfather who said: "We were descending on a path near Makkah with the Messenger of Allah and the time for prayer came. The Prophet prayed toward a wall and we were behind him. A lamb tried to pass in front of him and he kept preventing the lamb from doing so until its stomach was up against the wall. Finally, it passed behind him." This is related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud.
Ibn 'Abbas says: "I was riding a donkey and was at the time on the threshold of maturity, and the Prophet was leading the people in salah at Mina. I passed in front of the row and let the animal graze, and then I joined the rows and no one objected to this." This is related by the group.
These hadith prove that it is allowed to pass in front of people following the imam, and that the sutrah is required for the imam and the people praying individually.
Fiqh 2.78: Proximity of the sutrah
Al-Baghawi says: "The people of knowledge prefer that the sutrah be so close that there is only enough space to make the sajdah, and the same applies to the distance between the rows in the prayer. "
In the hadith mentioned in the beginning of this section it is stated: "And he should be close to it."
Bilal reports that between the Prophet and the wall in front of him there was a distance of three arm spans. This is related by Ahmad and anNasa'i, and al-Bukhari has recorded something similar.
Sahl ibn Sa'd says: "Between the Messenger of Allah [and his sutrah] was enough space for a sheep to pass." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim .
It is forbidden to pass in front of a person who is praying (i.e., between him and his sutrah) .
There are many hadith which forbid passing between a person and his sutrah, and describe such an act as a major sin.
Busr ibn Sa'id says that Zaid ibn Khalid sent him to Abu Juhaim to ask him what he had heard from the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam concerning passing in front of someone who is praying. He said that the Messenger of Allah said: "If one knew [the sin] of passing in front of one who is praying, he would rather wait forty [...] than to pass in front of him." This is related by the group.
Zaid ibn Khalid relates that the Messenger of Allah said: "If the one who passes in front of one who is praying knew what was upon him [of sin], it would be better for him to stand [and wait] for forty autumns than to pass in front of him." This is related by al-Bazzar with a sahih chain.
Ibn al-Qayyim writes: "Ibn Hibban and others say that the prohibition mentioned in this hadith applies when one is praying with a sutrah. If one is praying without a sutrah, it is not forbidden to pass in front of him. As a proof, Abu Hatim [i.e., ibn Hibban] argues by the hadith, in his sahih, from al-Mutalib ibn Abi Wid'ah who said: 'I saw the Prophet, when he finished the circumambulation [of the Ka'bah], he went to the end of the circuit and he prayed two rak'at and there was nothing between him and the people who were circumambulating." Abu Hatim says: "This report proves that it is permissible to pass in front of a person who is praying but without a sutrah. In this lies a clear proof that the warning concerning passing in front of one who is praying refers only to one who is praying toward his sutrah and does not refer to one who does not have a sutrah." Abu Hatim explains that the Prophet's prayer was without anything between him and the people circumambulating the ka'bah. At the end of the hadith of al-Mutalib, he records: "I saw the Prophet of Allah offering salah facing the black stone and the men and women were passing in front of him and there was no sutrah between him and them. In ar-Raudah anNadiyah, it is stated that if one has no sutrah or is far away from the sutrah, then he is not to keep anyone from passing in front of him and it is not forbidden to pass in front of him although it is preferred not to do so .
Fiqh 2.79: Preventing someone from passing in front of a praying person
It is permissible to keep some one from passing in front of a person who is praying.
If a praying person has a sutrah in front of him, then it is allowed for him to prevent any human or animal from passing in front of him. If a person passes in front of him from beyond the sutrah, then the person in salah is neither to prevent the passer-by nor will he be harmed by him.
Abu Saleh as-Saman said: "I will narrate to you what I heard and saw from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri. One day I was with Abu Sa'id and he was offering salah on Friday facing something which concealed him from the people when a young man from the tribe of Mu'ait came and tried to pass in front of Abu Sa'id. He pushed him back. He tried again and Abu Sa'id struck him harder. The two scuffled. The man went to Marwan to complain. Abu Sa'id also went to Marwan. Marwan asked: 'What has happened between you and the son of your brother that caused him to complain?' Abu Sa'id said: 'I heard the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam say: 'If any of you prays toward a sutrah and someone tries to pass in front of you, then turn him away. If he refuses, use force for he is a devil."' This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
The salah is not invalidated by anything (passing in front of the praying person).
'Ali, 'Uthman, ibn al-Musayyab, ash-Sh'abiy, Malik, ash-Shaf'i, Sufyan al-Thauri and the Hanafi scholars are of the opinion that the salah is not invalidated by anything which passes in front of a person. This is based on the hadith recorded by Abu Dawud from Abu al-Waddak who says: "A young person tried to pass in front of Abu Sa'id while he was praying. Abu Sa'id held him off and then the young man tried again. Abu Sa'id pushed him off. This happened three times and when [Abu Sa'id] finished [the prayer], he said: 'The salah is not invalidated by anything but the Messenger of Allah said: 'Repulse [the person who is trying to pass in front of you] to the best of your ability for he is a devil.'"
Fiqh 2.81: The following acts are permissible during the prayer
Crying, moaning, or groaning, regardless of whether it is due to a fear of Allah or to any other reason (e.g., a moan due to some pain or injury that one cannot contain), is permissible. This is based on the Qur'anic verse: "When the revelations of the Merciful were recited unto them, they fell prostrating and adoring." This verse is general and includes one who is praying.
'Abdullah ibn ash-Schikhir relates: "I saw the Messenger of Allah praying and his chest was 'buzzing', like the buzzing of a cooking pot, due to crying." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and at-Tirmizhi. The latter classifies it as sahih.
'Ali reports: "There was no horseman among us at the battle of Badr save al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad. I saw that not one of us was standing save the Messenger of Allah who was praying under a tree and crying until the dawn." This is related by Ibn Hibban.
'Aishah relates the incident that occurred during the fatal illness of the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam. The Messenger of Allah said: "Order Abu Bakr to lead the people in prayer." 'Aishah responded: "O Messenger of Allah, Abu Bakr is a very soft-hearted man and he cannot control his tears, and if he recites the Qur'an, he cries." 'Aishah later admitted: "I said that only because I hated that the people should blame Abu Bakr for being the first to take the place of the Messenger of Allah." The Messenger of Allah said: "Order Abu Bakr to lead the people in salah. You women are like the companions of Yusuf." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Hibban, and at-Tirmizhi who calls it sahih. The fact that the Prophet insisted that Abu Bakr lead the salah after he was inforrned that he would be overcome by weeping proves that it is permissible to cry while praying.
'Umar prayed fajr and recited Surah Yusuf, and when he reached the verse "I expose my distress and anguish only unto Allah," he raised his voice in crying. This is related by al-Bukhari, Sa'id ibn Mansur, and ibn al-Munzhir. In 'Umar's raising his voice in crying is a refutation of those who say that crying invalidates the salah if it causes a sound from the mouth, regardless of whether it is due to the fear of Allah or not. They argue that sound from the mouth due to crying is like speaking, but this is not acceptable as crying and speaking are two different things.
Fiqh 2.82: Turning to a side due to some need
Ibn Abbas relates: "The Messenger of Allah would turn to his right and left he would not turn his head to see behind him." This is related by Ahmad.
Abu Dawud records that when the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam prayed, "he looked toward a valley because he had sent some horsemen to guard the valley."
Anas ibn Sireen says: "I saw Anas ibn Malik lift his eyes to something while he was praying." This is related by Ahmad.
Turning to look at something without any genuine need is disliked, for it is against the etiqettes of humility while facing Allah in Prayer.
'Aishah says: "I asked the Messenger of Allah about turning in salah and he said: 'It is the portion that the Satan steals from the slave's prayer.'" This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, an-Nasa'i, and Abu Dawud.
Abu ad-Darda' narrates from the Prophet: "O people, be careful about turning for there is no salah for the one who turns. If you must do it, do it in the voluntary prayers and not in the obligatory prayers." This is related by Ahmad.
Anas relates that the Messenger of Allah said to him: "Be careful about turning during the salah as turning in the salah is disastrous. If you must do it, then do it in the voluntary prayers but not in the obligatory prayers." This is related by at-Tirmizhi who calls it sahih.
In the hadith of al-Harith al-Ash'ari, the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Allah gave Yahya, son of Zakariyah, five commands that he was to abide by and was to order the tribe of Isra'el to abide by..." One of them was, "Verily, Allah orders you to pray, and when you pray, do not tum for Allah looks to the face of His slave in salah as long as he does not turn." This is related by Ahmad and an-Nasa'i.
Abu Zharr reported that the Prophet said: "Allah faces the slave while he is in the salah and keeps facing him as long as he does not turn. If [the slave] turns, [Allah] turns away from him." This is related by Ahmad and by Abu Dawud who said its chain of narrators (isnad) is sahih. The preceding hadith is concerned with turning the face during the salah. If one turns the whole (upper) body away from the qiblah, then the salah is invalidated, for not fulfilling the requirment of facing the qiblah. On this point, there is no difference of opinion.
Fiqh 2.83: Killing a snake, scorpion or other harmful animals
If killing these would only require a small action on the part of the person in salah, then there is no harm in doing it. Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Kill the snake and the scorpion during the salah." This is related by Ahmad, at-Tirmizhi, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and Ibn Majah. The hadith is hasan sahih.
'Aishah said: "The Messenger of Allah was offering salah in the house and the door was locked. I came and knocked on the door and he walked over to open it for me and then he returned to his place of prayer. The door was in the direction of the qiblah." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and atTirmizhi. The latter calls it hasan. It may be observed that in this hadith, he did not turn away from the qiblah either in opening the door, or in returning to his place. This is supported by what has been related that the Prophet would pray and if anyone knocked on the door, he would open the door provided the door was in the direction of the qiblah or on his right or on his left, but he would not turn his back to the qiblah. This is related by ad-Daraqutni.
Al-Azraq ibn Qais relates: "Abu Barzah Al-Aslami was at al-Ahwas, at the bank of a river, and he prayed while holding the reins of his horse. The horse started going back, and he (i.e.Abu Barzah) followed the horse. A man from the Khawarij said: 'O Allah, be rough on this man, see how he is doing his prayer.' When Abu Barzah finished his prayer, he said: 'I heard your statement. Certainly, I participated in six or seven or eight battles with the Prophet, and I am certainly aware of his leniency. Certainly, I would rather restrain my animal than let him run off loose as that would have caused me a great deal of trouble.' It was 'Asr prayer that Abu Barzah offered, and he prayed two rak'at." This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and al-Baihaqi.
Concerning taking a lot of steps, Ibn Hajr says in Fath al-Bari: "The jurists are agreed that taking many steps invalidates an obligatory prayer. They interpret the hadith of Abu Barzah as referring to taking just a few steps."
Fiqh 2.84: Carrying and holding a child during the salah
Abu Qatadah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam was offering salah and Umamah bint Zainab was on his neck [shoulder]. When he performed ruku', he put her down, and when he got up from his sajdah, he would place her back on his neck. 'Amr inquired during which salah this happened. Ibn Juraij said that it is related from Zaid ibn Abu 'Atab from 'Amr ibn Salim that this happened in the morning prayer. This is related by Ahmad, anNasa'i, and others. Al-Fakihani comments: "The purpose behind the action of the Prophet of carrying Umamah in the salah was to set an example before the Arabs who considered having daughters and carrying them around as something bad or shameful. The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam acted differently from them, and carried a girl on his neck in the prayer, and making something clear by example is much more effective than a mere precept."
'Abdullah ibn Shidad relates that his father said: "The Messenger of Allah came to us either during the noon or afternoon prayers and he was carrying Hassan or Hussain. The Prophet proceeded to the front and put him down and made the takbir for the salah. During the salah, he made a long sajdah. I raised my head and saw the child on the back of the Messenger of Allah while he was in sajdah. I returned to my sajdah. When the Messenger of Allah finished the salah, the people said to him: 'O Messenger of Allah, you prostrated during your salah so long that we suspected you were thinking about some matter or you were receiving some revelation.' He said: 'None of that happened but my son was resting and I hated to rush him until he had finished what he desired."' This is related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'i, and al-Hakim.
An-Nawawi observes that this, according to the opinion of ash-Shaf'i and those who agree with him, points to the permissibility of carrying or holding a young child, male or female, or any pure animal during an obligatory prayer, and that it is permissible for both the imam and the followers. The companions of Malik say that the permissibility is only for voluntary prayers and not for obligatory prayers. This interpretation is incorrect as it is clear that the Prophet was leading one of the obligatory prayers, and as stated earlier it was the fajr prayer. Some followers of Malik claim that its permissibility has been abograted, while others say it was only permissible for the Prophet, and yet others hold that it was due to some necessity. All of this is wrong and to be rejected as there is no proof for any of it or any necessity. The authentic hadith clearly states that it is permissible and there is nothing in that ruling which contradicts any basic principle of the shari'ah as a human being is pure and what is in his/her abdomen is not relevant in this regard, as it remains within the stomach, its natural receptacle. Also, the clothing of a child is considered pure and the shari'ah is quite explicit on this point. Actions during the salah do not invalidate it if they are minor or few or dispersed. The fact that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam did this is an exposition of its permissibility, and this argument is built upon the principle which we have mentioned before. This refutes what Abu Sulaiman al-Khattabi says, namely, that the Prophet did not carry the child intentionally but the child was holding onto the Prophet, and when he stood the child remained with him. He said: "Do not think that he held him again intentionally as that would be too much action and would distract the heart. If a curtain distracted him, how could [the child] not distract him?" This statement by al-Khattabi, may Allah have mercy on him, is incorrect and to be rejected. Among the things that refute it are the statements in Sahih Muslim, "when he stood, he carried him." And, "when he got up from his sajdah, he would return [the child to his place]." Further refutations are derived from a version other than Sahih Muslim, "He came to us while carrying Umamah and prayed..." Concerning the ruling about the curtain, it distracts the heart without there being any benefit to it. Concerning carrying Umamah, we are not convinced that it distracts the heart, and even if it does, it is allowed due to its benefit and the principles that we have mentioned. The source of that preoccupation is that benefit, which differs from the incident concerning the curtain. Thus, the correct position is that the hadith is a clear exposition that it is permissible to carry a child in salah and this will continue to be part of the Islamic law until the Day of Judgment. And Allah knows best.
Fiqh 2.85: Returning a Greeting by a motion
The one in salah who is greeted or spoken to may reply to the one who greets or speaks to him by making some motion.
Jabir said: "The Messenger of Allah sent me somewhere while he was going to the tribe of Mustaliq. I came to him and he was praying while on the back of his camel. [When] I spoke to him, he and Zubair motioned with their hands. I heard him reciting and saw him gesturing with his head. When he finished, he said: 'What have you done about the thing I sent you for? Nothing kept me from talking to you save that I was in salah.'" This is related by Ahmad and Muslim.
'Abdullah ibn 'Umar narrates that Suhaib said: "I passed by the Messenger of Allah while he was offering salah. I greeted him and he responded to me by only signaling." 'Abdullah said: "The only thing that I know is that he said he signaled to him with his finger." This is related by Ahmad and by at-Tirmizhi. The latter calls it sahih.
'Abdullah ibn 'Umar says: "I asked Suhaib: 'How did the Messenger of Allah respond to the people when they greeted him while he was praying?' He said: 'He would signal to them with his hand.'" This is related by Ahmad, at-Tirmizhi, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and Ibn Majah.
Anas says that the Prophet would signal while offering salah. This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and Ibn Khuzaimah and its isnad is sahih.
The same applies to signaling with one's finger or hand or by nodding the head. All of these actions have been related from the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam.
Fiqh 2.86: Saying Subhanallah and clapping
It is allowed for men to say subhanallah and for women to clap if there is some need to do so (such as alerting the imam to a mistake or informing someone that he or she may enter the room or to warn a blind person, and so on). Sahl ibn Sa'd asSa'di relates that the Prophet said: "If someone is faced with something during the salah, he should say 'subhanallah.' Clapping is for the women and saying subhanallah is for the men." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and an-Nasa'i.
If the imam forgets a verse, it is permissible for a follower to remind him of it, regardless of whether the recitation is a part of the obligatory recitation or not. Ibn 'Umar reports that the Messenger of Allah prayed and had some confusion in his recitation. When he finished, he said to 'Umar: "Were you present with us [during the prayer]?" He replied: "Yes." So, the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam asked him: "What prevented you from correcting me?" This is related by Abu Dawud and others and its narrators are trustworthy.
Rifa'ah ibn Rafi' relates: "I prayed behind the Messenger of Allah, and I sneezed and said, 'Praise be to Allah, a great deal of praise, beautiful and blessed, as our Lord loves and is pleased with.' [Afterward,] the Messenger of Allah asked: 'Who spoke during the salah?' No one said anything. He asked again, and no one said anything. He asked again, and I said: 'It was I, O Messenger of Allah!' He then said: 'By the One in whose hand is Muhammad's soul, thirty some odd angels raced to get that phrase to raise it [to the Lord].'" This is related by an-Nasa'i and at-Tirmizhi, and by al-Bukhari with a different wording.
Ibn 'Abbas reports that the Messenger of Allah prayed in one garment and covered his face with a portion of it to avoid the heat or coldness of the ground. This is related by Ahmad with a sahih isnad (chain). It is disliked if it is done without any genuine reason.
Fiqh 2.87: A summary of other acts which are permissible during the prayer
Ibn al-Qayyim has summarized some of the acts which are permissible during the salah and which the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam used to perform at times. He writes:
The Prophet would pray and 'Aishah would be lying between him and the qiblah. When he performed sajdah, he would signal to her with his hand and she would pull back her leg and when he would stand she would stretch out her leg again. The Prophet was praying and the Satan came to him to disturb his salah and the Prophet choked until his saliva came upon his hand. And the Prophet would pray upon the pulpit, making ruku' there, but when the time came to perform sajdah, he would descend, moving backward, and prostrate upon the ground, and then return to the pulpit. He once prayed toward a wall and an animal tried to pass between him and the wall. The Prophet prevented the animal from passing to the extent that its stomach was against the wall. Once while he was praying, two girls from the tribe of 'Abd al-Muttalib were fighting behind him and he separated them with his arms while he was praying. Ahmad's version says that they grabbed unto his knees and he separated them without leaving the salah. On another occasion, when he was praying, a boy came to him and he motioned to him to move back, and he moved back. Then a girl tried to pass in front of him, he beckoned her to move back, but the girl passed, and when he finished, he said: "They are more determined." Ahmad recorded it and it is also in the Sunan. He would also puff out air while praying. The hadith which states: " Puffing out is speech" cannot be traced to the Messenger of Allah, but Sa'id related it in his Sunan from Ibn 'Abbas as one of Ibn 'Abbas' statements - if it is authentic. The Prophet would cry during his salah and would also clear his throat while praying. 'Ali ibn Abi Talib said: "I had a certain time at which I would visit the Messenger of Allah. When I came to him, he would permit me to enter. If I found him praying, he would clear his throat and I would enter. If he was free, he would give me permission to enter." This is recorded by an-Nasa'i and Ahmad. Ahmad's version says: "I could enter upon the Prophet during the day or night. If I came to him while he was praying, he would clear his throat [as a sign that I may enter]. This was related by Ahmad who used to act by it and he was not of the opinion that clearing one's throat invalidated the salah. Sometimes the Prophet would pray barefoot and sometimes while wearing shoes. This is what 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar said and he ordered people to pray with shoes on in order to differ from the Jews. Sometimes he would pray in one garment and sometimes in two garments and [this latter] was the majority of the cases.
Fiqh 2.88: Reciting from a copy of the Qur'an
Zhakwan, the protege of 'Aishah, would lead her in prayer during Ramadan while reciting from a copy of the Qur'an. This is related by Malik. Ash-Shaf'i's opinion is that it is allowable. An-Nawawi holds: "If one sometimes turns pages during a salah, it does not invalidate it. If he looks at something that is written which is not the Qur'an and he reads it to himself, it does not invalidate the salah, even if it is done for a long period of time, nevertheless, it is a hated act." Ash-Shaf'i has made a statement about it in al-Imla'.
Fiqh 2.89: Occupying the heart with something other than the affairs of the prayer
Abu Hurairah repons that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "When the call to prayer is made, the Satan takes to his heels... and when it is finished, he returns. He flees again when the iqamah is made and when it is finished, he returns until he comes between the man and his thoughts, saying: 'Remember this and remember that,' which he had not recalled, until the person does not know how much he has prayed, [i.e.,] three or four rak'at. Then, he makes two prostrations while sitting." This is reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Al-Bukhari also records that 'Umar said: "I arrange the troops [in my mind] during the salah." Although it is true that such a salah is valid and sufficient, it is a must for the person in prayer to keep his mind and heart attuned to the salah and his Lord and to keep his thoughts on the meaning of the Qur'anic verses and the significance of the different acts of the salah since a person has for him only that portion of the salah which he is fully aware of [while performing it].
Au Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and Ibn Hibban record from 'Ammar ibn Yasir that he heard the Messenger of Allah say: "A man may complete the salah and only have recorded for himself one-tenth or one-ninth or one-eighth or one-seventh or one-fifth or one-fourth or one third or one-half."
Al-Bazzar records from Ibn 'Abbas that the Messenger of Allah said: "Allah, the Glorious, said: 'I accept the salah of one who humbles himself during it to My Greatness; and who does not perform the salah just for show; and who does not spend the night in disobedience to Me; and who spends the day remembering Me; and who is merciful to the poor, the wayfarer and the widows; and who is merciful to one who is suffering from an infliction. He has a light like the light of the sun. I protect him by My Glory and the angels guard over him. I give him light in darkness and sobriety in the presence of ignorance. And his similitude in My creation is like al-Firdaus in Paradise."'
Abu Dawud records from Zaid ibn Khalid that the Messenger of Allah said: "Whoever makes ablution and perfects it and then prays two rak'at, without being unheedful during them, forgiven for him will be his previous sins." Muslim records that 'Uthman ibn Abi al-'Aas said: "O Messenger of Allah, the Satan comes between me and my prayers and my recitation, confusing me therein!" The Prophet said: "That Satan is called Khanzab. If he affects you seek refuge in Allah from him and 'spit out' on your left side three times."
Muslim records from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah said: "Allah, the Glorious, said: 'I have divided the salah [i.e., al-Fatihah] into two halves, between Me and My slave, and my slave shall receive what he asks for.' When the slave says 'All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds,' Allah, the Exalted, says 'My slave has praised Me.' When he says 'The Compassionate, the Merciful,' Allah, the Exalted, says 'My slave has lauded Me.' When he says 'Master of the Day of Judgment.' Allah, the Exalted says 'My servant has glorified Me and entrusted his affairs to Me.' And when he says 'It is Thee we worship and from Thee that we seek aid,' Allah, the Exalted, says 'This is between Me and My slave. And for My slave is what he asks.' And when he says 'Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom you have blessed and not of those with whom you are angry nor of those who have gone astray.' Allah says 'That is for My slave and My slave shall get what he asks for.'"
It is disliked for anyone to leave any of the sunnah acts described earlier
Fiqh 2.91: Fidgeting with one's clothing or one's body is disliked unless there is some need to do so
Ma'yaqib says: "I asked the Prophet about dusting [away] the pebbles during the salah, and the Prophet said: 'Do not dust [away] the pebbles while you are praying, but if you must do it, then do it only once in order to level the pebbles.'" This is related by the group.
Abu Zharr reports that the Prophet said: "When one of you stands for the salah, mercy is facing him. Therefore, he should not wipe away the pebbles." This is related by Ahmad, at-Tirmizhi, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and Ibn Majah.
Umm Salamah reports that there was a boy called Yassar who would puff out some air during the salah. The Messenger of Allah said to him: "May Allah fill your face with dust!" This is related by Ahmad with a good chain.
Abu Hurairah relates: "The Messenger of Allah prohibited putting one's hands on one's hips during the salah." This is related by Abu Dawud.
Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "Those who raise their sight to the sky during the prayer should stop doing so or their sight may be taken away." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and an-Nasa'i.
Fiqh 2.92: Looking at something which distracts attention
'Aishah reports that the Messenger of Allah prayed in a cloak which had some designs on it. He said: "These designs have distracted me. Take [this cloak] to Abu Jahm [i.e., the person who gave it to the Prophet] and bring me a plain cloak." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Al-Bukhari records that Anas said: "'Aishah had a curtain to cover [the doorway of] her house. The Prophet said to her: 'Remove your curtain for its picturcs always distract me during my prayers.'" This hadith proves that looking at some writing or design does not invalidate the salah.
Some say that this act is disliked while others hold that it is allowed, though disliked. Those hadith which state it is disliked are not authentic.
Ibn al-Qayyim said: "The correct position is: if keeping one's eyes open does not affect one's attention, then it is preferred to keep them open; however, if there is something in front of the person, such as some ornament or decoration, which could affect his attention, then it is, in no way, disliked to close his eyes. In fact, under such circumstances, to say it is preferred to close one's eyes is more consistent with the principles and goals of the shar'iah than to say that it is disliked."
Jabir ibn Samurah said: "We prayed behind the Prophet and he said: 'What is wrong with them that they make salutation with their hands as if they were the tails of horses? It is enough for you to place your hand on your thigh and say, as salam 'alaikum, as salam 'alaikum!'" This is related by an-Nasa'i and others.
Abu Hurairah said: "The Messenger of Allah prohibited assadl in the salah and prohibited a man to cover his mouth." This is related by the five and by al-Hakim who says that it is sahih according to Muslim's conditions. Al-Khattabi explains: "As-sadl is to lower one's garment until it reaches the ground." Al-Kamal ibn al-Hamam adds: "This also applies to wearing a cloak without putting one's arms through its sleeves."
'Aishah reports that the Prophet said: "If dinner is served and the prayer is ready, start with the dinner [first]." This is related by Ahmad and Muslim.
Naf'i reports that the food would be served for Ibn 'Umar while the iqamah was being made, but he would not come to the salah until he finished his meal although he could hear the reciting of the imam. This is related by al-Bukhari.
Al-Khattabi says: "The Prophet ordered that one should begin with one's meal in order to satisfy his need. In this way, he will come to the salah in calm and his desire or hunger will not disturb the completion or perfection of his ruku' and sajjud and the rest of the acts of the salah."
Fiqh 2.93: Praying when one needs to anwer the call of nature and other things that may distract a person
Thauban reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "There are three acts which are not allowed: For a person to lead a people in prayer and then make supplications for himself without including them, for then he would be dishonest to them; to look inside a house without obtaining permission, for if he does so (it is as if) he has already entered it (without permission); and to offer prayer while he needs to answer the call of nature until he relieves himself." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and at-Tirmizhi who calls it hasan.
'Aishah reported that she heard the Messenger of Allah say: "No one should pray when the food is served nor when one needs to answer the call of nature." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and Abu Dawud.
'Aishah reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "When one of you becomes drowsy in salah, he should lie down until he is fresh again; otherwise, he will not know if he is asking forgiveness or vilifying himself." This is related by the group.
Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "When one of you gets up at night for salah and his tongue falters in reciting the Qur'an and he is not certain about what he is reciting, he should sleep." This is related by Ahmad and Muslim.
'Abdurrahman ibn Shabl said: "The Prophet prohibited pecking like a crow [i.e., while prostrating], imitating a lion's manner of sitting, and a man to pick a special place in the mosque [to pray] like a camel has his own place [to sit]." This is related by Ahmad, ibn Khuzaimah, ibn Hibban, and by al-Hakaim who calls it sahih.
Fiqh 2.95: Intentionally eating or drinking invalidates the salah
Ibn al-Munzhir says: "The people of knowledge agree that if one intentionally eats or drinks during a fard salah, he is to repeat the salah. The same is the case with nawafil according to the majority of scholars as what invalidates an obligatory (fard) prayer also invalidates a voluntary (nafl) prayer."
Intentionally speaking during the salah, if it is not beneficial to the salah, invalidates the salah.
Zaid ibn Arqam relates: "We used to talk while we were in salah and a person would speak to the person next to him until the verse was revealed: 'And stand before Allah in devout obedience' and we were then commanded to observe silence during the salah." This is related by the group.
Ibn Mas'ud reports: "We used to greet the Messenger of Allah while he was in salah and he would respond to our greeting. When we returned from Abyssinia, we greeted him [during prayer] but he did not respond to our salutation. We said to him: 'O Messenger of Allah, we used to greet you while you were in salah and you used to respond to us!' He then said: 'Prayer demands one's complete attention.'" This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
If one is ignorant of this ruling or speaks due to the fact that he has forgotten this ruling, his salah will still be valid
Mu'awiyyah ibn alHakam said: "I was praying behind the Messenger of Allah and someone in the congregation sneezed. I said [to him]: 'May Allah have mercy upon you.' The people then stared at me, showing their disapproval of my act. I said: 'Woe to me, why do you stare at me so?' They started to strike their hands on their thighs and when I saw that they wanted me to become silent, I was angered but said nothing. When the Messenger of Allah finished the prayer - and may my father and mother be ransomed for him, I found no teacher better than him either before or after him - he did not scold, beat, or revile me but he simply said: 'Talking to others is not seemly during the salah, for the salah is for glorifying Allah, extolling His Greatness, and reciting the Qur'an.'" This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and an-Nasa'i. Mu'awiyyah ibn al-Hakam spoke out of ignorance of this ruling and the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam did not order him to repeat his salah.
Talking [if it is a reminder as to the incompleteness of the salah], does not nullify the salah as can be seen in the following hadith. Abu Hurairah says: "The Messenger of Allah led us in either the noon or after-noon prayers and he made the taslim after praying just two rak'at. Zhul Yadain said to the Prophet: 'O Messenger of Allah, has the salah been shortened or have you forgotten [part of it]?' The Prophet sallallahu alehi wassalam said: 'It has not been shortened, nor did I forget any part of it." He said: 'Yes, O Messenger of Allah, you did forget.' Thereupon the Prophet asked (the people): 'Is Zhul Yadain correct in what he says?' The people said: 'He is correct, you offered only two rak'at.' Then, the Prophet prayed the two remaining rak'at and made the taslim, said the takbir and performed the sajdah, sat and made the takbir and performed the sajdah again, and finally said the takbir and sat again." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
The Maliki school allows talking during the prayer if it is done for any good of the salah as long as it does not become a common practice and (is done) only when saying subhanallah fails to alert the imam to correct his mistake. Al-Auza'i's comments are: "Whoever intentionally speaks during the salah, seeking some benefit to the salah, does not invalidate his salah." He said that if a person recites aloud in the 'asr and someone behind him says: "It is the 'asr," (i.e., the recital is not to be aloud) then the latter person would not invalidate his salah.
Fiqh 2.96: Intentionally making many motions
The scholars differ over what exactly constitutes a few motions and what constitutes many motions. Some say that one makes many motions when, if seen from behind, one would be certain that he was not performing salah, and anything less than that amount is considered only a few motions. Some say that it is any act or string of actions which would make others believe that the person is not praying.
An-Nawawi says: "If a person performs a lot of actions that are not part of the salah, he invalidates his salah, and, on this point, there is no difference of opinion. If the acts are few, then they do not invalidate the salah and, on this point, there also is no difference of opinion. This is the exact position. However, there does exist a difference of opinion over what exactly constitutes a few actions and many actions, [and there exist four opinions on this point..." He says that the fourth opinion is the correct and most popular opinion. The fourth opinion is that the exact definitions of too much and too little are determined by generally accepted standards. One is not harmed in his salah by common acts such as nodding in reply to a salutation, taking off one's shoes, raising the headdress and putting it back in place, putting on or taking off a light garment, carrying or holding a small child, preventing someone from passing in front of the person in prayer, covering one's spittle in one's clothing and similar other actions. As for the other acts, those which are considered to constitute many actions (e.g., taking many consecutive steps, performing actions repeatedly) they invalidate the prayer. An-Nawawi also says: "The scholars are in agreement that many actions invalidate the prayer if they are performed consecutively [i.e., one after another]. If one separates the actions, for instance, taking a step and then stopping for a while, then taking another step or two, and then another two steps, after a pause (though a short one) between them, then the salah will not be harmed, even if he (in this manner should take a hundred or more steps. There is no difference of opinion on this point. As for light actions," he continues, "such as, moving one's finger in glorifying Allah or in itching, and so forth., these do not invalidate the prayer according to the well-known, authentic opinion, even when they are done repeatedly and consecutively, but they are disliked." AshShaf'i, in a statement concerning it, says: "Even if one counts the verses on one's fingers, it would not invalidate one's salah, but it is best to avoid [such an act]."
Fiqh 2.97: Intentionally leaving out an essential act or condition of the prayer without any valid excuse for doing so
Al-Bukhari and Muslim record that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam told a bedouin who had not performed his salah well: "Return and pray for you have not prayed." (This hadith was mentioned earlier.)
Ibn Rushd writes: "There is an agreement that if one prays and he is not in a state of purity, it is obligatory for him to repeat the prayer, [that is true if the act was done] intentionally or out of forgetfulness. Similarly, one who prays without facing the qiblah, intentionally or due to forgetfulness, [must repeat the salah]. In general, if any of the conditions for the correctness of the salah are absent, it becomes obligatory to repeat the salah. "
Fiqh 2.98: Smiling or laughing during the salah
Ibn al-Munzhir records that there is a consensus of opinion that laughing (during the salah) invalidates the prayer. An-Nawawi says: "This is the case if one laughs aloud, and produces sound. Most of the scholars say that there is no problem with smiling. If one is overcome by laughter and cannot control it, his salah will not become invalid if it is of minor nature. If it is a hearty laughter, it will invalidate the salah. Custom would determine whether it is a major or a minor laughter."
Fiqh 2.99: Making (Qada') for missed salah
The scholars agree that it is obligatory for one who has forgotten the salah or slept through its time to make up the missed [qada') prayer. This opinion is based on the hadith of the Prophet mentioned earlier: "There is no negligence while one is asleep but forgetfulness occurs when one is awake. If one of you forgets the prayer or sleeps through its time, then he should perform the salah when he recalls it." If one falls unconscious, then he need not repeat the salah, unless he regains his consciousness with enough time to purify himself and perform the salah within its proper time.
'Abdurrazaq relates from Naf'i that Ibn 'Umar once fell sick and became unconscious and missed the prayer. When he regained his consciousness, he did not make up the missed prayer.
Ibn Juraij reports from Ibn Tawus on the authority of his father that if a sick person becomes unconscious, he is not to make up the prayers he missed .
Mu'ammar relates: "I asked az-Zuhri about one who becomes unconscious, and he said that he is not to make up the salah he missed."
Hamad ibn Salamah relates from Yunus ibn 'Ubaid that both al-Hassan al-Basri and Muhammad ibn Sireen said that a person who falls unconscious is not to make up the prayers he may miss.
Concerning missing a salah intentionally, the majority of the scholars say that it is a sin and the missed salah must be made up for. Ibn Taimaiyyah says:
He may however, resort to increasing his voluntary and supererogatory acts. Ibn Hazm has thoroughly discussed this question. The following is a summary of what he says on this subject:
Concerning one who leaves a salah intentionally until its time expires, he will never be able to make up for that salah. Such a person should turn to Allah and ask His forgivness and increase his good deeds and nawafil in order to increase his weight [of good] on the Day of Resurrection. Abu Hanifah, Malik, and ash-Shaf'i say that he can make up the prayer after its time has expired, and Malik and Abu Hanifa even say that if a person intentionally misses a prayer or a few prayers, then he is to make up those prayers before he prays the present salah, even if he has missed all five prayers and should, while making them up, miss the present salah. They say that if he missed more than five prayers, he is to begin by praying the salah whose time is present [and then he is to make up the prayers he missed]. The proof for our position [i.e, the position of Ibn Hazm] is found in the words of Allah, the Exalted: "Woe unto the worshippers who are heedless of their prayers,'' and: "And then there succeeded them a later generation who wasted the prayers and followed their own lusts, but they will meet with destruction." If one who intentionally misses a salah could make it up later, then why is it mentioned with affliction or transgression? Of course, there is no affliction or transgression on one who delays the salah. But the case of one who procrastinates until the last portion of its permissible time expires is quite different. Allah, the Exalted, has appointed certain times for the fard salah; both the beginning time and the ending time for the salah have been established, and there is no difference between praying a salah before its time and praying it after its proper time elapses because, in both cases the salah is not performed within its prescribed time. This is not to draw an analogy between one and the other but it is applying the same rule to them as they both must be performed within the limits set by Allah. Allah, the Exalted, says: "Whoever transgresses the limits set by Allah has verily wronged his own soul!" : The principle of making qada' must be established by the proper sources of Islamic law. Legislating [in shari'ah] is not permissible, save by Allah's authority as evidenced by His Prophet.
We ask those people who say that one may make qada' for a salah which he misses intentionally: "Tell us about this salah that you want him to perfom, is it the same salah that Allah ordered him to perform or is it a different one?" If they say it is the same one, then we may say to them: "Then one who misses it intentionally is not guilty of being disobedient [to Allah, the Exalted], as he has done what Allah had ordered him to do, and there is no sin upon him according to your statement and likewise there should be no blame upon one who intentionally delays a salah until its time expires, but that is not an acceptable position for any Muslim." If they say that it is not the salah which Allah ordered, we may say: "You have told the truth," and this is a sufficient confession from them. Then, we may ask them: "Is one who intentionally leaves the salah until its time expires being obedient or disobedient to Allah?" If they say obedient, they will be differing from the consensus of the Muslims and the Qur'an and the confirmed sunnah. If they say he is being disobedient, they are speaking the truth and it is not valid that an act of disobedience should replace an act of obedience. Also, Allah, the Exalted, has set specific limits, through the tongue of His Messenger, for the times of the salah. Each salah has a specific beginning time, and no one may perform the salah before that time, and each prayer has a specific ending time, and no one may perform the salah after that time. No one of this ummah will dispute that point. However, if one is allowed to pray after the time set by the Messenger of Allah, then setting an ending time for the salah has no meaning to it. Such an opinion is nonsense and may Allah, the Exalted, keep us from it. Every action is connected with a certain time and it is not valid outside of that time; if it was valid outside of that time, what would be the purpose of that time being specifically singled out for that act? [The logic of this argument] is clear and Allah, the Almighty, is our Supporter.
Ibn Hazm discusses this point at great length, and adds: "If making up a salah is obligatory for one who has left a salah, even after its time has expired, why is it that Allah and His Messenger have chosen not to mention that fact as (surely) they did not forget it: "And your Lord is not forgetful!" Any law that is not based on the Qur'an or the sunnah is not valid. It has been authentically reported that the Prophet said: "Whoever misses the 'asr salah, it is as if he has lost his family and his property." It is correct to say that if one "misses" something, he cannot make it up, for if he makes it up or could make it up, the act would not be "missed." The entire Muslim ummah is in agreement with the statement and ruling that if the time of the salah has elapsed, then the salah is "over" [i.e., "qada" in Arabic], but if one can make it up, the statement that the salah is "over" becomes false and untrue; therefore, there is no way that it could ever be made up. The people who agree with us on this include 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, his son 'Abdullah, Sa'd ibn Abi Waqas, Salman al-Farsi, ibn Mas'ud, al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr, Budail al-'Uqaili, Muhammad ibn Sireen, Mutraf ibn 'Abdullah, 'Umar ibn 'Abdulaziz, and others. Allah has left no excuse, for anyone required to perform the salah, to delay the salah from its proper time for any reason whatsoever, not even during times of fighting, fear, extreme illness, or travelling. Allah says: "And when you are among them and arrange them for salah, let only one party be with you" And: "But if you are in danger, then walking or riding." Allah, the Exalted, does not permit even the extremely sick person to delay the salah. In fact, such a person has been ordered to pray sitting, if he cannot pray standing, and if he cannot pray sitting, then he may pray on his side. Also, if one cannot make ablution with water, he may make tayammum; and if he cannot find soil to make tayammum, he may still pray. Whence has the permission been obtained that one may intentionally leave the salah until its time is finished and who has ordered that it be performed after its time and how is it that the belated salah would be sufficient? None of this is derived from the Qur'an, Sunnah, Qiyas (analogical reasoning), and so forth.
Ibn Hazm further says: "Concerning our statement that the one who intentionally leaves a salah until its time expires is to repent to Allah, the Exalted, ask for His forgiveness, pray an increased number of nawafil, and do good deeds. This statement is based on Allah's words: "Then there succeeded them a generation who missed prayers and followed after lusts. But they will meet destruction save him who repents and believes and does right. Such will enter the garden and will not be wronged," and: "...those who, when they do an evil thing or wrong themselves, remember Allah and implore forgiveness for their sins - who forgives sins, save Allah - and will not knowingly repeat the wrong they did," and: "Whoever does an atom's weight of good shall see it and whoever does an atom's weight of evil shall see it," and: "...We set a just balance for the day of resurrection so no soul shall be wronged."
This [Muslim] ummah is in agreement, and there are texts that state that voluntary acts are a type of good deeds and Allah knows how much they are really worth. It necessarily follows that a number of voluntary works may be equivalent in merit to an obligatory deed and may even amount to a greater merit. Furthermore, Allah has informed us that He does not waste the action of any person and that the good deeds erase the evil ones.
Fiqh 2.103: The prayer of a person who is ill (Salatul Marid)
Whoever has some excuse due to illness and cannot stand during the fard salah is allowed to pray sitting. If he cannot pray in a sitting posture, he may pray while on his side by making gestures. In such a case, his gestures for sajdah should be lower than those for his ruku'. This principle is based on Allah's words: "...And celebrate Allah's praises, standing, sitting, and lying on your sides."
'Imran ibn Hussain says: "I had piles [hemorrhoids], so I asked the Prophet about the prayer and he said: 'Offer the salah while standing and if you cannot do so, pray while sitting, and if you can't do that, then make salah while Iying on your side."' This is related by the group, except for Muslim. An-Nasa'i adds: "And if you cannot offer salah while lying on your side, then do it while lying on your back. Allah does not burden a soul, save with what it can bear."
Jabir reports: "The Messenger of Allah visited a sick person and found him praying on a cushion. The Prophet pushed it aside and said: "Pray on the ground if you can, and if you cannot, then pray by making gestures, and make your sajdah lower than your ruku'.'" This is related by alBaihaqi .
What is meant by inability is that the person if he prays [in the regular way], will suffer hardship, or his disease will aggravate, or his recovery would be hampered, or he will swoon if he prays in the customary manner. One should sit cross-legged while praying in a sitting position.
'Aishah narrates that she saw the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam sitting cross-legged while praying. This is related by an-Nasa'i and al-Hakim says it is sahih.: It is also permissible to sit in the manner that one sits while performing the tashahud
One who can offer the salah neither sitting nor standing is to lie down on his side, and if he cannot do that, he is to lie down on his back with his legs toward the qiblah according to his state of health. Ibn al-Munzhir prefers this opinion. On this point, there is a weak hadith reported by 'Ali which states that the Prophet said: "The sick person is to pray standing if he is able. If he cannot do so, he should pray sitting. If he is not able to make the sajdah, he should nod with his head and make the nod of his sajjud lower than that of his ruku'. If he cannot pray in a sitting posture, he should pray while lying down on his right side facing the qiblah. If one cannot pray on his right side, he should pray while lying on his back with his legs stretched out toward the qiblah." This is related by ad-Daraqutni. Some scholars maintain that one can pray in whatever manner is easy for him. It is apparent from the hadith that if one can only nod while lying on his back, then nothing else is obligatory upon him.
Fiqh 2.104 a: The prayer during times of fear or danger (Salatul Khauf)
The scholars are all in agreement about the legality of "fear prayer" (salatul Khauf). The Qur'an says: "When You (O Prophet) are with them, and stand to lead them in prayer, let one party of them stand up (in prayer) with you, taking their arms with them. When they finish prostrations, let them take their position in the rear. And let the other party come up which has not yet prayed - and let them pray with you, taking all precautions, and bearing arms: the unbelievers wish if you were negligent of your arms and your baggage, to assault you in a single rush. But there is no blame on you if you put away your arms because of the inconvenience of rain or because you are ill; but take (every) precaution for yourselves. For the unbelievers Allah has prepared humiliating punishment."
On this subject Imam Ahmad says: "There are six or seven confirmed hadith about 'salatul khauf,' and whichever way one performs it, it will be valid."
Ibn al-Qayyim says: "Basically, there are six ways to pray salatal khauf, although some say there are more than (six ways of praying it). Whenever they notice any difference in the narration of an incident, they describe it as a difference [in the manner of prayer] thus coming to seventeen ways. This might be due to different acts of the Prophet or simply to differences in the narrations." Al-Hafiz says: "This is the true position and its explanation is given below.