Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2: What is allowed during the prayer
Crying, moaning, or groaning, regardless of whether it is due to a fear ofAllah or to any other reason (e.g., a moan due to some pain or injury that onecannot contain), is permissible. This is based on the Qur'anic verse:"When the revelations of the Merciful were recited unto them, they fellprostrating and adoring." This verse is general and includes one who ispraying.
'Abdullah ibn ash-Schikhir relates: "I saw the Messenger of Allahpraying and his chest was 'buzzing', like the buzzing of a cooking pot, due tocrying." 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 Badrsave al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad. I saw that not one of us was standing save theMessenger of Allah who was praying under a tree and crying until thedawn." This is related by Ibn Hibban.
'Aishah relates the incident that occurred during the fatal illness of theProphet sallallahu alehi wasallam. The Messenger of Allah said: "Order AbuBakr to lead the people in prayer." 'Aishah responded: "O Messengerof 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: "Isaid that only because I hated that the people should blame Abu Bakr for beingthe first to take the place of the Messenger of Allah." The Messenger ofAllah said: "Order Abu Bakr to lead the people in salah. You women arelike the companions of Yusuf." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, IbnHibban, and at-Tirmizhi who calls it sahih. The fact that the Prophet insistedthat Abu Bakr lead the salah after he was inforrned that he would be overcomeby 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 hisvoice in crying. This is related by al-Bukhari, Sa'id ibn Mansur, and ibnal-Munzhir. In 'Umar's raising his voice in crying is a refutation of those whosay 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 thatsound from the mouth due to crying is like speaking, but this is not acceptableas crying and speaking are two different things.
Ibn Abbas relates: "The Messenger of Allah would turn to his right andleft he would not turn his head to see behind him." This is related byAhmad.
Abu Dawud records that when the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam prayed,"he looked toward a valley because he had sent some horsemen to guard thevalley."
Anas ibn Sireen says: "I saw Anas ibn Malik lift his eyes to somethingwhile he was praying." This is related by Ahmad.
Turning to look at something without any genuine need is disliked, for it isagainst the etiqettes of humility while facing Allah in Prayer.
'Aishah says: "I asked the Messenger of Allah about turning in salahand he said: 'It is the portion that the Satan steals from the slave'sprayer.'" This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, an-Nasa'i, and Abu Dawud.
Abu ad-Darda' narrates from the Prophet: "O people, be careful aboutturning for there is no salah for the one who turns. If you must do it, do itin the voluntary prayers and not in the obligatory prayers." This isrelated by Ahmad.
Anas relates that the Messenger of Allah said to him: "Be careful aboutturning during the salah as turning in the salah is disastrous. If you must doit, 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 wasallamsaid: "Allah gave Yahya, son of Zakariyah, five commands that he was toabide by and was to order the tribe of Isra'el to abide by..." One of themwas, "Verily, Allah orders you to pray, and when you pray, do not tum forAllah looks to the face of His slave in salah as long as he does notturn." This is related by Ahmad and an-Nasa'i.
Abu Zharr reported that the Prophet said: "Allah faces the slave whilehe is in the salah and keeps facing him as long as he does not turn. If [theslave] turns, [Allah] turns away from him." This is related by Ahmad andby Abu Dawud who said its chain of narrators (isnad) is sahih. The precedinghadith is concerned with turning the face during the salah. If one turns thewhole (upper) body away from the qiblah, then the salah is invalidated, for notfulfilling the requirment of facing the qiblah. On this point, there is nodifference of opinion.
If killing these would only require a small action on the part of the personin salah, then there is no harm in doing it. Abu Hurairah reported that theProphet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Kill the snake and the scorpionduring 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 houseand the door was locked. I came and knocked on the door and he walked over toopen it for me and then he returned to his place of prayer. The door was in thedirection 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 thishadith, he did not turn away from the qiblah either in opening the door, or inreturning to his place. This is supported by what has been related that the Prophetwould pray and if anyone knocked on the door, he would open the door providedthe door was in the direction of the qiblah or on his right or on his left, buthe 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, atthe bank of a river, and he prayed while holding the reins of his horse. Thehorse started going back, and he (i.e.Abu Barzah) followed the horse. A manfrom the Khawarij said: 'O Allah, be rough on this man, see how he is doing hisprayer.' 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 myanimal than let him run off loose as that would have caused me a great deal oftrouble.' It was 'Asr prayer that Abu Barzah offered, and he prayed tworak'at." This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and al-Baihaqi.
Concerning taking a lot of steps, Ibn Hajr says in Fath al-Bari: "Thejurists are agreed that taking many steps invalidates an obligatory prayer.They interpret the hadith of Abu Barzah as referring to taking just a fewsteps."
Abu Qatadah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam was offeringsalah and Umamah bint Zainab was on his neck [shoulder]. When he performedruku', he put her down, and when he got up from his sajdah, he would place herback on his neck. 'Amr inquired during which salah this happened. Ibn Juraijsaid that it is related from Zaid ibn Abu 'Atab from 'Amr ibn Salim that thishappened in the morning prayer. This is related by Ahmad, anNasa'i, and others.Al-Fakihani comments: "The purpose behind the action of the Prophet ofcarrying Umamah in the salah was to set an example before the Arabs whoconsidered having daughters and carrying them around as something bad orshameful. The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam acted differently from them, andcarried a girl on his neck in the prayer, and making something clear by exampleis much more effective than a mere precept."
'Abdullah ibn Shidad relates that his father said: "The Messenger ofAllah came to us either during the noon or afternoon prayers and he wascarrying Hassan or Hussain. The Prophet proceeded to the front and put him downand made the takbir for the salah. During the salah, he made a long sajdah. Iraised my head and saw the child on the back of the Messenger of Allah while hewas in sajdah. I returned to my sajdah. When the Messenger of Allah finishedthe salah, the people said to him: 'O Messenger of Allah, you prostrated duringyour salah so long that we suspected you were thinking about some matter or youwere receiving some revelation.' He said: 'None of that happened but my son wasresting 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 andthose who agree with him, points to the permissibility of carrying or holding ayoung 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 companionsof Malik say that the permissibility is only for voluntary prayers and not forobligatory prayers. This interpretation is incorrect as it is clear that theProphet was leading one of the obligatory prayers, and as stated earlier it wasthe fajr prayer. Some followers of Malik claim that its permissibility has beenabograted, while others say it was only permissible for the Prophet, and yetothers hold that it was due to some necessity. All of this is wrong and to berejected as there is no proof for any of it or any necessity. The authentichadith clearly states that it is permissible and there is nothing in thatruling which contradicts any basic principle of the shari'ah as a human beingis pure and what is in his/her abdomen is not relevant in this regard, as itremains within the stomach, its natural receptacle. Also, the clothing of achild 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 ordispersed. The fact that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam did this is anexposition of its permissibility, and this argument is built upon the principlewhich we have mentioned before. This refutes what Abu Sulaiman al-Khattabisays, namely, that the Prophet did not carry the child intentionally but thechild was holding onto the Prophet, and when he stood the child remained withhim. He said: "Do not think that he held him again intentionally as thatwould be too much action and would distract the heart. If a curtain distractedhim, how could [the child] not distract him?" This statement byal-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, "whenhe stood, he carried him." And, "when he got up from his sajdah, hewould return [the child to his place]." Further refutations are derivedfrom a version other than Sahih Muslim, "He came to us while carrying Umamahand prayed..." Concerning the ruling about the curtain, it distracts theheart without there being any benefit to it. Concerning carrying Umamah, we arenot convinced that it distracts the heart, and even if it does, it is alloweddue to its benefit and the principles that we have mentioned. The source ofthat preoccupation is that benefit, which differs from the incident concerningthe curtain. Thus, the correct position is that the hadith is a clearexposition that it is permissible to carry a child in salah and this will continueto be part of the Islamic law until the Day of Judgment. And Allah knows best.
The one in salah who is greeted or spoken to may reply to the one who greetsor speaks to him by making some motion.
Jabir said: "The Messenger of Allah sent me somewhere while he wasgoing to the tribe of Mustaliq. I came to him and he was praying while on theback of his camel. [When] I spoke to him, he and Zubair motioned with theirhands. I heard him reciting and saw him gesturing with his head. When hefinished, he said: 'What have you done about the thing I sent you for? Nothingkept me from talking to you save that I was in salah.'" This is related byAhmad and Muslim.
'Abdullah ibn 'Umar narrates that Suhaib said: "I passed by theMessenger of Allah while he was offering salah. I greeted him and he respondedto me by only signaling." 'Abdullah said: "The only thing that I knowis that he said he signaled to him with his finger." This is related byAhmad and by at-Tirmizhi. The latter calls it sahih.
'Abdullah ibn 'Umar says: "I asked Suhaib: 'How did the Messenger ofAllah respond to the people when they greeted him while he was praying?' Hesaid: '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 isrelated 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 thehead. All of these actions have been related from the Prophet sallallahu alehiwasallam.
It is allowed for men to say subhanallah and for women to clap if there issome need to do so (such as alerting the imam to a mistake or informing someonethat he or she may enter the room or to warn a blind person, and so on). Sahlibn Sa'd asSa'di relates that the Prophet said: "If someone is faced withsomething during the salah, he should say 'subhanallah.' Clapping is for thewomen 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 himof it, regardless of whether the recitation is a part of the obligatoryrecitation or not. Ibn 'Umar reports that the Messenger of Allah prayed and hadsome 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 Dawudand others and its narrators are trustworthy.
Rifa'ah ibn Rafi' relates: "I prayed behind the Messenger of Allah, andI sneezed and said, 'Praise be to Allah, a great deal of praise, beautiful andblessed, as our Lord loves and is pleased with.' [Afterward,] the Messenger ofAllah asked: 'Who spoke during the salah?' No one said anything. He askedagain, and no one said anything. He asked again, and I said: 'It was I, OMessenger of Allah!' He then said: 'By the One in whose hand is Muhammad'ssoul, thirty some odd angels raced to get that phrase to raise it [to theLord].'" This is related by an-Nasa'i and at-Tirmizhi, and by al-Bukhariwith a different wording.
Ibn 'Abbas reports that the Messenger of Allah prayed in one garment andcovered his face with a portion of it to avoid the heat or coldness of theground. This is related by Ahmad with a sahih isnad (chain). It is disliked ifit is done without any genuine reason.
Ibn al-Qayyim has summarized some of the acts which are permissible duringthe salah and which the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam used to perform attimes. He writes:
The Prophet would pray and 'Aishah would be lying between him and theqiblah. When he performed sajdah, he would signal to her with his hand and shewould pull back her leg and when he would stand she would stretch out her legagain. The Prophet was praying and the Satan came to him to disturb his salahand the Prophet choked until his saliva came upon his hand. And the Prophetwould pray upon the pulpit, making ruku' there, but when the time came toperform 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 triedto pass between him and the wall. The Prophet prevented the animal from passingto 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 heseparated them with his arms while he was praying. Ahmad's version says thatthey grabbed unto his knees and he separated them without leaving the salah. Onanother occasion, when he was praying, a boy came to him and he motioned to himto move back, and he moved back. Then a girl tried to pass in front of him, hebeckoned 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 theSunan. 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 andwould also clear his throat while praying. 'Ali ibn Abi Talib said: "I hada certain time at which I would visit the Messenger of Allah. When I came tohim, he would permit me to enter. If I found him praying, he would clear histhroat and I would enter. If he was free, he would give me permission toenter." 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 himwhile 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 opinionthat clearing one's throat invalidated the salah. Sometimes the Prophet wouldpray 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 fromthe Jews. Sometimes he would pray in one garment and sometimes in two garmentsand [this latter] was the majority of the cases.
Zhakwan, the protege of 'Aishah, would lead her in prayer during Ramadanwhile 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 onesometimes turns pages during a salah, it does not invalidate it. If he looks atsomething 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 itin al-Imla'.
Abu Hurairah repons that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said:"When the call to prayer is made, the Satan takes to his heels... and whenit is finished, he returns. He flees again when the iqamah is made and when itis finished, he returns until he comes between the man and his thoughts,saying: 'Remember this and remember that,' which he had not recalled, until theperson 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 byal-Bukhari and Muslim.
Al-Bukhari also records that 'Umar said: "I arrange the troops [in mymind] during the salah." Although it is true that such a salah is validand sufficient, it is a must for the person in prayer to keep his mind andheart attuned to the salah and his Lord and to keep his thoughts on the meaningof the Qur'anic verses and the significance of the different acts of the salahsince a person has for him only that portion of the salah which he is fullyaware of [while performing it].
Au Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and Ibn Hibban record from 'Ammar ibn Yasir that heheard the Messenger of Allah say: "A man may complete the salah and onlyhave recorded for himself one-tenth or one-ninth or one-eighth or one-seventhor 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 himselfduring 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 dayremembering 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 lightlike the light of the sun. I protect him by My Glory and the angels guard overhim. 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, withoutbeing 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 metherein!" The Prophet said: "That Satan is called Khanzab. If heaffects you seek refuge in Allah from him and 'spit out' on your left sidethree 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 heasks for.' When the slave says 'All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of theWorlds,' Allah, the Exalted, says 'My slave has praised Me.' When he says 'TheCompassionate, the Merciful,' Allah, the Exalted, says 'My slave has laudedMe.' When he says 'Master of the Day of Judgment.' Allah, the Exalted says 'Myservant has glorified Me and entrusted his affairs to Me.' And when he says 'Itis 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 whenhe says 'Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom you have blessedand 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 asksfor.'"
It is disliked for anyone to leave any of the sunnah acts described earlier