Prohibitions in Islam - Page 12

repeat it and repent to Allah for what is past; he does not need to repeat all of his previous prayers, as is indicated by the hadith “Repeat your prayer, for you have not prayed.”

Fidgeting and making unnecessary movements in prayer

Hardly any of the people who pray are free from this problem, because they are not following the command of Allah (interpretation of the meaning): “And stand before Allah with obedience” [Al-Baqarah 2:238]; and they fail to understand the words of Allah (interpretation of the meaning): “Successful indeed are the believers, those who offer their salaat with all solemnity and full submissiveness.” [Al-Mu’minoon 23:1-2]

When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was asked about smoothing the earth before prostrating, he said, “Do not wipe it when you are praying; if you have to, then just smooth the gravel once.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, 1/581; see also Sahih Al-Jami’, 7452).

The scholars mentioned that continuous, excessive, unnecessary movement invalidates one’s prayer. How can those fidgets stand before Allah, looking at their watches, straightening their clothes, putting their fingers in their noses, looking to the right and the left and up to the sky, and not fearing that Allah may take away their sight or Shaytaan may steal their prayer?

Deliberately anticipating the movements of the imam (when praying in congregation)

Man is hasty by nature, as it says in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning): “and man is ever hasty” [Al-Israa’ 17:11]. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Deliberation is from Allah and haste is from Shaytaan.” (Reported by Al-Bayhaqi in Al-Sunan Al-Kubra, 10/104; see also Al-Silsilah, 1795).

One often notices, when praying in congregation, people to the left and right anticipating the imam in rukoo’, sujood and the takbeeraat that signal changes in position - one even notices it in oneself too, sometimes. People may even precede the imam in giving salaam at the end of the prayer. This is a matter which may appear unimportant to many, but the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) issued a stern warning when he said: “Does the person who raises his head before the imam not fear that Allah may turn his head into the head of a donkey?” (Reported by Muslim, 1/320-321).

If a person is required to come to the prayer with dignity and composure, how then should he be during the prayer itself? Some people are confused about this issue and seek to compensate by delaying their movements after the imam; these people should know that the Fuqaha’, may Allah have mercy on them, have described an excellent way to control the matter, which is that the person following the imam should only start his movements after the imam has finished pronouncing the ra’ (“r”) of “Allahu Akbar”; then the person following the imam is permitted to move, and not before or after.

The Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to be very keen to avoid anticipating his movements when he led them in prayer. One of them, Al-Bara’ Ibn ‘A’azib (may Allah be pleased with him) said that they used to pray behind the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “When he raised his head from rukoo’, I would never see anyone bending his back in sujood until the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had placed his forehead on the ground, then

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