Fiqh As-Sunnah
Prayer (Salah)

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 Dharr 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-Tirmidhi, 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.

Placing one's hands on hips during the prayer:
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.

Raising one's sight to the sky or upwards:
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.

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.

Closing one's eyes:
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."

Motioning with both hands while making the salutations [i.e., the taslim]:
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.

Covering the mouth and letting one's garment down until it touches the ground:
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."

Performing the salah while the food has been served:
'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."

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-Tirmidhi 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.

Praying when one is overcome by sleep:
'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.

Praying at a fixed place in the mosque [except in the case of the imam]:
'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.

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