The Ruling Concerning Walking Infront of The Praying Person – & The Statements of The Scholars Regarding It

 الحمد لله رب العالمين، والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين، نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين أما بعد

 

Bukhaaree and Muslim both report on the authority of Aboo Juhaim bin Al-Haarith bin As-Sammah Al-Ansaaree that the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:

((If the one who passes in front of the one who is praying was to know what is upon him; then for him to stand still for forty would be better than for him to pass in front of him.))[1] Aboo Nadr[2] said: “I do not know if it was forty days or forty months or forty years.”

 

Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar (rahimahullaah) said: Ibn Daqeeq Al-‘Eed mentioned that some of the Fuqahaa (jurists) of the Maalikee madhab divided the types of passing in front of a person who is praying, in terms of sin or its contrary into four types:

  1. That circumstance in which the one passing is sinful – not the one praying.
  2. The opposite of that.
  3. They are both sinful.
  4. The opposite of that.

The First Instance: is when a person is praying to a sutra[3] and is not in a thoroughfare/walkway, yet the one who is passing has an alternative (i.e. another course), so the one passing is sinful – not the one praying.

The Second Instance: is when a person is praying in a thoroughfare needed to pass through and is not praying towards a sutra – or is far from a sutra, yet the one who is passing finds no alternative (i.e. another course), so the one praying is sinful – not the one passing.

The Third Instance: is like the second instance however the one who is passing has an alternative (i.e. another course), so they are both sinful.

The Fourth Instance: is like the first instance however the one who is passing finds no alternative (i.e. another course), so both are not sinful.

Ibn Hajar states: “from that which is apparent in the hadeeth is that it indicates the forbiddance of taking passage – without exception, even if one does not find another way – rather one should remain standing until the one who is praying has concluded his prayer.”

After stating this Shaikh Ahmad An-Najmee (rahimahullaah) said: “I say: this is the truth; because the hadeeth has attached the issue of sinning with passing – and did not elaborate; rather it made the standing for a lengthy amount of time as being better than passing – and Allaah Knows best.”

Imaam An-Nawawee (rahimahullaah) said: “in it is a proof of the impermissibility of passing, for indeed the hadeeth carries an assured prohibition and a severe threat over doing that.”

Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar stated: “what is necessarily the case from that is that it is counted as being from amongst the major sins.”

Shaikh ‘Abdur-Rahmaan As-Sa’dee (rahimahullaah) said: “in it is a severe threat in doing that; and it is haraam (forbidden) and from the major sins, regardless of whether the one who is passing is a male or a female. This is because the passing of a male decreases the reward of the prayer; and the passing of a female invalidates it…”[4]

Shaikh Ahmad Shaakir (rahimahullaah) said: “I do not know of any difference between the people of knowledge regarding the impermissibility of passing in front of a praying person.”

 

The Wisdom Behind The Sutra

Shaikh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) said:

“The wisdom behind the sutra is as follows:

Firstly: that it conceals any deficiency in the prayer of a person or even its invalidation if a person passes from behind it.

Secondly: that it screens the view of the one who is praying; especially if it (the sight) is fixed – meaning that it has wrongdoing; for it indeed helps the one who is praying to have an attentive heart and to screen his sight.

Thirdly: in it is exemplifying the command of the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and of following his guidance. So everything which has in it exemplifying (the commands) of Allaah and His Messenger; or following the guidance of the Messenger (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) – then that is better.”

 

(Taken from: Aqwaal Al-‘Ulamaa Al-A’laam ‘alaa Ahaadeeth ‘Umdatul Ahkaam vol 1p.325-326 & Ta-sees Al-Ahkaam vol 2 p.146-147 & Ta’leeqaat ‘Alaa ‘Umdatil Ahkaam p.151-152 & 154 & Tanbeeh Al-Afhaam Sharh ‘Umdatul Ahkaam p.239 & Ahkaam As-Sutra p.50-51.)

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[1] Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.510) and Muslim (no.507).

[2] Aboo Nadr is the Taabi’ee in the chain of narration.

[3] The screen or cover which in regards to the prayer is an object a little further than the point of the prostration of a persons’ head and nothing should be allowed to pass between the praying person and his sutra.

[4] The Shaikh (rahimahullaah) is referring to the hadeeth which he brings soon after in his discussion during his explanation of ‘Umdatul Ahkaam which is reported by Muslim in which the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: ((That which breaks the prayer of a person are: the woman and the donkey and the black dog)).

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