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Things which invalidate prayers » Things that are disapproved (makrūh) in prayers → ← Things which invalidate prayers » Ṣalawāt

Things which invalidate prayers » Things that invalidate (mubṭilāt) prayers

Ruling 1112. Twelve things invalidate prayers. These twelve things are called the ‘mubṭilāt’ of prayers.

First: during prayers, one of the required conditions is no longer fulfilled. For example, during prayers one realises that his clothes are impure.

Second: during prayers, one intentionally, inadvertently, or due to helplessness, does something that invalidates wuḍūʾ or ghusl. For example, he urinates, even if – based on obligatory precaution – this happens inadvertently or due to helplessness after completing the last sajdah of the prayer. However, if one cannot prevent the discharge of urine and faeces and during prayers urine or faeces is discharged from his body, in the event that he acts according to the instructions that were mentioned in the section on wuḍūʾ, his prayer does not become invalid. Similarly, if during prayers, blood is discharged from a woman experiencing an irregular blood discharge (istiḥāḍah), in the event that she has acted according to the instructions concerning irregular blood discharge, her prayer is valid.

Ruling 1113. If someone falls asleep involuntarily and does not know whether he fell asleep during prayers or after them, it is not necessary for him to repeat his prayers on condition that he knows that the extent to which he performed the prayers could be commonly regarded as being prayers.

Ruling 1114. If a person knows that he slept voluntarily but doubts whether he slept after prayers or he slept during prayers having forgotten that he was performing prayers, then his prayer is valid subject to the same condition that was mentioned in the previous ruling.

Ruling 1115. If a person wakes up from the act of performing sajdah and doubts whether he is in the last sajdah of the prayer or in sajdat al-shukr, then, whether he knows he fell asleep intentionally or unintentionally, his prayer is considered to be valid and it is not necessary for him to repeat it.

Third: a person places his hands on top of one another with the intention of humility and respect. The prayer becoming invalid by this act is based on obligatory precaution; however, there is no doubt that this act, if performed with the intention that it is sanctioned in Islamic law, is unlawful.

Ruling 1116. There is no problem if a person places one hand on the other forgetfully, helplessly, due to taqiyyah, or for some other reason, such as wanting to scratch his hand.

Fourth: after reciting Sūrat al-Ḥamd one says ‘āmīn’. With regard to someone who is not a follower in congregational prayers, his prayer becoming invalid by saying ‘āmīn’ is based on obligatory precaution. However, there is no doubt that this act, if performed with the intention that it is sanctioned in Islamic law, is unlawful. There is no problem, however, if one says ‘āmīn’ mistakenly or due to taqiyyah.

Fifth: one turns away from qibla without a legitimate excuse. However, if one has a legitimate excuse, such as forgetfulness, or something compels him – for example, a mighty wind turns him away from qibla – then, in the event that he does not turn completely to the right or left, his prayer is valid. However, after the legitimate excuse expires, it is necessary that he immediately turns towards qibla. And in the event that he does turn completely to the right or left or he has his back towards qibla, then, if he had forgotten or was unmindful of this fact, or he had made a mistake in identifying the direction of qibla, and he is reminded or he becomes aware of this at a time when he is able to break his prayer and perform it again facing the qibla – even if one rakʿah is performed within the prescribed time – in such a case, he must perform the prayer from the start; otherwise, he must continue with the prayer and it is not necessary for him to make it up. The same applies if he is compelled to turn away from qibla, i.e. if without turning away from qibla he can perform the prayer again within its prescribed time – even if one rakʿah is performed within the prescribed time – he must perform the prayer from the start; otherwise, he must complete the prayer and it is not necessary for him to perform it again or to make it up.

Ruling 1117. If a person turns only his face away from qibla and his body remains facing qibla, in the event that he turns his neck to such an extent that he can see a little of what is behind him, the rule of turning away from qibla – which was mentioned earlier – applies. However, if his turning is not to this extent but is commonly considered to be a lot, then based on obligatory precaution he must perform his prayer again. And if he turns his neck a little, his prayer does not become invalid, although this action is disapproved.

Sixth: one intentionally speaks, even if what he says is only one letter, as long as it conveys a meaning; for example, he says ‘قِ’ (qi), which in Arabic means ‘keep safe’. The same applies if what he says means something in a particular context; for example, he says ‘باء’ (bāʾ) in response to someone who asks what the second letter of the Arabic alphabet is. In the event that what he intentionally says conveys no meaning at all but consists of two or more letters, then based on obligatory precaution this also invalidates prayers.

Ruling 1118. If a person inadvertently says a word that has one or more letters, then even if that word conveys a meaning his prayer does not become invalid. However, based on obligatory precaution, it is necessary that after prayers he performs sajdatā al-sahw, which will be discussed later.

Ruling 1119. There is no problem if one coughs or burps in prayers. The obligatory precaution is that in prayers, one must not voluntarily sigh or groan. However, saying ‘oh’ or ‘ah’ and suchlike, if said intentionally, invalidates prayers.

Ruling 1120. If a person says a word with the intention of dhikr – for example, he says ‘allāhu akbar’ with the intention of dhikr – and if when saying it he raises his voice in order to make someone aware of something, there is no problem. Similarly, if a person says a word with the intention of dhikr, then even if he knows that by saying it someone will become aware of some matter, there is no problem. However, if he does not make an intention of dhikr at all, or he makes an intention for both purposes [i.e. an intention to perform dhikr and an intention to make someone aware of something], then his prayer becomes invalid.(1) However, if he makes an intention of dhikr but his motive for saying it is to make someone aware of something, his prayer is valid.

Ruling 1121. During prayers, there is no problem in reciting the Qur’an(2) – apart from the four verses of obligatory sajdah – and there is also no problem in supplicating. However, the recommended precaution is that one should not supplicate in a language other than Arabic. (The rule regarding the four verses of obligatory sajdah is mentioned in the section on qirāʾah, Ruling 969).

Ruling 1122. There is no problem if a person intentionally or as a precautionary measure repeats part of Sūrat al-Ḥamd, the other surah, or a dhikr of the prayer multiple times.

Ruling 1123. During prayers, one must not say salām [the Islamic greeting] to another person; and if someone says salām to him, he must reply but in the same way as the person said salām to him; i.e. he must not add anything to the initial salām. For example, he must not reply ‘salām ʿalaykum wa raḥmatul lāhi wa barakātuh’ [‘peace be upon you, and Allah’s mercy and His blessing (be upon you too)’]. In fact, based on obligatory precaution, he must not say the words ‘ʿalaykum’ [‘upon you’ (plural form)] or ‘ʿalayk’ [‘upon you’ (singular form)] before the word ‘salām’ if the person who said salām did not say it in that way either. And the recommended precaution is that one’s response should be exactly the same as the salām said by the other person. For example, if he said ‘salām ʿalaykum’, he should reply ‘salām ʿalaykum’; and if he said ‘salām ʿalayk’, he should reply ‘salām ʿalayk’. However, in response to ‘ʿalaykum salām’, he can say ‘ʿalaykum salām’, or ‘assalām ʿalaykum’, or ‘salām ʿalaykum’.

Ruling 1124. One must immediately reply to salām, irrespective of whether he is performing prayers or not. If a person intentionally or due to forgetfulness delays his reply to salām to the extent that were he to reply to it, it would not be considered a reply to that initial salām, then, in the event that he is performing prayers he must not reply, and if he is not performing prayers then replying is not obligatory.

Ruling 1125. One must reply to salām in a manner that the person who said salām to him hears the reply. However, if the person who said salām is deaf or he passes by quickly having said salām, in the event that it is possible to make that person aware of the reply by indicating and suchlike, it is necessary to do so. In other cases – except during prayers – it is not necessary to reply, and during prayers it is not permitted.

Ruling 1126. It is obligatory for a person who is performing prayers to reply to a salām with the intention of greeting (taḥiyyah), and there is no problem if he also makes an intention of a duʿāʾ, i.e. he asks Allah to grant good health to the person who said salām to him.

Ruling 1127. If a woman or a man who is neither a maḥram nor a mumayyiz child – i.e. a child who is able to discern between right and wrong – says salām to a person who is performing prayers, that person must reply. And if a woman greets him with the words ‘salām ʿalayka’, he can reply ‘salām ʿalayki’, i.e. with a kasrah on the kāf.

Ruling 1128. If a person who is performing prayers does not reply to a salām, then even though he commits a sin his prayer is valid.

Ruling 1129. If someone says salām incorrectly to a person performing prayers, then based on obligatory precaution he must reply correctly.

Ruling 1130. It is not obligatory to reply to a salām that is said mockingly or jokingly, nor to the salām of a non-Muslim man or woman who is not a dhimmī.(3) And if the person is a dhimmī, then based on obligatory precaution the answer must be restricted to the word ‘ʿalayk’.

Ruling 1131. If someone says salām to a group of people, replying to his salām is obligatory on everyone. However, it is sufficient if one of them replies.

Ruling 1132. If someone says salām to a group of people but the person to whom the salām was not directed replies, it is still obligatory on the group to reply to his salām.

Ruling 1133. If a person says salām to a group of people and someone from among them who is performing prayers doubts whether the person who said salām intended to address him as well or not, he must not reply. The same applies, based on obligatory precaution, if he knows that he intended to address him as well but another person replied. However, if he knows that he intended to address him as well but another person does not reply, or he doubts whether he replied or not, he must reply to him.

Ruling 1134. It is recommended to say salām. It is reported that a person who is riding should say salām to a person who is walking, and a person who is standing should say it to one who is sitting, and the younger of two people should say it to the older person.

Ruling 1135. If two people together say salām to each other, then based on obligatory precaution each of them must reply to the salām of the other.

Ruling 1136. Except in prayers, it is recommended that the reply to salām should be better than the salām itself. For example, if one says ‘salām ʿalaykum’, the other person should reply ‘salām ʿalaykum wa raḥmatul lāh’.

Seventh: one intentionally laughs aloud. If one laughs aloud involuntarily but what led him to do so was of his own volition, or, based on obligatory precaution, even if it was not of his own volition, then, if there is enough time for him to perform the prayer again, he must do so. However, if he laughs intentionally but without making any noise or he inadvertently laughs aloud, his prayer is correct.

Ruling 1137. If on account of refraining oneself from laughing aloud one’s condition changes – for example, the colour of his face turns red – then the obligatory precaution is that he must perform his prayer again.

Eighth: based on obligatory precaution, intentionally crying loudly or silently over a worldly matter. However, if one cries silently or loudly out of fear of Allah, or in eagerness for Him, or for the Hereafter, there is no problem; indeed, it is among the best actions. In fact, if one cries in asking Allah for a worldly matter in humility to Him, there is no problem.

Ninth: doing something that breaks the form of the prayer, such as jumping in the air and suchlike, whether intentionally or forgetfully. However, doing something that does not break the form of the prayer, such as indicating with one’s hand, is not a problem.

Ruling 1138. If during prayers one remains silent to the extent that it cannot be said he is performing prayers, his prayer becomes invalid.

Ruling 1139. If during prayers one does something or remains silent for a while and doubts whether or not his prayer has broken up, he must perform the prayer again. However, it is better that he first completes that prayer and then repeats it.

Tenth: eating and drinking. If while performing prayers one eats or drinks in a manner that it cannot be said he is performing prayers – irrespective of whether he does this intentionally or forgetfully – his prayer becomes invalid. However, if before the time of ṣubḥ prayers a person who wants to fast performs a recommended prayer and becomes thirsty, in the event that he fears that if he completes the prayer it will be time for ṣubḥ prayers, and if there is some water two or three steps in front of him, he can drink the water while performing prayers. However, he must not do anything that invalidates prayers, such as turning away from qibla.

Ruling 1140. Based on obligatory precaution, even if the form of prayer does not break by intentionally eating or drinking, one must perform the prayer again, irrespective of whether or not muwālāh is maintained, i.e. irrespective of whether or not it can be said that he is performing [the parts of] the prayer in close succession.

Ruling 1141. If while performing prayers one swallows food that had remained in his mouth or in between his teeth, his prayer does not become invalid. Furthermore, there is no problem if a lump of sugar or sugar granules and suchlike remain in one’s mouth and gradually dissolve and are swallowed while one is performing prayers.

Eleventh: one has a doubt about the number of rakʿahs he has performed while performing a two rakʿah or three rakʿah prayer, or while performing the first two rakʿahs of a four rakʿah prayer, on condition that the doubt remains with him.

Twelfth: one intentionally or inadvertently does not perform a rukn of the prayer, or intentionally does not perform an obligatory component of the prayer that is not a rukn, or intentionally adds one of the parts of the prayer. Similarly, if one inadvertently adds a rukn like a rukūʿ or two sajdahs in the same rakʿah, then based on obligatory precaution his prayer becomes invalid. As for inadvertently adding a takbīrat al-iḥrām, this does not invalidate prayers.

Ruling 1142. If after performing prayers one doubts whether or not he has performed an act that invalidates prayers, his prayer is valid.

(1) For example, if during prayers a person realises that there is someone knocking on the door of the house and in order to draw the attention of one of his family members to this he says ‘allāhu akbar’ with the intention of it meaning ‘someone is at the door’ and not as a dhikr, his prayer is invalid. Similarly, if when he says ‘allāhu akbar’ he intends it to mean two things: ‘someone is at the door’ and ‘Allah is greater’, then again his prayer is invalid.
(2) Although as mentioned in Ruling 1078, it is disapproved to recite the Qur’an in sajdah.
(3) Dhimmīs are People of the Book (ahl al-kitāb) – i.e. Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians – who have entered into a dhimmah treaty, i.e. an agreement that gives them rights as protected subjects in an Islamic state.
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