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Rules of Namaz » Conditions of clothing worn by someone performing prayers → ← Rules of Namaz » Rules of qibla

Rules of Namaz » Covering the body in prayers

Ruling 775. While performing prayers, a man must cover his private parts even if no one sees him; and it is better that he covers his body from the navel to the knees.

Ruling 776. While performing prayers, a woman must cover her entire body, even her head and hair; and based on obligatory precaution she must cover her body in a way that even she cannot see it. Therefore, if she wears a chador in a way that she can see her body, it is problematic [i.e. based on obligatory precaution, a woman must not wear a chador in such a way]. However, it is not necessary for a woman to cover her face, nor her hands below the wrists, nor her feet below the ankles. In order to be certain that she has covered the obligatory areas, she must also cover a little of the sides of her face and a little of the area below her wrists and ankles.

Ruling 777. When someone makes up a forgotten sajdah or tashahhud, he must cover himself in the same manner as when he performs prayers. And the recommended precaution is that he should cover himself in this manner when he performs sajdatā al-sahw as well.

Ruling 778. If when performing prayers one intentionally does not cover his private parts(1) his prayers are invalid. If he does this on account of not knowing the ruling, in the event that he was negligent in not learning the ruling, he must, based on obligatory precaution, perform the prayers again.

Ruling 779. If someone realises during his prayers that his private parts are visible, he must cover them and it is not necessary for him to repeat his prayers. However, the obligatory precaution is that while he realises that his private parts are visible, he must not continue with any component of the prayer. And if he realises after his prayer that during the prayer his private parts were visible, his prayer is valid.

Ruling 780. If some clothing covers one’s private parts while he is standing but it is possible that it would not cover them in other positions – for example, in the position of rukūʿ and sujūd (prostrating) – then, in the event that when his private parts are visible he covers them by some means, his prayer is valid. However, the recommended precaution is that he should not perform prayers with such clothing.

Ruling 781. When performing prayers, one can cover himself using grass and tree leaves. However, the recommended precaution is that he should only use these when he does not have clothing.

Ruling 782. If a person is in a helpless situation whereby he does not have anything with which to cover his private parts, he can cover them with mud and suchlike so that the skin is not visible.

Ruling 783. If a person does not have anything with which to cover himself while performing prayers, in the event that he has not lost hope in finding something to cover himself with, the obligatory precaution is that he must delay performing prayers; and if he does not find anything, he must perform his prayer in accordance with his duty at the end of the prescribed time. However, if he has lost hope, he can perform his prayer in accordance with his duty at the start of the prescribed time; and in this case, if he performs prayers at the start of the prescribed time and afterwards his excuse expires, it is not necessary for him to repeat his prayer.

Ruling 784. If someone who wants to perform prayers does not even have tree leaves, grass, mud, or sludge with which to cover himself, and if he is not hopeful of finding something before the end of the prayer’s prescribed time with which he could cover himself, then, in case he is confident that someone from whom it is obligatory to cover his private parts will not see him, he must perform his prayer in a standing position and perform rukūʿ and sujūd normally. Furthermore, in the event that he deems it probable that an onlooker (al-nāẓir al-muḥtaram)(2) will see him, he must perform his prayer in such a manner that his private parts are not visible; for example, by performing it in a sitting position. If in order to prevent himself from being seen by an onlooker in each of these three states he is obliged to perform his prayer in a sitting position and to leave out rukūʿ and sujūd, he must sit and perform rukūʿ and sujūd by indicating; and if he is obliged to leave out only one of these three acts, he must leave out only that one. Therefore, if he can stand only, he must perform rukūʿ and sujūd by indicating; and if standing results in him being seen, he must sit and perform rukūʿ and sujūd normally. However, in this case, the recommended precaution is that he should combine this kind of sitting and performing the prayer in a standing position with doing rukūʿ and sujūd by indicating. And the obligatory precaution is that a naked person performing prayers must cover his private parts using some part of his body, such as his thighs in a sitting position and his hands in a standing position.

(1) With regard to a woman, ‘private parts’ in this and in subsequent rulings pertaining to covering the body in prayers refers to all the parts of the body that a woman must cover in prayers; i.e. her entire body – apart from her face, her hands below the wrists, and her feet below the ankles. (See Tawḍīḥ al-Masāʾil-i Jāmiʿ, vol. 1, p. 288, Ruling 933).
(2) Al-nāẓir al-muḥtaram (literally, a ‘respected onlooker’) is someone who is sane (ʿāqil), able to discern between right and wrong (mumayyiz), of the age of legal responsibility (bāligh), and not married to the person being seen.
Rules of Namaz » Conditions of clothing worn by someone performing prayers → ← Rules of Namaz » Rules of qibla
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