Sutra for prayer.

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)


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How far we have permission to cross a person who is praying


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Sutra for prayer

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


Abu Hurairah relates that the Prophet (saws) said: "When one of you prays, he should place something in front of him (as a sutra).  If he cannot find anything, he should prop up his staff [in front of him]. If he does not have a staff, he should draw a line [on the ground in front of him] then nothing that passes in front of him will harm him."

Related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud and Ibn Hibban.


The responsibility of placing the sutra lies upon the one who is offering the prayer, and he should place the ‘sutra’ a few inches or a foot-or-two (maximum) beyond his place of prostration in prayer.


Busr ibn Sa'id says that Zaid ibn Khalid sent him to Abu Juhaim to ask him what he had heard from the Prophet (saws) concerning passing in front of someone who is praying. He said that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: "If one knew [the sin] of passing in front of one who is praying, he would rather wait forty [...] than to pass in front of him."

Related by Bukhari and Muslim.


Ibn al-Qayyim writes: "Jurists of the stature of Ibn Hibban and others are of the opinion that the prohibition mentioned in the above hadith applies when one is praying with a ‘sutrah’. If one is praying without a ‘sutrah’, it is not forbidden to pass in front of him. As a proof, Ibn Hibban argues by the hadith, in his sahih, from al-Mutalib ibn Abi Wid'ah who said: 'I saw the Prophet (saws) when he (saws) finished the circumambulation [of the Ka'bah], he (saws) went to the end of the circuit and he prayed two rak'at and there was nothing between him and the people who were circumambulating." Ibn Hibban says: "This report proves that it is permissible to pass in front of a person who is praying but without a ‘sutrah’. In this lies a clear proof that the warning concerning passing in front of one who is praying refers only to one who is praying toward his sutrah and does not refer to one who does not have a sutrah." Ibn Hibban further explains that the Prophet's (saws) prayer was without anything between him and the people circumambulating the Ka'bah. At the end of the hadith of al-Mutalib, he records: "I saw the Prophet of Allah (saws) offering salah facing the black stone and the men and women were passing in front of him, and there was no ‘sutrah’ between him and them.


The general practice of the Messenger of Allah (saws) was that when praying in the open, he (saws) would almost always place a ‘sutra’.  In most mosques today, the floors are carpeted or tiled, and there are clear lines drawn to signify the rows which act as a natural ‘sutra’.  Although one should strive their best to avoid walking in front of one who is praying, if one were to pass two or three meters in front of one who is praying, the vast majority of the scholars and jurists in Islam are of the opinion that there is no harm. 


But one who sincerely believes in Allah and the Last Day must strive never to walk between a person who is in the state of prayer and his place of prostration, while the person is engaged in prayer.


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your brother and well wisher in Islam,





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