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Is It Waajib or Sunnah Muakkadah To Join the Saffs (Shoulder to Shoulder)?

Answered by: Maulana Mohammed Haroon Hussain

Question:

Is it waajib or sunnah muakkadah to join the saffs (shoulder to shoulder)?

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Answer:

There are numerous ahadith that enjoin the importance of standing close together in salaah. We have been enjoined to close the gaps and to stand shoulder to shoulder. This is the correct way that the rows should be made.

One narration mentions that verily Allah and His angels send blessings upon those who join the rows. Whosever fills a gap (in the row), Allah will raise him a rank due to it and will build for him a house in Jannah. Another narration mentions that there are no footsteps more beloved to Allah than those taken in order to close (the gap in) the rows [1].

So, it should be understood from these narrations that one should join the rows and close the gaps.

As for the shoulders being together, there is a narration that mentions this:

أَقِيمُوا الصُّفُوفَ وَحَاذُوا بَيْنَ الْمَنَاكِبِ وَسُدُّوا الْخَلَلَ وَلِينُوا بِأَيْدِي إِخْوَانِكُ وَلاَ تَذَرُوا فُرُجَاتٍ لِلشَّيْطَانِ وَمَنْ وَصَلَ صَفًّا وَصَلَهُ اللَّهُ وَمَنْ قَطَعَ صَفًّا قَطَعَهُ اللَّهُ

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: Set the rows in order, stand shoulder to shoulder, close the gaps, be pliant in the hands of your brethren, and do not leave openings for the devil. If anyone joins up a row, Allah will join him up, but if anyone breaks a row, Allah will cut him off.[2]

In fact, if one is to read the entire chapter of “باب تسوية الصفوف”, one would very easily see how much importance has been given to straightening the rows, to standing close and to make sure that there are no gaps. So, this is the way that Muslims should stand in rows for salaah.

Technical terms for these actions can sometimes get in the way of good practice and implementing the Shariah. As an example from the people of our times: as soon as a person hears that something is a “sunnah”, rather than endeavouring to do it, he considers that it is something that he can discard. The straightening of the rows is by no means something small or petty as is evident from the large number of narrations emphasising it. As such, anyone who leaves out the joining of the rows without a valid reason will be committing a makruh act[3]. Having said this, it should be understood that the emphasis is on straightening the rows and standing close. The idea is not to cause harm or distress to the person standing next to you by insisting to join your body with theirs even if they dislike it and are disturbed by it. A lot of scholars of the past emphasised this point. So, the action is to stand close not to cause harm to others.

The action of standing shoulder to shoulder itself is under the classification of sunnah muakkadah [4]. Some scholars have said that there is no difference between waajib and sunnah muakkadah. The reality is that they are very, very close in rank and both are derived from the same sort of sources [5].

Only Allah knows best

Written by Maulana Mohammed Haroon Hussain

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

[1] ص 2199 – الجامع الصحيح للسنن والمسانيد – فضل سد الفرج في الصلاة

[2] سنن أبي داود – رقم 666 ص 289 – باب تسوية الصفوف – المكتبة البشرى

[3] المكروه عند الفقهاء نوعان: مكروه تحريمًا: وهو المحمل عند اطلاقهم الكراهة وهو ما تركه واجب، ويثبت بما يثبت به الواجب كما في الفتح، ومكروه تنزيهًا: وهو ما تركه أولى من فعله، وكثيرًا يطلوقونه فلا بد من النظر في الدليل، فان كان نهيًا ظنيًا يحكم بكراهة التحريم ما لم يوجد صارف عنه الى التنزيه، وان لم يكن الدليل نهيًا، بل كان مفيدًا للترك الغير الجازم، فهي تنزيهية، قاله صاحب البحر – حاشية الطحطاوي ص80 – دار الكتب العلمية بيروت اللبنان

[4] وَلْنَسُقْ نُبْذَةً مِنْ سُنَنِ الصَّفِّ تَكْمِيلًا، مِنْ سُنَنِهِ التَّرَاصُّ فِيهِ وَالْمُقَارَبَةُ بَيْنَ الصَّفِّ وَالصَّفِّ وَالِاسْتِوَاءُ فِيهِ، فَفِي صَحِيحِ ابْنِ خُزَيْمَةَ عَنْ الْبَرَاءِ كَانَ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – يَأْتِي نَاحِيَةَ الصَّفِّ فَيُسَوِّي بَيْنَ صُدُورِ الْقَوْمِ وَمَنَاكِبِهِمْ وَيَقُولُ لَا تَخْتَلِفُوا فَتَخْتَلِفَ قُلُوبُكُمْ، إنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى الصَّفِّ الْأَوَّلِ، وَرَوَى الطَّبَرَانِيُّ مِنْ حَدِيثِ عَلِيٍّ – رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ – قَالَ: قَالَ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – اسْتَوُوا تَسْتَوِ قُلُوبُكُمْ وَتَمَاسُّوا تَرَاحَمُوا وَرَوَى مُسْلِمٌ وَأَصْحَابُ السُّنَنِ إلَّا التِّرْمِذِيَّ عَنْهُ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – قَالَ أَلَا تَصُفُّونَ كَمَا تَصُفُّ الْمَلَائِكَةُ عِنْدَ رَبِّهَا؟ قَالُوا وَكَيْفَ تَصُفُّ الْمَلَائِكَةُ عِنْدَ رَبِّهَا، قَالَ: يُتِمُّونَ الصُّفُوفَ الْأَوَّلَ فَالْأَوَّلَ وَيَتَرَاصُّونَ فِي الصَّفِّ، وَفِي رِوَايَةٍ لِلْبُخَارِيِّ فَكَانَ أَحَدُنَا يُلْزِقُ مَنْكِبَهُ بِمَنْكِبِ صَاحِبِهِ وَقَدَمَهُ بِقَدَمِهِ وَرَوَى أَبُو دَاوُد وَالْإِمَامُ أَحْمَدُ عَنْ ابْنِ عُمَرَ – رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ – أَنَّهُ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – قَالَ أُقِيمُوا الصُّفُوفَ وَحَاذُوا بَيْنَ الْمَنَاكِبِ وَسُدُّوا الْخَلَلَ وَلِينُوا بِأَيْدِي إخْوَانِكُمْ لَا تَذَرُوا فُرُجَاتٍ لِلشَّيْطَانِ، وَمَنْ وَصَلَ صَفًّا وَصَلَهُ اللَّهُ وَمَنْ قَطَعَ صَفًّا قَطَعَهُ اللَّهُ

ص359 – كتاب فتح القدير للكمال ابن الهمام – باب الإمامة

[5] ما يكره تحريمًا وهو المحمل عند اطلاقهم كما في الزكاة الفتح وذكر أنه في رتبة الواجب لا يثبت الا بما يثبت به الواجب يعني بالنهي الظني الثبوت أو الدلالة ، فان الواجب يثبت بالأمر الظني الثبوت أو الدلالة – ص 523 – جلد 2 – رد المحتار – دار الحديث القاهرة

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.

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