Q. What is the way in which you move somebody back to start a new saf during a jam’aat? Do you start your own prayer and then step forward and place your hand on a person’s shoulder to indicate to them to move back, or do you move somebody back first then start your own prayer? Also do you move somebody back from the sides of a saf or from the middle?
A. You should move the person from the saff first, (by touching him on his shoulder) and then start your prayer with Takbeer Tahreemah. Seeing that a new saff must begin directly behind the Imam which is normally at the middle of the saff, you should move a person from the end of the saff (in front of you).
It should be noted that even if you do not move someone to the new saff, other brothers will come to the saff in a very short space of time. If you realise that this usually occurs in the place where you perform Salaah, it will be better for you to avoid moving someone who is already in Salaah in a full Saff, until another newcomer joins you.
Sometimes, people do not know the law, and become angry when you try to move them. So instead of this, the best thing to do is that if you happen to find yourself in a saff alone, then you should wait for another person to join you. If you have waited until the time for the ruku of the Imam, and no one has joined (you) then you should get someone from the front saff to join you. If however, in doing this, you fear that a person may become angry, violent or may quarrel, (on account of his ignorance of this mas’ala), then you can perform Salaah alone in a saff. This will be permissible, and your salaah will be valid without any dislike. However, you must first try your best to have someone with you in the saff, before resorting to standing alone.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan