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Averting the Passer-By in Prayer

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Mathabah.org
Answered by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt


What should you do if someone passes directly in front of you whilst you are praying?


In the Name of God, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate

Jazāk Allāh Khayr/ Thank you for your question.

When someone passes in front of you during ṣalāh (ritual prayer), it is recommended to gently indicate to the passer-by not to cross in front of you. The author of Al-Badāʾi, writes,

“It is appropriate for the one performing prayer to avert the passer-by, meaning prevent them from passing. This is so that one is not distracted in his [or her] prayer.” (Al-Badāʾi Al-Ṣanāʾi)

“The prayer is not broken by the passing of anything; however ward off, if you are able to.” (Sunan Abū Dāwūd)

The method of averting the passer-by can be rendered as follows, according to Iʾelā Al-Sunan:

  • Verbally saying “Subḥān Allāh” or “Allāhu Akbar”
  • By action through; a gesture or slightly pulling the garment of the one passing by, without walking

One is to be careful and cautious to not engage in al-amal al-kathīr (excessive movement) while warding off the passer-by as this will lead to invalidating one’s prayer. The narrations that suggest intense physical action (qitāl) against the passer-by, were applicable when speech and excessive movement were permissible in prayer. (I’elā Al-Sunan, Maʾāni Al-Āthār)

And Allāh Knows Best

This answer was collected from Mathabah.org. It’s an Islamic educational institute based in Canada. The questions are generally answered by Sheikh Yusuf Badat and Sheikh Omar Subedar.

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