Placement of feet during prayer for men

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf Mangera

How should the feet be placed when making salah in the hanafi fiqh. And if you could discuss the ahadith talking about touching the feet of the person next to you.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalamu alaykum

In the name of Allah, the Inspirer of truth.

In the Hanafi school (also in the Shafi’i school), there are predominantly two views. One is to stand with a gap of four fingers in between one’s feet, as is mentioned in Ibn ‘Abidin’s authoritative commentary of the al-Durr al-Muhtar (1:462). The second view, mentioned in the commentary of Sunan al-Tirmidhi,Ma’arif al-Sunan, is that there is no specified distance to be maintain between one’s feet and it is permissible to stand as one finds comfortable.

The hadith, related by Imam Abu Dawud and others, which is normally used to prove that one must touch their feet to those of the adjacent person, has been misunderstood. The Prophet (upon him be peace) only commands that the Companions straighten their rows. In some narrations he also commands that shoulders be leveled together. It is the narrator who mentions that the Companions employed the joining of the feet together (and according to the narration in Sunan Abu Dawud, the knees were also linked together) to ensure the straightening of the rows. The Prophet (upon him be peace) did not order this.

Nowadays, since the rows are clearly marked in our masjids, there is no need to link the feet together. Standing with the heels on the marked lines will normally ensure that the rows remain straight and orderly.

And Allah knows best.

(Abstracted from the third edition of Fiqh al-Imam currently under publication. Available mid-June 2003 and insha Allah).

Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf


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