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The Fiqh of Closing One’s Eyes in Prayer

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Is it ok for a person to close their eyes while doing Salaat behind an Imam to concentrate better. If it is, please provide evidence from ahadith

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam,

It is somewhat disliked to close one’s eyes in prayer, because:

  • it entails leaving the sunna of looking at the place of prostration,
  • it resembles the worship of the Jews, and
  • it is reported from the early Muslims that they disliked this.

There is a weak hadith regarding this, which is not sufficient as proof (in itself), but supports these other considerations.


  • if one does not gain full attentiveness or is distracted in prayer if one’s eyes are open, then it would be permitted (or, perhaps, even better) to close one’s eyes.

[This is the summary of what Imam Haskafi said in Durr al-Mukhtar, Ibn Abidin in Radd al-Muhtar, Ibn Nujaym in al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, and Imam Kasani in Bada’i` al-Sana’i`, in Hanafi fiqh. It is confirmed by what Imam Buhuti said in Kashshaf al-Qina` in Hanbali fiqh; and Imam Dardir in al-Sharh al-Saghir in Maliki fiqh. In the Shafi`i school, it is transmitted that it is disliked to close one’s eyes, but Imam Nawawi chose that it is not disliked in his Majmu` and also in his Minhaj, which some interpreted as saying it is absolutely permitted to close one’s eyes, and others that it is better not to (khilaf al-awla), unless it aid’s one’s presence of heart.]

Imam Buhuti also mentioned in his Kashshaf al-Qina` that a reason for its being disliked is that it can be a means for one becoming drowsy. [F: Such as when praying at night.]

Imam Kasani explained in his Bada’i` that the reason for looking at one’s place of prostration is that each limb of the body has a share in the prayer’s worship.

Imam Ibn Nujaym mentioned that one does not close one’s eyes in prostration, either, and mentioned that, “A number of Sufis (may Allah benefit us through them) said that one keeps one’s eyes open because the eyes too prostrate.”

Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas (Allah have mercy on him) mentioned in his magnificent Qur’anic tafsir of the verses relating to legal rulings, Ahkam al-Qur’an, explaining the words of Allah Most High in Surat al-Mu’minin: “Successful indeed are the believers, who are reverent in prayer,” (Qur’an. 23: 1-2) that:

  • It has been reported Muhammad Ibn Sirin reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) used to look up to the sky while praying. After this verse, he used to keep his head lowered.
  • It has also been reported from him that after this verse was revealed, the Companions would lower their gazes until their eyes did not go beyond their place of prostration.
  • It has been reported from Ibrahim, Mujahid and Zuhri that they said, “Reverenece (khushu`) is being still.”
  • It has been reported that Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) said, “Reverence is in the heart… and to avoid distractions in prayer.”
  • Hasan al-Basri said, “The reverent are the fearful.”
  • Abu Bakr al-Jassas commented: Reverence (khushru) is all these meanings: being still in prayer, humble, not getting distracted, not looking around or moving, being fearful of Allah.”
  • This is why it is reported that Sayyiduna Ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him) would be like a thrown garment (in his stillness,” and “Once in prayer, he would lower his voice, body, and gaze.”

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani.

This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.

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