Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: As salam alaykum,
What are the rulings related to moving (fidgeting) in prayer?
For example, are slight tremors a problem?
Also, at what points in prayer is tranquillity required and what is the level of the requirement?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.
The basis is that it is prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) to fidget (`abath) during the prayer. This isn’t conditioned by being in a particular state of the prayer— whether bowing, prostration or standing.
Further, it is necessary (wajib) to remain motionless for a moment during the obligatory acts of the prayer due to the tradition (hadith) on the matter in which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Go and back and pray. You have not prayed.” [Bukhari]
What is Fidgeting and What is Excessive Movement?
Fidgeting is defined as repeated, unnecessary [slight] movements during the prayer. Essentially, it is unnecessarily doing that which is not from the prayer.
If such movement becomes excessive, it would actually invalidate the prayer. Excessive movement being that by which an onlooker, seeing you performing such an action, would not deem you to be in a state of prayer.
Stillness and Focus
The prayer is supposed to be some moments of intimate discourse with the Divine. As such, we strive to remain still to the extent possible, avoiding actions foreign to the prayer, because this is the sign of being humbly worshipful (khushu`) which is the basis for a transformative prayer. The general principle is that a busied mind is a busied heart.
[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah, with Tahtawi’s gloss]
And Allah Most High knows best.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani