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Is it Allowed to Use the Hand During the Prayer to Determine if One’s ‘Awra is Exposed?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Ustadh Na’eel Kadi



Is it allowed to use the hand during the prayer to determine if one’s ‘awra is exposed?


Wa alaykum salam

In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

Using the hand to determine if one’s skin is exposed at the back is permissible if done discreetly and once or twice. Slight actions of this nature which benefit the prayer are excused. However, if one does this thrice in sajda, it would then be considered excessive movement and invalidates the prayer.

What is excessive movement?

Excessive action is defined, according to the soundest position, as being action that would lead an onlooker from a distance, with no prior knowledge that the person is praying, be certain that the person is not praying. When in doubt, it is not excessive action and does not invalidate the prayer. Usually, three uninterrupted major movements would be considered excessive. [Based from Ibn Abidin’s Radd al-Muhtar, `Ala’ al-Din Abidin’s Gifts of Guidance: Al-Hadiyya al-‘Ala’iyya]

 Preparing for the Prayer

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِنْدَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ
“O Children of Adam, dress well whenever you are at worship, and eat and drink [as We have permitted] but do not be extravagant: God does not like extravagant people.” (7:31)

One can anticipate the challenge by ensuring one’s clothes at the time of purchase will be suitable for prayer. In ruku’ and sajda, one’s upper garment tends to rise, so try to find clothes which are few inches longer in the back. This will allow you to focus in the prayer as well as others behind you.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Set your clothes in order so that you look tidy and graceful among people.” (Abu Dawud)

The prayer is supposed to consist of moments of intimate discourse and presence with the Divine. As such, we strive to remain still to the extent possible, avoiding actions foreign to the prayer.  This is a foundational step of being humbly worshipful (khushu`) and performing a transformative prayer.

And Allah knows best.

[Ustadh] Na’eel Kadi

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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