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When Does Laughing Break the Prayer?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Ustadh Sufyan Qufi


Is my prayer invalidated if my mouth moves like it is about to laugh but no sound is uttered?


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

I pray this finds you in the best of states.

No, your prayer was not invalidated in this situation because no sound could be heard. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

You can read below the details regarding this issue from a previous answer at SeekersGuidance:

According to the Hanafi school, the prayer and wudu are invalidated if one laughs out loud during a prayer containing bowing and prostration. Imam ibn ‘Abidin mentions some conditions for this in “Radd al-Muhtar,” and they are as follows:

  • One is an adult;
  • One is awake;
  • One’s laughter is out loud.

Possible Scenarios

Imam Shurunbulali (in his book “Maraqi al-Falah”) mentions three possible situations which could occur:

  1. Loud laughing: Laughter with a raised sound such that under normal circumstances, the person praying next to one would be able to hear it (even if they do not hear it or there is nobody around)
    The Ruling: If done by an adult, who is awake, in a prayer containing bowing and prostration, it invalidates the ritual ablution and the prayer.
    Therefore the ritual ablution of a child, a sleeping person and a person praying the funeral prayer or performing the prostration of recital will not be invalidated by loud laughter.
  2. Laughing: Laughter such that under normal circumstances one would be able to hear it however, the person praying next to one would not be able to hear it
    The Ruling: this invalidates the prayer only
  3. Smiling: One cannot hear it
    The Ruling: this has no effect on the validity of the prayer.

And Allah knows best.

[Ustadh] Sufyan Qufi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Sufyan Qufi is an advanced seeker of knowledge, originally from Algeria, who grew up in France. He began searching far and wide for answers to the fundamental questions of life and was disappointed at the answers he found.

Then he connected with various traditional teachers and gradually connected with SeekersGuidance. He embarked on his journey of learning through the various teachers at SeekersGuidance, including his mentor Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

He studied numerous texts in Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith, and other areas with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and other teachers, including Shaykh Abdurrahman al-Sha‘ar, Shaykh Ali Hani, and others.

He is an active instructor at SeekersGuidance and answers questions through the SeekersGuidance Answers Service.

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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