I entered a mosque and found many wooden objects used as Sutrah. What is the ruling of Sharia on this?
All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.
Loving and glorifying the Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) is commendable and a Muslim is rewarded for. However, if this becomes a form of strictness and innovation in the religion and leads to division, then it is condemned.
This phenomenon is spreading in some mosques and becoming a form of strictness since this Sunnah (Sutrah) can be achieved by praying against a pole or a wall of the mosque. One can take another praying person as Sutrah (An object used by a person performing Salat as a barrier between himself and one passing in front of him). If this isn`t possible, then there is no need to manufacture objects to fill the mosque with under the pretext that they are utilized as Sutrah. This is because the Messenger of Allah forbade innovating unrequired means of worship. Rather, a Muslim is required to worship Allah according to his/her ability. This is reflected in the following Hadith: " Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (Peace be upon him) came into the mosque and noticed a rope stretched between two poles. He enquired, "What is this rope for?" He was told: "This is Zainab's rope. When during her voluntary prayer, she begins to feel tired, she grasps it for support". The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, "Untie it. You should perform prayers so long as you feel active. When you feel tired, you should go to sleep". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Based on this Hadith, it is more deserving not fill mosques with objects under the pretext of Sutrah since this isn`t commanded by Sharia. Rather, anything can be taken as Sutrah and even if this wasn`t attainable, then Allah burdens not a soul (person) beyond its scope.
In addition, there many evils associated with introducing such objects as Sutrah. For example, money has to be paid for manufacturing them, they make it hard for the praying people to move in the mosque, they make the mosque look like a graveyard as they look like tombstones, and they lead to division between the praying people as regards their lawfulness. The reason behind this is ignorance, strictness and introducing new matters into Islam although they weren`t present during the times of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), the companions, and the Tab`ieen.
We advise all Muslims to avoid strictness and be keen on the pillars and constants of Islam in relation to science, work, values, and morals. And Allah the Almighty knows best.