Walking in Front of Someone Praying

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by

Answered by Sidi Mostafa Azzam

What is the distance that one may walk past a person who is praying? I’ve heard that it is the length of two safs (rows). Is this true?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

If someone is praying towards a valid barrier (Ar. sutrah), then it is forbidden (haram) to walk between him and the barrier. Amongst the conditions of a valid barrier is that it be within three cubits (approximately 1.5 m) of the person praying.

If the person praying lacks a valid barrier, then it is not forbidden to walk in front of him, though it is better not to walk in his place of prostration (Anwar al-Masalik Sharh `Umdat al-Salik, 83-84 (Dar al-Tabbaa); Bushra al-Karim, 1:227-229 (Dar al-Fikr)). So whether the person praying has a valid barrier or not, it will not be a problem to walk in front of him by more than about 1.5 m.

And Allah knows best.


Mostafa Azzam


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