Making up prayers missed during labor

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher

I will be having a baby this year Inshallah and want to know if I must keep track of the prayers that I miss during hard labor. This is my fourth and I know that praying at that time is so difficult. It is impossible for me to keep my mind on the prayer.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Thank you for your important question. Prayer is the most important act of worship in Islam and scholars explain that it is not permissible to ever deliberately miss the obligatory prayer, regardless of one’s circumstance.

When it is not possible to pray standing up, one must pray sitting down. When it is not possible to pray sitting down, one must pray lying on one’s side. When it is not possible to move, one prays in one’s heart. In other words, the outward form of the prayer may be relaxed in view of hardship, but the obligation of prayer itself is never lifted.

The obligatory prayer is so important that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made it the mark of faith itself: he said, “Between a man and between polytheism and unbelief is the nonperformance of the prayer.” (Muslim)

In view of the above, despite the difficulty of keeping one’s mind focussed during labour, is not permissible to miss the prayer during labour. After labour, once the entire baby has come out, women enter into a state of post-natal bleeding during which it is not obligatory to pray. Until they enter this state, though, the prayer remains obligatory. It follows from this if one misses any prayers during labour, one must repent to Allah from one’s mistake and make up that prayer.

How does one pray during labour? The answer to this is that one prays to the best of one’s ability. If it is unbearably difficult to stand, one prays sitting down. If it’s unbearably difficult to pray sitting down, one prays lying on one’s side. The general rule is that one does whatever one can.

May Allah ease your delivery and grant you a healthy and righteous child. Ameen.

And Allah knows best.



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