Averting the Passer-by in Prayer
  • Question:

    What should you do if someone passes directly in front of you whilst you are praying?

    Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

    Thank you for your question.

    When someone passes in front of you during salah (prayer), it is recommended to gently indicate to the passer-by not to cross in front of you. The author of al Badai, writes,

    “It is appropriate for the one performing prayer to avert the passer-by, meaning prevent them from passing. This is so that one is not distracted in his prayer.” (al Bada’i al Sana’i)

    “The prayer is not broken by the passing of anything; however ward off, if you are able to.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)

    The method of averting the passer-by can be rendered as follows, according to I’ela al Sunan:

    • verbally saying “Subhan Allah” or “Allahu Akbar”
    • by action through; a gesture or slightly pulling the garment of the one passing by, without walking

    One is to be careful and cautious to not engage in al amal al kathir (excessive movement) while warding off the passer-by as this will lead to invalidating one’s prayer. The narrations that suggest intense physical action (qital) against the passer-by, were applicable when speech and excessive movement were permissible in prayer. (I’ela al Sunan, Ma’ani al Athar)

    And Allah knows best.

    Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
    Hadith of the Day Imam
    Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and Director of Mathabah Institute
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