Home > Fiqh issues, Ibaadah > Straightening the rows in Salah

Straightening the rows in Salah


Q: Two people argued about how the rows of those offering Salah (prayer) in congregation should be straightened. One of them said that the Ma’mums (persons being led by an Imam in Prayer) must place their toes on the line drawn in the Masjid (mosque) while standing up and align their knees with each other when sitting down for Tashahhud (a recitation in the sitting position in the second/ last unit of Prayer), no matter how different the length of their limbs are. The other person said that the Ma’mums should level their heels and shoulders when standing up. As for sitting down, the shoulders should be aligned together no matter whether the knees are on the same level or not because the moving limbs are not the same in length. Because both opinions are personally inferred, we hope you would illustrate the Shar`i (Islamically acceptable) and correct way that should be followed when standing and sitting down during Salah so that this issue would be clarified to them. May Allah reward you with the best and guide you to what He likes and that which pleases Him.

A: It Is Sunnah (supererogatory act of worship following the example of the Prophet) to straighten rows when offering salah and to arrange the rows beside each other.  All the Ma’mums should observe this and the Imam (the one who leads congregational Prayer) must urge the Ma’mums before starting Salah to straighten their rows and correct any misalignment in them, as the Messenger peace be upon him) used to do. It was authentically reported from Simak ibn Harb that he heard Al-Nu`man ibn Bashir saying:  Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to straighten our rows as if he were straightening an arrow until he saw that we had learnt it from him. One day, he came out, stood up (for Salah) and was about to say “Allahu Akbar, i.e. Allah is the Greatest” (to start Salah) when he saw a man whose chest was bulging out from the row, so he said: Servants of Allah, straighten your rows or Allah would create dissension amongst you. (Related by Imam Muslim in his Sahih (authentic) Book of Hadith, volume 4, page 157 – Sharh Al-Nawawi; and Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (Hadith compilation), volume 4, page 272). In another narration, it was reported: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to straighten the row (in Salah) and make it as straight as an arrow or a spear. Refer to Musnad Imam Ahmad, volume 4, page 277. The Hadith was also related by Al Nasai’ in his Sunan.

Also, on the authority of Anas who reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Straighten your rows as the straightening of rows is essential for a perfect and correct Salah. In another narration, he said: Establish rows in Salah, for the making of a row (straight) is one of the merits of Salah. (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim and the quoted wording was by Al-Bukhari (volume 1, page 177) and Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (volume 2, page 314 and volume 3, page 122))

Moreover, Imam Muslim related in his Sahih, volume 4, page 156 – Sharh Al-Nawawi – on the authority of Anas ibn Malik who reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

( Part No : 6,Page No:319)

Straighten your rows, for the straightening of a row is a part of the perfection of Salah. The same wording was related by Imam Ahmad in volume 3, page 254.

On the authority of Salim ibn Abu Al-Ja`d who reported that he heard Al-Nu`man ibn Bashir saying that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Either you straighten your rows or Allah will cause inversion among your faces. (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim and the quoted wording was by Al-Bukhari in his Sahih, volume 1, page 176)

Furthermore, on the authority of Anas who reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Straighten your rows, for I see you from behind my back. We used to stick our shoulders and feet to each other. (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim and the quoted wording was by Al-Bukhari in his Sahih, volume 1, page 177)

Muslims should fear Allah and apply this Sunnah as much as possible. However, they should be cautious lest this may result in harming other people offering Salah, especially if the row is already crowded. It is possible that being preoccupied with observing this Sunnah may affect the Khushu` (the heart being attuned to the act of worship) of the Ma’mums and harm them. The objective is to straighten the row as much as possible. The Hadiths mentioned above are enough to illustrate this meaning. All the Ma’mums should be keen on aligning their heels and shoulders but not the knees, as was authentically reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him).

May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!

Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’

http://www.alifta.com/fatawa/fatawaDetails.aspx?BookID=7&View=Page&PageNo=14&PageID=12055

Posted by Umm Summayah

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Categories: Fiqh issues, Ibaadah
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