Ruling on one who abandons the prayer – Part 1/5

Q: “What is the ruling on the one who abandons the prayer? And what is the difference between kufr `amali (disbelief of the limbs) and kufr i`tiqaadi (disbelief of the heart)?”

Shaikh al-Albaani:

The one who abandons the prayer has two states: either he believes that the prayer is legislated or he denies it. So in this second state, he is a disbeliever by consensus of the Muslims. The same goes for whoever denies a matter that is ma`loom min ad-deen bidh-dharoorah (known by every Muslim to be part of the religion without having to study it in order to know it) – for instance, whoever denies fasting then such a person is a disbeliever, or whoever denies Hajj, or any other matter that is ma`loom min ad-deen bidh-dharoorah. So there is no difference of opinion about this: whoever denies the prayer’s being legislated is a disbeliever.

But if there is a man who does not deny the prayer and acknowledges its being legislated, but when it comes to practice he does not perform it, he does not pray – maybe he does not pray at all or maybe he prays sometimes – so in this case, if we say that this man has disbelieved, this saying would not apply to him at all because disbelief is denial (jahd), and he is not denying the prayer’s being legislated like He تعالى said regarding the disbelievers: {And they denied them though their ownselves were convinced thereof}.[1]

If we take an example of some person who does not pray, but when he is asked ‘Why don’t you pray O my brother?’ he says to you: ‘May Allaah grant me success in making tawbah and forgive me, by Allaah the dunyaa has kept me busy, these children have kept me busy,’ this type of talk. Of course this talk is not an excuse for him at all, but it gives us a beneficial piece of information – which we can’t know because we can’t see what’s in his heart – telling us that he believes that the prayer is legislated, as opposed to if the answer was, may Allaah forbid: ‘O my brother, the time for this prayer is gone, this was during a time when the people were uneducated, they were unclean, they needed a particular type of cleanliness, purity, exercise; and now it’s time has gone, now there are new means that free us of prayer’ – this man has disbelieved and so goes to Hell, {and evil is that destination}.[2] But if the answer was as in the first example: ‘May Allaah grant us success in making tawbah and forgive us…’ and this type of talk that tells us that he does not deny the prayer’s being legislated. So if we said that this man is a disbeliever, we would be contradicting the reality because this man is a believer – a believer in the prayer’s being legislated, a believer in all of Islaam – so how can we declare him a disbeliever?

Hence, we say that there is no difference between the one who abandons the prayer and the one who abandons fasting and the one who abandons Hajj and the one who abandons any physical act of worship with regard to whether he is declared a disbeliever or not. When is he declared a disbeliever? If he denies. When is he not declared a disbeliever? If he believes. So it is not allowed to declare a believer to be a disbeliever by consensus, and as proof there are many hadeeths with the ending: ‘Make whoever (sincerely) said laa ilaaha illallaah enter Paradise’ while he does not have an atom’s weight of good deeds, but he has an atom’s weight of faith (eemaan) so this faith is what prevents him from abiding in the Fire forever, and he enters Paradise even if it is after he becomes a black charcoal.[3] However, this is the one who testifies that none has the right to be worshiped except Allaah and that Muhammad ﷺ is the Messenger of Allaah, and believes in all that has come from Allaah and His Messenger; but he does not pray or does not fast or does not perform Hajj or the like, or he steals or fornicates – there is no difference with regard to all these things when placed on the scales of kufr `amali and kufr i`tiqaadi [i.e. they all fall under the former].

For instance, a man fornicates – do we declare him a disbeliever? You will say, no. I say, no, take it slow. We have to see, does he say that fornication is haraam? Or does he say as some of the ignorant people say: ‘Who cares about haraam and halaal’? If he says this to me, he has disbelieved. Likewise the one who steals, or any sin – for example the man who backbites people and we say to him: ‘Fear Allaah, the Messenger said: ‘Backbiting is you mentioning about your brother that which he dislikes,’[4] and he replies: ‘Who cares about ‘the Messenger said’ and the like,’ then he has disbelieved. It is the same with all rulings of the Legislation whether it is a positive ruling i.e. an obligation or a negative ruling i.e. a prohibition that must be avoided. So if he regards any of these prohibitions to be permissible in his heart, he has disbelieved. But if he commits it in practice while believing that he is disobeying, he has not disbelieved.

Thus, there is no difference with regard to this among all rulings of the Legislation, whether they are obligations or prohibitions. The obligations must be performed and it is not permissible to abandon them. But whoever does so out of laziness, it is not allowed to declare him a disbeliever; and whoever does so out of denial has disbelieved. Likewise, whoever regards any of the prohibitions to be permissible has disbelieved. There is no difference with regard to this at all between the obligations and prohibitions.”


[1] Surah an-Naml 27:14
[2] Surah Aal `Imraan 3:162
[3] Saheeh al-Bukhaari 7439, 7510, 6560; Saheeh at-Targheeb 3639
[4] Saheeh Muslim 2589

[silsilat ul-hudaa wa nnoor 8/5 / alalbaany.com]

Ruling on one who abandons the prayer – Part 1/5

It is not permissible for a woman to pray with her feet uncovered

Q: “Should a woman cover her feet when she prays?”

Shaikh al-Albaani:

It is not permissible for her to pray with her feet uncovered, indeed it is not permissible for her to walk in the streets with her feet uncovered, because the feet are part of a woman’s `awrah based on Allaah’s عز وجل Statement: {And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment}.[1] The woman during the Days of Ignorance used to wear what is known in the Arabic language as khalkhaal (anklet), meaning a bracelet with small bells. So when the woman walked, she – in order to turn the men’s attention to her – would strike the ground with her feet so the anklet would make a noise and the men would hear that; and such was due to shaitaan’s whisperings to her.

This means that the feet used to be covered. Because of what? Because of the jilbaab that the women were commanded to cast down from over their heads, according to Allaah’s Statement: {O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their outer garments  (jilbaabs) close upon themselves}.[2] And it is mentioned in the authentic hadeeth that the Prophet ﷺ said one day during a gathering in which there were also women: ‘Whoever drags his garment out of pride, Allaah عز وجل will not look at him on the Day of Resurrection.’ One of the women said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, then our feet will be exposed.’ He ﷺ said: ‘let the women lengthen (their garments) by a hand-span.’ She said: ‘Then a wind will come and uncover (their feet).’ He ﷺ said: ‘let them add another hand-span, i.e. (a total of) one cubit, and not go beyond that.’[3] [4]

In this manner, the jilbaab of the Muslim woman – at the time of the revelation of the above-mentioned verse: {to draw their outer garments (jilbaabs) close upon themselves} – used to cover the feet since the socks that are widespread nowadays among both women and men were not widespread at that time. The woman used to cover her shins and feet with the long jilbaab that resembles the `abaa.ah. Therefore it is not permissible for a Muslim woman to uncover her feet while she is on the street, and it is even more impermissible for her to pray with her feet uncovered.”


[1] Surat un-Noor 24:31
[2] Surat ul-Ahzaab 33:59
[3] the Shaikh mentioned the general meaning, not the exact wording, of the woman’s speech
[4] Saheeh at-Tirmidhi 1731, Saheeh Abi Daawood 4119

[silsilat ul-hudaa wa nnoor 697/3-4 / asaheeha translations]

It is not permissible for a woman to pray with her feet uncovered

We don’t have to look at a certain spot during rukoo`

Q: “Where does the one praying look during rukoo` (bowing)?”

Shaikh al-Albaani:

He is not obliged to look at a certain spot like he should when he is standing and when he is sitting for the tashahhud. So when he is standing, he looks at the place of his prostration; and when he is sitting during the tashahhud, he looks at his (right index) finger. But during rukoo`, there isn’t a specific spot toward which we were commanded to look, so the matter is unrestricted.”

[mutafarriqaat 1/8 / asaheeha translations]

We don’t have to look at a certain spot during rukoo`

Rulings on the prostrations of forgetfulness (sujood as-sahw)

Q: “What is the criterion for this forgetting (due to which we must perform the two prostrations of forgetfulness)? Is it any forgetting in prayer even if he, for example, adds something, omits something…?”

Shaikh al-Albaani: “Anything, if one forgets.”

Q: “Even if it is a sunnah?”

Shaikh al-Albaani: “Even if it is a sunnah.”

* * *

Q: “Are the prostrations of forgetfulness before the tasleem or after the tasleem?”

Shaikh al-Albaani:

“For all prostrations of forgetfulness, one has the choice between prostrating before the tasleem or after the tasleem. And the detailed explanation mentioned in some, especially Hanbali, books that it is before the tasleem for additions and after the tasleem for omissions – this is baseless. Those who say so saw some cases to which such an explanation can be applied, however there are also cases that nullify this explanation. Therefore, one has the choice between performing the tasleem then prostrating, or prostrating then performing the tasleem of exiting the prayer.”

 * *

Shaikh al-Albaani:

“…When all the hadeeths are gathered together, it becomes clear that one who forgets in prayer has a choice: if he wants, he (first) performs the tasleem and that is absolutely better; or if he wants, he does not perform the tasleem except after completing the two prostrations of forgetfulness.”

* * *

Q: “During the prostrations of forgetfulness and the sitting between the two prostrations, is there any particular dhikr or is it the same as…?”

Shaikh al-Albaani: “The same as these (usual ones).”

Q: “The same as these i.e. tasbeeh and rabb-ighfir lee.”

Shaikh: “Yes, there isn’t anything special.”

* * *

Q: “Does one’s prayer become invalid if one intentionally leaves out the prostrations of forgetfulness?”

Shaikh al-Albaani:

“If he intentionally leaves them out, the prayer does not become invalid; however he will be a sinner because of his leaving out the two prostrations of forgetfulness that the Messenger ﷺ  ordered (us) to perform.”

[silsilat ul-hudaa wa nnoor 183/6, 133/12, 259/7, 406/10 & 81/3 / asaheeha translations]

Rulings on the prostrations of forgetfulness (sujood as-sahw)

The conditions of being on a journey

Q: “Why did you complete your prayer?” [The Shaikh was led in prayer during his journey and the imaam shortened the prayer but the Shaikh did not, so he was asked about that]

Shaikh al-Albaani:

“Because my intention is not that I’m on a journey… We left our town only to return in the evening. So the issue, in my understanding, does not depend on crossing a fixed distance as much as it depends on two things, the foundation of which is the intention and the other is leaving town. So if someone intends that he is on a journey and he leaves town, the rulings of journeying are applicable to him and the distance that he crosses is not regarded after that whether long or short. But if the fundamental principle –i.e. the intention– is not present, then this person who left is not someone on a journey even if he crossed a long distance or less or more, because journeying falls under the rulings connected to the this hadeeth, about which some of the scholars of Islaam have said that it is a third of Islaam: ‘Actions are only weighed according to their intentions and every person will get only that which he intended.’[1] And the truth is that this is one very elaborate issue, something over which the views of the scholars have differed and they did not agree on something completely clear such that it would be possible for someone to say: ‘This is the truth, it is evident, so leave alone the side roads.’ No one can say this, but all that he can say is: ‘I choose such and such.’

So I chose what I understood from the treatise of Ibn Taimiyyah رحمه الله about this issue. He has a special treatise about the rulings of journeying. So he struck a very wonderful example from which the researcher and student of knowledge understand that journeying has nothing to do with crossing a long distance to the exclusion of a short distance. As for it having nothing to do with crossing a short distance, I think this is not an area of debate because it is established from the Messenger ﷺ that he used to leave from Madeenah to al-Baqee` and give them (i.e. the dead) salaam then return. He used to go out to the martyrs in Uhud and give them salaam then return. He did not consider himself as someone on a journey although he left town. And conversely, if he crossed a long distance it does not mean that he became a person on a journey merely because of crossing this distance.

The example that he (i.e. Ibn Taimiyyah) struck is as follows. He was from Damascus like me, and there are well-known towns around Damascus so he struck an example of a city known to this day as Douma. He said that if a man went hunting from Damascus to Douma –a distance of 15 kilometers which no doubt according to our custom would be a journey if the fundamental condition, i.e. the intention to journey, was present– he says that this man is not considered someone on a journey because he left for hunting then to return. But what happened was that he did not find the game he was seeking, so he kept going and going until he reached Aleppo, and there are approximately 400 kilometers between Aleppo and Damascus today by car. He says this man is not someone on a journey –although he had crossed many distances for a person on a journey, not just one distance– because the first condition, i.e. the intention to journey, was not present in this man. Thus, we can say that a driver who leaves early in the morning from Amman for instance to Ma`an then to `Aqabah and returns by evening is not someone on a journey because he, due to his job, does not intend to journey but rather intends to carry out this work to make a living.

Therefore, when it comes to the topic of journeying we must take into consideration the fundamental condition i.e. the intention. And by us taking into consideration this intention, the ruling differs for two people who cross one and the same distance but one of them would be someone on a journey and the other would not considered someone on a journey because of their different intentions. Accordingly, there also occur rulings that pertain to staying somewhere i.e. a stay that is planned for a set time. For example, two men left a city –both on a journey– and landed in another city. The staying of one of them is as someone on a journey but the other one is a resident (i.e. someone not in a state of journeying). Why? Because the latter has another wife there, so he goes from one wife to another wife; and due to there being a wife for him who keeps him chaste, gives him a home and arranges his stay for him, he takes a ruling different from his companion because the situation is different in some aspects.

Hence, we come to a very important conclusion which is that the rulings of journeying despite their being detailed differ from one person to another, so we don’t charge someone with implementing the ruling of someone else and vice versa.”

[1] Saheeh al-Bukhaari 1

[silsilat ul-hudaa wa nnoor  247/2 / alalbaany.com]

The conditions of being on a journey

Praying at graves

Q: “How do we reconcile between the Prophet’s ﷺ prohibition of praying in the graveyard and his praying over the grave of the woman who used to sweep the mosque?”

Shaikh al-Albaani:

“There is no contradiction between the two narrations, all praise is due to Allaah. The first narration with the prohibition of praying in the graveyard is like his ﷺ statement in Saheeh Muslim: ‘Don’t sit on graves and don’t pray towards them.’[1] So the prohibition of praying in the graveyard, i.e. of praying towards the graves, is because prayer must be sincerely for the Face of Allaah تبارك وتعالى without any glorification for other than Allaah mixed in it, as that is a type of shirk. So if a Muslim starts praying to Allaah while facing the grave, there would be a clear suspicion that this person at least intends -as many ignorant people do these days- to seek blessing from this deceased individual through his prayer and through his seeking nearness to Allaah عز وجل with his prayer. Thus he has fallen into some shirk which may get to such a point that it takes him out of the fold of Islaam, wal-`iyaadhu billaah (and refuge is sought in Allaah). This is the meaning that should be considered in regard to the Messenger’s ﷺ prohibition of praying in the graveyard or towards the grave.

As for praying over the deceased while he is in his grave, this is something else. It has nothing to do with praying to Allaah -alone, who has no partner- while facing the grave of the deceased, a prayer whose aim is not so Allaah forgives him, has mercy on him, as is the intent of supplicating over the deceased. Therefore, praying over the deceased while he is in his grave is one thing, and praying to Allaah عز وجل while facing the grave is another thing. The latter is what is prohibited and the former is what is permissible, so there is nothing problematic between the two.”


[1] Saheeh Muslim 972

[fataawaa jeddah 13 / alalbaany.com]

Praying at graves

A woman invalidating another woman’s prayer

Q: “If a woman passes in front of someone praying she invalidates the prayer, so does she also invalidate the prayer of a woman?”

Shaikh al-Albaani:

“We received this question many times very recently, and the answer is: yes, a woman invalidates the prayer of another woman under the condition mentioned in some established narrations: if she has reached puberty. There is no difference in legislative rulings between men and women unless there is legislative text that excludes women from the men; and there isn’t any such text here. Rather, the text is general: ‘Your prayer is invalidated if a (postpubescent) woman, a donkey or a black dog passes in front of you without there being something like the rear part of a camel saddle in front of you.’[1] So there is no difference in the ruling.”


[1] Saheeh Muslim 510

[silsilatul-hudaa wan-noor 93 / alalbaany.com]


A woman invalidating another woman’s prayer