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Preventing shaytaan from 

breaking one's Salaah (Sutrah)



What must the person performing Salaah do if someone tries to pass in front of him?


A : If anyone tries to pass in front of a person performing Salaah, he must prevent him from doing so. If he insists, then push him away, and if he persists, then fight him without using a weapon. If, in the event of his fighting him to prevent him from passing, he dies, then there is no sin on the one who caused his death, and no penalty nor blood money nor expiation is demanded of him. This is so, whether the person was performing Salaah, towards a Sutrah, or without a Sutrah. If they dispute with each other, the matter is taken to court. (i.e. before the judge). This is because that person (deliberately) passing in front of another who is performing Salaah, is possessed by evil. The evidence in support of this, is the hadeeth of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) : "If any of you perform Salaah then do not let anyone pass in front of you. And if someone insists ( on passing) then fight him, for indeed he is possessed". [Muslim]


Aboo Saaleh said: "I saw Aboo Sa'eed Al-Khudree, on the Day of Jum'ah, performing Salaah in front of something which he used as a Sutrah. A youth from the tribe of Banee Abi Mu'ayt wanted to pass in front of him, so Aboo Sa'eed repulsed him with a push on his chest. The youth, looking around, saw no other place to pass, except in front of Aboo Sa'eed. He therefore tried to pass again. Aboo Sa'eed this time pushed him even harder. The youth Abused Aboo Sa'eed and went to Marwaan to lodge a complaint against Aboo Sa'eed. Aboo Sa'eed then entered after him. When he came in, Marwaan asked him: "What is it, that you have with the son of your brother, Oh Aboo Sa'eed?" Aboo Sa'eed said: I heard the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) say: "If any of you perform Salaah, with a Sutrah blocking you from the people, and someone tried to pass in front of you, then fight him, for indeed he is (shaytaan) evil". [Al-Bukhaaree]


In another version it says: "Shove him away by his neck".


And in another narration it says: " . . . Try to stop him twice and if he refuses then fight him".


And in yet another version, it is added: " . . . Indeed you have hit shaytaan". [Ibn Khuzaymah]


Many other narrations were reported without (stipulating) limiting it to having a Sutrah.


And in another version it says: (Indeed shaytaan is with him).


The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) also repelled shaytaan when he wanted to cut across his Salaah. The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) also repelled the animal when it wanted to pass in front of him, as we previously mentioned. The one performing Salaah therefore, must not allow anything to pass in front of him, whether it may be big or small, whether it be a person or otherwise. Even if, it means that he must move (forward), until his stomach sticks to his Sutrah, as has been authentically reported on the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) , as we previously mentioned.


There is too, no difference between Makkah and any other place, when it comes to preventing someone from passing in front of you. The son of (Ibn) `Umar t, used to perform Salaah in the Ka'bah and never let anyone pass in front of him. As for the one who passes between the rows of a congregational Salaah, he is exempted from that which was previously mentioned.




Q11 : Why is the one, attempting to pass in-front-of one performing Salaah, repelled and fought?


A : The one attempting to pass is repelled and fought, because he decreases the blessing of the Salaah. Sometimes, he even destroys it altogether. Ibn Mas'ood said: "Whoever from amongst you is able to perform Salaah without anyone passing in front of him, then do so. For indeed the person passing in front of the one making Salaah receives less blessings than the one in front of whom he passed". [Abdur-Razaak, Ibn Abi Shaybah]


This is further emphasized by the hadeeth of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) when he said: "(If) Similar to (the size of) the rear end of a camel's saddle is in front of anyone of you all, then whatever passes in-front of you would not harm you". (i.e. would not effect your Salaah)


In addition, the one attempting to pass, is repelled as an act of enjoining right and forbidding wrong. This is because, if he passes, he would be committing a major sin. He must therefore, be prevented from doing so.


Q12 : You said that the one passing, sometimes invalidates the Salaah. So what exactly invalidates the Salaah?


A : Among the things that invalidate the Salaah by their passing are:


1 - The shaytaan
2 - A black dog
3 - A donkey
4 - A woman passed puberty


The evidence in support of this is taken from the hadeeth of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) concerning Sutrah. In which he said: "Let him draw close to it, and don't let shaytaan break his Salaah".


And another hadeeth which he e said: "Indeed a malicious Jinn pounced on me last night trying to break my Salaah". [Muslim]


In another version it says: "Indeed shaytaan wanted to pass in-front-of me, so I choked him until I felt the coldness of his tongue on my hand". [Ahmad]


Preventing shaytaan from breaking one's Salaah therefore, is done by drawing close to the Sutrah, as was mentioned in the previous hadeeths.


Preventing other than shaytaan, is achieved by repulsion or by the placing of a Sutrah, from the types mentioned before, in front of you. The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: "A woman, donkey and a dog all invalidate Salaah (if they pass in front of a person performing Salaah) and this is prevented by (placing) something similar in size to the rear end of a camel's saddle (in front of you)". [Muslim]


He also said: "Salaah is invalidated by (the passing of) a black dog or a menstruating woman, (i.e. a woman who has reached puberty)." [Ahmad and Aboo Daawood]




It was reported by Abdullaah Ibn Saamit, that Aboo Dhar said, that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: "If any of you wish to perform Salaah, he is indeed shielded, if he has, in-front-of him, something the size of the rear end of a camel's saddle, in-front-of him, however, then (the passing of) a donkey, a woman or a black dog can invalidate his Salaah."


I said: "Oh Aboo Dhar! What is it with a black dog as opposed to a red or yellow dog?" He said: Oh my son of my brother! I asked the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) just as you have asked me, and he said: "A black dog is shaytaan". [Muslim]


And in another version it states: "Salaah is repeated due to the passing of a donkey, a woman or a black dog". [Ibn Khuzaymah]


This does not apply, however, if these things, mentioned above, are in-front-of the person performing Salaah but not moving across him. The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) used to perform Salaah in-front-of a bed with `Aaishah lying on it (as is mentioned in the hadeeth of question 13). (*) In addition Maymoona, the wife of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: "The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) used to pray while I used to sleep beside him during my periods (menses) and in prostration his garment used to touch me". [Al-Bukhaaree]




Extract  from Questions and Answers on the Sutrah


Author: Shaikh Mohammad bin Rizq at-Tarhuni


Translated by `Umar al-Trinidadi


Taken from: http://www.salafipublications.com/sps/sp.cfm?subsecID=IBD05&articleID=IBD050009&articlePages=2

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