Chapters Dealing with Actions in the Prayer

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 26. Chapters Dealing with Actions in the Prayer

I: Making use of the hands in the prayer if it is connected with doing the prayer

Ibn 'Abbas said, "A man can make use of any part of his body he wishes to help in his prayer." Abu Ishaq took off and put on his hat during the prayer, and 'Ali placed his palm on his left wrist except when scratching his skin or arranging his clothes."

1140. It is related from 'Abdullah ibn Ibn 'Abbas that he spent the night in the house of his maternal aunt, Maymuna bint al-Harith, Umm al-Mu'minin. and He said, "I lay down crossways on the bed, and the Messenger of Allah and his wife lay down lengthways on it. He slept until halfway through the night or close to it when he awoke and wiped away the sleep from his face. Then, after reciting ten verses from Ali 'Imran, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, got up and went over to a water-skin which was hanging up and did wudu', doing it thoroughly. Then he stood up to pray."

'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas said, "I did the same, going to stand at his side. He put his right hand on my head and tweaked my ear. Then he prayed two rak'ats, then two rak'ats, then two rak'ats, then two rak'ats, then two rak'ats, then two rak'ats, and then the witr. Then he lay down until the mu'adhdhin came to him. He got up and prayed two rak'ats and then went out and prayed Subh."

II: Kinds of speech prohibited in the prayer

1141. It is related that 'Abdullah said, "We used to greet the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when he was praying and he would reply to us. But when we returned from the Negus [in Abyssinia] we greeted him and he did not reply to us. He said, 'In the prayer is occupation enough.'"

The like of it related from 'Abdullah from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

1142. It is related that Zayd ibn Arqam said, "We used to talk during the prayer in the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, someone saying what he needed to his companion, until it was revealed, 'Safeguard the prayer', (2:238) and we were commanded to be silent."

III: Glorification and praise permitted for men during the prayer

1143. It is related that Sahl said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went out to make peace between the members of Banu 'Amr ibn 'Awf and the time of the prayer came. Bilal went to Abu Bakr and said, 'The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, has been held up, so you should lead the people.' He said, 'Yes, if you wish.' Bilal called the iqama for the prayer and Abu Bakr came forward and started the prayer. Then the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came walking through the rows until he was standing in the first row and the people began to clap (tasfih)." Sahl asked, 'Do you know what tasfih is? It is the same as tasfiq.' "Abu Bakr was not someone who used to look round in his prayer but when the clapping increased he looked round and saw the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in the row. The Prophet  indicated to him to stay where he was but Abu Bakr raised both his hands and praised Allah and stepped back and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went forward and led the prayer."

IV: Someone calling out people's names or greeting someone else during the prayer out of ignorance

1144. It is related that 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said, "We used to say the greeting in the prayer and call out people's names and greet one another. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Say: "Greetings belong to Allah, and prayers and good words. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be upon us and upon the right-acting slaves of Allah. I testify that there is no god but Allah and I testify that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger." If you do that, you have greeted every righteous slave in heaven and earth.'"

V: Clapping for women.

1145. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The saying of 'Glory be to Allah' is for men and clapping is for women."

1146. It is related that Sahl ibn Sa'd that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said  "The saying of 'Glory be to Allah' is for men and clapping is for women."

VI: Someone moving backwards or forwards because of something that happens

Sahl ibn Sa'd related it from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

1147. It is related from Anas ibn Malik, "That Monday, as the Muslims were doing ' with Abu Bakr leading the prayer, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, suddenly lifted the curtain of 'A'isha's room and looked at them standing in their rows. He smiled broadly. Abu Bakr stepped back, thinking that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, wanted to come out to join the prayer. The Muslims were tested in their prayer by their joy at seeing the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. He indicated with his hand for them to complete it. Then he went back into the room and let down the curtain. He died that day."

VII: If a mother calls her son while he is doing the prayer

1148. It is related that Abu Hurayra said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "A woman called her son while he was in a hermitage, saying, 'Jurayj!" He said, 'O Allah, my mother and my prayer!' She said, 'Jurayj!' He said, 'O Allah, my mother and my prayer!' She said, 'Jurayj!' He said, 'O Allah, my mother and my prayer!' She said, O Allah, do not let Jurayj die until he has looked on the face of a prostitute!' A shepherdess used to come to his hermitage, tending her sheep. She gave birth to a child and was asked, 'Whose child is this?' She said, 'Jurayj,' who came out of his hermitage. Jurayj said, 'Where is this woman who claims that her child is mine?' He said, 'Baby, who is your father?' He said, 'The shepherd.'"

VIII: Brushing away pebbles in the prayer

1149. It is related from Mu'ayqib that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said about a man smoothing out the earth where he does sajda, "If you do it, then do it once."

IX: Spreading the clothes out in the prayer to do sajda on

1150. It is related that Anas ibn Malik said, "Sometimes we used to pray with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in times of intense heat. If it was not possible for someone to place his face on the earth, he would spread out his garment and do sajda on that."

X: Actions which are permitted during the prayer

1151. It was related that 'A'isha said, "I used to stretch out my legs in the qibla of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while he was praying. When he went into sajda, he would touch me and I would remove them. When he stood up, I stretched them out again."

1152. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, once did a prayer and said, "Shaytan presented himself to me and tried hard to get me to break off my prayer. Allah gave me power over him and I managed to choke him. I considered tying him to a pillar so that you would be able to see him in the morning, but I remembered the words of Sulayman, peace be upon him, 'My Lord, give me a kingdom which no one after me will have.' Allah made him return humiliated."

An-Nadr ibn Shumayl said, "dha'attuhu" means choked and "da''attuhu" is from the words of Allah, "The day when they are called," (52:13) i.e. driven. What is correct is "da'attuhu". However, he said it like that with the double 'ayn and ta'.

XI: If an animal runs off while someone is doing the prayer

Qarada said, "If someone's garment is stolen, he should leave the prayer and puruse the thief."

1153. It is related from al-Azraq ibn Qays, "We were at al-Ahwaz fighting the al-Haruriyya. While I was on the bank of a river, I saw a man praying holding the reins of his animal in his hand. The animal began to struggle and he began to follow it. (Shu'ba said that the man was Abu Barza al-Aslami.) A man from the Kharijites began to say, 'O Allah! Inflict something on this old man!' When the man finished the prayer, he said, 'I heard what you said. I went on six, seven or eight expeditions with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and I saw how he made things easy. I would rather return together with my animal than let it go back to its stable alone which would make things very difficult for me.'"

[The Haruriyya are the Kharijites]

1154. It is related that 'A'isha said, "There was an eclipse of the sun and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, stood and recited a long sura and then he went into ruku' and made the ruku' long. Then he raised his head and then began another sura. Then he went into ruku' until he finished that ruku' and then did sajda. Then he did the same thing in the second rak'at. Then he said, 'The sun and moon are two of Allah's signs. When you see this, pray until it has passed. While I was standing I saw everything that I have been promised so that when you saw me go forward it was because I saw that I wanted to take a bunch from the Garden and when you saw me draw back it was because I saw Jahannam with its parts consuming one another. In it I saw 'Amr ibn Luhayy who began the practice of sa'iba. [letting animals go free for the sake of idols]"

XII: The kinds of spitting and blowing which are allowed during the prayer

It is mentioned from 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, blew out in his sajda during the eclipse.

1155. It is related from 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saw some phlegm on the qibla wall and became angry with the people of the mosque. He said, "When you are praying, you should not spit - or he said expectorate." Then he got down and scraped it off with his hand. Ibn 'Umar said, "When you spit, you should spit to your left."

1156. It is related from Anas that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When you stand in the prayer, you are in close conversation with your Lord. You should not spit in front of you, but to your left or under your left foot."

XIII: If a man claps in his prayer out of ignorance, it does not invalidate his prayer

Sahl ibn Sa'd said that from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

XIV: If someone praying is asked to go forward or wait and then he waits, there is no harm in it

1157. It is related that Sahl ibn Sa'd said, "Some men used to pray with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with their wrappers tied around their necks because of their smallness. The women were told, "Do not to raise your heads until the men are sitting up straight."

XV: Not returning the salam during the prayer

1158. It is related that 'Abdullah said, "I used to greet the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while he was praying and he would answer me. When we returned, I greeted him but he did not answer us. He said, 'In the prayer is occupation enough.'"

1159. It is related that Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sent me to do something and I went and returned having done it. I came up to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and greeted him but he did not return my greeting. I was upset as Allah knows best and said to myself, 'Perhaps the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is angry with me because I was slow in coming back. Then I greeted him again and he did not return my greeting and I felt even more upset than I had the first time. Then I greeted him again and he returned my greeting and said, 'I was prevented from replying to you because I was praying.' He was on his mount and he was not facing qibla."

XVI: Raising the hands during the prayer because of something that happens during it

1160. It is related that Sahl ibn Sa'd said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, heard that there was some disagreement among the Banu 'Amr ibn 'Awf at Quba'. He went out with some of his Companions to make peace between them. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was delayed and it became time for the prayer. Bilal went to Abu Bakr and said, 'Abu Bakr, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is delayed and it is time for the prayer. Can you lead the people?' He said, 'Yes, if you wish.' Bilal called the iqama for the prayer and Abu Bakr went forward and said the takbir for the people. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came walking through the rows until he was standing in the first row and the people started to clap (tasfih)." (Sahl said that tasfih is the same as tasfiq.) He said, "Abu Bakr was not someone who used to look around in the prayer but when the people increased their clapping, he did turn around and there was the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. He indicated to him to carry on praying but Abu Bakr raised his hands and praised Allah and then stepped backwards so that he was standing in the row. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went forward and led the prayer. When he finished, he turned to the people and said, 'Why, when something happened to you in the prayer, did you begin to clap? Clapping is for women. If something happens to you in the prayer, you should say, "Glory be to Allah!"' Then he turned to Abu Bakr and said, 'Abu Bakr, what stopped you from leading the people in prayer when I indicated to you to do it?' Abu Bakr said, 'It is not for Ibn Abi Quhafa to pray in front of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.'"

XVII: Placing the hands on the hips during the prayer

1161. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "Placing the hands on the hips during the prayer was forbidden."

It is related from Abu Hurayra from the Prophet.

1162. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "It was forbidden for a man to pray with his hands resting on his hips."

XVIII: A man reflecting on something during the prayer

'Umar said, "I [mentally] organise my army while I am doing the prayer."

1163. It is related that 'Uqba ibn al-Harith said, "I prayed 'Asr with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. When he said the taslim, he stood up quickly and went to one of his wives and then came out. He saw the people's astonishment at his speed in their faces. He said. 'While I was praying, I remembered a piece of gold in my house and I did not want it to spend the evening - or the night - in our possession, so I commanded that it be distributed.'"

1164. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When the adhan for the prayer is called Shaytan retreats, passing wind, so that he will not hear it. When the mu'adhdhin is silent he comes back again, until, when the iqama is said, he once more retreats. When the mu'adhdhin is silent again, he comes back and keeps saying to a man, 'Remember such and such,' something he was not thinking about before, until the man does not know how much he has prayed."

Abu Salama ibn 'Abdu'r-Rahman said, "If you do that, you should do sajdas while you are sitting." Abu Salama heard it from Abu Hurayra.

1165. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "People say, 'Abu Hurayra relates too much.' I met a man and asked him what the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had recited the day before during the 'Isha' prayer. He said, 'I do not know.' I said, 'Weren't you there?' He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'But I know. He recited such-and-such a sura.'"