What Types of Movement Invalidate the Salah?

Answered by Shaykh Abul ‘Ataa Ahmad Banaja (may Allah preserve him)


This is a question of a sister. She prays with her husband since the masjids are close now. But he move unnecessarily like scratching his head or something as such but not in every prayer, he do it in some prayers. He recite very small surahs. But he is the only male in their house now to be an imam. What should she do? Can she pray behind him or should they leave praying together? Will her prayer be valid even though he does any action which invalidate the prayer?


Dear brothers and sisters, You should know that the person who is in prayer should concentrate in his prayer and should avoid all the movements which are outside the prayer. As Allah عز وجل said to us:

“وَقُومُوا۟ لِلَّهِ قَٰنِتِينَ”
And stand before Allah with obedience (Al-Baqarah 2:238)

“ٱلَّذِينَ هُمْ فِى صَلَاتِهِمْ خَٰشِعُونَ”
Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness (Al-Mu’minun 23:2)

And as our prophet ﷺ said in hadeeth ibnu masoud :

“ان في الصلاة لشغلا”
“In the prayer, one is occupied”

And as came in the Sayings that :

رأى سعيد ابن المسيب . رجلاً وهو يعبث بلحيته قى الصلاة . فقال : لو خشع قلب هذا لخشعت جوارحه.

So I advice my brothers and sisters to avoid all the unwanted movements in the prayers because its sign of khushu.

But regarding which nullifies the prayer, we have classification.
In general movements in the prayer are of two types:
1- Necessary movement
2- Unnecessary movement

Necessary movements are movements needed for the sake of your prayer, for eg: – a scorpion or snake started to move in front of you, and you want to kill it to continue Prayer, so as to avoid harm from it, so it is a necessary movement to continue your prayer. Or a brother who is blind is walking in front of you into a big hole, at that time you cannot leave him to die himself and continue your prayer, you need to move then continue prayer, this is necessary movement.

The unnecessary movement is movement that doesn’t have any purpose or benefit, not for your sake and for others, its unnecessary. So is this unnecessary movement does break your prayer? The answer depends upon its types.

In general, the unnecessary movement in prayer is illegal whether small or big, few or more. It’s illegal, But regarding which nullifies the prayer, then it depends upon it’s type

The first type of unnecessary movement is light movements, like fixing imamah fixing shoulders and likes. Light movement is defined as if you did that it doesn’t change your shape/style of praying. If a person looks at you he could understand that you are still praying.

The second type of unnecessary movement is too much of movements in prayer in which if people watching your prayer doesn’t understand that you are praying. He may think you are exercising or doing things that doesn’t have any connection with the prayer. So, the second type of movement breaks your prayer and the first type doesn’t, but still will decrease your reward. In general, both types are not allowed to be done.

Question, If the awrah is exposed during the prayer, what is the ruling of correcting it? Is it necessary or unnecessary?

It is necessary because it goes back to the prayer. Same as If your izaar is going down, your scarf drops from head. Fix it as these are necessary movements.

Question, what is the ruling of fixing the imamah in the prayer because it changes the shape a bit?

Answer is its unnecessary movement but light movement, should leave it and fix after prayer.

Question, A person is changing his cloths during prayer, his juba, imamah etc..?

Answer is the person is not praying anymore, he is changing cloths.

So my dear sister don’t be harsh and extreme with your husband, Take it easy, advice him & correct him.

May Allah جل وعلا better our situation and deeds, and increase us in imaan, khair, knowledge and taqwa.

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