Question: What is prescribed regarding the straightening of rows? Is it legislated for the worshipper to connect his ankle to the ankle of the person next to him ? Deliver a verdict for us and may you be rewarded.
Answer: The correct opinion is that what is prescribed regarding straightening the rows is for the ankles to be parallel to each other, not the tips of the toes. This is because the body is mounted upon the ankles, while toes differ according to the size of the feet, for there are big feet and small feet, therefore it is not possible to precisely straighten the rows except by the ankles. As for connecting the ankles, each of them next to the other, there is no doubt that it has been reported from the Companions [RA], for they used to straighten the rows by connecting the ankles, each of them next to the other [Reported by Bukhari in the Book of Adhan].
That is, that each of them would connect his ankle to the ankle of the next person to him, so that they would be parallel and the rows would be straight. And it [i.e. connecting the ankles) is not an aim in itself; rather the aim is something other thhan this [straightening the rows}, as the scholars have said. Therefore, if the rows are completed and the people are standing, then it is an obligation on each of them to him, in order to achieve straight rows; and the meaning of this is not that he should tenaciously insist on connecting the ankles and keeping them connected throughout the whole of the prayer.
This is a form of excessiveness in this matter as some of the people do, which is that they connect ankle-to-ankle with their companions and spread their feet wide, so that there are spaces between their shoulders and those of their companions, thereby contradicting the Sunnah; and the aim is that the ankles be straight.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited