What Invalidates the Salaah

1) Intentionally eating or drinking

Ibn al-Mundhir [RA] says:

“The people of knowledge agree that if one intentionally eats or dinks during afard salaah, he is to repeat the salaah. The same is the case with nawafil according to the majority of scholars as what invalidates an obligatory (fard) prayer also invalidates a voluntary (nafl) prayer . (Fiqh Sunnah)


2) Speaking intentionally about something unrelated to the salaah

Ibn Mas’ud (RA) reports: “We used to greet the messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) while he was in salaah and he would respond to our greeting. When we returned from Abyssinia, we greeted him [during prayer] but he did not respond to our salutation. We said to him: O Messenger of Allah, we used to greet you while you were in salaah and used to respond to us! He then said: Prayer demands one’s complete attention.” (Bukhari)


3) If one speaks out of ignorance or forgetfulness, his salaah is still valid

Mu’awiyyah ibn al-Hakam (RA) said:” I was praying behind the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) and someone in the congregation sneezed, I said [to him]: May Allah have mercy upon you. The people then stared at me, showing their disapproval of my act, I said: Woe to me, why do you stare at me so? They started to strike their hands on their thighs and when I saw that they wanted me to become silent, I was angered but said nothing. When the Messenger of Allah finished the prayer and may my father and mother be ransomed for him, I found no teacher better than him either before or after him, he did not scold, beat, or revile me but he simply said:

Talking to others is not permissible during the salaah, for the salaah is for glorifying Allah, extolling His Greatness, and reciting the Qur’an. “(Muslim) 

Mu’awiyyah Ibn al-Hakam spoke out of ignorance of this ruling and the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) did not order him to repeat his salaah.


4) Talking to remind or correct the Imaam in salaah does not nullify the salaah

Sahl ibn Sad as-Saidi (RA) reported: There was some quarrel (fighting) among Bani ‘Amr, and when this news reached the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam), he offered the Zuhr prayer and went to establish peace among them. In the meantime the time of Asr prayer was due, Bilal pronounced the Adhaan and then the Iqaamah for the prayer and requested Abu Bakr (to lead the prayer) and Abu Bakr went forward. The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) arrived while Abu Bakr was still praying. He entered the rows of praying people till he stood behind Abu Bakr in the (first) row. The people started clapping and it was the habit of Abu Bakr observed that the clapping was not coming to an end, he looked and saw the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) standing behind him.


5) Intentionally making many motions unconnected to the salaah

The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) beckoned him to carry on by waving his hand. Abu Bakr stood there for a while, thanking Allah for the saying of the Prophet and then he retreated, taking his steps backwards, when the Prophet saw that, he went ahead and led the people in prayer. When he finished the prayer, he said, “O Abu Bakr! What prevented you from carrying on with the prayer after I beckoned you to do so? Abu Bakr replied, “ it does not befit the son of Abi Quhafa to lead the Prophet in prayer.” Then the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said to the people:

”If some problem arises during prayers, then the men should say: Subhan Allah,’ and the women should clap.” (Bukhari) 


6) Intentionally leaving out an essential act or condition of the prayer without any valid excuse for doing so

The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) told a Bedouin who had not performed his salah well:

” Return and pray for you have not prayed.” (Bukhari)

Many motions is a string of actions which would make others believe that the person is not praying. An-Nawawi also says:

”The scholars are in agreement that many actions invalidates the prayer if they are performed consecutively [i.e, one after another]


7)  Praying while not in a state of purity and not facing the Qiblah

Ibn Rushd (RA) said: There is an ijma’ that if one prays and he is not in a state of purity [deliberately], it is obligatory for him to repeat the prayer. Similarly, one who prays without facing the qiblah [intentionally] must repeat the salaah. In general, if any of the conditions for the correctness of the salaah are absent, it becomes obligatory to repeat the salaah.”(Fiqh Sunnah)


8) Smiling or laughing  during the Salaah

Ibn al-Mundhir (RA) records that ther is a consensus of opinion that laughing (during the salaah) invalidates the prayer. An-Nawawi (RA) says: This is the case if one laughs aloud, and produces sound. Most of the scholars say that there is no problem with smiling. If one is overcome by laughter and cannot control it, his salaah will not become invalid if it is of minor nature. If it is a hearty laughter, it will invalidate the salaah. Custom would determine whether it is a major or a minor laughter.”(Fiqh Sunnah)


This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited



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