Aishah (RA) said: The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) once did his Salaah wearing a khameesah [shirt] with decoration on it. When he finished his Salaah, he said:
"Take this khameesah [shirt] and give it to Abu Jahm bin Huthaifah, and bring me the anbijaaniyyah [a cloth without picture] lest its alaam [marks] distracted me in my Salaah. [Bukhari]
The anbijaaniyyah -which he ordered Aishah to bring for him - is a thick garment with no decoration on unlike the khameesah [shirt]. The word "a Iaam", the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) used to describe the khameesah means much more than just decorations and pictures.
The hadeeth indicates that if pure hearts and noble souls are affected by pictures and decorations [in Salaah], then hearts and souls that are less in purity and nobility than them [will be more distracted from it]. Anas (RA) said: "Aishah (RA) used to have a qiraam [curtain] with which she used to screen one of the walls of her home. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said: Take this qiraam away from me; its pictures distracted me in my Salaah. [Bukhari]
This hadeeth indicates that if doing Salaah is detested in a place full of pictures, it is then more detested to do Salaah wearing clothes that bear pictures or decorations. AI-Kastallaanee said: If the pictures distract one in his Salaah - especially when they are in front of him - they will distract him even more if they are on his clothes. The scholars disagreed amongst themselves as to whether the prohibition from something I render the act of doing it invalid. Some say if this prohibition was directed to the act of worship itself or to one of its conditions or articles then doing this prohibition renders the worship invalid otherwise it is detested. Also, there is disagreement among the scholars as to whether doing Salaah wearing clothes that bear pictures is valid on not. The majority say that this act is detested.
And this view is supported by Aisha [RA] narration; she said: I used to have a cloth that bears pictures. I used to spread it for the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) to do Salaah on. He said: Take it away. I then sewed it into two pillows. [Muslim] The meanings that the previous ahaadeeth bear are so close; they all state that it is detested for one to do his Salaah carrying things that bear pictures or do Salaah towards pictures for they distract one from being fully given to Salaah and concentrating in reciting its adhkaar, and most important they lessen the feeling of submission in it.
The ahaadeeth also indicate that one should not look at anything that may distract his full attention from Salaah; the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) stated this rationale in the khameesah hadeeth. Shaykh Mashoor Hasan Salmaan said: "This rationale does not exist in case one does his Salaah while carrying coins that bears pictures. And since these pictures are not sanctified; they are put anywhere and move from one hand to another, I think there is nothing wrong with doing Salaah carrying them, Allaah knows best."
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited