Madhab Fiqh Manual with Evidence from Qur’aan, Sunnah, Ijmah & Qiyas
The sunnah posture of a female in any position of salah is that which is the most concealing for her.
Imam Baihaqi says,”All of the laws of salah in which a woman differs from a man are based on the principle of satr (concealment). This means that the woman is instructed to do all that which is more concealing for her.”[Baihaqi 2/314]
In the Madhab of Imam Abu Haneefa (RA) due to the principle of satr (concealment) there are five fundamental differences in posture during Salah:
a) At the beginning of Salah women should raise their hands upto the shoulders or close to bosom
b) During Qiyaam (standing) women should place their hands on their bosom and in doing so they can adopt “Akdh (grasping)” or “wadh (placing)” according to personal preference
c) During Ruku they should tuck their arms into the body and bend enough for the hands to reach the knees and hands should be placed on the knees (as opposed to grasping the knees)
d) In prostration they should cling to the ground
e) During Tashahhud women should take out both legs to the right and sit on their posterior without raising the right foot
1. There is no Salah before its time, and it must be ensured that the time for Salah has actually started.
[4:103] Once you have finished your Salāh, then, remember Allah while standing, sitting and reclining. As soon as you are secure, perform Salāh as due. Surely, Salāh is an obligation on the believers that is tied up with time.
2. There is no Salah without being in the state of Wudhu.
[5:6] O you who believe, when you rise for Salāh, (prayer) wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and make MasH (wiping by hands) of your heads and (wash) your feet up to the ankles. If you are in a state of major impurity, cleanse yourselves well (by taking bath). If you are sick, or on a journey, or if one of you has come after relieving himself, or you have had sexual contact with women, and you find no water, then, go for some clean dust and wipe your faces and hands with it. Allah does not like to impose a problem on you; He, rather likes to cleanse you and to complete His favour upon you, so that you may be grateful.
Hammam b. Munabbih (RA) who is the brother of Wahb b. Munabbih. (RA) said: This is what has been transmitted to us by Abu Huraira (RA) from Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and then narrated a hadith out of them and observed that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: The prayer of none amongst you would be accepted in a state of impurity till he performs ablution. [Muslim]
3. Body, clothes and location of prayer must be Taahir (free from impurities).
[74:4] and purify your clothes,
Jabir Ibn Samra (RA) narrates that a man asked Rasul-ullah (ﷺ), “Should I pray in the same clothes in which I went (cohabited) to my wife in?” He (ﷺ) replied, “Yes unless you find some impurity on it which should clean and purify”. [Ahmed]
4. Awrah of a woman must be covered and her Awrah is all her body except the face, palms and feet.
[24:31] And tell the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornment, except that which appears thereof, and must wrap their bosoms with their shawls, and must not expose their adornment, except to their husbands or their fathers or the fathers of their husbands, or to their sons or the sons of their husbands, or to their brothers or the sons of their brothers or the sons of their sisters, or to their women, or to those owned by their right hands, or male attendants having no (sexual) urge, or to the children who are not yet conscious of the shames of women. And let them not stamp their feet in a way that the adornment they conceal is known. And repent to Allah O believers, all of you, so that you may achieve success.
Aisha (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Allah (SWT) does not accept the Salah of an adult woman unless she is wearing a Khimar (head covering).” [Abu Dawud]
It is related from Umm Salamah (RA) that she asked Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), “Can a woman pray in a long shirt and head covering without a loincloth?” He (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “If the shirt is long and flowing and covers the top of her feet.” [Abu Dawud]
Note: There is a difference of opinion amongst scholars about the feet being covered in Salah and it is preferable and more precautionary for them to be covered, however the one who chooses to follow the other opinion (i.e. the feet not being covered) should not be criticized & the matter is discussed in detail here:
5. A person must face the Qiblah (direction of Kaba’h) during Salah.
[2:144] We have been seeing you turning your face to the heavens. So, We will certainly assign to you a Qiblah that you would like. Now, turn your face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque (Al-Masjid-ul-Harām), and (O Muslims), wherever you are, turn your faces in its direction. Even those who have been given the Book know well that it is the truth from their Lord, and Allah is not unaware of what they do.
6. The best place to pray for a woman is her home, rather a corner of her room.
[2:144] Narrated Umm Humaid As-Sa’diyah (RA) who once said to the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam): Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)! I love to pray with you (i.e. in the mosque)! Upon hearing this, Allah’s Messenger (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “I know that you love to say your prayer with me. However, the prayer you offer in your residence is more excellent than that you offer in your people’s mosque. And your prayer in your people’s mosque is better for you than you prayer in the (lager) congregational mosque.” [Abu Dawud;, Musnad of Imaam Ahmad; & At-Tabarani]
Note: There is no obligation on women to visit the Mosque & perform regular congregational Salah (at the Mosque) and no evidence to suggest that praying in the Mosque with congregation carries greater reward or can be classed as Sunnah, rather the promise of greater reward is with praying at home, however they shouldn’t be prevented from attending the Mosque.
7. During congregational Salah; similar to men, woman should also straighten their rows and make sure that there are no gaps in between them but joining ankle to ankle is extremism.
Nu’maan ibn Bashir (radhiallaahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) would straighten our Saffs with such care that even arrow shafts could be straightened with them (by using them as a guide) until he saw that we understood (the importance of straightening the Saffs). Once he came out and stood (on his Musalla) and just before making Takbeer he noticed a person’s chest sticking out of the Saff. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘O Servants of Allah! Straighten your Saffs or else Allah will cause division amongst your hearts.’ [Muslim]
Note: Joining ankle to ankle is not the aim but a means of achieving the aims and to insist on this during Salah is extremism as discussed here:
8. It is recommended to place a Sutrah (a barrier or partition) in front when praying.
Sahl Ibn Hathmah (RA) reported that Rasul-ullah (ﷺ) said, “When one of you prays, he should pray towards his Sutrah and he should be close to it”.[Abu Dawud]
9. The minimum height of Sutrah should be length of an arm, and its width at least a finger.
Sabrah Ibn Ma’bad (RA) reported that Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “When one of you prays, he should make a barrier for his Salah, even it is an arrow”.[Ahmad]
Talha (RA) said that we used to pray and animals would pass in front of us. We mentioned this to the Messenger of Allah (SWT) and he said, “If anything the size of saddle is in front of you, nothing that passes beyond it will harm you”.[Muslim]
Note: The size of saddle has been interpreted by Nafi (RA), Ata (RA), Sufyan Thawri (RA) as the length of an arm. [Musannaf Abdur Razzaq]
10. It is forbidden to cross between the Sutrah and the one who is praying.
Narrated Busr bin Said (RA) narrates that Zaid bin Khalid (RA) sent him to Abi Juhaim (RA) to ask him what he had heard from Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) about a person passing in front of another person who was praying. Abu Juhaim (RA) replied, “Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) said, ‘If the person who passes in front of another person in prayer knew the magnitude of his sin he would prefer to wait for 40 (days, months or years) rather than to pass in front of him.” Abu An-Nadr (RA) said, “I do not remember exactly whether he said 40 days, months or years.”[Bukhari]
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