Forbidden to pass in front of a person who is performing
I have recently learnt that you can only pass in front of others when the congregation takes place, and otherwise you cannot and the person praying must stop the person from passing or else the person passing is a devil. I made mistakes for speaking without knowledge and have asked Allah s.w.t to forgive me, for telling wrong information which they might take to be true, and might even pass on to others! What should I do, and would I have to bare the sin of these people?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the Praise is to Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala. Peace and Blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad His Messenger.
Firstly: The case of telling the others it was permissible but found it was wrong.
If you may note, and may Allah forgive you which you have committed a great sin, which is speaking of Allah without knowledge. This is a sin which Allah mentioned in conjunction with shirik.
“Say (O Muhammad): (But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al-Fawaahish (great evil sins and every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge”
Jarir Ibn `Abdallah (radiyallahu`anhu) narrated that The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wasallam) said:
“Whoever introduces a good way in Islam which is followed after he dies will have a reward like that of those who did it, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest. Whoever introduces a bad way in Islam which is followed after he dies will have a burden of sin like that of those who did it, without that detracting from their burden in the slightest.”
[Narrated by Muslim, 1017]
So you have to repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness for the sin. And May Allah blesses you with sincere repentance. You should also strive to put right your mistake by telling those who heard what you said before without knowledge.
Secondly: Forbidden to pass in front of a person who is performing solat
With regard to someone who wants to pass in front of a person who is performing Solah, one of the following scenarios must apply:
1. If he passes in front of the one who is praying, i.e., in the area between the spot where he puts his forehead when he prostrates and where he stands, this is haram, and indeed it is a major sin as a hadith narrated from Abu Juhaym (radiyallahu`anhu) the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam) said:
“If the one who passes in front of a person who is praying knew what (a burden of sin) he bears, it would be better for him to stand for forty rather than pass in front of him.”
Abu’l-Nadar – one of the narrators – said: I do not know whether he said forty days or months or years.
[Narrated by Al-Bukhari, 510; Muslim, 507]
In this case it makes no different whether the person has a sutrah (object to serve as a screen) or not.
2. If he passes in the area that is beyond the place where he prostrates. Two scenarios may apply in this case:
(i) If the one who is praying has set up a sutrah (object to serve as a screen). In this case it is permissible to pass beyond the sutrah, because the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam) said:
“If any one of you prays, let him face towards something. If he cannot find anything, then let him set up a stick. If he cannot do that, then let him draw a line, and then it will not matter if anyone passes in front of him.”
[Narrated by Ahmad, 3/15; Ibn Majah, 3063; Ibn Hibban, 2361. Ibn Hajar (in Al-Bulugh, 249): hasan]
It was narrated that Talhah (radiyallahu`anhu), who said: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wasallam) said:
“If one of you puts something in front of him that is like the back of a saddle, and then let him pray and not worry about anyone who passes beyond that.”
[Narrated by Muslim, 499]
(ii) If the one who is praying has not set up a sutrah, he has no more than the space in which he prostrates. This is the most correct scholarly opinion. It is permissible for the one who wants to pass in front of him to pass in the space beyond where he prostrates. That is because the prohibition mentioned in the hadith applies to passing in front of the one who is praying, and what is beyond the place where he prostrates is not counted as being in front of the one who is praying.
Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) said, after mentioning the differences of scholarly opinion concerning the distance within which the worshipper should stop anyone from passing in front of him:
The correct opinion is that it is the distance between his feet and the place where he prostrates. That is because the one who is praying has no right to do anything more than what he needs for his solah. So he does not have the right to prevent the people from (using space) that he does not need.
[Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 3/340]
All of this has to do with one who is praying alone or is leading others in solat. If he is a member of a congregation, then the sutrah of the imam is the sutrah for those who are behind him.
Al-Bukhari (rahimahullah) said: the sutrah of the imam is the sutrah of those who are behind him.
It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallahu`anhu)said:
“Once I came riding a female donkey and had (just) attained the age of puberty. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wasallam) praying at Mina, and there was no wall in front of him. I passed in front of part of the row while they were praying. Then I let the donkey loose to graze and joined the row, and nobody objected to it”.
[Narrated by Al-Bukhari, 76; Muslim, 504)]
[See al-Mughni, 2/42, 2/46]
Does this apply also to the masjid at Makkah and Madinah (haram Shariff)?
The correct view is that whether it is Makkah and other places are the same because of the general meaning of the evidence. Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said is that there is nothing to suggest that Makkah is not included in this general meaning. [See al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 3/342]
And Allah knows best.
[Excepted with minor modification from Fatwa No: 26182, Islam Q&A]