The Acts that Renders Solāh Invalid
By Sayyid Sābiq
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-'ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam is His Messenger.
The following omission or actions which render the Solāh invalid.
1- Intentionally adding or leaving out an essential act or condition of the Solāh without any valid excuse for doing so.
It means by adding or the non-performance of any of its pillars or pre-conditions, whilst a person is able to perform them, irrelevant of whether this is done intentionally, in forgetfulness, or in ignorance.
Al-Bukhari and Muslim (rahimahullāh) record that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) told a bedouin who had not performed his Solāh well: "Return and pray for you have not prayed." (This hadith was mentioned earlier.)
Ibn Rushd (rahimahullāh) writes: "There is an agreement that if one prays and he is not in a state of purity, it is obligatory for him to repeat the prayer, [that is true if the act was done] intentionally or out of forgetfulness. Similarly, one who prays without facing the qiblah, intentionally or due to forgetfulness, [must repeat the Solāh]. In general, if any of the conditions for the correctness of the Solāh are absent, it becomes obligatory to repeat the Solāh. "
This is an omission of an integral part of the Solah, without which it will be incomplete, and in the following cases; because of doing that which is forbidden.
2- Intentionally eating or drinking invalidates the Solāh
Ibn al-Munzhir (rahimahullāh) says: “The people of knowledge agree that if one intentionally eats or drinks during a fardhu Solāh, he is to repeat the Solāh. The same is the case with nawafil according to the majority of scholars as what invalidates an obligatory (fardhu) Solāh also invalidates a voluntary (nawafil) Solāh.”
3 - Speaking intentionally about something unrelated to the Solāh invalidates the Solāh
Intentionally speaking during the Solāh, if it is not beneficial to the Solāh, invalidates the Solāh.
Zaid ibn Arqam (radiyallāhu`anhu) relates: “We used to talk while we were in Solāh and a person would speak to the person next to him until the verse was revealed: “And stand before Allah in devout obedience' and we were then commanded to observe silence during the Solāh.”” This is related by the group.
Abdullah Ibn Mas`ud (radiyallāhu`anhu) reports: “We used to greet the Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) while he was in Solāh and he would respond to our greeting. When we returned from Abyssinia, we greeted him [during Solāh] but he did not respond to our salutation. We said to him: ‘O Allah’s Messenger, we used to greet you while you were in Solāh and you used to respond to us!” He then said: ‘Solāh demands one's complete attention.’” This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
If one is ignorant of this ruling or speaks due to the fact that he has forgotten this ruling, his Solāh will still be valid
Mu`awiyyah ibn al-Hakam (radiyallāhu`anhu) said: “I was praying behind the Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) 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 Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) finished the Solāh - 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 seemly during the Solāh, for the Solāh is for glorifying Allah, extolling His Greatness, and reciting the Qur'an.’” This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and an-Nasa`ie.
Mu`awiyyah ibn al-Hakam spoke out of ignorance of this ruling and the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) did not order him to repeat his Solāh.
Talking [if it is a reminder as to the incompleteness of the Solāh], does not nullify the Solāh.
This can be seen in the following hadith: Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu`anhu) says: “The Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) led us in either the noon or after-noon prayers and he made the taslim after praying only two raka`at. Dzul Yadain said to the Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) : “O Allah’s Messenger, has the Solāh been shortened or have you forgotten [part of it]?” The Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “It has not been shortened, nor did I forget any part of it” He said: “Yes, O Allah’s Messenger, you did forget.” Thereupon the Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) asked (the people): “Is Zhul Yadain correct in what he says?” The people said: “He is correct, you offered only two raka`at.” Then, the Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) prayed the two remaining raka`at and made the Taslim, said the takbir and performed the sajdah, sat and made the Takbir and performed the Sajdah again, and finally said the Takbir and sat again.” This is recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
The Maliki school allows talking during the Solāh if it is done for any good of the Solāh as long as it does not become a common practice and (is done) only when saying Subhānallāh fails to alert the imam to correct his mistake. Al-Awza'ie's comments are: “Whoever intentionally speaks during the Solāh, seeking some benefit to the Solāh, does not invalidate his Solāh.” He said that if a person recites aloud in the 'asar and someone behind him says: “It is the 'asar,” (i.e., the recital is not to be aloud) then the latter person would not invalidate his Solāh.
4 - Intentionally making unnecessary excessive and continuous movement.
Solāh breaks due to movement that is: excessive, continuous, and movement for no apparent reason.
The scholars differ over what exactly constitutes a few motions and what constitutes many motions. Some say that one makes many motions when, if seen from behind, one would be certain that he was not performing Solāh, and anything less than that amount is considered only a few motions. Some say that it is any act or string of actions which would make others believe that the person is not praying.
An-Nawawi (rahimahullāh) says: "If a person performs a lot of actions that are not part of the Solāh, he invalidates his Solāh, and, on this point, there is no difference of opinion. If the acts are few, then they do not invalidate the Solāh and, on this point, there also is no difference of opinion. This is the exact position. However, there exist a difference of opinion over what exactly constitutes a few actions and many actions, [and there exist four opinions on this point..." He says that the fourth opinion is the correct and most popular opinion.
The fourth opinion is that the exact definitions of too much and too little are determined by generally accepted standards. One is not harmed in his Solāh by common acts such as nodding in reply to a salutation, taking off one's shoes, raising the headdress and putting it back in place, putting on or taking off a light garment, carrying or holding a small child, preventing someone from passing in front of the person in Solāh, covering one's spittle in one's clothing and similar other actions. As for the other acts, those which are considered to constitute many actions (e.g., taking many consecutive steps, performing actions repeatedly) they invalidate the Solāh.
An-Nawawi (rahimahullāh) also says: “The scholars are in agreement that many actions invalidate the prayer if they are performed consecutively [i.e., one after another]. If one separates the actions, for instance, taking a step and then stopping for a while, then taking another step or two, and then another two steps, after a pause (though a short one) between them, then the Solāh will not be harmed, even if he (in this manner should take a hundred or more steps. There is no difference of opinion on this point.” As for light actions, he continues, “such as, moving one's finger in glorifying Allah or in itching, and so forth, these do not invalidate the prayer according to the well-known, authentic opinion, even when they are done repeatedly and consecutively, but they are disliked.”
Ash-Shāf'`ie (rahimallāh), in a statement concerning it, says: “Even if one counts the verses on one's fingers, it would not invalidate one's Solāh, but it is best to avoid [such an act].”
5 - Smiling or laughing during the Solāh
Ibn al-Munzhir (rahimahullāh) records that there is a consensus of opinion that laughing (during the Solāh) invalidates the Solāh. An-Nawawi (rahimahullāh) 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 Solāh will not become invalid if it is of minor nature. If it is a hearty laughter, it will invalidate the Solāh. Custom would determine whether it is a major or a minor laughter.”
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.
[An Excerpt from "Fiqh-As-Sunnah, Volume 2: ‘Actions which invalidate the Solāh' By Sayyid Sābiq" Via http://ymsite.com/home/]
All About The Solah
6. The Adzān;
13. Places Where Offering Solāh Is Prohibited ; 14. Placing a Sutrah In front of One Who is Performing Solah;
15. What is permissible During the Solāh?; 16. The Acts that Renders Solāh Invalid; 17. Disliked Actions during the Solāh; 18. The Solāh in Times of Fear or Danger; 19. The Solāh of a Sick Person ;
29. Solāh al-Jumu`ah; 30. The Sanctified Hour of Jumu’ah.