Places Where Offering Solāh Is Prohibited
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.
'Aishah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reports that the Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Allah cursed the Jews and Christians [because] they took the graves of their prophets as mosques.” This is related by al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, and an-Nasa`ie.
Ahmad and Muslim record from Abu Marthad al-Ghanawi that the Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Do not pray facing a grave and do not sit on one.” They also record that Jundub ibn `Abdullah al-Bajali heard the Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) say, five days before he died: “The people before you took graves as mosques. I prohibit this to you.”
`Aishah (radiyallāhu`anhu) reports that Umm Salamah mentioned the churches she saw in Abyssinia and the pictures they contained to the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam). The Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said to her: “These are the people who, when a pious servant or pious man among them dies, build a mosque [place of worship] upon their graves and put those pictures in it. They are the worst of the whole creation in the sight of Allah.” This is related by al-Bukhari, Muslim, and an-Nasa`ie.
The Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) is also reported to have said: “Allah curses those who visit the graves and take them as mosques and light lamps over them.” Many scholars take this prohibition to be one of dislike, regardless of whether the grave is in front of the imam or behind him. According to the Hanbali School, this applies only if there are three graves or more. If there is only one or two graves, then the Solāh are valid although disliked if one prays facing a grave, otherwise it is not disliked.
Abu Musa al-Ash`ari and 'Umar ibn 'Abdulaziz prayed in a church. Ash-Sha`abi, `Ata, and Ibn Sireen did not see anything wrong with praying in a church [if one happened to be in a church at the time of Solāh]. Al-Bukhari says: “Ibn `Abbas (radiyallāhu`anhu) would perform Solāh in churches [under unusual circumstances] except for those with statues or sculptures.” The Muslims of Najran wrote to 'Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) saying that they found no place cleaner or better to pray in than a church. `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) wrote to them: “Sprinkle it with water and leaves and pray therein.” According to the Hanafi and Shafi`ie schools, it is disliked to pray in such places in general.
3- Dunghills, slaughterhouses, middle of the roads, resting places of the camels near watering holes, bathrooms and on the roof of the “House of Allah"
Ibn 'Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) relates that the Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) prohibited Solāh in seven places: “dunghills, slaughterhouses, graveyards, middle of the road, bathhouses, watering places where the camels drink and rest, and on the roof of the house of Allah [the Ka`abah in Makkah].” This is related by Ibn Majah, `Abd Ibn Humaid and at-Tirmidzi who said its chain is not strong. The reason it is prohibited to observe solat on dunghills and in slaughterhouses is the presence of impurities there.
It is forbidden to perform Solāh at such places without any barrier, and if there is such a barrier one may Solāh, but it is disliked by the majority of the scholars, while Ahmad say it is prohibited. The reason why it is prohibited to pray in the resting places of the camels is the same as in the first two cases (i.e., the presence of impurities). The reason why it is prohibited to pray at the middle of the roads is because there is usually a lot of commotion, which could take one's heart away from the solah. As for observing solat on the roof of the Ka`abah, this contradicts the order to offer solah facing it. For this reason, many are of the opinion that a solah performed on top of the Ka`abah is invalid.
The Hanafi school holds that it is allowed, but disliked as it does not honor the Ka`abah. The reason it is disliked to observe Solāh in bath-houses is the presence of impurities there, according to the majority of the scholars. Ahmad, Abu Thaur hold that a solah offered in the bath-house is not valid.
Offering solah in the Ka`abah is valid regardless of whether it is an obligatory Solāh or a supererogatory Solat. Ibn `Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu) reports: “The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) entered the house [the Ka`abah] with `Usamah ibn Zaid, Bilal, and `Uthman ibn Talhah and they closed the door behind themselves. When they opened the door, I was the first to come upon them and I asked Bilal (radiyallāhu`anhu): 'Did the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) pray [while he was inside]?' He said: 'Yes, between the two Yemeni pillars.'" This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and Muslim.
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.
[Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2:“Places Where Offering Solāh Is Prohibited” By Sayyid Sābiq]