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Things which invalidate prayers

  1. Twelve things make prayers void, and they are called mubtilat.

First: If any of the pre-requisites of prayers ceases to exist while one is in namaz, like, if he comes to know that the dress with which he has covered himself is a usurped one.

Second: If a person, intentionally or by mistake, or uncontrollably, commits an act which makes his Wudhu or Ghusl void, like, when urine comes out, even if it is discharged forgetfully, or involuntarily, after the last Sajdah of the prayers. But if a person is incontinent, unable to control urine or excretion, his prayers will not be void if he acts according to the rules explained early in the Chapter of Wudhu. Similarly, if a woman sees blood of Istihaza during prayers, her namaz is not invalidated if she has acted according to the rules of Istihaza.

  1. If a person sleeps involuntarily, not knowing whether he slept during namaz or afterwards, it will not be necessary for him to repeat the prayers, provided he knows that he has not performed anything less than the usual namaz.

  2. If a person knows that he slept voluntarily, but doubts whether he slept after or during the prayers, or if he forgot during the prayers that he was praying and fell asleep, his prayers will be valid if the provision stated above is fulfilled.

  1. If a person wakes up in Sajdah, and doubts whether he is in the Sajdah of the namaz or in the Sajdah for Shukr, he should pray again if he slept involuntarily. But if he slept intentionally, and feels that he probably slept during the Sajdah of namaz due to carelessness, his prayers are valid.

Third: If a person folds his hands as a mark of humility and reverence, his prayers will be void, but this is based on precautionary rule. However, there is no doubt about it being haraam, if it is done believing that it is ordained by Shariah.

  1. There is no harm if a person places one hand on another forgetfully, or due to helplessness, or taqayyah ,or for some other purposes, like, scratching.

Fourth: The fourth thing which invalidates prayers is to say ‘Amin’ after Surah al-Hamd. This rule, when applied to one praying individually, is based on Ihtiyat, but if someone utters it believing that it has been ordained by Shariah, it is haraam. There is no harm if someone utters it erroneously or under taqayya.

Fifth: The fifth thing which invalidates prayers is to turn away from Qibla without any excuse. But if there is an excuse, like, forgetting or an external force, like a strong wind blowing, which turns him away from Qibla, his namaz will be valid if he has not deviated towards his right or his left. But it is necessary that he returns to the direction of Qibla as soon as the excuse disappears. And if he turned away towards right or left side – regardless of whether his back is towards Qibla or not -due to forgetting, he should pray again towards Qibla as soon as he remembers, if there is time left even for one Rak’at. But if there is no time for even one Rak’at at his disposal, then he should continue with the same namaz towards Qibla, and he will not have to give any qadha for that. Similar rule applies to the one who has deviated because of the external force.

  1. If a person turns his head away from Qibla while his body remains facing Qibla, and if with that turning of the head, he is able to see behind partly, he will be considered to have deviated from Qibla, and he will follow the rule explained above. But if the turning of head is so minimal that it can be said that his front part of the body is towards Qibla, then his prayers will be valid, though it is Makrooh to do such thing.

Sixth: The sixth thing which invalidates prayers is to talk, even by uttering a single word consisting of one, single letter which has a meaning or denotes something. For example, one letter “Qi” in Arabic means “protect yourself”. Or if someone asked a person who is praying, as to which is the second letter of Arabic alphabet, and he said simply “Ba”. But if the utterance is meaningless, then, if it constitutes two or more letters, his prayers will be void, based on precaution.

  1. If a person forgetfully utters a word consisting of one or more letters, and that word may carry some meaning, his prayers does not become void, but as a precaution, it is necessary that after the prayers, he should perform Sajdatus Sahv, as will be explained later.

  2. There is no harm in coughing, belching during the prayers, and as an obligatory precaution, he should not intentionally heave a sigh. If someone utters ‘Oh’ or ‘Ah’ purposely, his namaz will be void.

  3. If a person utters a word with the object of Zikr, like, if he says ‘Allahu Akbar’, and raises his voice to indicate something, there is no harm in it. In fact, there is no harm if he utters Zikr with the knowledge that it will convey something to one who hears it. But if there is no intention of Zikr, or if it is done with dual purpose, then there is Ishkal.

  4. There is no harm in reciting the Qur’an, except the four verses, which make Sajdah obligatory, and which have been mentioned in the rules relating to Qira’t (rule no. 992) and in reciting Duas during the prayers. However, the recommended precaution is that one should not read Duas in any language other than Arabic.

  5. If a person intentionally repeats parts of Surah al-Hamd and other Surah, and the Zikr of prayers, without intending them to be a part of the namaz, or as a matter of some precaution, there is no harm in it.

  6. A person offering prayers should not greet anyone with Salam, and if another person says Salam to him, he should use the same words in reply without adding anything to it. For example, if someone says Salamun alaykum, he should also say Salamun ‘alaykum in reply, without adding Wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. As an obligatory precaution, he should not utter ‘Alaykum’ or ‘Alayka’ before the word Salamun if the one who greeted him did not say so. In fact, the recommended precaution is that the reciprocation must fully conform with the way Salam was initiated. So if he said: Salamun alaykum, the reply should be Salamun alaykum, and if he said: As-Salamu alaykum, then the reply should be the same. Similarly, the reply to Salamum alayka will be Salamun alayka. But if someone initiated Salam saying Alaykumus Salam, then the answer can be given in any of the phrases.

  7. It is necessary that the reply to Salam is given at once, irrespective of whether one is praying or not. And if, whether intentionally or due to forgetfulness, he delays reply to the Salam, so much that if he gives a reply after the delay, it may not be reckoned to be a reply to that Salam, then he should not reply if he is in namaz. And if he is not in namaz it is not obligatory for him to reply.

1148.A person should reply to a Salam in a way that one who greets him can hear it. However, if he who says salam is deaf, or passes away quickly, then it is necessary to make reciprocation by sign etc., if that would be understood. If that is not possible, then it is not obligatory to respond when one is not praying. And if one is praying, it is not permissible.

  1. It is obligatory that a person who is in namaz, responds to Salam with the intention of greeting. But if he responds with the intention of prayers or blessing, meaning “May Allah bless You”, there is no harm.

  2. If a woman or a Na-Mehram or a discerning child, that is, one who can distinguish between good and evil, says Salam to a person in namaz, the person should respond. However, in reply to the Salam by a woman who says Salamun alayka, the person offering prayers can say Salamun alayki, giving Kasrah to Kaf at the end.

  3. If a person in namaz does not respond to Salam, his prayers are in order, though he will have committed a sin.

  4. If a person says Salam to a person in namaz in a mistaken way, such that it cannot be treated as a Salam, it is not permissible to reply to it.

  5. It is not obligatory to give reply to the Salam said in jest, or the Salam of a non-Muslim man or woman who is not a Zimmi (an infidel living under the protection of an Islamic Government). And if he/she is a zimmi, it is sufficient, on the basis of obligatory precaution, to answer saying ‘alayka’ only.

  6. If a person says Salam to a group of people, it is obligatory for all of them to give a reply. However, if one of them replies, it is sufficient.

  7. If a person says Salam to a group of people, but a person for whom it was not intended gives a reply, it will still be obligatory upon the group to reply.

  8. If a person says Salam to a group among whom one was in namaz, and that person doubts whether Salam was intended for him or not, it will not be necessary for him to give a reply. And if the person offering prayers is sure that he was also intended by the one who greeted, but some one else has made a response, he does not have to reply. But if he is sure that he was among the group for whom Salam was intended, and no one has replied, then he should reply.

  9. It is Mustahab to greet with Salam, and it has been emphatically enjoined that a person who is riding should greet one who is walking, and a person who is standing should greet one who is sitting, and a younger person should greet an elder.

  10. If two persons simultaneously say Salam to each other, each one of them should, on the basis of obligatory precaution, reply the Salam of the other.

  11. When a person is not in namaz, it is Mustahab that his response to the Salam should be more expansive. For example, when one says salamun alaykum, the other should say salamun alaykum wa rahmatullah in reply.

Seventh: The seventh thing which makes namaz void is an intentional loud laugh. And if the laugh is uncontrollable, or involuntary, if what prompted it in the first place was intentional, or for that matter, inadvertant, the namaz will be void. But if one laughs loudly unintentionally, or if he purposely laughs without emitting any voice, there is no harm.

  1. If in order to control his laughter, the condition of the person in namaz changes, like, if the colour of his face turns red, he should, as an obligatory precaution, pray again.

Eight: As an obligatory precaution, if one intentionally weeps, silently or loudly, over some worldly matters, his namaz will be void. But, if he weeps silently or loudly due to fear of Allah, or for the Hereafter, there is no harm in it. In fact, it is among the best acts.

Ninth: Any act which changes the form of namaz like, clapping or jumping, invalidates the namaz, regardless of whether that act is done intentionally or forgetfully. However, there is no harm in actions which do not change the form of namaz, like, making a brief sign with one’s hand.

  1. If a person remains silent during namaz for so long, that it may not be said that he is offering prayers, his namaz is invalidated.

  2. If a person performs an extraneous act during namaz, or maintains prolonged silence, and then doubts whether his prayers has been thereby invalidated, he should repeat the namaz, but the better way of doing it is to first complete the namaz, and then repeat it.

Tenth: Eating or drinking. If a person offering prayers eats or drinks in such a manner that people would not say that he was in namaz, his prayers would be void, regardless of whether he does it intentionally or forgetfully. However, if a person who wants to keep a fast is offering a Mustahab namaz before the Adhan of Fajr, and being thirsty, fears that by the time he completes the prayers it will be Fajr, he can drink water during that Mustahab prayers, provided water is not more than two to three steps away from him, and he should be careful not to commit acts which invalidate namaz, like turning his face away from Qibla.

  1. Even if the intentional eating or drinking does not change the form of namaz, as an obligatory precaution, he should repeat the namaz, regardless of whether Muwalat is maintained or not by eating and drinking.

  2. If a person in namaz swallows the food which has remained around his teeth, his prayers are not invalidated. Similarly, if things like grains of sugar remain in the mouth and they melt slowly and go down the throat, there is no harm in it.

Eleventh: Any doubt concerning the number of Rak’ats in those prayers which consist of two or three Rak’ats, will render the namaz void. Also, if one doubts about the number of the first two Rak’ats, of namaz having four Rak’ats, (like, Zuhr, Asr and Isha), his namaz will be void if he continues to be in doubt.

Twelfth: If a person omits or adds the Rukn (elemental parts) of the namaz, either intentionally or forgetfully, his namaz is void. Similarly, if he does an extra Rukn forgetfully, like adding a Ruku or two Sajdah in one Rak’at, his namaz, as an obligatory precaution, will be void. And if one omits purposely acts which are not Rukn, or makes an addition, namaz will be void. But if one forgetfully adds one more Takbiratul Ihram, namaz will not be void.

  1. If a person doubts after the namaz, whether or not he performed any such act which invalidated the prayers, his namaz will be in order
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