What is reprehensible in prayer

source :Osoul Global Center


During prayers, one has to avoid some acts that are discouraged in a prayer. Those acts such as; moving too much, reciting only the Fatha in the first tow rakaa, closing the eyes, and other gestures discussed below.

What is reprehensible in prayer

The following are discouraged in prayer :[1]

1-Reciting only the first surah, al-Fatihah, in the first two rak'ahs because this is against the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) practice and guidance.

2-Repeating the surah, al-Fatihah, in the same rak'ah, because this is also against the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) practice. However, if one repeats it for a reason, as in the case of someone who has read it mechanically the first time and wanted to reflect on its meaning by reciting it again, then there is no harm, provided this does not lead to obsession.

3-Turning one’s face slightly during prayer, without a reason, is also discouraged. When asked about this, 

:the Prophet (peace be upon him) said

‘This is a time stolen by Satan from a person’s prayer.’

Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 751

 If turning is for a reason, as in the case of someone who starts to have disturbing doubts about his prayer and needs to make the spitting gesture three times to the left during prayer, this is acceptable. In fact the Prophet (peace be upon him) recommended it in such a case. The same applies to a woman who is worried about a young child or a toddler who might be wandering around and she fears that the child might be lost. All this applies to slight turning, but if a person turns with his whole body, or turns his back towards the qiblah, then the prayer becomes invalid, unless there is a legitimate reason such as strong fear, etc.

4-Closing one’s eyes in prayer, because this would be imitating the worship of the Majians, and it is also said that this is similar to what the Jews do. We, Muslims, are commanded not to be like the unbelievers.

5-Placing one’s arms, up to the elbows, on the floor during prostration.

:The Prophet (peace be upon him) said

‘Let your body be in the right position when you prostrate yourself, and let not any of you place his arms on the floor like a dog does.’ It is, therefore, important to lift one’s arms above the floor, so as not to take a posture like an animal.’

6-Making many movements, because this is contrary to the humble appearance required in prayer.

7-Placing one’s hands over one’s waist on both sides.

:Abu Hurayrah said

‘The Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibited that a man puts his hands over his waist on both sides.’

Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 1,220; Muslim, hadith No. 545

8-  Praying without having anything covering a man’s shoulders. Also it is disliked to pray while covering one’s mouth without a legitimate reason.[2]

9-Starting movements before the imam in congregational prayers.

:The Prophet  (peace be upon him) said

‘If anyone lifts his head before the imam, does he not fear that Allah may make his head like the head of an ass or may make him look like an ass.’

Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 691; Muslim, hadith No. 427

10-Clasping one’s fingers together.

:The Prophet (peace be upon him) told

‘someone who performed the ablution and came to the mosque for prayer that he should not do so.’

Related by Abu Dawud, hadith No. 562; al-Tirmidhi, hadith No. 386

 and it stands to reason that it is even worse in prayer.

11-Folding one’s hair or clothes.

 Ibn 'Abbas reports: ‘The Prophet (peace be upon him) was commanded to place seven bones on the floor in prostration and not to fold his clothes or hair. This means one shouldn’t fold his sleeves or clothes for prayer but rather leave it loose to bow and prostrate with him and also not to gather the hair if it is long in a bun for example for prayer.

12-Praying when food is present or when one has the urge to go to the toilet.

:The Prophet  (peace be upon him) says

‘Prayer is not preferred when food is around or when one feels the urge to go to the toilet.’

Related by Muslim, hadith No . 560

Praying is discouraged when food is around only if one is hungry and wants to eat and can have it.

13-Raising one’s eyes to the sky.

:The Prophet (peace be upon him)  says

‘Those people who lift their eyes to the sky in prayer should stop, or their sights might not be safe.’

Related by Muslim, hadith No. 429


  1. Ibn Qudamah, Al-Mughni, vol. 1, p. 495.
  2. Related by Abu Dawud, hadith No. 643; al-Tirmidhi, hadith No. 378; Ibn Majah, hadith No. 966.



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