Islam 101: Sutrah

Sutrah: “an object used by a person performing salat as a barrier between himself and one passing in front of him.” (Wikipedia)

“Abu Juhaym said, “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, ‘If the one who passes in front of a man praying knew what he was bringing upon himself it would be better for him to stop for forty than to pass in front of him.’ ” Abu’n-Nadr said, “I do not know whether he said forty days or months or years.” (Muwatta, Malik, Shortening the Prayer, Arabic Ref. Book 9, Hadith 366; Sunan Abi-Dawud, Prayer , Arabic Ref. 701)”

“It was narrated from ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Abu Sa’eed that his father said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘When anyone of you performs prayer, let him pray facing towards a sutrah, and let him get close to it, and not let anyone pass in front of him. If someone comes and wants to pass in front of him, let him fight him, for he is a devil (satan).’”(Sunan Ibn Majah, Establishing the Prayer and the Sunnah Regarding Them, Arabic Ref. Book 5, Hadith 1007)”*

I wish I had known this before I thoughtlessly stepped in front of my husband in sujood whilst attempting to get to the bathroom. In my defense, he had planted himself right beside the bathroom door, but it was a mistake and I knew as soon as I did it. Alhamdulillah, I have been blessed with a husband who is sweet and gentle. He kindly and promptly informed me that I should never walk in front of someone in prayer as it is haram (not permitted, forbidden). Doing this disturbs them and distracts them from their prayer. The Prophet (SAW) would drive a stick or spear into the ground whilst travelling or out in the dessert and pray before it. He recommended others to do the same with a similar object or by praying facing a wall. This is the best way to ensure that the prayer is not interrupted.

*Hadith and sources courtesy of islamandquran.org.

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