Where Should The Worshiper Look During Salat?

Ash-Shaykh Uthaymeen, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said:  
The scholars have differed as to where o­ne should look while standingin prayer. What is well known in the madhab of Imaam Maalik is thatthe o­ne in prayer looks in front of him and the opinion of Imaam Ahmadis that he looks to the place of prostration and this is also theopinion of  Imaam  Ash-Shaaf’ee and Abu Haneefah and their proofs isthe narration( that is disconnected) of Muhammad bin Sireen whorelated that the Prophet, sallalaahu ‘alaihi wasallam, “used to lowerhis head and look down to the place of prostration” due to that beingmore effective in causing khush’u.Some scholars have said: Verily the Imaam and the o­ne praying alonelooks to  the place of prostration. As for the Ma’muum ( the personbeing lead in prayer) then he looks at the Imaam and the proofs forthat(opinion) is the hadeeths in Al-Bukhaari which states that whenthe Messenger, alaihi as salaatu was salaam, prayed As-Salaatul Kusuufhe informed his companions that he was shown Jannah and the Hell-fire,so he said to them “that is when you saw me moving forward and movingbackwards”. This a proof that they were looking at him and from theproofs is the hadeeth which narrated that when the Prophet’s, alaihias salaatu was salaam, minbar was made he stood o­n it [ to prayer), sohe would stand and bow o­n it but however when he wanted to prostratehe would come down to prostrate o­n the floor and said “indeed I haveonly performed this so you can follow me and learn my prayer”.This is a proof that they were looking at him and also the Sahaabasmentioned that the Messenger used to read in the  inaudible prayer, soit was said to them(the sahaabas) “what made you come to know that” sothey said “due to the moving of his beard”. All of this is in asSaheeh Al-Bukhaari, so this is a proof that the ma’muum looks at theImaam due it being more perfective in following (the Imaam) and due tothe fact that the Imaam could stand or sit forgetfully, so the ma’muumlooks at the Imaam it will be more perfective for him in following theImaam. As for the Imaam and the o­ne praying alone then he looks at theplace of prostration. This opinion is the closest to the truth (inthis matter) especially if the ma’muum is need of that (looking at theimam) for example if he is not able to hear (the Imaam) so then helooks at the Imaam so he can follow him or similar to that.However the exception to this is when o­ne is in the sitting positionbecause he should look at his index finger due to the narration ofAbdullah bin Zubair that Prophet, ‘alaihi as salaatu was salaam, nevermoved his eyes from his index finger. And also some has given anexception to it if he was praying in the Masjid Al-Haraam while it ispossible for him to see the Ka’bah then he looks at the Ka’bah andalso if o­ne were praying As-Salaatul Khawf while the enemy is aroundhim so here (in this scenario) he looks at the direction of the enemybut however the correct opinion regarding the matter regarding theKa’bah is that the prayer does not look at it due to there being noproof for that. Also due to that might be a distraction especially ifthere is people performing at Tawaaf around him.[The Reference: Tafseer Suratil Baqarah (2/126-127) Pint: Daar  Ibnil Jawzee.]

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Boricua Muslimah

Graduate from Rutgers Newark. Journalist, photographer and videographer.

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