Question: What are the things that nullify salat?
Some of them are as follows:
2. Laughing so loudly that you hear your own laugh,
3. Omitting a fard (obligatory) element of salat [e.g., going down for sajda without performing ruku’],
4. Crying loudly due to worldly affairs or due to pain or grief,
5. Moaning by saying “Ouch!” or saying “Ugh!” to express annoyance [if an ill person cannot help saying “Ouch!” then it does not invalidate his/her salat],
6. Coughing without a good excuse,
7. Amal-i kasir [e.g., scratching an itching place three times in a rukn or opening a closed door],
8. Performing recitation so quietly that you cannot hear your own recitation,
9. Standing ahead of the imam,
10. Walking forward by the length of a salat row without a good excuse,
11. Combing your hair or beard,
12. Embracing your child,
13. Eating or drinking something,
14. Swallowing a food particle the size of a chickpea stuck in the teeth,
15. Feeling the taste of candy that is in your mouth and this fluid’s slipping down your throat,
16. A man’s removing his taqiyah and putting it on again by using his both hands, (If his taqiyah falls down in salat, he should take it by using one hand. Some scholars say that it does not nullify salat to take it with both hands.)
17. Turning your chest from the qibla direction without a good excuse,
18. Lifting both feet from the ground in sajda position, [There are also scholars who say that it does not nullify salat. It does not nullify salat to lift them for a moment.]
19. To recite the Qur’an wrongly to the extent that the meaning is changed,
20. Suckling a baby,
21. Changing your place on somebody’s instructions,
22. Putting on your jacket,
23. Saying “Amin” to the du’a of a person other than the imam,
24. Standing or putting your head on an impure (najs) place in salat,
25. If your awrah gets exposed for a time in which you can say “Subhanallah” three times or if there is impurity (najasat) on your body or clothes so much that it nullifies your salat or if a man and a woman stand side by side when they follow the same imam,
26. Starting and completing a rukn before the imam starts it,
27. Performing recitation with taghanni to the extent that it changes the meaning. It is necessary to repeat a salat if it is performed behind an imam who recited with taghanni. (Halabi)
Question: My kid climbed on my back during sajda position in salat. When rising from sajda, I held him with my hand lest he may fall down. Then he fell down slowly. Was my salat nullified?
Yes, it was nullified. (Halabi)
Question: Does crying nullify salat?
Crying loudly due to pain or grief nullifies salat. Weeping silently or crying loudly because of the thought of Paradise or Hell does not nullify salat. (Durr-ul-Mukhtar)
Question: I have been taught that it invalidates salat to raise the hand three times in salat. For example, if I raise my hand once to scratch my body and then if I raise it twice to close my mouth when yawning, will my salat be invalid?
If you do these acts in one rukn, your salat will be invalid.
Question: When I cough in salat, phlegm comes into my mouth. I swallow it. Does it nullify my salat?
Swallowing phlegm nullifies neither salat nor fast.
Question: Is it permissible to break salat in order to rush to help a person who is calling for help?
Yes, it is permissible.
Question: When a person is performing salat in a wrong direction, will his/her salat become invalid if another person turns him/her to the correct direction?
No, it will not become invalid.
Question: Does it nullify salat to say “Sadaqallahul azeem” at the end of some ayahs out of habit and by mistake?
It does not nullify salat. However, it will be makruh if one says it deliberately.
Question: Can I loose my tightly tied tie in salat?
Loosing it with one hand does not invalidate salat.
Question: Does laughing invalidate salat?
Smiling in salat breaks neither salat nor wudu’. When heard by those near you, it is called laughter. When you do not hear your own laughing, it is called smiling. If no one but the person who laughs hears it, it is called dahk, which breaks only salat. Laughter invalidates both wudu’ and salat. In the Shafi’i Madhhab, laughter invalidates only salat. It does not invalidate wudu’.
Question: Is a salat’s being invalid the same as its being unacceptable?
No, they are different things. A salat may be valid, but it does not mean that it is acceptable, too. That is, if a salat is valid but unacceptable, it means that one has performed the obligatory duty but will not earn thawab (reward) in return for it. If it is not valid, it cannot be acceptable. For example, a salat is not valid if it is not performed in a state of wudu’ or if it is performed without recitation. That is, it is not counted as a salat.
Question: Does it nullify salat to cry due to the thought of the Hereafter?
No, it does not nullify salat.
Question: Does it nullify salat to cry by thinking about a scholar of Islam?
It nullifies salat if the act of crying is for him as a person or for something worldly. It does not nullify salat if it is for the Hereafter.
Question: Does it nullify salat to raise my hand once in a rukn and to scratch my head and then my nape and then my ear?
It does not nullify salat. You are considered to have raised your hand once, so it is counted as only one scratching.
Question: If one-fourth of a limb gets exposed in salat, is it considered that the entire limb has been exposed?
Yes, it is considered to be the entire limb.
Question: Does it nullify salat to push a baby away who has sat on the place of sajda?
No, it does not.
Question: Does it harm my salat to pull up my pants?
If you pull them up with open hands, it does not harm your salat. If you pull them up gently, it will be makruh. It nullifies salat to grasp them firmly with both hands and to pull them up. A man performing salat should wear loose trousers if there is no extreme necessity to wear otherwise, so he will not have to pull up his pants.
Question: My pocket-sized Mus-haf or amulet fall down during standing position in salat. Does it nullify salat to take it with one hand and to put it in my pocket?
No, it does not nullify salat.
Question: If one, while reciting an additional surah in salat, makes an error in which the meaning is changed to the extent that it causes one to become a disbeliever and then if one corrects it, will it invalidate one’s salat?
No, it will not invalidate one’s salat.
Question: In sitting posture in salat, a person moved me to one side together with my prayer mat. Did it invalidate my salat?
No, it did not invalidate your salat. The one who moves a person performing salat has committed a sin if there is no extreme necessity to do so.
Question: If I, when saying supplication (such as Subhanakallahumma …, Attahiyyaatu …, Allahumma salli …) in salat, repeat a word several times, will it nullify my salat?
No, it will not nullify your salat.
Question: Does it nullify salat to lift the toe of the right foot?
No, it does not nullify salat. Lifting even the right foot does not nullify salat, either.
Question: Is it makruh to perform Salat al-Fajr while the sun is rising?
The salat offered when the sun has started to rise is invalid and unacceptable. No salat is offered until 45-50 minutes pass after the sun has risen. For this reason, one must complete Salat al-Fajr before the sun has risen.
Question: Does it nullify salat to scratch the body three times?
Yes, it nullifies salat to scratch an itching place three times in a rukn. Scratching a place three times means scratching it by raising the hand three times. If the hand is raised once and a person scratches it three or five times, it will be counted as only one scratching.
Question: I was taught that amal-i kasir invalidates salat. What does it mean?
The term amal-i kasir means actions that are so many as to nullify salat.
The term amal-i qalil means few actions that do not nullify salat. [It is also known as amal-i yasir.]
Turning the head around in salat is amal-i qalil and is therefore makruh. If one is asked where something is, it will be amal-i qalil and therefore makruh to respond with one’s hand.
Amal-i kasir is of five types:
1. Amal-i qalil is excessive actions to the extent that if seen by an onlooker from a distance, he or she will be certain that one is not performing salat. If the onlooker doubts whether one is performing salat or not, then these actions are termed amal-i qalil.
2. An action that is usually done with both hands is amal-i kasir. Even if one does it with one hand, it still breaks salat. For example, if one does with one hand such actions as winding a turban, wearing a garment, or pulling up pants and buckling a belt that is normally done with both hands, it will still be amal-i kasir and therefore break salat. If a woman’s headscarf is opened in salat and if she fails to tie it with a slight action, her striving to tie it will constitute amal-i kasir and therefore break salat.
Hitting a person next to you breaks salat. This hitting is due to enmity or disciplining him/her or for a joke. All of these three reasons constitute amal-i kasir and therefore break salat. Similarly, hitting a kid near you with your hand or foot to warn him/her would constitute amal-i kasir and break salat.
An action that is usually done with one hand is considered amal-i qalil. Such an action does not nullify salat even if it is done with both hands. For example, zipping trousers shut, pressing a switch near you, or closing a door by pushing it with your hand constitute amal-i qalil and do not break salat. Similarly, if a man’s taqiyah falls down in salat, taking and wearing it will not break salat.
3. Three actions that are done in succession constitute amal-i kasir. In a rukn, scratching an itching place three times or chewing a very small piece of food in your mouth three times or swallowing it by melting it break salat. It does not nullify salat to swallow something smaller than a chickpea that has remained between the teeth, but it nullifies salat to take even a very small piece of food, e.g., a sesame seed, and to swallow it.
Turning the head and looking at a newcomer does not break salat, but it is makruh. Salat is invalidated if the chest is turned away from the qibla direction. If one is asked about or asked for something, responding with one’s head, eyes, or eyebrows will not invalidate one’s salat. If a person says to someone performing salat, “Move forward to make space for me” and he/she complies, his/her salat will be nullified because he/she has obeyed someone other than Allah in salat. If he/she moves of his/her own accord, his/her salat will not become invalid.
4. Actions that are done deliberately constitute amal-i kasir. For example, if a man kisses his wife while she is in salat or if a kid suckles and milk comes out, her salat will be invalid.
5. Excessive actions in view of a person performing salat break his/her salat. That is, if the person performing salat says, “This action of mine is amal-i kasir, and it nullifies salat,” that action nullifies his/her salat according to a qawl.
Question: If there is no gap in the row and as it is makruh to stand alone, will the salat of a man be invalidated when he comes back if the one standing alone touches him to indicate that he should come back?
His salat is invalidated if he comes back right away at the behest of the newcomer. However, if he comes back of his own volition, his salat will not be invalidated.
Question: Does it invalidate salat to feel the taste of candy that one ate before salat?
It does not invalidate salat to feel the taste of candy that one ate before salat, even to swallow this taste with saliva.
Question: If the name of our Master the Prophet or the name of Allahu ta’ala is mentioned in salat, should one say salawat or say “Jalla jalaaluh”?
One must not say them in salat. Otherwise, one’s salat becomes invalid. (Se’adet-i Ebediyye)
Question: Does it invalidate salat to say “Alhamdulillah”?
No, it does not invalidate salat. If one says it after sneezing in salat, it does not invalidate salat, either. However, as there are also scholars who say that it invalidates salat to say “Alhamdulillah” after sneezing, it is preferable not to say it after sneezing in salat.
Question: If a man, when performing salat in jama’at behind the imam, fails to do ruku’ with the imam out of absent-mindedness, will it affect his salat negatively if he does ruku’ individually and catches up with the imam in sajda?
If one begins a rukn after the imam has finished it, one’s salat will be valid. That is, if one does ruku’ individually and catches up with the imam in sajda, one’s salat will be valid. If one cannot catch up with him in sajda either, one’s salat will not be valid because one has done two rukns individually.
Question: If one, after doing ruku’, has remembered that one did not recite an additional surah and recites it and then repeats ruku’, is there anything wrong with it? Secondly, does it nullify salat to do sajda three times out of forgetfulness?
Excessive movements that are not of salat invalidate salat. However, doing ruku’ or sajda several times does not invalidate salat, but it requires sajda as-sahw.
Question: What are the things that invalidate salat as they are considered outside intervention?
Some of them are as follows:
1. Saying “Amin” to the du’a of someone other than the imam you are following invalidates salat. If a person performing salat next to you recites Surat al-Fatiha aloud and if you say “Amin” at the end of it, your salat will be invalid. Similarly, if a group of men starts to perform salat in jama’at when you are performing salat individually, your saying “Amin” when the imam of that jama’at recited Surat al-Fatiha will invalidate your salat because he is not your imam. If a person comes and says “May Allah forgive you your sins” when you are performing salat and if you say “Amin,” your salat will be invalid. The sound produced by a loudspeaker is not the imam’s voice from a scientific perspective as well, so it invalidates salat to say “Amin” to the sound produced by the loudspeaker.
2. It invalidates salat to change your place on somebody’s instructions. For example, suppose that two men are performing salat with the imam. If a newcomer tells the one standing next to the imam to come back or touches him to indicate that he should come back and that person steps back on the newcomer’s instructions, his salat will be invalid. If he comes back of his own volition, his salat will not be nullified.
3. When you are performing salat, if a person comes and tells you to make room for him, your salat will be invalid if you move on his instructions because you have carried out someone else’s order in salat.
4. Correcting the error of someone other than your imam invalidates your salat. For example, if someone recites the Qur’an al-karim wrongly in salat and if another person performing salat corrects his mistake, the salat of the latter becomes invalid because it means to respond to someone other than one’s imam. If the imam behind whom one is performing salat recites wrongly or if he falters during recitation of an ayah, correcting his mistake or reminding him about the ayah will not break one’s salat.
5. It invalidates your salat to say “Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illaa billah” or “Subhanallah” or “Laa ilaaha illlallah” if one calls you or asks you something when you are in salat. If you utter these phrases to indicate that you are performing salat, your salat will not be nullified. What nullifies salat is to utter them in response to the asker. Note this fine distinction.
6. It invalidates your salat to return one’s greeting with your tongue or hand. If one greets you deliberately or unknowingly when you are in salat and if you return it with your tongue or respond with your hand, e.g., by putting your hand on your chest or raising it to your head, your salat will be nullified as it is considered a response to one’s greeting.
7. It invalidates salat to say “Yarhamukallah” to a person who has sneezed and said “Alhamdulillah” because it means to respond to another person’s praising.
8. It invalidates salat to say “Innaa lillah wa innaa ilayhi raajioon” upon hearing bad news because it is considered a response to bad news. When you are performing salat, if someone else comes and tells you that your grandfather has died and if you say “Innaa lillah …,” your salat will be invalid because it means to respond to someone outside of salat.
9. It invalidates salat to say such a term of respect as “Jalla jalaaluh” upon hearing the name of Allahu ta’ala because it is considered responding to someone outside of salat.
10. It invalidates salat to say “Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam” or another salawat with a different wording upon hearing the name of the Messenger of Allah, for it is considered a response to a person outside of salat.
11. If a group of men forms a jama’at while a person is performing salat individually and if he utters “Rabbanaa lakal hamd” when the imam of that jama’at has said “Sami’ Allahu liman hamidah,” his salat will be nullified because he responded to the statement of someone else. Similarly, when the imam says “Sami’ Allahu liman hamidah” through a loudspeaker, responding to him by saying “Rabbanaa lakal hamd” means responding to a person outside of salat.
When the Messenger of Allah said “Sami’ Allahu liman hamidah” while rising from ruku’, Hadrat Muawiya, who was in the first row, said “Rabbanaa lakal hamd” in reply. He was praised for saying it and saying it was made sunnat until Doomsday.
Question: If one recites an ayah wrongly in salat, will it nullify one’s salat?
If one is aware that one has recited it wrongly, one should recite that part again correctly. By doing so, one’s salat will not be invalid, even if the mistake one made causes one’s salat to become invalid.
Question: I have been taught that there are 12 matters that nullify salat according to Imam-i A’zam. What are they?
The following 12 matters invalidate salat according to Imam A’zam. However, they do not invalidate it according to Imam-i Abu Yusuf and Imam-i Muhammad.
1. If the sun rises before one says the salam after reciting at-tahýyyat in the fard salat of Salat al-Fajr,
2. If a person performing salat in a state of tayammum sees water before saying the salam after reciting at-tahiyyat,
3. If the time for Salat al-Asr starts after one has recited at-tahiyyat in Salat al-Jumu’ah,
4. If the time during which one is allowed to make masah over khuffs ends after one has recited at-tahiyyat,
5. If one of the khuffs is taken off accidentally or deliberately after one has recited at-tahiyyat,
6. If an ummi (unlettered) has learnt a surah after reciting at-tahiyyat,
7. If a naked person’s clothes are brought after he says at-tahiyyat,
8. If an ill person who is performing salat through gestures (ishaarah) recovers after saying at-tahiyyat,
9. If a sahib-i tartib remembers the salat (s)he missed after saying at-tahiyyat,
10. If a knowledgeable imam makes an ummi man lead salat because his wudu’ has broken after saying at-tahiyyat,
11. If a person has done wudu’ by wiping over the dressing around his/her wound and if his/her wound gets well and his/her dressing falls after (s)he has recited at-tahiyyat,
12. If, after she says at-tahiyyat, istihada (flux of blood from a woman other than menstruation and lochia) blood of a woman stops and never starts again until the time for that salat ends. (Targhib-us-salat, Halabi)
[Some scholars issued fatwas according to the verdicts of Imam-i A’zam, while some scholars issued fatwas according to the verdicts of Imam-i Abu Yusuf and Imam-i Muhammad. In order to be on the safe side, one should act on the verdicts of Imam-i A’zam as well.]
Question: How much exposure of awrah invalidates salat?
If one-fourth of a man’s or woman’s awrah part remains bare as long as one rukn, his/her salat becomes invalid. If a smaller part remains exposed, his/her salat does not become invalid, but it is rendered makruh. For instance, the salat of a woman one-fourth of whose foot has remained bare will not be valid. If she herself uncovers it, her salat becomes invalid immediately. (Se’adet-i Ebediyye)
Question: Does it invalidate salat to raise my voice or to say “Alhamdulillah,” “Subhanallah,” or “Allahu akbar” in order to indicate that I am performing salat?
It does not invalidate salat. (Halabi)
Question: I understood incorrectly the statement, “It is necessary to sit as long as to say ‘Subhanallah’ between two sajdas,” and I always said “Subhanallah” between two sajdas. Were my salats invalid?
They are valid. It is not a sin to do so unknowingly.
Question: It is written in Se’adet-i Ebediyye, “The imam’s reciting more loudly than necessary does not nullify salat, but it is haram.” Does committing a haram not nullify salat? Is it not a contradiction? Does committing a haram in salat not mean that salat is nullified?
Committing a haram is different from a salat’s being nullified. Let me give some examples:
1. It is haram for a man to wear silken garments. However, if a naked man does not have any garment other than a silken one, he has to perform salat in that silken garment, which is haram for a man to wear. (Radd-ul-Mukhtar)
2. It is haram to perform salat nakedly. However, a person who does not have any clothes or a person who, though having clothes, is not able to wear them must perform salat by sitting like sitting in salat, or stretches his feet side by side toward the qibla, covers his front private part with his hands, and performs salat by gestures. Covering awrah parts is more important than the other precepts of salat. (Ibn Abidin)
3. Consuming alcoholic drinks is haram. If a person has consumed alcohol but he/she understands what he/she is reciting in salat, his/her salats are valid. However, they are not acceptable. That is, he/she cannot earn rewards. (Riyad-un-Nasihin)
“They are not acceptable” means that they are valid and such a person is considered to have done the obligatory duty, but he/she is not given rewards in return for them. So is the case with the salats of a person who consumes other haram food.
Question: If one forgetfully says the salam only to one’s left-hand side at the end of salat, will one’s salat be valid?
Yes, it will be valid because one has said the salam, which is a wajib element of salat. As it is sunnat or mustahab to turn the neck to one’s right-hand side, there is nothing wrong with it if one forgetfully omits it.
Question: If a man kisses or pinches her wife while she is performing salat, will it render her salat invalid?
If a man kisses her wife when she is performing salat, her salat will be invalid, even if the kissing is without sexual desire. If he touches his wife with sexual desire, her salat will be invalid, too. However, if a woman kisses her husband when he is performing salat, his salat will not be invalid unless he feels aroused. If he feels aroused, his salat will be invalid, too.
It is a sin for a man to cause his wife’s salat to be invalidated by doing such acts. He must not do such things to his wife either for a joke or seriously when she is performing salat.
Question: If a shopper comes when a storekeeper is performing salat, what should the storekeeper do to indicate that he is performing salat? For example, if he coughs to indicate it, will it nullify his salat?
If he coughs to indicate that he is performing salat, it will not nullify his salat if the coughing is so slight that the sound of one letter is uttered, but it is makruh. If the sound of more than one letter is uttered, it will nullify salat. If he recites the Qur’an al-karim more loudly or says “Alhamdulillah” or “Allahu akbar” or “Subhanallah” in order to indicate that he is performing salat, his salat will not be nullified. (Halabi)
Question: If one, while performing a four-rak’at fard salat, forgets to sit in the first sitting and stands up, is there anything wrong if one sits immediately and says at-tahiyyat?
One’s salat is nullified because the first sitting is not fard. When one abandons qiyam (standing position), which a fard element of salat, in order to perform the first sitting, which is not fard, one has committed serious crime, and one’s salat has become invalid. (Halabi)
There are also scholars who say that it does not invalidate one’s salat, but one should act upon the statements written in the book Halabi in order to be on the safe side.