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Resolutions of Iftaa' Board

Date Added : 27-10-2015

Resolution No.(137),(2/2010) by the Board of Iftaa`, Research and Islamic Studies: "Ruling on Praying in the Mosque Sitting on a Chair"
Date: 25/3/1431 AH, corresponding to 11/3/2010 AD.

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.
During its first session held on the above given date, the Board reviewed the following question:
What is the ruling of Sharia on praying in the mosque while sitting on a chair and the harm that could result from that on other prayer performers?
After thorough studying and deliberating, the Board decided what follows:
Prayer is one of the pillars of Islam and Allah has commanded Muslims to guard it. He says(what means), " Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers, especially the Middle Prayer; and stand before God in a devout (frame of mind)."{Al-Baqarah/238}. 
Guarding prayer means that a Muslim is obliged to observe all its pillars and conditions such as standing, bowing down(Ruku`) and prostrating(Sujood). Muslim scholars have agreed that standing, for the person who is able to do it, is a pillar in obligatory prayer, and not observing it renders his prayer invalid. Therefore, one who offers obligatory prayer sitting on a chair while he is able to stand, his prayer is considered invalid.
However, Allah The Almighty has imposed no difficulties on His slaves. He says(what means), " And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive, (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the cult of your father Abraham. It is He Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this (Revelation); that the Apostle may be a witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular Prayer, give regular Charity, and hold fast to God! He is your Protector - the Best to protect and the Best to help!"{Al-Hajj/78}. Allah has connected burdening His slaves with their capacity. He says(what means), "on no soul doth God place a burden greater than it could bear"{Al-Baqrah/286}. Narrated `Imran bin Husain: had piles, so I asked the Prophet (PBUH) about the prayer. He said, "Pray while standing and if you can't, pray while sitting and if you cannot do even that, then pray Lying on your side."{Bukhari}.
The above indicates that virtue is made from necessity, and that necessity is assessed according to its degree.
 Therefore, one who can pray standing isn`t permitted to pray sitting on a chair or the like, and the same rule applies to the rest of the pillars. However, if he has a sound reason to leave standing and sit on a chair, then this excuse doesn`t make it permissible for him not to offer Ruku` and Sujood in their proper manner while sitting. 
If he has a sound reason for not performing Ruku` and Sujood in a proper manner, then this excuse doesn`t make it permissible for him to leave standing and sit down on the chair. Rather, he is obliged to stand and sit on the chair while performing them.
What a praying person is able to do, he is obligated to do and what he is unable to do, he should do by nodding his head while sitting on the chair, but he should make the prostration lower than the bowing. This is based on the command of the Prophet(PBUH), " do what I command you to the best of your ability and capacity".{Bukhari}.
Al-Imam An-Nawai said, "Our fellow scholars said: not being able to stand isn`t a condition in inability, nor is experiencing the least hardship. What counts is evident hardship. So, if the praying person feared severe hardship, complications of an illness, or the like, or if he was afraid to drown when on board of a ship or become dizzy, then it is permissible for him to pray while sitting, and he doesn`t have to repeat the prayer." Al-Majmo`(4/310).
Some scholars said that inability means hardship that causes the praying person to lose  humble submissiveness in his prayer. Imam Al-Haramain stated, "Inability that counts is when standing in prayer leads to hardship that causes the praying person to lose his humble submissiveness"{Al-Majmou`}.
However, if the praying person had no choice but to pray sitting on a chair, then he should make the rear legs of the chair aligned with the legs of the congregation. It is noteworthy that at the early stages of Islam, Muslims didn`t use to have chairs, so they should be used only when needed. Moreover, people praying sitting on chairs  shouldn`t place them in the middle of the rows so as not to disturb the other prayer performers. It is better to place them at one end of the row, or at the back rows at the rear of the mosque. We prefer the rear end of the mosque in order to spare the praying persons the harm. We should note that these people who are praying sitting are following the Imam, even if there is a distance between them and the last row, because they are still in the mosque. Moreover, Muslim scholars have stated that their prayer is correct so long as they are in the mosque and following the Imam in every pillar of the prayer. And Allah knows best.

 

Chairman of the Iftaa` Board, Grand Mufti of Jordan, Dr. Abdulkareem al-Khasawneh
Vice Chairman of the Iftaa` Board, 
Dr. Ahmad Hilayel
Dr. Yahia al-Botoosh/ Member
Sheikh Sa`eid Hijjawi/ Member
Dr. Mohammad Khair al-Eesa/ Member
Judge Sari Atieh/ Member
Dr. Abdurahamn Ibbdah/ Member
Dr. Mohammad Okla/ Member
Dr. Abdunnasir Abulbasal/ Member
Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalayleh/ Member
Dr. Mohammad al-Gharaibeh/ Member
Dr. Ahmad Al-Hasanat/ Executive Secretary of the Iftaa Board

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