Looking at the place of prostration during prayer / Washing the hair in Ghusl
Fatwa No: 187811

  • Fatwa Date:7-10-2012 - Thul-Qi'dah 22, 1433
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Question

Salaam, I have two questions. 1) If a praying person's eyes look away from the spot where he will prostrate, is his prayer invalidated? 2) How should a man with thick and long hair wash his head during ghusl in such a way that all of the skin under the hair is moistened? Jazaak Allaah Khayran.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,  is His slave and Messenger.

The prayer is not invalidated by looking to what is far away from the place of prostration; rather, even if one turns his face slightly, his prayer is not invalidated according to the view of most scholars  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them. The same thing applies if he looks towards the sky.

Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him   said: “The prayer is not invalidated by looking around, unless one completely turns away from the direction of the Qiblah (the direction of the Ka’bah), or turns his back to the Qiblah, because the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did so (i.e. turned around during the prayer). This is the view of Abu Thawr. Besides, Ibn Abdul-Barr  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “The majority of the jurists  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them are of the view that turning around during the prayer does not invalidate the prayer if it is slight. However, it is disliked to look towards the sky (during the prayer) as Anas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: '''What is wrong with those people who look towards the sky during the prayer?' His talk grew stern while delivering his speech and he said: 'They should stop doing so, otherwise their eyesight would be taken away.’”

On the other hand, some jurists  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them   are of the view that the praying person should look straight ahead at eye-level, so he should neither raise his head nor lower it; this is the view of the Maaliki School of jurisprudence.

Some other jurists are of the view that it is desirable that the praying person should look at the place of prostration; as Ibn Seereen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,  used to look towards the sky (during the prayer) and then the verse in which Allaah Says (what means): {They who are during their prayer humbly submissive.} [Quran 23:2] was revealed; then he [the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] lowered his head. [Al-Bayhaqi - Sa’eed Ibn Mansoor also reported this with the addition: “They (i.e. the righteous predecessors) liked that one’s eyesight does not exceed his place of prostration.]”

In addition, Shareek Ibn ‘Abdullah Al-Qaadhi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him   was of the view that when a person is standing in prayer, he should look to the place of prostration, and when in Rukoo’ (i.e. in the bowing down position) he should look to the place of his feet, and while in prostration, he should look to his nose, and to his lap when in the sitting position in (Tashahhud).”

To conclude, the prayer is not invalidated by looking away from the place of prostration.

As regards how to wash the head and make the water reach the skin if the hair is thick and long, then this is an easy matter. The person should pour water over his head and he should run his fingers through his hair until he feels that his scalp is wet in the same manner as Aa'ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her described how the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,  used to perform Ghusl: ''…and then he runs his fingers through his hair until he feels that his scalp is wet and then he pours water on his head three times ..." [Al-Bukhari]

Another narration reported by Imaam Maalik  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him reads: "… then he enters his fingers into the water and runs them through the roots of his hair, and then he pours three handfuls of water on his head.”

Allaah Knows best.

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