Shaafi'i view on prolonging sitting between two prostrations
Fatwa No: 367915

  • Fatwa Date:3-1-2018 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 16, 1439
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Question

What is the Shaafi‘i position on elongating the sitting between the two prostrations? Is it valid to follow the opinion that it does not invalidate the prayer?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The view that the prayer is not invalidated by prolonging the sitting between the two prostrations is the view that has stronger evidence, as will be discussed later, and it is the view favored by Imam An-Nawawi in his book Al-Majmoo‘, so acting on this view is more appropriate even though the adopted opinion in the Shaafi‘i School is that the prayer is invalidated by it.

It is known that the Shaafi‘i School has two views about the sitting between the two prostrations; whether it is a short pillar ,and thus prolonging it invalidates the prayer, or it is a long pillar, and thus prolonging it does not invalidate the prayer, which is the view of most scholars.

An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

With regard to sitting between the two prostrations, there are two known views about it; one of which is that it is a short pillar, as decisively stated by Shaykh Abu Muhammad, Al-Baghawi and others, and Ar-Raafi'i validated this view. The second view is that it is a long pillar; this is stated by Ibn Surayj and the majority of the scholars. So if we say that it is a long pillar, it is acceptable to deliberately prolong it; and if we say that it is a short pillar, then there is a difference of opinion about deliberately prolonging it, which is the same as the difference of opinion regarding prolonging I’tidaal (the standing up position after rising from bowing…

He then mentioned the difference of opinion regarding I’tidaal and that there are three views about it, saying:

There are three views, the most correct of which according to Imam Al-Haramayn (Al-Juwayni) is that it invalidates the prayer. Al-Baghawi decisively stated this view... The second view is that the prayer is not invalidated, just as the case when one elongates the bowing. This view was decisively stated by Al-Qaadhi Abu At-Tayyib… The third view is that if he says the Qunoot supplication deliberately when standing up from bowing, in other than the position when it should be said, then his prayer is invalidated, but if he prolongs it with another Thikr (expression of remembrance of Allah) and not with the intention of Qunoot, then his prayer is not invalidated…

The adopted view of the Shaafi’i school is that the prayer is invalidated by prolonging the sitting between the two prostrations.

Al-Khateeb Ash-Shirbeeni said in Al-Iqnaa’, “Among the things that invalidate the prayer is to deliberately elongate the short pillar, which is I'tidaal, and the sitting between the two prostrations, because they are not intended, as per Al-Minhaaj, and this is the reliable view…

The extent of prolonging the sitting which invalidates the prayer according to them was clarified by Al-Bujayrimi in his Haashiyah, as he said, “The extent that invalidates the prayer is that when he stands up from bowing, he stands up to the extent of reciting Al-Faatihah in excess of the legislated Thikr in this standing position in that prayer relevant to his state; and the extent that invalidates the prayer in sitting between the two prostrations is to sit as long as one can say the Tashahhud; meaning the shortest form of Tashahhud in excess of reciting the legislated Thikr in this position as well…

However, Imam An-Nawawi favored the view that this does not invalidate the prayer, providing the hadith narrated by Huthayfah, may Allah be pleased with him,  as evidence; he said:

I prayed with the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) one night. He started to recite Al-Baqarah, and I thought, ‘He will bow when he reaches one hundred (verses)’; but he carried on. I thought, ‘He is going to recite the whole surah in one unit of prayer,’ but he carried on. He started to recite An-Nisaa’ and recited it (the whole surah), then he started to recite Aal-‘Imran and recited it (the whole surah), reciting slowly. When he reached a verse that spoke of glorifying Allah, he glorified Him. When he reached a verse that spoke of supplication, he made supplication. When he reached a verse that spoke of seeking refuge with Allah, he sought refuge with Him. Then he bowed and said, ‘Subhana Rabbiy-al-Atheem (Glory be to my Lord Almighty),’ and he bowed for almost as long as he had stood. Then he raised his head and said, ‘Sami‘a Allaahu liman hamidah (Allah hears those who praise Him),’ and he stood for almost as long as he had bowed. Then he prostrated and said, ‘Subhaana Rabbiy-al-A’la (Glory be to my Lord Most High),’ and he prostrated for almost as long as he had stood...” [Muslim]

An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “This is the wording narrated by Muslim, and it contains an affirmation of the permissibility of prolonging I’tidaal with Thikr; and it is difficult to refute it for those who forbade the prolongation of I’tidaal. The stronger opinion is that it is permissible to prolong it with Thikr.

Among the hadiths that prove the permissibility of prolonging the sitting between the two prostrations is the hadith narrated by Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, about the manner of the prayer of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) wherein he said, “…when he lifted his head from prostration, he stayed in that position till one would say that he has forgotten (to prostrate again).” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

The Shaafi'i scholar Ibn Al-Mulaqqin said, “This hadith states that I’tidaal is for a long time, as well as sitting between the two prostrations, so it is not permissible to divert from this opinion to another opinion and follow those who said that: it is a short pillar.

Allah knows best.

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