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AlKafi 880



Assalamualaikum wrm.wbt.,

Can you please explain the ruling for a person who prays but his eyes are not focused or look at the place of prostration?


Waalaikumussalam wrm. wbt.

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

In this issue, we should know that there is a restriction of looking up at the sky when praying. This is in accordance with a hadith narrated by Anas bin Malik RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:

مَا بَالُ أَقْوَامٍ يَرْفَعُونَ أَبْصَارَهُمْ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ فِي صَلاَتِهِمْ

"How is it that some people raise their eyes towards the sky during As-Salat (the prayer)?"

He stressed (this point) and added,

لَيَنْتَهُنَّ عَنْ ذَلِكَ أَوْ لَتُخْطَفَنَّ أَبْصَارُهُمْ

"People must refrain from raising their eyes towards heaven in Salat (prayer), or else their sights will certainly be snatched away."

Sahih al-Bukhari (750)

The above hadith clearly shows the great restriction against looking at the sky when praying. However, the scholars have differing opinions in determining the restriction, whether it is haram or makruh.

Imam al-hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani in his commentary of the above hadith cited the words of Imam Ibn battal who said: Scholars have agreed that it is makruh to look up when praying. See Fath Al-Bari, Ibn Hajar (2/272).

We would like to state that the claim made by Imam Ibn Battal regarding the agreement of scholars does not mean that there are no other scholars who ruled a different ruling. Furthermore, Syeikh Syams al-Haq al-Azhim Abaadi said: “Apparently, looking up when praying is haram. The reason is the punishment of their eyesight will be snatched will not happen unless the act is haram. The famous opinion according to Syafi’iyyah scholars state that it is makruh. While Ibn Hazm had excessively ruled that the act would invalidate the prayer.” See ‘Aun Al-Ma’bud, Al Azhim Abaadi (3/134).

The wisdom for restriction in the hadith is stated by al-Qadhi Iyadh Rahimahullah: “Looking up in prayer give a small indication of looking away from the qibla and deviate from the hai’ah (movement) in prayer.” See Fath Al-Bari, Ibn Hajar (2/272).

Furthermore, scholars have also discussed regarding the place a person should look at while praying. Most of them are of the opinion that it is sunnah for a person to pray by focusing their view towards the place of prostration. This is as stated by Imam Ibn Hajar who cited the statement of Muhammad Ibn Sirin who said:

“The previous people (the Companions) turns away in prayer until the following statement of Allah SWT was revealed:

قَد أفْلَحَ المُؤمِنُون الَّذِينَ هُم فِي صَلاتِهِم خَاشِعُون

“Certainly, will the believers have succeeded: They who are during their prayer humbly submissive.”

Surah al-Mu’minuun (1-2)

Hence, they turned back facing their faces in prayer (pray humbly submissive) and look in front of them. And they encouraged one another to not face away from their place of prostration. Refer Fath Al-Bari, Ibn Hajar (2/272).


To close, after analyzing the above presented arguments, we would like to state it is makruh for a person to not look at his place of prostration when he is praying. Which means he is looking to his left or right, or looking upwards. The reason is these actions is far from the concept of prayer of which calls for a person to be humbly submissive, khudu’ (looking down) and concentrate. Whereas, it is sunnah to look down towards the place of prostration.

Lastly, may Allah SWT give us all the correct understanding in religion. Amin.