21. Closing the eyes for no reason. This is a objectionable act (makrooh) as Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) mentioned: “Closing the eyes was not from the guidance of the Rasool (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam).” He also said: “The scholars of fiqh have differed on its detestability. Imam Ahmed and others deemed it detestable and they said that it was of the habits of the Jews. However a group of them ruled it allowable without any detestablility and they said that it may indeed be a closer means of achieving khushoo’ which is the spirit of the salaah, its heart and its aim.”
“Most correct is that if keeping the eyes open has no detrimental effect upon khushoo’ then it is preferable to do it. If decorations, adornments or the like are around the worshipper or between him and the qiblah to the point of distraction, then there is absolutely no objection to closing the eyes. Indeed the statement that to do so is desirable (mustahabb) in this case is closer to the spirit of the law and its aims than the statement that it is objectionable. And Allah knows best.”
22. Eating or drinking or laughing in the salaah thus nullifying it. As far as eating and drinking there is consensus with regards to the fardh. Ibn Al-Mundhir stated: "The scholars (Ahlul-‘Ilm) are in consensus agreement that the one praying is forbidden from eating and drinking. There is also consensus among them that to do so intentionally necessitates repetition of the salaah." Ibn Al-Mundhir also transmits that there is consensus that the salaah is nullified by laughing.
23. Raising the voice in recitation to the point of distracting those around. It is recommended (mustahabb) that one hears himself, not to the point that it interrupts anyone who is reciting the Qur’aan or making salaah. Al-Bukhaari and Muslim both transmit from ‘Umraan Ibn Husain (radiallahu ‘anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) prayed Dhuhr and there was a man behind him reciting ‘sabbihisma rabbikal-‘alaa’ , so when he (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) finished he said: Who among you was reciting or who was the reciter? The man said, "Me." So he (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: I thought that some of you were disputing with me in it. The scholars state: The meaning of his words is a disapproval of the act. Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) stated: Whoever is reciting the Qur’aan and the people are praying additional prayer then it is not correct for him to recite aloud thus disturbing them because the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) left some of his companions while they were praying As-Sahr (before dawn) and he said: O people, each of you is seeking salvation from his Rabb therefore do not overpower one another with your recitation.
24. Crowding in on those who are praying. This is a type of forbidden inflicting of harm. It is upon the praying person to pray in a place where the space ends unless he sees an opening sufficient for him to pass and then there is no harm. However, to cause harm, especially on Yaum Al-Jumu’ah (Friday), is generally forbidden. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said about those who cut the prayer line: Sit, for you have harmed and come late.
25. Not making the lines straight. Allah has ordered the proper performance of salaah saying "And establish (aqeemu) the salaah". The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has likewise stated: Straighten your lines for verily straightening of the lines is a part of correct performance of salaah (iqaamis-salaah). Al-Bukhaari and Muslim from Anas. Also Al-Bukhaari narrates from An-Nu’maan Ibn Basheer (radiallahu ‘anhu): Straighten your lines or Allah will cause opposition between your hearts. The order to straighten the lines and taking care to do so is mentioned in a number of hadeeth. (It should also be mention that this includes not leaving any gaps in the lines as is all too commonly neglected – Ed.)
26. Raising the feet from the ground in sujood. This is against what is commanded as it is confirmed in the two saheehs from Ibn Abbaas (radiallahu ‘anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was ordered to prostrate upon seven limbs and not to tuck up the hair or the clothes: the forehead (including the nose), the (palms of the) two hands, the knees and the two feet. So the one praying is commanded to pray with the two feet touching the ground and the complete form of this is to have the toes pointing toward the Qiblah. Part of each foot should touch the ground and if one raises either of them his sajdah (prostration) is incorrect if he continues to do so throughout the prostration.
27. Putting the right hand upon the left and raising them to the neck. This is in contradiction to the sunnah because the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to put his right hand
over his left upon his chest. This is in a hadeeth of Hasan from several weak transmissions in themselves but that in conjunction strengthen themselves. The sunnah is also to place the hands on the middle of the chest or upon the heart because the heart is in the chest as Allah ta’aala states: It is the hearts within the breasts that are blind. Raising the hands (making takbeer) when going into sujood or when rising out of it. It is an error to lift the hands to the neck and this opposes the sunnah. What is attributed to Ali (radiallahu ‘anhu) in the explanation of the verse: So therefore pray to your Rabb and sacrifice (wanhar – in which the verb is construed as referring to the neck [an-nahr] –Ed.) is weak and does not constitute a proof. (Also incorrect is the incorrect practice of holding one’s hands upon or below the navel as there is no substantiated proof from the authenticated sunnah for this practice – Ed)
28. Raising the hands at the time of sujood or when rising out of sujood. This is in opposition to the well-known sunnah that has been transmitted by most of the companions who narrated about raising the hands. The student of (sharee'ah) knowledge should stick with the well-known sunnah unless in privacy though he may believe a deed to be more correct from the sunnah that nonetheless contradicts the practice of the generality of the scholars. The imaam of the people should do what is known, for what is commonly and well-known to be the sunnah upon which the majority of the scholars' practice, is sufficient and satisfactory. (The wisdom here is that for a student to insist upon public practice of that which is not regarded by the scholars generally as the sunnah may lead to harm and confusion which would amount to forsaking a fardh, i.e. the prevention of harm, for the sake of a establishing a sunnah - and one which is not totally agreed upon at that - and would thus fall into error. The scholars do not generally unite upon any practice without evidence, although the qualified student may disagree a given ruling or conclusion based upon his understanding of the texts and after sincere and thorough study and reaching a state of being personally satisfied with its outcome. – Ed.)
Hastiness of some imaams in the salaah and lack of tranquility within it, thus not allowing time for the followers to be tranquil in their salaah or time to recite Al-Faatihah, especially in the last rak’ah. The imam is responsible for making the quality of the salaah good because he is being followed. It is therefore his duty to take care of following the Sunnah, and tranquility is a pillar (rukn) that the imam is more obliged to take care of due to his being followed. Likewise, the recitation of Al-Faatihah is a rukn that the followers in the salaah must be given enough time to fulfill. We have already presented the evidence for the obligation of maintaining tranquility (tama’neenah) and reciting Al-Faatihah.
29. Not taking care to make sujood upon the seven ‘limbs’ (i.e. the forehead along with the nose, the palms of both hands, both knees, and the toes of both feet). Abbaas Ibn Abul-Muttalib (radiallahu ‘anhu) reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) saying: If the slave prostrates, then seven body parts should prostrate with him: His face, hands, two knees, and his two feet. Related by Muslim, also attributed to Al-Majd in “Al-Muntaqaa”, Al-Muzzee and related by others.
Ibn Abbaas (radiallahu ‘anhumaa) narrated: The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: I have been ordered to prostrate upon seven “bones” (i.e. body parts): Upon the forehead –and he pointed to his nose – both hands, both knees and both feet.
There are some people who do not prostrate upon both the forehead and the nose or who raise their feet or who do not touch the palms of their hands on the ground, all of which is in opposition to what is commanded.
30. Not caring to learn the rules of salaah. This is other than what any Muslim should do. No doubt salaah is the greatest of the Islamic pillars requiring bodily action. Allah commands its performance - “Aqimis-Salaah” (Perform the salaah) - in more than seventy ayaat. It is not possible to perform it without having knowledge of its fundamentals or knowing how the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) did the salaah. There is no room for ignorance of the rules of salaah, knowing its prerequisites or its essential parts, obligations, the rules for following or making up for errors and the like. It is fardh to know these matters and the absence of knowledge of these matters is a cause of a Muslim being unaware of what nullifies or spoils his salaah, and Allah is the Guide and Provider of Success.
31 – 34. Carelessness in reciting Al-Faatihah and with proper pronunciation such as saying al-‘Aalimeen instead of al-‘Aalameen, ahdinaa instead of ihdinaa, an’amtu instead of an’amta, and so on. All of these and similar errors are the type of linguistic errors that must be avoided and no one who leads the salaat should commit them. Some may contain impossible meanings such as when one pronounces the “t” (taa’) in “an’amta” as “da” (daad) and thus the salaat would be spoiled.
35.Cracking the knuckles in salaah. This is from the detested actions in the salaah and is thus forbidden. As far as cracking the knuckles in general, Ibn Abi Shaibah narrates in a statement with good isnaad, from Shu’bah Mawlaa ibn Abbaas as stating: I prayed next to Ibn Abbaas and I cracked my knuckles so when I finished my salaah he said, “May you lose your mother! You crack your knuckles while you are in salaah?” Forbiddance of cracking the knuckles is transmitted in a marfoo’ hadeeth from Ali in the collection of Ibn Maajah, however, it is weak (da’eef)and not sufficient in an of itself (ghairu munjabir).
36.Intertwining the fingers (at-tashbeek) during and before the salaah. This is also among the detestable matters. Ka’ab Ibn ‘Ujrah (radiallahu ‘anhu) narrates: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) saying: If one of you makes wudhoo then goes to the masjid for salaah, let him not clasp his hands together for indeed he is in the salaah. Ahmed, Abu Dawood, At-Tirmidhi. With some difference regarding its chain, Ad-Daarimi, Al-Haakim and others transmit from Abu Hurairah in a marfoo’ hadeeth: “If one of you makes wudhoo in his house then comes to the masjid, he is in salaah until he returns. Therefore do not do not do like this – and he clasped his fingers together.”
There are other mutually supporting hadeeths on this matter of tashbeek.
37.Putting forward someone to lead the salaah as imaam when it is not his place to do so and there are others more deserving present. This contradicts the intended purpose of having an imaam (al-imaamah), which is to be an example to follow (al-iqditaa’). It is necessary that the imaam have understanding of the deen and is able to correctly recite the Qur’aan according to the satatement of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam): The imaam of a people should be the one who best recites the Qur’aan… ) Transmitted by Muslim from Abu Mas’ood Al-Ansaari (radiallahu ‘anhu). The scholars have ruled that one should not be put forward as imaam whose recitation is not good, or who openly displays sinfulness, or who has an undignified appearance, or who is an innovator, or who is corrupt or like them. If however, such people are put forward, the salaah of the followers is correct.
38.Improper recitation of the Qur’aan. This is an open deficiency and the right of the Qur’aan is that it be read correctly without aberration and that the Muslim strives to improve and excel in its recitation. Allah ta'alaa states:Recite the Qur’aan with tarteel [correct measured tone] and When we teach you the Qur’aan, follow its recitation. Meaning, recitation as is proper according to the Arabic language, with clarity and free from distortion. On this same line is the superiority of the one who purifies his intention as is narrated by ‘Kaisha (radiallahu ‘anhaa) who said: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “The one who is proficient with the Qur’aan will be with the scribes (angels) honorable and obedient. While the one who recites the Qur’aan haltingly and finds difficulty (while striving to recite it properly) gets a double reward.” [matafaqun ‘alaih]
39.Some men praying behind women in the Haram (The Grand Masjid) of Makkah. Doing so there or elsewhere is a detestable action in the salaah. It is from the sunnah that the rows of the women are behind those of the men. The salaah of a man behind a women may be a cause of him losing all khushoo’ and a disturbance in the salaat through his looking (at the woman) or otherwise. A man should therefore never line up for salaah behind a woman. This is not detestable if due to necessity such as not missing the ‘Eid salaah, or Salaatul-Jumu’ah, or the congregational salaah and other similar situations (i.e. that make it impossible to join the front rows with the men – Trans.). A group of scholars have stated: “The Haram of Makkah is an exception.” Shaykh Abdul-Aziz Ibn Baz (may Allah preserve him) is of this opinion.
40.Women coming to the masjid beautified or made-up and perfumed. This is one of the open and witnessed evils that become apparent during Ramadhan and outside it. The woman
is coming out to worship her Master, not to show off the beauty of her clothing! Perhaps men may see her and she would then be sinful and she would suffer a loss of reward for her deed. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) stated: “Let not any woman who is scented attend the ‘Ishaa with us.” [Muslim] Imam Ahmed transmits along with Abu Dawood with an authentic chain from Abu Hurairah (radiallahu ‘anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Do not forbid the bondwomen of Allah from the houses of Allah, and let them go out tafilaat.” The meaning of the word “tafilaat” is: Not beautified with adornments or perfumed.