since i have noticed that at our masjid/musalla the lack of worshipers straightening out the rows when praying, i decided to compile a little something *hopefully* as short and informative as possible taken from the works of our scholars as to help remind and motivate them of this ibaadah (worship).
now i need some feedback such as to whether the information i have included is relevant...if the article is too short/long, confusing etc and anything else that you feel may help to improve it in one way or another.
btw, the references will be added later, so dont worry about that...
He said: “Slaves of Allaah! Make your rows straight or Allaah will cause discord among you.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 717; Muslim, 436.
What is the issue of Straightening up the lines in Prayer- A forgotten Sunnah that must be revived!
Islam pays a great deal of attention to the rows of worshippers, as it has enjoined straightening the rows and speaks clearly of the virtue and importance of straightening them.
It was narrated from Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Straighten your rows, for straightening the rows is part of perfecting prayer.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 690; Muslim, 433. According to another report narrated by al-Bukhaari (723): “Straighten your rows, for straightening the rows is part of establishing prayer.”
It was narrated that Abu Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to touch our shoulders when we were praying and he would say: “Make the rows straight and do not differ, lest your hearts differ.” Narrated by Muslim, 432.
It was narrated that al-Nu’maan ibn Basheer (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to straighten our rows, as if he was straightening the shaft of an arrow, until he saw that we had learned it. Then he came out one day and was about to say the takbeer, when he noticed a man whose chest was sticking out from the row. He said: “Slaves of Allaah! Make your rows straight or Allaah will cause discord among you.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 717; Muslim, 436.
What are its benefits and virtues
Straightening the lines in prayer is important as it joins the hearts of the Muslims and it is a way of resisting the Shaytaan.
It is narrated from Nu'maan bin Basheer who said: The Messenger of Allah turned around to the people and said: Straighten your rows (three times) and Allaah will bring together your ranks or Allaah will put differences into your hearts. He said: I then saw a man putting his shoulder next to the shoulder of his companion, his knee to the knee of his companion and his ankle to his ankle.
It is narrated from Anas bin Maalik that The Messenger of Allaah said: Stand close together, close the gaps and line up your shoulders, because, by Him who has my soul in His Hands, I see the Shaytaan coming into the gaps between the rows, like a missile.
These two ahaadeeth show that Shaytaan enters into the gaps in the rows and creates enmity between a man and his brother and separates them, leading to differences in their hearts. So the Wise Legislator has ordered with the establishment of the straightening of the rows and to close all the gaps in case there is any gap for Shaytaan to get into. Know that straightening of the rows weakens the grip of the Shaytaan and it hinders his expectations to create corruption and trouble between the worshippers.
So O worshippers, act upon this sunnah, adhere to it and call to it, so that the people gather upon it and be saved from the threat: ...or Allaah will put differences into your hearts.
Know that the rows cannot be straightened except by bringing the ankles and the shoulders together, like letters are recited one after the other, keeping the first to the last in harmonization, firmly joined and arranged, bringing about one body and bringing love between the hearts for the sake of Allaah and upon His methodology.
Is it obligatory:
There is consensus among the scholars that it is preferred for the worshippers to straighten the rows in prayer. Some scholars have even declared that it is obligatory to straighten the ranks. This appears to be the case with what Ibn Taymiyah [al-Ikhtiyârât (75-76)] and Ibn `Uthaymîn [al-Sharh al-Mumti` (2/11)] have said about the matter.
This is supported by the numerous hadîth which command the act of straightening the rows.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Straighten your rows and bring yourselves close together.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]
He said: “Straighten your rows, for indeed the straightening of the rows is from the proper establishment of prayer” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî] It is also related: “Straighten your rows, for indeed the straightening of the rows is from the perfection of prayer.” [Sahîh Muslim]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Straighten yourselves and do not differ, lest your hearts should differ.” [Sahîh Muslim]
Also, Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his Saheeh: “Chapter: The sin of those who do not complete the rows”, in which he narrated with his isnaad from Bushayr ibn Yasaar al-Ansaari from Anas ibn Maalik that he came to Madeenah and it was said to him: What do you find has changed in us since the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? He said: I do not find anything except that you do not straighten your rows. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 724.
Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Baari: This is to be understood as meaning that al-Bukhaari understood it to be obligatory from the form of command in the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “Straighten your rows,” and from the general meaning of his words, “Pray as you have seen me praying,” and from the warning issued against failing to do that. So in his view, on the basis of this evidence, Anas was criticizing a failure to do something that is obligatory, although a criticism may also come for failing to do something that is Sunnah. Although straightening the rows is obligatory, the prayer of those who fail to do that and do not straighten their rows is still valid. That is supported by the fact that although Anas criticized them, he did not tell them to repeat their prayer. End quote.
How to straighten up the rows:
Contrary to popular belief, the manner in which one is to straighten the lines in prayer is by aligning ankles to ankles and shoulders to shoulder, not toes to toe. As for joining the ankles to the ankles of the others, then no doubt this is reported from the Sahabah, radhiyallahu 'anhum, for they would straighten the rows by joining ankles, that is, every one of them would join his ankle with the ankle of his neighbour to ensure being line, and the straightness of the row. So it is not meant as an aim in itself, but rather as a means of achieving another aim, as some of the people of knowledge have mentioned. Therefore, when the rows are completed and the people are standing, it is befitting for every one of them to join his ankle to the ankle of his companion to ensure straightness. It does not mean that he should continue this joining and remain so for the whole salah.
Al-Nawawi said in Sharh Muslim:
With regard to the phrase “[he] used to straighten our rows, as if he was straightening the shaft of an arrow”, the qadaah is the wooden shaft of the arrow where it is pared and trimmed, i.e., he paid such great attention to straightening the rows, as if he was straightening the shaft of an arrow, because they were so straight. End quote.
It is appropriate to mention that a straight row in prayer means that all the people in the row should be on the same line so that no one stands forward of anyone else. Shoulders and feet should be on the same level while standing in prayer. Shoulders will be exempted in the case of a person who has a hunched back.
The most complete and perfect manner of straightening the rows is achieved by the worshippers keeping close to one another, with their rows close behind one another and nearer to the Imam.
Anas b. Mâlik said: “Each one of us used to press his foot to his Companion’s.”
The objective of this is to close any gap between the worshipers and to straighten the prayer line. This is what should be done and it is advisable to do so. At the same time, hurting or inconveniencing others during prayer should be avoided.
When should we straighten the rows
One should straighten the line when the rows are completed and the people are standing. It is befitting for every one of them to join his ankle to the ankle of his companion to ensure straightness. It does not mean that he should continue this joining and remain so for the whole prayer.
Other aspects related to straightening of the rows.
The straightening of the rows encompasses several meanings, which are as follows:
1 – Straightness in the sense of standing parallel, which according to the correct view is obligatory, as stated above.
2 – Making the rows compact, which is part of making them complete or perfect. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to enjoin that, and he urged his ummah to form rows as the angels do before their Lord, filling in and completing the rows one by one. But what is meant by making the rows compact is not leaving gaps for the devils; it does not mean crowding and cramming people in, because there is a difference between making it compact and making it crowded. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say: “Make the rows straight, and make the shoulders parallel… and do not leave gaps for the devils.”
i.e., there should be no gaps between you through which the devils can enter, because the devils enter among the rows like small lambs so that they can spoil the prayer of the worshippers.
3 – Completing the first row and then the next. This is part of straightening the rows. The second row should not be begun until the first row is completed, and the third row should not be begun until the second row is completed, and so on. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) urged completing the first row and said: “If the people knew what there is in the call and the first row, but they had no way other than drawing lots, then they would draw lots.” I.e., if two people came to the first row and one of them said, “I am more entitled to it than you,” and the other said, “I am more entitled,” and he said: “Let us draw lots to see which of us will be in this spot.”
4 – Another aspect of straightening the rows is making the rows close to one another and close to the imam, because they are a jamaa’ah (congregation, group) and the word jamaa’ah is taken from the word ijtimaa’ (coming together). There can be no proper coming together if the rows are far apart. The closer the rows are to one another and to the imam, the better it is. In some mosques we see gaps between the imam and the first row that are so wide that another row or two could fit in, because the imam goes so far forward. The Sunnah is for the imam to be close to the people who are praying behind him, and the people should be close to the imam, and each row should be close to the other. The definition of close is that there should be enough room between them to prostrate and a little more.
5 – Another aspect of straightening the rows is to draw close to the imam, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Let those among you who are men of wisdom and understanding be closest to me.” The closer the better. Hence it is encouraged to draw close to the imam in Jumu’ah prayers, because drawing close to the imam in Jumu’ah prayers is achieved by drawing close to him during the prayer and during the khutbah. Drawing close to the imam is something desirable, but some people are negligent concerning that and are not keen to do it.