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Extraneous motions & the validity of prayer


How much extraneous motion is tolerated in prayer? When does it invalidate the prayer?

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Minor motions in prayer are disliked if unnecessary. In case of necessity, they are not disliked. It was related by Anas that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would at times give some indications while in prayer. [Sunan Abî Dâwûd]

It was also related that `Aishah said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) was praying, and when I knocked on the door, he moved and opened the door for me.” It was related in some versions of the hadîth that the door was in the direction of Qiblah.

We can conclude from this evidence that if the movement is minor and for a valid reason, then it is permissible. If not, it is disliked no matter how minor it might be, because it compromises the devotional state of the worshipper.

The following is the answer of Sheikh Ibn Bâz regarding motion and the validity of prayer:

Extraneous motions during prayer are disliked. It could become unlawful if it is excessive. There is no exact limit for how many times a person may make an extraneous move during prayer. If the person feels that his motion during prayer has become too much, then he should perform his prayer over again.

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