One big annoyance of mine is when people do not observe straight lines and have gaps between themselves before Jama'ats
4832 gaps in prayer rows
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
One big annoyance of mine is when people do not observe straight lines and have gaps between themselves before Jama'ats. But if I spot a brother not coming up completely between sajdahs or see his elbows spread out wide when in sajdah, should I mention this to him after if I get a chance? Is it a duty or is it just recommended? Or if it hurts his feelings should I abstain?
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Gaps in prayer rows
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Abu Umamah reports that the Prophet (saws) said: "Straighten your rows, and put your shoulders close to each other, and be gentle with each other, and fill in the gaps, for the Shaytaan passes through what is between you like small sheep [are able to pass through gaps]."
Related by Ahmad and at-Tabarani.
An-Nu'man ibn Bashir says: "The Prophet (saws) would straighten us in our rows as one straightens an arrow, until he (saws) saw that we had learned from him. One day, he (saws) saw a person with his chest sticking out and he (saws) said: 'You had better straighten your rows or Allah will cause differences among you."'
Related by Bukhari and Muslim.
Ibn 'Umar related that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: "Whoever connects a row, Allah will join him. Whoever cuts off a row, Allah will cut him off."
Related by An-Nasa'i, al-Hakim, and Ibn Khuzaimah.
Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 666 Narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar
The Prophet (saws) said: Set the rows in order, stand shoulder to shoulder, close the gaps, be pliant in the hands of your brethren, and do not leave openings for the Shaytaan. If anyone joins up a row, Allah will join him up, but if anyone breaks a row, Allah will cut him off.
The Messenger of Allah (saws) was so particular about straightening the rows and closing the gaps in prayer, that it was his practice as the imam in prayer to not start the prayers until he had confirmation that the rows were straightened and the gaps were filled. Thus it is the responsibility and duty of each and every believer who makes himself available for congregational prayer that he makes sure that the rows are straightened and the gaps are filled.
Your Question: But if I spot a brother not coming up completely between sajdahs or see his elbows spread out wide when in sajdah, should I mention this to him after if I get a chance? Is it a duty or is it just recommended? Or if it hurts his feelings should I abstain?
Dear and beloved brother in Islam, as a principle a believer should never ever say something which would hurt the feelings of his believing brother, thus if you have prior knowledge that if you told a worshipper to slightly amend his actions in prayer it would bother him or hurt his feelings.it is best to overlook his small errors and abstain.
But if you know the brother personally, or the brother is younger than you, and you are absolutely confident that the brother would welcome a suggestion, then there is absolutely no harm if you, in humility and wisdom, took the brother aside and took his permission before suggesting a correction to his stance in prayer.
Beloved brother, it all depends on what tone you use to offer your suggestions to the slight errors of your believing brethren. If you use an authoritative tone and correct the brother in public as if he has done a huge sinchances are the brother will get defensive and will not heed your advice. But if you are extremely humble and polite and even apologetic (if need be), and advice your brother only because you wish that the rewards of your believing brother are not diminished.it is expected that the brother will heed your good advice, Insha Allah.
The absolute last thing you want is to start a fitnah in the masjid, or humiliate the brother by correcting him in public. If there is even the remotest of chances that the brother would get upset, then it would be best to overlook his slight errors and abstain from saying anything.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,