Joining ankles, heels and exaggerated stance in Salah is Extremism

 stance salah

Amongst the things which have been added, is the new stance for the salah which has no source, is what we see from some musaleen {those who line up for the salah}: adjoining to the one to his right, if he is on the right side of the line, and the one to his left, if he is on the left side of the line, is such a manner that he adjusts his heels to joins his ankles to the ankles of the one beside him...the meaning of it is to have tranquility throughout the salah, and to be comfortable within it, and not to push nor rub against the shoulders of the one next to him...

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Extremism in Joining Ankles in Prayer!

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Salih al-'Uthaymin (RA)

س234: ما المعتمد في إقامة الصفوف؟ وهل يشرع للمصلي أن يلصق كعبه بكعب من بجانبه؟ أفتونا مأجورين؟

الجواب: الصحيح أن المعتمد في تسوية الصف محاذاة الكعبين بعضهما بعضاً، لا رؤوس الأصابع، وذلك لأن البدن مركب على الكعب، والأصابع تختلف الأقدام فيها، فهناك القدم الطويل، وهناك القدم القصير، فلا يمكن ضبط التساوي إلا بالكعب .

وأما إلصاق الكعبين بعضهما ببعض فلا شك أنه وارد عن الصحابة –رضي الله عنهم- فإنهم كانا يسوون الصفوف بإلصاق الكعبين بعضهما ببعض ، أي أن كل واحد منهم يلصق كعبه بكعب جاره لتحقق المحاذاة وتسوية الصف، فهو ليس مقصوداً لذاته لكنه مقصود لغيره كما ذكر بعض أهل العلم، ولهذا إذا تمت الصفوف وقام الناس ينبغي لكل واحد أن يلصق كعبه بكعب صاحبه لتحقق المساواة، وليس معنى ذلك أن يلازم هذا الإلصاق ويبقى ملازماً له في جميع الصلاة .

ومن الغلو في هذه المسألة ما يفعله بعض الناس من كونه يلصق كعبه بكعب صاحبه ويفتح قدميه فيما بينهما حتى يكون بينه وبين جاره في المناكب فرجة فيخالف السنة في ذلك، والمقصود أن المناكب والأكعب تتساوى

Question: What is the relied-upon position regarding the straightening of the rows (sufuf)? Is it prescribed for the praying person to join his ankle (ka'b) to the ankle of the person next to him? Please give us the fatwa, may you be rewarded.

Answer: That which is correct is that the relied-upon position regarding the straightening of the row is that the ankles should be in line with each other, not the ends of the toes, and that is because the body is supported upon the ankle, and the feet differ in regard to the toes, because some feet are long, and some feet are short. So it is impossible to ensure straightness except by the ankles (i.e. by the ankles being in line with each other).

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.

From the extremism that has occurred with regard to this issue is what is done by some people in that one of them will join his ankle to the ankle of his companion, and he will spread his feet so far apart until there is a gap between his shoulder and the shoulder of his companion, so he will oppose the Sunnah by doing that. But the aim is that the shoulders and ankles should be in line with each other.

La Jadeed Fi Ahkaamis Salah

Shaykh Bak'r Ibn Abdullah Abu Zaid

Note: The following is a translation by Shaykh Yusuf Estes of the first chapter of the book "La Jadeed Fi Ahkaamis Salah (There is nothing new in the injunctions of Salah)" by Shaykh Bak'r Ibn Abdullah Abu Zaid, the entire book (and importantly the 1st chapter) can be downloaded and read from the following link:

Regarding the straightening of the rows there are three sunnahs:

1 Establishing the row and consolidating it, where no ones' chest or anything from them protrudes out {compared to} to those who are on his side, Hence there will be no crookedness in the line.


From amongst the expressions for straightening the rows are: "Istawoo" i.e. straighten your lines, "istaqeemoo" i.e. be straight, upright, "i'tadiloo" i.e. align yourselves, and "aqeemoo saf" i.e. establish the rows. And this establishing of the row, can be accurately implemented by commanding alignment between the necks, shoulders, knees and ankles. It is clear from the guidance of the Prophet {salallahu alahi wa salam} that these expressions were all used interchangeably.


2 Filling the gaps, to the point where there is no space in it.


From amongst the ways of expressing this {is by saying}: "sudu'l khalal" i.e. fill the gaps, and "do no not leave a space for the shaytan." This sunnah can be precisely implemented by consolidating the lines, i.e. by saying "taraasoo"


3 Connecting the first rows and the completion of it.


This is expressed in the following ways: "atimoo'saf al awal fal awal" i.e. complete the rows, the first one, then the one behind it, and "whoever connects a row, Allah will connect him {by His mercy} and whoever breaks {from} a row {by not filling the gap}, Allah will cut him off " {by cutting him off from His overall mercy} (see: "Awn Al Ma'bood Fee Sharh Sunan Abu Dawud").

And within these sunan {plural of sunnah} there are many other abandoned sunan; like making dua and asking forgiveness for the first row three times, then those behind twice, the imam coming to the end of the row to straighten it, sending someone to check upon the lines {see: sunan At-Tirmidhee}, and so forth, all from the guidance of the Prophet {salallahu alahi wa salam} way in achieving these three sunan for the lines by: straightening it, filling the gaps and consecutively completing the ranks, beginning with the first one, then the second, then the third and so forth.

All this is indicates that straightening the rows has a very important role in establishing the salah, beautifying it, and perfecting it. In this, there is great merit and reward, in addition to binding the hearts and bringing them together as the ahadeeth bears witness to. And this blessed ummah distinguishes itself, and it is unique, in that its' rows for the salah are like that of the angels, wa alhamdulillah rabil a'lameen.

Amongst the things which have been added, is the new stance for the salah which has no source, is what we see from some musaleen {those who line up for the salah}: adjoining to the one to his right, if he is on the right side of the line, and the one to his left, if he is on the left side of the line, is such a manner that he adjusts his heels to joins his ankles to the ankles of the one beside him. This type of stance is something extra from what has been narrated, and also in it {this stance} is extremity in practicing the sunnah. This stance is contradictory for two reasons: Firstly: Joining the feet and adjusting until they are stuck to each other is a clear mistake, apparent burden, new understanding in which there is extremity in practicing the sunnah, severe tightness, bothering oneself with what has not been legislated, preoccupying oneself by trying to fill the spaces when raising up from sujood, and losing the ability to direct the toes towards the qiblah {see: "Fath Al-Bari, vol 2, pg. 344, chapter: directing the toes towards the qiblah" i.e. in sujood"}. And also {in this stance} is the taking of the spot from the one who preceded him to it, in addition to seizing the place of the feet of other without any right. And all of this is making a sunnah out of what has not been legislated. Secondly: whenever the Prophet {salallahu alahi wa salam} ordered the alignment between the shoulders and the ankles, he would also order the alignment between the "necks" as in the hadeeth of Anas {radiallahu anhu} as narrated in the sunan of An Nasa'i {pg 813}. All this meaning: straightening the row, making it parallel and the even, and filling the gaps, does not mean to literally "join or stick {ilzaaq}", for indeed joining neck to neck is impossible, joining shoulders to shoulders in every standing is clearly burdensome, joining knee to knee is also impossible, and joining ankle to ankle is to a certain extent unattainable in addition to it being burdensome, difficult, and busying oneself in every rakat, which is clear and apparent.

Therefore, it is clear that aligning is in four cases: the neck, the shoulders, the knees and the ankles - all from one door. The intention behind it being to encourage the establishing of the rows, consolidating it, making it straight and even without any crookedness or spaces, and by this the goal of the legislator {Allah} is achieved.

Al Hafidh ibn Hajar says "what is meant by straightening the rows is to be aligned upright in a common manner, or what is meant by it is to fill the gaps..... " { "Fath ul-Bari" the explanation of saheeh Al Bukhari, vol. 2, pg. 242}. And this is the fiqh of the ahadeeth for straightening the rows, as in the hadeeth of ibn Nu'man ibn Bashir {radiallahu anhu} who said "the Messenger of Allah (may peace-be upon him) used to straighten our rows as one would set an arrow upright, until we thought that we had understood. One day he turned with his face whereby he saw a man whose chest was bulging out from the row, so he said: straighten your rows or Allah would create dissension amongst you," {sunan Abu Dawud}. This is the sahabahs {may Allah be pleased with them} understanding of straightening the rows: Standing straight and filling the gaps, not sticking the ankles together. This is why when imam Al Bukhari said in his naming the chapter: Chapter joining the shoulder to shoulder and foot to foot in the line, and Nu'man ibn Bashir said: "saw that a man would join his ankle to the ankle of his companion". Al Hafidh ibn Hajar said "what is intended by this is to greatly emphasize the straightening of the rows and filling the gaps." { "Fath ul-Bari" the explanation of saheeh Al Bukhari, vol. 2, pg. 242}

The proof of Al Hafidh ibn Hajar untainted understanding of the hadeeth from Bukharis' title of the chapter, is Nu'man ibn Bashir statement, as also recorded in the Saheeh of ibn Khuzaymah (nos.160), the Sunan of Ad Darqutanee (vol. 1, pg. 282), and in the Sunan of Abu Dawud where Nu'man ibn Bashir said "I saw {that} a man would join his shoulder to the shoulder of his companion, his knees to his knees, and ankle to ankle" {this is the wording of the hadeeth as it came in the Sunan of Abu Dawud}.

Thus, joining knees to knees is impossible, hence, it becomes clear that the meaning of the hadeeth is encourage and emphasize filling of the gaps and straightening of the rows, and not the actual joining and sticking. This is why Al Khataabee said about the hadeeth that has been narrated by Ibn Abbas {radiallahu anhu} from the Prophet {salallahu alahi wa salam} that he said "the best of you are those of you who have the most gentle shoulder in salah" {Abu Dawud and others. It is hasan according to al- Albaanee, Saheeh ul-Jaami no. 3264) }, "the meaning of it is to have tranquility throughout the salah, and to be comfortable within it, and not to push nor rub against the shoulders of the one next to him" {Mu'aalim As Sunan, and Awn Al Ma'bood Fee Sharh Sunan Abu Dawud: vol.2 pg. 369}

This concept can be further explained by using the example of the narrations of the different wordings for "at tawaruk" in salah, {i.e. to sit with the left upper thigh on the ground and the right foot being upright, in the last at tashahud}, as in the hadeeth of Abi Hameed As Sa'dee {radiallahu anhu} who said about the Prophet {salallahu alahi wa salam} "and he would sit on his bottom". This manner of expression is a type where a general word or phrase is used, however, only part of that word or phrase is intended; "itlaq al kul wa iradtul ba'd". For it is impossible for the one who does the "tawarruk" to place his whole bottom on the ground, this is why in other wordings of the hadeeth it says: "he sat on his left side", "he put his left leg on the ground", "he sat on his left side mutawarrikan". Thus, it is not possible that a person of intelligence to derive from the wording "and he would sit on his bottom," the ability to sit his whole bottom on the ground, for this is impossible naturally and conceptually, just as the case for the wordings for being straight as has been mentioned before. Look at the hadeeth about the merits of salah in its time, for it is as ibn Daqeeq said in "Al Ahkam" {vol. 2, pg. 38}, "it has never been narrated from any of them (the salaf) that they used to be extreme (yushadid) in this, to the extent that {they say that} the first takbeer should take place exactly at the beginning of the time of the salah {to get the blessings of praying the salah in its time}"

And Allah is most knowledgeable about His rulings.



The Feet In Salaat - The Salafi Error


In this fourteenth century of the Islamic era, a recently mushroomed sect known as the Salafis, has invented some new rules which they believe are the Sunnat teachings of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Inspite of their views being in conflict with the teachings of the Salf-e-Saaliheen belonging to the Noblest Ages of Islam (Khairul Quroon), they obstinately cling to their misguided opinions. Their method is to subject the Ahadith to their personal understanding. Inspite of the divergence which this self-opinion produces from the Way of the Ummah inherited from the Sahaabah, the Salafis intransigently cling to their deviation.

A little reflection would convince them that it is not possible that the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen who were the Students of the Sahaabah would propagate acts which are in conflict with the Sunnah. Any act which has been accepted and practised by the entire Ummah from the earliest era of Islam cannot be deviation. Deviation will be the act which is in conflict with this sacred Unanimity.

One of the erroneous practices of the Salafis is their act of spreading their legs wide apart during Salaat. In the bid to touch the toes of the musalli standing adjacent to them, they disfigure their stance and ruin their composure with the mental preoccupation of touching the toes of the musallis standing on both sides in the Saff during Jamaat Salaat. Even when performing Salaat alone, they stretch the legs hideously apart. But for this innovation they have absolutely no Shar'i evidence. A solitary Hadith which makes reference to 'foot with foot' has been grievously misunderstood and misinterpreted by them. Besides their misinterpretation, they have intentionally ignored all the other Shar'i proofs which refute their interpretation.

A perusal of the relevant Ahadith on this subject will convince every unbiased Muslim that the Salafi interpretation of the Hadith is a concoction of the nafs. It is a concoction designed and prepared by shaitaan to create rifts and discord in the Ummah. When people opt to abandon the practices which the Aimmah Mujtahideen have reported on the basis of the authority of the Sahaabah, then shaitaani manipulation is evident.

All four Math-habs of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'ah unanimously refute the Salafi contention on the position to be adopted when standing for Salaat. None of the Math-habs teaches that the legs should be spread out widely when standing for Salaat nor that the toes of the Musalli alongside should be touched. Some of the Salafis go to great lengths in spreading their legs in the bid to touch the next man's toes causing annoyance and much irritation.

The Emphasis on Straghtening the Sufoof (Sufoof is the plural of saff which refers to the row of musallis in a Jamaat)

The Ahadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) emphasise the straightening of the sufoof. The emphasis in all the Hadith narrations dealing with this subject is directed to proper saff*-formation, not on the feet of the musallis touching the toes of the musalli standing alongside as the Salafis inordinately and inconsiderately practice.

In the endeavour to sustain the practice of stretching the legs wide open while performing Salaat, the Salafis have gone to the extreme of adopting this ugly stance even when performing Salaat alone. While a man who is uneducated in the laws of the Shariah may misunderstand the solitary Hadith in which reference has been made to foot with foot, the same mistake cannot and should not be made in so far as Salaat performed alone because the question of foot with foot is not remotely related to infiraadi Salaat, i.e. performing Salaat alone.

The Salafis may abortively argue that the aim of spreading the legs wide apart is to ensure straightness of the sufoof, but what argument do they have for justifying this unbecoming practice when a man is performing Salaat infiraadan(individually)? Furthermore, there is no Hadith narration in this regard which could even be misinterpreted to support the case of a munfarid stretching his legs to the extremities of east and west or north and south, depending on the location of the Qiblah from where he happens to be.

The Salafis claim that it is Sunnah to stretch the legs wide apart and for a musalli's toes to touch the toes of the musalli standing alongside him in the saff. This ludicrous position is imposed by the Salafis on even women who are obliged to stand with their legs wide open. What an ugly, miserable and immodest stance for a woman to adopt? A woman is an object of concealment according to the statement of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). When she has to stretch her legs wide open, she adopts the stance of lewd and shameless women. Throughout Salaat, a woman's postures are to be constricted — made small and drawn in, not asserted like a man asserts and expresses his actions during Salaat.

As far as their stance is concerned for the munfarid, there is not a single Hadith which they can cite in substantiation for their view which anyhow is utterly baseless. All the relevant Ahadith on this topic teach the contrary, namely, that the feet should be held slightly apart — about four to five inches (10 cm). There also exists consensus of the Four Math-habs on this issue.

As far as the feet position for the saff is concerned, the Salafis conveniently overlook all the Ahadith which negate their corrupt view and intransigently cling to a view which they have understood to be the method. In taking to this view, they deliberately cast aside what exactly the Hadith in question says. They took a single word (namely 'foot with foot') out of the context of the Hadith and formulated the practice of stretching the legs wide apart and touching the toes of the musallis standing alongside on either side in the saff. For understanding this issue, it is best that we cite all the relevant Ahadith.

The Ahadith

1. Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: Straighten the sufoof, line up the shoulders, close the gaps and become tender in the hands of your brothers. Do not leave any gaps for shaitaan. Whoever joins the saff, Allah will join him. And whoever cuts the saff Allah will cut him. (Bukhari & Abu Dawood)

[Become tender: that is to comply when a brother musalli in the saff touches your shoulder indicating that you should bring it in line with the shoulders of the other musallis in the saff.]

2. Hadhrat Baraa' Bin Aazib (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to enter the saff from end to end, touching our chests and our shoulders. He would say:

Do not be irregular (in your rows), for then your hearts will become irregular (i.e. discord will overtake you). He would (also) say:

Verily, Allah Azza Wa Jal and His Malaaikah dispatch Salaam on the first sufoof

[When the word 'Salaat' is related to Allah Ta 'ala, it denotes Rahmat, i.e. He sends down mercy. When it is related to the Malaaikah, it means that they supplicate to Allah Ta'ala to send His mercy upon His servants.]

3. Hadhrat Anas Bin Maalik (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that the Iqaamah for Salaat was given. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) turned towards us and said: Straighten your sufoof and stand close together, for verily I see you from behind. In a narration of Hadhrat Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) it is mentioned: Everyone among us would put his shoulder with the shoulder of his companion (alongside) and his foot with his foot.

4. Hadhrat Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: Join your sufoof and stand close together, and stand in line with (your) necks. I take oath by The Being in Whose power is my life that most certainly I see shaitaan entering the gaps in the saff as if he is a lamb. (Abu Dawood)

5. Abul Qaasim Jadli (rahmatullah alayh) said :I heard Nu'maan Bin Basheer (radhiyallahu anhu) say: 'Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) turned towards the people (the musallis) and say three times: 'By Allah! Most certainly, you should straighten your sufoof otherwise Allah will create discord in your hearts.' Thereafter I saw that a man would attach his shoulder to the shoulder of his companion (the one standing alongside), his knee to the knee of his companion and his ankle to the ankle of his companion. (Bukhari & Abu Dawood)

6. Nu'maan Bin Basheer (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates: Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would arrange (set in order) our sufoof. One day he came out (from his home) and saw a man (in the saff) whose chest was protruding in front of the (chests of) the community (i.e. the musallis). He then commented: 'Straighten your sufoof otherwise Allah will cast discord in your faces (i.e. in the words coming from your mouths). (Tirmizi)

7. Maalik Ibn Abi Aamir Ansaari (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates: Uthmaan Bin Affaan (radhiyallahu anhu) would recite in his Khutbah: 'When the Salaat is ready, arrange the sufoof properly and line up with the shoulders' (i.e. the shoulders of the musallis should all be in line and touching). (Muatta Imaam Muhammad)

8. Hadhrat Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: Join your sufoof and draw close among yourselves and line up with the necks. Reported by Abu Dawood and Nisai. Authenticated by Ibn Hibbaan. (Bulooghul Maraam)–*I'laaus Sunnan

These are about all the narrations pertaining to the manner and style of standing in Jamaat Salaat. Explaining these Ahadith, Imaam Bukhaari (rahmatullah alayh) states in the section captioned:


This is what the Jamhoor have said: 'Verily, the meaning (of joining in this context) is complete nearness and lining up, not actual joining (or touching).' Al-Haafiz said: The meaning of this is to emphasise in straightening the saff and closing the gaps. And Aini too has said so. With this, the indication is towards emphasis in straightening the sufoof and closing the gaps. Qustulaani and others have also said this.

(Laamiud Duraari commentary of Bukhari)

In Faidhul Baari it is reported as follows:

It is stated in Sharhul Wiqaayah: 'The musalli should stand apart (with his feet) so that there is a distance of four fingers in between them, and that is also the view of Imaam Shaafi (rahmatullah alayh), In another view it is said that the distance (between the feet) should be one hand (i.e. about 10 cm).' (The author says): I did not find any difference of opinion among the Salf (i.e. Salf-e-Saaliheen) between the stance (of the musalli) in Jama'ah and in infiraad (i.e. performing alone). There is no difference regarding the gap (between the feet). It is not that the spreading of the feet should be more in Jama'ah than when performing Salaat alone.

The summary of this is: When we do not find the Sahaabah and the Taabi-een differentiating in their standing position between Jama'ah and individual Salaat, then we understand that the only meaning of Rasulullah's statement of 'joining the shoulders' is to line up closely and to abstain from leaving gaps (between the musallis).

The following appears in Laamiud Duraari, Commentary of Saheeh Bukhaari:

The Authorities (the Fuqaha) stated that it is best for the musalli to keep his feet about four fingers apart. They did not say that the feet should be united in ruku' or sajdah. Aini says in Binaayah: 'It is appropriate that there be the distance of four fingers between the feet of the musalli, for verily, this is nearest to khushoo.'

Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhuma) would not spread (widely) his feet nor would the one foot touch the other, but between this there would be neither much closeness nor much distance.

In Raddul Mihtaar it is reported as follows:

The meaning of joining ankles to ankles is that everyone in the Jama'ah should stand alongside the other (i.e. in a straight line). So is it said in Fataawa Samarqand). (I'laaus Sunan)

From all the narrations and views of the Muhadditheen and Fuqaha of the Khairul Quroon era it is abundantly clear that the Hadith which mentions joining foot with foot does not have a literal meaning. It simply means that the feet should be all in line, and this is achieved by the heels of the musallis all being in the same line. This will ensure a straight saff on which the emphasis of all the Ahadith is.

The Salafis

The Salafis of this age, while grabbing the words 'foot with foot', ignore 'neck with neck', 'shoulder with shoulder', 'knee with knee' and 'ankle with ankle'. The narrations command joining of the necks just as it instructs joining of the feet. And, in the same way it commands joining of the knees and ankles. How is it possible for the neck of one musalli to touch the neck of the musalli alongside? At most, shoulders can touch. But to achieve the phenomenal act of joining necks, the musallis will have to ruin their Salaat and stand on their toes balancing at a precarious angle to achieve the goal of touching each other's neck. But no one has ever advocated this ludicrous stance. Similarly, if the literal sense of the 'ankle with ankle' has to be accepted, it will place the musallis under great stress to achieve what is not simple because the protruding heels are barriers for this achievement. Also, if 'knee against knee' had to be literally considered, the musallis would have to stand with ugly bandied legs, stretching even their thighs hideously in order to join their knees with the knees of their companions? But, not even the Salafis have ventured such ludicrousness.

Why do the Salafis choose only 'foot with foot' out of the several instructions pertaining to the joining of various bodily parts? For this choice they have only their intransigent nafsaani desire –no daleel whatsoever. What is the determining factor to choose only feet and to ignore necks, knees, shoulders and ankles? On the other hand, the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'ah — the followers of the Four Math-habs — *have a mass of evidence to support 'joining of the shoulders'. Furthermore, joining or lining up of the shoulders is simple, rational and fulfills in the best way the instruction of straightening the saff.

It should be noted that the emphasis is on closing the gaps. There should be no gap between two musallis standing in the saff. But, the wider the legs are spread apart, the more the distance between the shoulders will increase. Thus, spreading the legs wide apart defeats the very command issued in the Hadith to close the gaps and straighten the sufoof.

In order to achieve 'foot with foot' literally, the Salafis are constrained to turn their feet at angles away from the Qiblah. In this hideous exercise they manage only to touch the toes of the adjacent musalli with much difficulty and irritation to those whose peace of mind is disturbed with the unruly encroachment of his companion's toes. When the toes are made to touch with the feet in diagonal positions, the shoulders cannot touch, the knees, ankles, necks, etc. are thrown completely out of alignment.

When shoulders are not lined up, it is impossible to achieve straight sufoof. It is for this reason that the Hadith emphasises more on shoulders. Feet are mentioned only once. The Sahaabah and the Taabi-een relate the instruction 'to line up' and straighten the saff to the shoulders, necks, knees, ankles and the feet. In other words, all these should be in line, not out of alignment. It is for this reason that the Hadith clearly mentions that the Khulafa-e-Raashideen, in fact Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) himself, would order protruding chests to recede into line. Never did any of the Authorities of the Shariah speak about feet which should touch.

In the adoption of the Salafi mode, the movement is excessive in Salaat. Neither is proper Ruku' nor proper Sajdah possible if this hideous posture has to be retained throughout Salaat. In fact Sajdah is not at all possible with the feet spread wide apart. Therefore, the Salafis are constrained to shift positions repeatedly when going to ruku'. This excessive movement in Salaat in negatory of khushoo'.


While the case of the Four Math-habs is logical, the actual daleel (proof) for our view is not rational interpretation, but is narrational evidence. Such evidence has been transmitted down the centuries from the Sahaabah. It should be understood that the Aimmah-e-*Mujtahideen — the Imaams of the Math-habs — had acquired their knowledge of Islam from either the Sahaabah or the Taabi-een who were the Students of the Sahaabah. Whatever they taught is therefore, what the Sahaabah had instructed. It is the height of folly and deviation to differ with them and to choose a way which is at variance with what they had disseminated.

It is not conceivable that the Salf-e-Saaliheen — all the Imaams of the Math-bas were among them — were in deviation and the present-day Salafis are on Rectitude. This is unacceptable to any Muslim who is prepared to reflect a bit. The greatest daleel for the view of the Math-habs is that whatever they teach has been acquired directly from either the Sahaabah or the Taabi-een.

The Salafi practice of spreading the feet wide apart and the irritating attempt to touch the next man's toes are in conflict with the Sunnah as the aforegoing Shar'i evidences have established.


1. According to the Hambali Math-hab there should be a 'small' gap between the feet of the musalli.

2. According to the Maaliki Math-hab, the distance should be moderate, neither together nor so wide apart which is considered repugnant.

3. According to the Shaafi Math-hab, the gap between the feet should be one hand. It is Makrooh to spread the feet wider than this.

4. According to the Hanafi Math-hab, the distance between the feet should be four fingers.

This is the Sunnah and the Way of the Salf-e-Saaliheen. The Salafis have no authority from the Salf-e-Saaliheen to substantiate its view of bid'ah.

The Feet in Salaat
By Mujlisul Ulama of South Africa
P.O. Box 3393
Port Elizabeth, 6056
South Africa Source: