Sutrah according to the four schools of thought
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
It is preferred for the one who is praying to place a sutrah (or some sort of partition) in front of him in order to keep others from passing in front of him.
Saaiduna Abu Saaed Radiallahu Anhu reports that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said, “When on of you prays, he should pray towards his sutrah and he should be close to it.” (Sunan Abi Dawud p.108 v.1)
The Hanafi and Maliki scholars are of the opinion that one should place a sutrah in front of him only if he fears that someone may pass in front of him; if he does not fear that someone will pass in front of him then it is not desirable for him to place a sutrah in front of himself.
Anything a person sets up in front of himself will qualify as a sutrah, even if it is only the end of his bed. Sabrah Ibn Muabid reports that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said “When one of you prays, he should make a partition for his salah, even if it is an arrow.” (Musnad Ahmad)
It is unlawful to pass in front of a person who is praying and if that person does he or she will have committed a grave sin.
Saaiduna Zaid bin Khalid Radiallahu Anhu relates that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said “If the one who passes in front of one who is praying knew what was upon him (of sin), it would be better for him to stand (and wait) for forty autumns than to pass in front of him.” (Bazzar)
(Extracted from Fiqhus Sunnah p.76-p.78 v.2)
There will be three situations if a person walks in front of a musalle:
- The Musalee (person reading Salah) had nowhere else to read his Salah besides that particular spot and the person who walked past him could have used an alternate route. In this situation the person who walked past the Musalee will be sinful.
- The Musalee could have read his Salah at another place where people would not be passing by but chose to read in a place where the person who walked past him had no alternative routes, in this situation the Musalee would be sinful.
- The Musalee and the passer by had alternative places to read Salah and pass by respectively but chose not to. In this instance, both will be sinful. (Aapke Masaail p.416 v.2)
It is recommended whether or not one has placed a barrier, not to drive back a person who tries to pass through the area of prostration. If someone tries to pass in front of him, he is permitted to drive him back with gestures of the head, eyes or with tasbih such as saying Subhan Allah. (Nurul Idah p.173)
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham