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A masjid nearby where I live has chairs set out on the side of each row. I understand that there are some elderly people who may need to sit while praying, otherwise it would be difficult for them. But, I've seen people sit and pray while they are perfectly able to stand and bow.

My question is: Is it a form of bidah to sit and pray while being able to stand and especially in the masjid?

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2 Answers 2

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Bismillah.

Standing during an obligatory prayer is one of the pillars or essential parts of the prayer, and it not permissible to omit it unless one is unable to stand because of sickness or intense fear, and the like. If a person omits it deliberately then his prayer is invalid.

Hence, sitting down during an obligatory prayer when one is fully capable of praying standing up is not permissible because they have no shar'i excuse, and therefore, the prayer sitting down is invalid.

The evidence for that is the reports narrated by al-Bukhaari (1117) and others, from ‘Imraan ibn Husayn (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said:

“I had haemorrhoids and I asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about prayer. He said: ‘Pray standing up. If you cannot, them pray sitting down, and if you cannot, then on your side.’” See al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 3/401.

We can see that the first thing that is mentioned about prayer is standing up. If one is able to do so, then he/she must. If not, then sitting down is permitted, and if even that is too hard, then one can pray on their side.

Therefore, I would certainly advise you to mention to those who pray whilst sitting down during an obligatory prayer that if they are capable of standing, then they should do so. And Allah knows best.

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Is it not possible that the reason 'standing' was mentioned first was due to the hemorrhoids of the person inquiring? Would it not have been as likely for the response to be "Pray sitting down. If you cannot, then pray standing, and if you cannot, then on your side" if the original questioner had had bad knees or a bad hip? If the hemorrhoids were not a factor, why were they mentioned in the passage at all? –  MrWonderful May 12 at 18:06
  • Bida'h is to believe that something which is out of religion is a apart of it and say or behave accordingly. For instance, if you offered Fajr Prayer in 3 Rakat and said wholeheartedly that this is a part of religion, this would be considered Bida'h. As a result just offering Fajr prayer in 3 rakat without believing that it is a part of religion, is not called Bida'h.

  • To stand erect while saying Takbiratul Ehram, and to stand before the Ruku (which is called qiyam muttasil ba ruku') is the Rukn of the prayers. But, standing while reciting Surah al-Hamd and the other Surah and standing after performing the Ruku, is not Rukn and if a person omits it inadvertently, his prayers are in order.

  1. One of the most general condition without which a person will never be obligated to his or her religious assignments is ABILITY.

  2. There are traditions emphasizing that on no condition should the prayer be abandoned.

  3. لا یکلف الله نفسا الا وسعها َAllah does not task any soul beyond its capacity

By taking into consideration these three points we can simply come to the conclusion that

If a person becomes unable to stand while offering prayers, he should sit down, and if he is unable to sit, he should lie down.

As long as a person is able to offer prayers standing, he should not sit down. For example, if the body of a person shakes, or moves when he stands, or he is obliged to lean on something, or to incline his body a bit, he should continue to offer prayers standing in whatever manner he can. But, if he cannot stand at all, he should sit upright, and offer prayers in that position.

http://www.sistani.org/english/book/48/2220/

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