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I have always thought that one makes Salat without shoes on, but there is the following Hadith which says:

خَالِفُوا الْيَهُودَ فَإِنَّهُمْ لاَ يُصَلُّونَ فِي نِعَالِهِمْ وَلاَ خِفَافِهِمْ

Act differently from the Jews, for they do not pray in their sandals or their shoes

Sunan Abi Dawood

So my question is, according to authentic sources, should one pray with ones shoes on or off?

  • Interesting! What is the source of this hadith? – System Down Mar 1 '13 at 21:13
  • @SystemDown sorry about that, I must have forgotten to put the link for the Hadith. I edited my question and added it, the Hadeeth is in Abi Dawood and it's grade is saheeh/authentic. – مجاهد Mar 1 '13 at 21:40
  • I have read many hadith in this regard , it seems it was the norm in those days to pray with shoes. The mosques did not have carpets and people preferred praying on hard ground. – Islam Mar 2 '13 at 9:06
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Praying with your shoes on is a Sunnah as it is evident from the Hadith. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم‎ ) used to pray in his slippers and also, with his leather socks. So, it is indeed a sunnah. However, one should be really careful about it. If the footwear is dirty, you should clean it before you enter the masjid. Also, sometimes the slippers are very dirty and if you enter the masjid, the furnishing or carpet of the masjid gets dirty. This will annoy people and make them leave the jam'ah. In some cases, if your shoes are dirty, the person praying behind you will face difficulty. In this case, scholars say it is not permissible to wear those dirty shoes into the masjid. However, in other places, for example, if you wish to pray on land, then you can pray with your shoes on. It is indeed a good sunnah.

Reference: The Sunnah of Praying with shoes/slippers - Sheikh Bin Baz & al-Fawzan

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First, it is really dangerous of normal Muslims (i.e. not scholars) to conclude fatwa or hokm (Fiqh ruling) directly from Quran and Hadith by themselves without the proper Islamic knowledge.

For example, if someone read this Hadith and concluded from the verb in order that it is must for a person to pray in shoe it will be truly wrong conclusion.

The order in this Hadith is Sunnah/Mandoob not a wajib and scholar says it is left to the current practice. So in short, if you are in a Masjid with carpets and people take off their shoes you should take off your shoes as well.

On the other hand, if you are in a place that you walk normally by shoes (i.e. outdoors or park) and you wanted to pray it is better to pray in shoes.

The claim that you should not do this because of the chance that the shoes can be impure is false, especially in modern cities. Because even if you stepped over something impure and walked after this it will be cleaned by the walking after.

If you see something attached to your shoes that you are sure to be impure, just scratch it away and pray in them or you can take them off (which is literally very hard to have these days in modern cities)

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