THE OBLIGATION OF PRAYING TOWARDS A SUTRAH (BARRIER) AND OF BEING CLOSE TO IT

(17) It is obligatory that he prays towards a barrier (sutrah). It makes no difference whether he is praying in a mosque or elsewhere, nor whether the mosque is large or small. This is because of the all-embracing statement of the Prophet, “Do not pray except towards a sutrah, and do not let anyone walk in front of you. So if a person insists (on trying to pass) then fight him, because he has an evil companion along with him,” meaning a devil.

(18) It is obligatory that he is close to it, since the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) commanded that.

(19) Between his (peace and blessing be upon him) place of prostration and the wall towards which he prayed there would be a space approximately wide enough for a sheep to pass through. So if one does likewise then he has carried out the closeness that is obligatory upon him.

THE REQUIRED HEIGHT OF THE SUTRAH (BARRIER)

(20) It is obligatory that the height of the sutrah above the ground be at least a span or two spans, due to his saying, “If one of you places in front of him the like of the back-part of a camel-saddle, then let him pray and not care about what passes beyond that.”

(21) The person praying faces the sutrah directly. This is what is apparent from the command to pray towards the sutrah. As for the matter of moving slightly to the right or the left, so that he does not stand directly in line with it, then this is not authentically established.

(22) It is permissible to pray towards a staff stuck into the ground or its like, or towards a tree, or a pillar, or towards his wife who is lying upon the bed beneath the blanket, or towards his riding beast, even if it is a camel.

THE FORBIDDANCE OF PRAYING TOWARDS GRAVES

(23) It is not allowed to pray towards graves whatever the case, whether it be the graves of Prophets or anyone else besides them.

THE FORBIDDANCE OF PASSING IN FRONT OF A PERSON WHO IS PRAYING9 EVEN IN THE SACRED MOSQUE IN MAKKAH (AL. MASJIDUL-HARAAM)

(24) It is not allowed to pass directly in front of a person who is praying if he has a sutrah in front of him. There is no difference in this between al-Masjidul-Haraam and other mosques. The forbiddance applies equally to all of them, due to the generality of his (peace and blessing be upon him) saying, “If the one who passes directly in front of a person knew the (sin) that was upon him, then he would rather stand and wait for forty than pass in front of him." Meaning, passing in between him and the place of his sutrah.

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