I, (Huzoor Taajush Shari'ah) have been telephonically asked if a Saff (row) for Salaah is made to the left and the right of the Mimbar, does it break the Saff (Qatee-Saff)?


Firstly, I deem it appropriate to quote a few words from the Fatawa of A'la Hadrat, Imaam Ahmad Raza Khan (Radi Allahu Anhu) as an introduction to this matter.

Ala Hadrat (Radi Allahu Anhu) states: “Regarding the Saffs, there are three things which have been commanded and stressed by the Shari'ah. However, all three are nearly extinct (Ma'zallah) in today's times. This is the reason why disunion is rampant amongst Muslims.

The first thing asserted and ordered by the Shari'ah is Taswiya (leveling). The Saff should be straight. It shouldn't have a gap or be crooked and the Muqtadis should stand together in a straight line. Their necks, shoulders and ankles must all be equally proportioned in the Saff. The chests of the Muqtadis must be straight and still like pillars facing the direction of the Holy Qibla. The Holy Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) has said, “O servants of Allah! Make your Saffs straight or Allah shall allow disunion to set amongst you.”

This was said when Rasoolullah (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) saw the chest of a person sticking out from the other Muqtadis. (Reported by Muslim)

In another Sahih Hadeeth, Rasoolullah (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Keep your Saffs tightly together and necks in one line. Oath on He in Whose control lies my life, I see the Shayateen entering through the gaps in the Saff, as if they were hurled away.” (Reported by Nasaai)

In a third tradition, he is reported to have stated, “Straighten the Saffs because straight Saffs resemble the Saffs of the Angels. Keep your shoulders against each other also.” (Reported by Ahmed, Abu Dawood, Tibraani, etc.)

The second is Itmaam (Completion). This means that until one Saff is filled, another must not be made. The amount of importance the Shari'ah gives to this can be ascertained from the following rule. If a person leaves a Saff incomplete while there was space for others in it and makes rows behind this incomplete Saff, someone who comes afterwards seeing the incompletion in the Saff can walk in front of the rows behind to get to and complete the Saff in the front. The person who left the Saff incomplete has abandoned his veneration by acting against the Shari'ah. He who completes the Saff in this manner will be forgiven by Allah. The Holy Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) has said: “Why don't you make Saffs like the Saffs of the Angels before their Rabb?” The Sahabah asked, “Ya Rasoolallah (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam)! How do the Angels make Saffs?” He replied, “They fill and complete the foremost Saffs first and stand tightly together side by side.” (Reported by Muslim, Abu Dawood, Nasaai, etc.)

He (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) also states, “Fill the foremost Saff first and then the one next to it. Any defect (i.e. incompletion) should be left in the last Saff.” (Ahmed, Abu Dawood, etc.)

Rasoolullah (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) states, “Allah completes the person who joins to fill a Saff and destroys the person who breaks a Saff.” (Nasaai, Haakim)

Another Hadith states, “The person who sees a gap in a Saff should fill it himself.

If he doesn't and another person comes, the latter should walk over the former's head to fill the gap because no respect remains for him (due to not filling the gap in the Saff).” (Musnadul-Firdaus)

The Holy Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) is also reported to have said, “Verily, Allah and His Angels send salutations on those who fill and join Saffs. Allah elevates the rank in Jannah of the person who fills a gap in the Saff by this action of completing the Saff.” (Ahmed, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, Haakim)

The third is Taraas (Agglutination). This means to stand firmly together with the shoulders against each other without any gap. Allah states:“A Saff as if they were an enforced wall.” (Surah Saff, Verse 4)

When tin is melted and poured over something, all gaps are filled by it. (This is how Saffs must be formed). Allah keeps those who make Saffs like this, as friends. The Ahadeeth commanding this have already been presented above. Rasoolullah (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) has said, “Make your Saffs straight and stand firmly together because I see you even from behind my back.” (Bukhari)

This Agglutination is also included in the completing of Saffs and all these three things (Taswiya, Itmaam and Taraas) is Wajib (compulsory) according to the Shari'ah.

I say, it is obvious that if a Saff is formed to the left and right of the Mimbar, the Itmaam and Taraas which must be observed in Saffs and highly emphasized and desired by the Shari'ah will not be acted upon. It is also possible for the leveling of the Saff (Taswiya) to also be lost. Rather through a little concentration, it is apparent that Taswiya in standing becomes lost even if people from both sides stand in one line. This is because if a Mimbar interrupts, neither is standing straight true according to Urf (convention) nor is it established according to the Shari'ah. If they don't stand in one direction, Taswiya of the Saff becomes totally non-existent. Therefore, to unnecessarily form Saffs to the left and right of the Mimbar is contrary to these Ahadeethe-Sahiha and impermissible according to the Shari'ah. In this situation, the offence of committing something disliked (Makrooh) is not only on those of the incomplete Saff, but also on those who formed Saffs behind them.

Absolute Karaahat refers to prohibited dislike (Makrooh-e-Tahrimi).

Under the above extract of Durr-e-Mukhtar, Tahtaawi and then Allamah Shaami states,

(Fatawa Razvia, Vol. 3, pg. 317)


The fourth defect in this situation (forming a Saff to the left and right of the Mimbar) is that the Imaam will not be at the centre of the Saff whereas it is a requirement of the Shari'ah for the Imaam to stand at the middle of the Saff. (Refer to Fatawa Razvia, Vol. 3, Pg 149)

[Translator's note: At this point Huzoor Taajush Shariah's verdict turned to an I'lmi discussion. This is more suited for the Ulema fraternity, not the general public. Hence, I have not included it in the translation].

Dictated by Huzoor Taajush Shari'ah,

Allama Mohammed Akhtar Raza Qadiri Azhari.

Certified by:
Qaadhi Muhammad Abdur Rahim Batawi
Qaadhi Muhammad Shaheed Aalam
Mufti Muhammad Muzzafar Hussain Qadiri
Mufti Muhammad Naazim Ali Qadiri

Transcribed by:
Moulana Muhammad Yunus Raza Owaisi Razvi
Markazi Darul Ifta, 82 Saudagraan, Bareilly Shareef
2 Zil Hijjah 1422 A.H