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General Issues Pertaining to the Prayer
  Connecting the Lines for Prayer
Author: Abu Khaliyl
Source: Al-Huda Magazine
Article ID : IBD050002  [7361]  
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Among the well known signs of an obligation or waajib, in usool ul-fiqh, is when the commanding verb is preceded by the Arabic letter laam. This type of laam is known as laam al-amr, or the commanding laam. Whenever it is used then we understand that the address is an obligation, unless it is accompanied by an act or saying which indicates that it is only reccommended. In the following texts, such laam precedes the verb, Ietting us know that the statement is a command: Establish your lines [straight], [in one narration this follows: By Allaah either you establish your lines (straight),] or Allaah will cause dissension in your hearts. (Aboo Daawood, Ibn Hibaan. Authentic, see Saheeh at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb no. 512 and the addition is with Aboo Daawood, see Saheeh ul Jaami no. 1191)

And: Straighten your lines or Allaah (AWJ) will cause dissension to appear upon your faces. (Al-Bukhaaree, Muslim and others)

Imaam an-Nawawee explains as follows, "Meaning that anger, animosity and disagreement will appear in the hearts. As when it is said, 'So and so's face changed towards me.' It means, 'his face shows his dislike for me.' So their differing in their rows is an apparent type of dissension, and outwardly evident differences are the cause for inner dissension"(3)

Mentioning the "Laa" of prohibition

The laa of prohibition is called such be cause it means, "Do not do such and such." In all such cases of prohibition (nahee), then it implies that the act is haraam, unless it is accompanied by an act or saying which indicates that it is only disliked.

The Prophetsaid,

  • Do not leave gaps for Shaytaan (Ahmad, Aboo Daawood, an-Nasaa`ee and others. Saheeh ul-Jaami no 1189)
  • Do not differ, or your hearts will dissent. (Muslim, Ahmad, an-Nasaa`ee and others.)
  • Do not make your chests irregular, or your hearts will dissent. (Ibn Khuzaymah See Saheeh at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb no. 513)
  • Do not let your lines be irregular or your hearts will dissent. (Aboo Daawood, an Nasaa`ee and others. See Saheeh at- Targheeb wat-Tarheeb no. 513)


Warning aginst the gaps

The Prophetsaid, Beware of the gap. Meaning in prayer (at- Tabaraanee in al-Kabeer and others, see as-Saheehah no. 1757)

Gaps invite Shaytaan

The Prophetsaid, Straighten your lines, and align your shoulders, and yield your hands to your brothers, and close the gaps, for indeed Shaytaan comes between you through them, just as the small lamb does. (Ahmad, at-Tabaraanee and others and it is Saheeh.)(4)

Severe warning of being cut off from Allaah (AWJ)

Whoever connects a line, he is maintained by Allaah (AWJ), and whoever breaks a line, Allaah (AWJ) cuts him off. (See note for first hadeeth.) And such a severe warning would not be issued for a deed that is simply recommended.

The behavior of the companions

Hitting the feet

Umar and Bilaalare both reported to have hit the feet of people in order to straighten their lines.(5) And as Ibn Hazm noted, they would not hit anyone unless hefelt an obligation.

"Straighten the lines" explained

Anasreported that in al-Madeenah he was asked whether he found anything to have changed from the time of the Prophet, to which he replied, "I have not found any change except that you do not straighten your rows properly." (Al-Bukhaaree)

It would be enough for us to understand his saying, "taqeemoona as-sufoof" to mean simply, your lines are zig-zagged and you don't straighten them. But the following narration of Anasenlightens us to the true meaning of straightening the lines "[After standing for prayer, before the takbeer, Allaah (AWJ)'s Messengerfaced the people and said:]

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