The Place of Prayer
There are seven conditions for the area on which one is praying
The place of the prayer should not be usurped.
873. If a person offers his prayer on a usurped property, even if it be on a usurped rug, blanket or similar items, his prayer will be invalid if the areas of sujÙd are usurped. Based on obligatory precaution, the same applies to prayers offered on a usurped bed or similar item. However, there is no harm in praying under a usurped ceiling or a usurped tent.
874. To pray on a property—the right of utilization and benefit of which belongs to another person—without the permission of the one who owns the right to utilize it, renders the prayer invalid. For example, if the owner of a rental property, or another person utilizes the property for prayer without the permission of the tenant, his prayer is invalid.
Similarly, if a person dictates before his demise that one third of his property must be utilized for a particular cause, it is not permissible to utilize the property for prayer until the third is separated from the rest.
Praying on a property to which another has a right to—for example, praying on a property which someone has demarcated with a stone fence—without the individual’s permission will render the prayer invalid, if it intrudes on his jurisdiction. In cases other than this, there is no problem in doing so. For example, praying on a property that has been mortgaged. One may pray on the property with the permission of the mortgagor, even though the mortgagee may not be pleased with him praying on the property.
875. The prayer of one who usurps the place of a person who is seated in a mosque, is invalid.
876. If one prays in a place and does not know whether it is usurped or not, and after the completion of his prayer realizes that the area of sajdah is usurped, his prayer is invalid. However, if one forgets that a particular area is usurped, prays there and later remembers it was usurped, his prayer is valid.
However, if one usurps the property himself, and forgetfully prays in it, his prayer is invalid if he has not repented for the usurpation. If he has repented, then to claim that his prayer is invalid is problematic.
877. The prayer that is performed in an area where the area of prostration is usurped, and one knows of its usurpation, is invalid, even if the person is ignorant of its invalidation.
878. If the animal or saddle of one who is compelled to pray while riding is usurped and he performed sujÙd upon the animal or the saddle, his prayer is invalid. The recommended prayers are similarly invalid in such a case. However, if the shoes (of the animal) are usurped, to claim his prayer is invalid is problematic.
879. If a person has mutual ownership of a property, it is not permissible for him to utilize the property without the consent of his partner until his share of the property is separated.
880. If a person purchases property with very money, the khums of which has not been disbursed, the utilization of it is forbidden, and prayer on such a property is invalid.
881. If the owner of a property consents to its utilization, and one is aware that his consent is not genuine—i.e. he is in fact displeased with its utilization—prayer on such a property is invalid. Conversely, if he does not consent, but one is certain that he permits its utilization, prayer on it is valid.
882. The utilization of a deceased’s property, the khums or ZakÁt of which has not been disbursed, is forbidden, and prayer on it is invalid if there would be no surplus in the estate after the disbursement of khums and ZakÁt. However, if the debt is disbursed or one becomes the guarantor of the debts with the approval of the ÎÁkim al-sharÞÐyy, there is no problem in utilizing it, or praying on it, with the permission of the inheritors.
883. The utilization of the property of a deceased who is indebted to the people is forbidden and prayer on it is invalid without the consent of the creditors, in the case there would be no surplus in the estate after the disbursement of the debts. However, if one becomes the guarantor of the debt with the approval of the creditors, it is permissible to utilize the property with permission of the inheritors and to pray on it is valid.
884. If a deceased has no debt, but amongst his heirs is a minor, insane or absentee, it is forbidden to utilize the property without the consent of their guardian and to pray on it is invalid.
885. Prayer on the property of another is only permissible in the case one has certainty or a proof authorized by the sharia for the consent of the owner. It is similarly permissible if one obtains general consent of use, from which, the consent of prayer is understood. For example, if one consents that another may sit and lie down on his property, the permission to pray is also normally understood from it.
886. To pray on land great in expanse, which was elaborated in article 277, is not conditional upon the permission of its owner.
887. The place of prayer for obligatory prayers should not be in motion in such a manner that it disturbs the composure of the body, or hinders the obligatory components unless one is compelled.
If one is compelled to perform prayer in a place in motion with the aforementioned characteristics, such as a car, ship or train due to nominal time, or another reason, he should keep the composure of his body to the degree possible and ensure he observes the qiblah. If they divert from the qiblah, he should redirect himself to it.
888. There is no problem is performing prayer in a car, ship, train or any other means of transportation, while it is stationary.
889. Prayer on stack of wheat or barley or that similar to them, which cause one to lose the composure of the body is invalid.
890. Prayer should be performed only where one gives the possibility of its completion. Prayer in a place one is confident he will be unable to complete it due to wind, rain, assemblage of people, or other similar obstacles, is invalid even if he manages to complete it.
891. Prayer in a location where it is forbidden to linger, such as a roof, the collapsing of which is nigh, is valid, though one would have sinned.
892. If standing or sitting on an object becomes the cause of the violation of its sanctity, and violating its sanctity is forbidden, such as a rug on which the name of God is imprinted, it is not permissible to pray on it, and based on obligatory precaution, to pray on it is invalid.
The height of the ceiling, for the place of prayer should not be low to the degree one is unable to stand perpendicularly and should not be small to the degree that one is unable to perform rukÙ‘ or sujÙd.
893. If one is compelled to perform prayer in such a place where it is not possible to stand at all, he must pray sitting, and if it is not possible to perform rukÙ‘ or sujÙd, he should perform them by means of signaling the head.
894. If praying ahead of the grave of the Prophet or the Imams (Peace be upon them all) violates their sanctity, it is forbidden and invalid. The obligatory precaution is that it is similarly forbidden even if it does not violate their sanctity. However, if there is an object, such as a wall, between one and the grave, he may commence with prayer. The distance caused by the ÒandÙq al-sharÐf (wooden construction above the grave), the ÃarÐÎ or the cloth settled upon it, is insufficient.
895. If the place of prayer is najis, it should not be wet in such a manner that najÁsah, which invalidates prayer, contacts the clothing or body of the person praying. However, the place of prostration—where one places the forehead—should be ÔÁhir. If it is najis, it renders the prayer invalid, though it be dry. The recommended precaution is that the place of prayer should be entirely ÔÁhir.
The distance between a man and woman during prayer should be at least one hand span. However, it is makrÙh for there to be less than ten dhirÁ‘ distance in places other than Makkah.
896. If a woman prays adjacent to or ahead of a man with less than the aforementioned distance, and they simultaneously commence with prayer, they should both repeat their prayers. Based on obligatory precaution, the same applies if one commenced before the other, and they should both repeat their prayer.
897. If there is a wall, curtain or another object between a man and woman that obstructs their vision of each other, their prayer is valid, even if the distance between them is less that mentioned earlier.
The place of prostration—where the forehead is placed—should not be more than four closed fingers higher or lower than the tip of the toes, and based on obligatory precaution, it should not be higher or lower than where he places his knees. The details of this ruling shall be elaborated in the section of sujÙd.