An imam recently informed me that it is not permitted for a teacher to demonstrate the Salah without actually praying. So to stand up and to demonstrate how the hands are raised during Takbir (opening glorification), what’s to be recited when, how to perform Ruku (bowing), how to perform Sajdah (prostration). He said to demonstrate this is not allowed, he particularly emphasised demonstrating Sajdah not being allowed. Is this correct?



Islamic Text

This is incorrect. Rather, it is well-established in the Sunnah of the Prophet , the practice of the Sahabah and the Imams of the Madahib, that using visual aids for demonstration is permitted and encouraged. It is established in authentic books of the Hanafi Madhab, that Abu Hanifa demonstrated how to perform Tayammum. And there is nothing mentioned in authoritative books of the Hanafi Madhab that it is prohibited or disliked to demonstrate the Salah, whether it’s the entirety of a Salah or component parts of it.

If the objection to this is that a person is performing the parts of the prayer without actually praying, then we have well established Masail (legal rulings) in the Hanafi Madhab (examples below) that mention it is permitted for a person in certain circumstances to perform parts of the prayer without actually praying, or to imitate prayer without praying. If it is permitted in those circumstances then permitting it during teaching is no doubt permitted.

As we see in the text from the Hashiyah of Ibn Abideen below that a person who neither has the ability to make Wudu or Tayammum is to perform the parts of the prayer or the practice of the prayer without actually praying.

In the second Masalah, we have the same ruling for a person who is in a state of Janabah (major ritual impurity) and cannot currently purify himself again; he is to carry out the Salah without intending it.

So these Masail make it clear that there is no objection when there is a valid reason. There is no objection to carrying out the parts of the prayer without intending prayer itself. If it is permitted in those cases where a person is giving the impression he or she is praying, to carry it out in the context of teaching is absolutely permitted.

Imam al-Haskafi said:

وَأَمَّا فَاقِدُ الطَّهُورَيْنِ، فَفِي الْفَيْضِ وَغَيْرِهِ أَنَّهُ يَتَشَبَّهُ عِنْدَهُمَا، وَإِلَيْهِ صَحَّ رُجُوعُ الْإِمَامِ وَعَلَيْهِ الْفَتْوَى

As for a person who can neither perform Wudu nor Tayamum, it says in al-Fayd (book of Fiqh) and in other books that he is to imitate prayer according to them two (Abu Yusuf and Mohammed Shaybani) and the Imam returned to this position too and it is the position of the Fatwa.

Imam Ibn Abideen said:

قَوْلُهُ: يَتَشَبَّهُ أَيْ بِالْمُصَلِّينَ وُجُوبًا، فَيَرْكَعُ وَيَسْجُدُ إنْ وَجَدَ مَكَانًا يَابِسًا

His saying he imitates means he imitates people who pray and it is Wajib to do so. And so he will perform Ruku and Sajdah if he finds a pure place to do so.”- Radd-al Muhtaar, Vol. 1, p266

قَوْلُهُ وَقَالَا يَتَشَبَّهُ بِالْمُصَلِّينَ أَيْ احْتِرَامًا لِلْوَقْتِ. قُلْت: وَظَاهِرُهُ أَنَّهُ لَا يَنْوِي أَيْضًا؛ لِأَنَّهُ تَشَبُّهٌ لَا صَلَاةٌ حَقِيقِيَّةٌ تَأَمَّلْ

And they said he imitates the people praying because he is to respect the prayer times. The apparent of this is that he is to imitate the prayer without making an intention of praying because he is imitating prayer and not actually praying.” – Radd-al Muhtaar, Vol. 1, p145

صَارَ جُنُبًا بِالِاتِّفَاقِ، فَإِذَا خَشِيَ الرِّيبَةَ يَتَسَتَّرُ بِإِيهَامِ أَنَّهُ يُصَلِّي بِغَيْرِ قِرَاءَةٍ وَنِيَّةٍ وَتَحْرِيمَةٍ فَيَرْفَعُ يَدَيْهِ وَيَقُومُ وَيَرْكَعُ شِبْهَ الْمُصَلِّي إمْدَادٌ

“When a person is in a state of Janabah (major ritual impurity) and he fears that people will become suspicious of him, he is permitted to veil himself by giving the impression that he is praying without reciting and without making intention and without saying the Takbir at the beginning.  So he will raise his hands at the beginning, he will stand, he will make Ruku, imitating a person who prays.” – Radd-al Muhtaar, Vol. 1, p536

We would also require the imam who said it is not permitted to provide us with precise reference from authoritative and agreed upon books of the Hanafi Madhab. It is very important for anybody who is speaking on behalf of a Madhab to be able to point us to where it says such a thing in the authoritative books of the Madhab.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid

– Answer approved by:

  • Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi
  • Shaykh Mazin Bakeer
  • Shaykh Khalid al-Kharsa
  • Shaykh Abd al-Salaam Shannar