عَنْ أَبِي قَتَادَةَ الأَنْصَارِيِّ، «أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَ يُصَلِّي وَهُوَ حَامِلٌ أُمَامَةَ بِنْتَ زَيْنَبَ بِنْتِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَلِأَبِي العَاصِ بْنِ رَبِيعَةَ بْنِ عَبْدِ شَمْسٍ فَإِذَا سَجَدَ وَضَعَهَا، وَإِذَا قَامَ حَمَلَهَا»
Abu Qatadah al-Ansari narrated that the Prophet ﷺ would pray carrying (his granddaughter) Umamah daughter of Zaynab, daughter of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, her father was Abu al-Aas bin Rabi’ah bin Abd Shams. When he (the Prophet ﷺ) would make Sajdah, he would put her down, and when he would stand, he would carry her. (Sahih al-Bukhari, 516).
The entire issue of excessive movement is somewhat open to interpretation in the Hanafi Madhab, some things are clear and others are more speculative. The issue at hand is from the more speculative and obscure issues. So the advice is to minimise movement to avoid a grey area, but it is not correct to categorically declare the prayer to be invalid when a person uses both hands to pick up or put down a child whilst praying.
وَفِيهِ أَقْوَالٌ خَمْسَةٌ أَصَحُّهَا (مَا لَا يَشُكُّ) بِسَبَبِهِ (النَّاظِرُ) مِنْ بَعِيدٍ (فِي فَاعِلِهِ أَنَّهُ لَيْسَ فِيهَا) وَإِنْ شَكَّ أَنَّهُ فِيهَا أَمْ لَا فَقَلِيلٌ
صَحَّحَهُ فِي الْبَدَائِعِ، وَتَابَعَهُ الزَّيْلَعِيُّ والْوَلْوَالِجِيُّ. وَفِي الْمُحِيطِ أَنَّهُ الْأَحْسَنُ. وَقَالَ الصَّدْرُ الشَّهِيدُ: إنَّهُ الصَّوَابُ. وَفِي الْخَانِيَّةِ وَالْخُلَاصَةِ: إنَّهُ اخْتِيَارُ الْعَامَّةِ. وَقَالَ فِي الْمُحِيطِ وَغَيْرِهِ: رَوَاهُ الثَّلْجِيُّ عَنْ أَصْحَابِنَا
There are five opinions regarding excessive movement, the strongest of them is, anything that leaves the onlooker (from a distance) in no doubt that the person is not in prayer (is excessive movement). If it leaves the onlooker in doubt, then it is not excessive movement.
He authenticated it in al-Badai, al-Zayla’i’ and al-Walwaaliji followed him in this. In al-Muheet he said it is the best (opinion), and al-Sadr al-Shaheed said it is the correct (opinion). In al-Khaniyah and al-Khulasah it is mentioned that it is the choice of the majority (of scholars). In al-Muheet and others it is mentioned that al-Thalji narrated it from our scholars. (Radd al-Muhtaar).
In the above Nass (text) we see that Imam al-Haskafi said the strongest opinion in the Madhab regarding excessive movement relates to how an onlooker would perceive him, this is the strongest opinion in the Hanafi Madhab but it can be difficult to apply. Which is why many scholars apply the opinion of three consecutive movements invalidating Salah too.
Since this is the strongest opinion and is somewhat obscure then it does make it difficult to be categorical about a particular issue, in this case the issue of picking up a child with two hands. Rather one should allow room for the obscurity and thus a difference in interpretation. However, it is always best to be cautious in such matters, and so minimise one’s movement when praying whilst carrying a child.
In such cases it is important to seek clarification from leading contemporary scholars, and to keep in mind that there is a probability of difference of opinion amongst them due to the room for interpretation. It is correct to say that contemporary scholars cannot oppose a Nass (text) found in the books of the Madhab when it is clear, and in such cases one must follow the Nass and not the view of any particular contemporary scholar. However, it should also be recognised that leading contemporary scholars should be consulted when there is obscurity or significant room for interpretation in the Nussoss (texts) of the Madhab. To get this balance right is of great importance. To follow a contemporary scholar who is clearly contradicting a Nass in the Madhab is incorrect, but it is also incorrect to neglect the input of leading contemporary scholars when the Nass is open to interpretation.
There is an opinion within the Hanafi Madhab that says doing something using both hands will invalidate the Salah. This clearly supports the argument that lifting a child with two hands will invalidate the prayer, however this is a weak opinion. It is not permitted to base legal rulings on weak opinions, except in rare circumstances. Therefore it is not correct to use this opinion to justify the stated view.
الْقَوْلُ الثَّانِي أَنَّ مَا يُعْمَلُ عَادَةً بِالْيَدَيْنِ كَثِيرٌ وَإِنْ عُمِلَ بِوَاحِدَةٍ كَالتَّعْمِيمِ وَشَدِّ السَّرَاوِيلِ وَمَا عُمِلَ بِوَاحِدَةٍ قَلِيلٌ وَإِنْ عُمِلَ بِهِمَا كَحَلِّ السَّرَاوِيلِ وَلُبْسِ الْقَلَنْسُوَةِ وَنَزْعِهَا إلَّا إذَا تَكَرَّرَ ثَلَاثًا مُتَوَالِيَةً وَضَعَّفَهُ فِي الْبَحْرِ
And the second opinion is that anything which is normally done using two hands is excessive (movement), even if it is currently done with one, for example, wrapping a turban, fastening trousers. As for that which is normally achieved with one hand, like unfastening trousers, wearing a hat and taking it off, it is minimal movement (so does not invalidate the prayer), unless he made three consecutive movements. In Bahr he said this opinion is weak. (Radd al-Muhtaar).
Another point to consider is the issue of need or necessity. When excessive movement invalidates the prayer, is it excused if there is a need or necessity? Sometimes it is excused and other times it is not, without an explicit Nass regarding praying with a child it is open to scholarly speculation.
لِأَنَّ هَذِهِ الْأَفْعَالَ مُنَافِيَةٌ لِلصَّلَاةِ فِي الْأَصْلِ لِمَا نَذْكُرُ فَلَا يَسْقُطُ اعْتِبَارُ الْمُنَافِي إلَّا لِضَرُورَةٍ وَلَا ضَرُورَةَ
Because these actions contradict Salah, as we mentioned, so they are not excused unless there is a necessity, and there is no necessity. (Imam al-Kaasaani, Badai al-Sanai).
تَبْطُلُ صَلَاتُهُ لِوُجُودِ الْعَمَلِ الْكَثِيرِ مِنْ غَيْرِ حَاجَةٍ
His prayer is invalid due to excessive movement without a need. (Imam al-Zayla’i, Tabyeen).
(لِأَنَّهُ عَمَلٌ كَثِيرٌ) أَيْ وَلَا ضَرُورَةَ إلَيْهِ هُنَا
Because it is excessive movement, and there is no necessity for it here. (Imam Ibn Abideen, Radd al-Muhtaar).
All of these Nussoss are speaking about excessive movement in the context of Bina (completing a prayer after making Wudu) not the particular context we are speaking about. However, they do allude to the possibility of certain actions being excused if there were a valid excuse. Whereas the Nass below shows that there are actions in the prayer that may be considered a necessity but still invalidate the Salah.
كَذَا قَالَ الْإِمَامُ السَّرَخْسِيُّ، وَقَالَ لِأَنَّهُ عَمَلٌ رُخِّصَ فِيهِ لِلْمُصَلِّي، فَهُوَ كَالْمَشْيِ بَعْدَ الْحَدَثِ بَحْرٌ (قَوْلُهُ لَكِنْ صَحَّحَ الْحَلَبِيُّ الْفَسَادَ) حَيْثُ قَالَ تَبَعًا لِابْنِ الْهُمَامِ: فَالْحَقُّ فِيمَا يَظْهَرُ هُوَ الْفَسَادُ، وَالْأَمْرُ بِالْقَتْلِ لَا يَسْتَلْزِمُ صِحَّةَ الصَّلَاةِ مَعَ وُجُودِهِ كَمَا فِي صَلَاةِ الْخَوْفِ، بَلْ الْأَمْرُ فِي مِثْلِهِ لِإِبَاحَةِ مُبَاشَرَتِهِ وَإِنْ كَانَ مُفْسِدًا لِلصَّلَاةِ.
That is what Imam al-Sarakhsi said. He said it is an action that is permitted for a person praying therefore it is like a person walking after invalidating Wudu (Bina), Bahr. (His saying) But al-Halabi said the sound opinion is the prayer is invalidated. He said this following ibn al-Humaam, ‘The truth is it (the prayer) is invalidated according to what is apparent. The command to kill (a snake or scorpion) does not necessitate the validity of the Salah, like the fear prayer. Rather the command, in this kind of issue, is to permit the action even if it invalidates the Salah. (Imam Ibn Abideen, Radd al-Muhtaar).
As seen above, there is some difference of opinion, but the strongest opinion regarding the issue of being allowed to kill a snake or scorpion when praying, is that the prayer is invalidated (unless it is done with minimal movement). So here the necessity is not excused, and the prayer is invalid.
In the absence of a specific Nass for the one carrying a child, the issue should be taken to leading contemporary scholars as explained above.
In conclusion it is best to take a more cautious approach and minimise movement, by trying to use one hand to pick the child up and put him down when praying (without endangering the child’s safety). However, it is not clear from the Nussoss that using two hands will invalidate the Salah. Rather there is room for interpretation and difference of opinion. Therefore, it is not correct to present the issue as categorical.
And Allah (Most High) Knows Best.
– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen (17.03.2021)
Carrying a child in Salah
Did the Prophet ﷺ carry a child whilst praying?
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