He is in line with the Madhab. It is valid but best avoided.
Recently there has been some confusion regarding Imam Sarakhsi’s opinion on this issue. This has been caused by two factors. Firstly, there seems to be a problem with the text found in the published copies of Imam Sarakhsi’s book ‘al-Mabsoot.’ Secondly a brother quoted from one part of the book without mentioning what Imam Sarakhsi said elsewhere in the same book.
إذَا نَظَرَ النَّاظِرُ إلَيْهِ لَا يَشُكُّ أَنَّهُ فِي غَيْرِ الصَّلَاةِ، فَإِنَّ الْمَرْأَةَ إذَا حَمَلَتْ صَبِيَّهَا أَوْ أَرْضَعَتْهُ لَمْ يشْكلْ عَلَى أَحَدٍ أَنَّهَا فِي غَيْرِ الصَّلَاةِ، وَقَدْ رَوَيْنَا أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – «قَرَأَ الْمُعَوِّذَتَيْنِ فِي صَلَاةِ الْفَجْرِ ثُمَّ قَالَ: سَمِعْتُ بُكَاءَ صَبِيٍّ فَخَشِيَتْ عَلَى أُمِّهِ أَنْ تُفْتَتَنَ»، فَلَوْ كَانَ الْإِرْضَاعُ غَيْرَ مُفْسِدٍ لِلصَّلَاةِ لَمَا تَرَكَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – سُنَّةَ الْقِرَاءَةِ لِأَجْلِ بُكَائِهِ.
If an onlooker looks at him and is in no doubt that he is not in Salah (the prayer is invalid), if a woman carries her child or breastfeeds him then no one will doubt that she is not in Salah. And indeed, it has been narrated that the Prophet ﷺ recited the two protecting Surahs (Sural al-Falaq and Surah al-Naas) in the Fajr prayer, and he ﷺ said, ‘I heard the crying of a child and feared it may be a distraction for his mother.’ Had breastfeeding not been an invalidator of Salah the Prophet ﷺ would not have left the Sunnah recitation (long Surahs) due to the crying of the child. (al-Mabsoot).
Since the text says أو (or) instead of و (and), it gives the impression that the Imam is saying that whenever a person carries a child during Salah, the prayer is invalid. However, this is clearly not Imam Sarakhsi’s opinion as clarified elsewhere by him in the same book. The fact that Imam Sarakhsi focuses on the issue of breastfeeding more than carrying the child in the text above is a further indication of a problem with the text.
قَالَ: (وَإِذَا صَلَّتْ الْمَرْأَةُ وَهِيَ حَامِلَةٌ ابْنَتَهَا أَجْزَأَهَا) لِمَا رُوِيَ «أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – كَانَ يُصَلِّي فِي بَيْتِهِ وَأُمَامَةُ بِنْتُ أَبِي الْعَاصِ يَحْمِلُهَا عَلَى عَاتِقِهِ، فَكَانَ إذَا سَجَدَ وَضَعَهَا، وَإِذَا قَامَ رَفَعَهَا» قَالَ: (وَهِيَ مُسِيئَةٌ فِي ذَلِكَ) لِأَنَّهَا شَغَلَتْ نَفْسَهَا بِمَا لَيْسَ مِنْ أَعْمَالِ صَلَاتِهَا
He said, and if a woman prays carrying her daughter then it is valid. Due to what was narrated regarding the Prophet ﷺ praying in his house whilst carrying (Sayidah) Umamah bint Abi al-Aas on his ﷺ shoulder, when he ﷺ would make Sajdah then he ﷺ would put her down and when he ﷺ stood, he would pick her up. Although it is blameworthy for her to do that (pray carrying her child) because she has busied herself with something that is not from the actions of Salah. (Imam al-Sarakhsi, al-Mabsoot).
We find further clarity on this issue when examining similar texts in other authoritative books. They all have the word و (and) instead of أو (or). This raises concerns regarding the accuracy of the text in the printed copies of al-Mabsoot.
وَكَذَا لَوْ ادَّهَنَ أَوْ سَرَّحَ رَأْسَهُ أَوْ حَمَلَتْ امْرَأَةٌ صَبِيَّهَا وَأَرْضَعَتْهُ لِوُجُودِ حَدِّ الْعَمَلِ الْكَثِيرِ عَلَى الْعِبَارَتَيْنِ، فَأَمَّا حَمْلُ الصَّبِيِّ بِدُونِ الْإِرْضَاعِ فَلَا يُوجِبُ فَسَادَ الصَّلَاةِ لِمَا رُوِيَ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – «كَانَ يُصَلِّي فِي بَيْتِهِ وَقَدْ حَمَلَ أُمَامَةَ بِنْتَ أَبِي الْعَاصِ
(Likewise) the prayer is invalid if he puts oil on his hair or combs it, or a woman carries her child and breastfeeds it, due to excessive movement being present based on both opinions. As for carrying a child without breastfeeding it, then it does not necessitate the invalidation of the prayer. Due to what was narrated regarding the Prophet ﷺ praying in his house whilst carrying (Sayidah) Umamah bint Abi al-Aas. (Imam al-Kaasani, Badai).
وإذا ادّهن أو سرّج دابته أو حملت المرأة صبيها وأرضعته أو قاتل رجلاً أو قطع ثوباً أو خاطه فهذا كله عمل كثير
If he puts oil on his hair, a saddle on his animal, a woman carries her child and breastfeeds it, a person fights a man, or cuts cloth and stitches it then it is excessive movement (so the prayer is invalid). (al-Muheet al-Burani).
وَكَذَا لَو حملت امْرَأَة صبيها فأرضعته، لوُجُود الْعَمَل الْكثير الَّذِي يفْسد الصَّلَاة، وَأما حمل الصَّبِي بِدُونِ الْإِرْضَاع فَلَا يُوجب الْفساد
Likewise (the prayer is invalidated) if a woman carries her child and breastfeeds it, due to excessive movement being present, which invalidates Salah. As for carrying a child without breastfeeding it, then it does not necessitate the invalidation of the prayer. (Imam al-Ayni, Umdatu al-Qari).
In conclusion, we should not question the accuracy of text without evidence because that will undermine the entire Islamic library. However, when there is clear proof that something is wrong then we must question it and seek clarification. In this case I spoke to a number of my teachers (Shaykh Mazin Bakeer, Shaykh Abd al-Salam Shanaar, Shaykh Khalid Kharsa and Shaykh Muwafaq Marabi), they all felt that there was a problem with the text since Imam al-Sarakhsi clearly does not hold the position that simply carrying a child invalidates the Salah.
And Allah (Most High) Knows best.
– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen (26.03.2021)
Praying whilst carrying a child
Excessive movement whilst carrying a child in Salah
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