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بسم هللا الرمحن الرحيم
هو املوفق حامدا ومصليا ومسلما
اجلواب ومنه الصواب
Before I answer the specific questions, I would like to address the issue of the use of chairs in masjids and probably homes.
Chairs existed in the golden era of Prophet Muḥammad صلى وسلم عليه هللا and on occasions he and his companions were in unable to pray standing; the Prophet وسلم عليه هللا صلى explained the sunna way as it is an act of worship, which was to sit on the ground. Therefore, praying on chairs is against the sunna even in the real cases where a person is severely injured or incapable of standing. There will be some very rare situations in which it will be permissible.
We now witness people who walk into the masjid and then choose to sit on a chair as it is more comfortable and convenient. A person’s prayer is not valid if he has the capability to stand, bow or prostrate and he chooses not to do so as these are the integral acts of prayer.
Over the last decade alone, you will have witnessed in the masjids the ever-increasing rows of chairs in the compulsory prayers and the tarāwīḥ of Ramaḍān. Are more people injured and incapable of praying standing now then they were ten years ago? When only a few elderly men prayed sitting on the floor how has that increased to scores now on chairs? Furthermore, as many are praying on chairs out of choice and one can see how this trend is growing, then soon masjids will look like churches and synagogues where worshippers worship seated in pews. Even though we share many values with Jews and Christians our manner of worship must differ.
I will address each of your question below.
Firstly, those who can stand should stand as long as possible before sitting. Those who cannot stand are excused from standing. When one can stand then his heels will be on the ṣaff line like all the other worshippers and his chair will be in the ṣaff behind him; this will obviously trouble other worshippers, so he will have to be in the last row or in an area where there are no ṣaffs behind him. In the case of the one sitting from the beginning then his back should be level with the backs of the other worshippers in the same ṣaff when they are in tashahud, which will mean the back legs of the chair may be on the ṣaff line or slightly further back. The problem will arise obviously for the one who stands in parts of his prayer and sits on the chair in parts, as he will not be in line with the other worshippers when he is in a sitting position. That is another problem of praying on chairs; the only solution is that he moves his chair carefully with little action during prayer but that may not be possible due to his physical incapability or he prays seated from the beginning.
Secondly, starting in a seated position even though the worshipper has the capacity to stand albeit for a short while but cannot make sajda, has been reported from the Ḥanafī school and is acceptable; however, this is based on one seated on the ground rather than a chair. The more precautionary position would be to stand for as long as one has the capacity to stand and to bow if one has the capacity to do so.
Thirdly I wish to draw your attention to the second image you sent in which there are images with a cross next to them denoting the incorrect placing of the hands and some with a tick denoting correct placing of the hands. But all the images are incorrect with respect to the body motions. In all positions the back must be kept straight, and one is only indicating with the head by movement of the neck only; straight head to indicate standing, near 45 degrees to indicate rukūʿ and near 90 degrees to indicate sajda.
وهللا أعلم وعلمه أمت أجمد حممود حممد عفا هللا عنه
Amjad M Mohammed 22nd Rabīʿ al-Thānī 1439/10th January 2018
Markaz al-Iftā, The Olive Foundation.
Mufti Amjad M Mohammed [BSc (Hons) BMAIS PGCE PGDipRes PGCHEP FHEA MPhil NPQH]
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.