Better to Avoid Isbaal during and outside Prayer even If Not Done Out of Arrogance
Fatwa No: 424411

  • Fatwa Date:13-7-2020 - Thul-Qi'dah 23, 1441
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Question

Salaam Alaikum,
My thobe falls below my ankles in rukoo and sujood, I was wondering does this invalidate my prayer/is it disliked by Allah swt, or not, because of the hadith in which Abu Bakr told the Prophet (saw) that his garment fell below the ankles and the Prophet (saw) said it is not out of arrogance. Do I have to guard against garment falling below my ankle only if its out of arrogance, or at all times? And in regard to the hadith about not tucking up clothes or hair in the prayer, it it better for me to unroll my pant legs (It is common where I live for youth to roll up pant leg) and let them hang over my ankles, or to have them tucked up and above my ankles?
Thanks in advance, JazakAllah Khairun

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The Prayer of a person making Isbaal (wearing a garment that reaches below his ankles) is valid, regardless of whether he is the Imaam (the one leading the Prayer), the one being led in the Prayer, or the one performing the Prayer individually. The Hadeeth reported about the invalidity of his Prayer reads: “Allah does not accept the Prayer of a man who lets his Izaar (lower garment) trail.” [Abu Daawood] This Hadeeth is not authentic, as stated by a group of Hadeeth scholars, because one of its narrators is unknown.

As for whether or not you are obliged to avoid Isbaal if it is not done out of arrogance, it is well known that the scholars differed regarding the ruling on Isbaal done without arrogance.

The majority of scholars held that it is permissible and they brought forth as evidence the Hadeeth of Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with him, when the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said to him: “You do not do that out of arrogance.” [Al-Bukhaari and others] Other scholars held that Isbaal is absolutely prohibited even if it is not done out of arrogance, and this is the opinion adopted in our website. There is no doubt that it is better and more prudent to avoid Isbaal completely, even if it is not done out of arrogance. If the pants are below the ankles and you wish to pray, it is better to roll them up above the ankles so as to avoid Isbaal during the Prayer. There is nothing wrong with such tucking up of clothes due to a need.

Jurists stated that tucking up clothes is disliked only if it is done without need for it. This means that if it is done for a need, then it is not disliked. Shaykh Zakariyyah Al-Ansaari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Asna Al-Mataalib: “It is disliked for a person performing Prayer to tuck up his hair or clothes during prostration or otherwise for no need.” [End of quote]

In addition, the strict warning against tucking up one’s garment during the Prayer, according to some scholars, applies to the case when the worshipper does so during the Prayer, not before it. This is apparently the chosen opinion by Al-Bukhaari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him as he allocated a chapter in his book entitled: “Chapter: One does not tuck up his clothes during Prayer.” [End of quote]  The Hanbali scholar Ibn Rajab  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Fat-h Al-Baari: “The apparent indication of the title that Al-Bukhaari assigned for this chapter is that the forbiddance of tucking up clothes is exclusive to doing this in the Prayer itself. If he tucks up his clothes before the Prayer and then prays in that state, this is not forbidden. This is also the opinion of Imaam Maalik, as he said: ‘If he was carrying out some task before the Prayer and he tucked up his sleeves or the tail of his garment or tied back his hair for that purpose, then there is nothing wrong with praying in that state, and the same applies if this was his normal appearance and attire.’” [End of quote]

In brief, there is nothing wrong with rolling up the pants above the ankles before praying in order to avoid Isbaal during the Prayer.

Allah Knows best.

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