Is it forbidden to form a rank (saff) between two columns in a prayer? It is said that there is a hadith about it.

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

No, it is not forbidden. The narration about the issue and the evaluation of this narration is as follows:

Qurra narrates:

"We were prohibited from forming a rank between columns during the time of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and were moved away from the place where the columns were." (Ibn Majah, Iqamatus-Salah, 53)

The prohibition in the hadith is not in the sense of haram. It is regarded makruh for those who follow the imam to stand between columns. However, the reason why it is regarded as makruh is interpreted differently:

1. The rank will be interrupted due to columns.

2. Shoes are kept between columns.

Therefore, it is not regarded appropriate to stand between columns so as not to divide ranks. Besides, the places between columns may have been reserved for shoes and other things.

When there are empty places in the other places of the mosque or when the places between columns are not suitable due to the things there, it is not advised to form ranks between columns. For, this will cause those people to be separated from the congregation and to perform prayers in a place that is not clean.   

If the ranks are not enough for the people and the places between columns are suitable for ranks, it is permissible to form ranks there. In such cases, it is permissible to form ranks between columns.

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