Is a man’s prayer invalidated when his waist gets opened in prostration?

The Details of the Question
Is a man’s prayer invalidated when his waist gets opened in prostration?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

According to Abu Hanifa, while the prayer is valid when at most one-fourth of an organ gets opened, it is invalid when more than one-fourth of an organ gets opened. When the genitals and the bottom are opened one dirham (3,2 gr.), the prayer becomes invalid.  According to Abu Yusuf, half of an organ is taken as basis. While it does not invalidate prayer when less than half of an organ gets opened, it invalidates prayer when more than half of an organ gets opened. According to Imam- Shafii, it invalidates prayer when any part of an organ gets opened (1).

In this issue, the sexual organ is regarded as an organ by itself, and testicles are regarded as an organ. The part from the knees to the heels is also accepted as an organ by itself. This is the sound view. So, prayer is valid when the knee caps get opened in prayer because the part opened is not equal to one-fourth of the organ. This is the soundest view (2).

A woman’s heel to her knee is also regarded as an organ. Namely, when a woman’s heel gets opened during prayer, it does not invalidate her prayer because the heels are not equal to one-fourth of the part from the knee to the heel (3).

Likewise, the abdomen and the back that are accepted as an organ by itself are included  in the abdomen.  The chest is another organ by itself. Yet, the breasts of the girls whose chests have not grown fully are included in their chests.  The grown breasts are accepted as an organ by themselves (4).

A person who cannot find clothes and hence whose genitals are uncovered performs prayers  by sitting, but performs bowing down and prostrating by moving his head. Nonetheless, he can perform prayers by bowing down and prostration while standing. Yet, the first way is more superior because it prevents the genitals from being opened very much. Although there is nobody beside him, Allah is worthy of being ashamed from more than anybody else.

In this regard, fiqh scholars say, “it is better for an undressed man to perform prayers by sitting whether be at night or in daytime, at home or in a desert (5). This is the sound view.

So it is wajib to accept and wear a garment given as a present for a poor person who cannot afford to buy clothes. Otherwise, he must look for permissible things to cover himself or his genitals parts.  When he cannot find anything to cover himself, he cannot grab the goods of others because in this case there is no necessity that can lead him to death (6).

A naked person should ask from another person who has clothes to borrow him some clothes to perform prayers.  If that person lends him some clothes, he will perform prayers with them. Otherwise, he should perform prayers as it is mentioned above.

If he finds enough clothes to cover himself during the prayer, he should stop the prayer and wear the clothes.  If he hopes he can find clothes, he can delay the prayer until the end of time (for that prayer) (7).

As a result, it should be decided under the light of the knowledge given above for the situations mentioned both in the question and in other cases.


(1) See ash-Shawkani, Nayl al-Awtar, II,68; ash-Shafi, al-Umm, I, 77; az-Zuhayli, al- Fiqhu’l Islam and Adillatuh- Damascus, 1405/1985, I, 585, 586; Hamdi Donduren, Delilleriyle İslam İlmihali, Istanbul 1992, p: 226-228.

(2) At-Tanjis- Fatawa al-Hindiyya.

(3) Sharh-i Majma /Ibn Malak.

(4) Tatarhaniye – al-Kinya – al-Khulasa.

(5) Al-Kafi – Bahr ar-Raiq / Ibn Nujaym.

(6) Al-Jawharatu’n- Nayyira – Fatawa al-Hindiyya

(7) Sirajiyya – al- Kinya. Kitabevi- 1/205-207.

(Celal Yıldırım, Fiqh of Islam)

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