Forgotten Sunnah: Keeping a sutrah (barrier) before ourselves during prayer
The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to say “Do not pray except towards a sutrah, and do not let anyone pass in front of you, but if someone continues (to try to pass) then fight him, for he has a companion (i.e. a shaytaan) with him” (Ibn Khuzaimah in his Saheeh (1/93/1) with a sound isnaad. Sh.Albaani)
Prophet (peace be upon him) would also say: “When one of you prays towards a sutrah, he should get close to it so that Shaytaan cannot break his prayer.” (Abu Daawood, Bazzaar (p. 54 – Zawaaid) Haakim, who declared it saheeh and Dhahabi and Nawawi agreed. Sh. Albaani)
Sometimes “Prophet (peace be upon him) would seek to pray at the pillar which was in his mosque.” (Bukhaari. )
The sutrah is a must for the Imaam or a person praying alone, even in a large mosque. Ibn Haani said in his Masaa’il from Imaam Ahmad (1/66): “Abu `Abdullaah (i.e. Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal) saw me one day when I was praying without a sutrah in front of me, and I was in a (large) congregational mosque, so he said to me: `Take something as a sutrah’, so I took a man as a sutrah.” This contains an indication that Imaam Ahmad did not differentiate between big or small mosques in taking a sutrah – and that is surely correct, but this is something neglected by most people, including imaams of mosques, in every land that I have visited, including Arabia which I was able to tour in Rajab of this year (1410), so the `ulamaa should tell the people and advise them of this, explaining its ruling and that it is also required in the Two Sacred Mosques. Sh. Albaani
“When Prophet (peace be upon him) prayed [in an open space where there was nothing to use as sutrah] he (peace be upon him) would plant a spear in the ground in front of him and pray towards it with the people behind him”
(Bukhaari, Muslim & Ibn Maajah)
Importance of the Sutrah from the Salaaf ::
Ibn Abee Shaybah reports in his Musannaf (1/279): Wakee’ related to us: from Hishaaam ibn Abee al-Ghaaz: from Naafi’ who said, “If Ibn ‘Umar could not get to one of the pillars of the mosque he would say to me, ‘Turn your back to me.’ Its chain of narration is Saheeh.
Ibn Abee Shaybah reports (1/279): ‘Abdul-Wahhaab ath-Thaqafee narrated to us: from ‘Ubaydullaah from Naafi’, “That ibn ‘Umar used to make a man sit in front of him, and he would pray behind him, and the people would pass in front of that man.” Its chain of narration is Saheeh.
‘Abdur-Razzaaq reports in his Musannaf (2/26/no. 2346): From Ma’mar: from Aboo Ishaaq (i.e., as-Sabee’ee, a Taabi’ee, died 129H) who said, “Five things are from vulgar behaviour: That a man prays in the mosque with the people walking in front of him; and that he urinates standing; and that the Prayer is established and he is next to the mosque and does not respond; and that he wipes dust from his face whilst he is praying, before the salutation; and that he eats along with other than people of the Religion.” Its chain of narration is Saheeh.
Ibn Abee Shaybah reports in his Musannaf (1/277), ‘Eesaa ibn Yoonus narrated to us; from al-Awzaa’ee: from Yahyaa ibn Abee Katheer who said, “I saw Anas ibn Maalik in al-Masjidul-Haraam and he had erected a rod, and was praying towards it.”. Ibn Sa’d (7/18) reports its like and its narrators are reliable.
‘Abdur-Razzaaq reports in his Musannaf (2/15/no.2304): From Hishaam ibn Hassaan: from Ayyoob: from Muhammad ibn Seereen who said, “‘Umar ibn al-Khattaan saw a man praying without a sutrah, so he sat down in front of him and said, ‘Don’t be hasty in your prayer.’ So when he finished, ‘Umar said to him, ‘When one of you prays, then let him pray towards a Sutrah, and Satan will not be able to come between him and his prayer.'”Its chain of narration is Saheeh except that Ibn Seereen didn’t reach ‘Umar, but Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr states in At-Tamheed (1/30), “Everyone about whom it is known that he did not take except from reliable narrators then his tadlees and irsaal are accepted,” and he mentioned Muhammad ibn Seereen amongst them.
(Abu Daawood, Bazzaar (p. 54 – Zawaaid) & Haakim, who declared it saheeh and Dhahabi and Nawawi agreed. Sh. Albaani)
Source: Forgotten Sunnahs
Revive the Sunnah of using sutrah and please remember to share, May Allah (SAW) make it easy for us and accept it as an act of worship
Peace be with you…