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Is it wrong to stretch the feet towards the qibla?

By: Fiqh ul Islam

Source: Fiqh ul Islam

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The jurists have considered stretching one’s feet towards the Qiblah, intentionally, without any excuse, a disliked and makrooh tanzihi act.[1] This issue is one of adab and etiquette.

Adab or good etiquette holds a very high status in Islam. Rather, it is one of the qualities of all the Prophets عليهم السلام.

Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنهما narrated that the Prophet of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Good conduct, dignified bearing and moderation are one of the twenty-five parts of Prophet-hood.”[2]

Ali ibn Abi Talib رضي الله عنه interpreted the verse “O you who believe, save yourselves and your families from the fire,”[3] to mean, inculcate adab (etiquettes) in them and teach them (the good).[4]

Ahnaf ibn Qais رحمه الله said, “Adab (good etiquette) is the noor (light) of the intellect like how fire is the light for the eyes in the dark.”[5]

Once a man sought permission from the great mufassir and muhaddith, Al-Burhan Biqa’ee to teach him, so he permitted him. So, the person sat crossed-legged. Al-Burhan refused to teach him and rebuked, “You are more in need of adad (good manners) than you are of the knowledge you came to learn.”[6]

From amongst the good etiquettes is to avoid stretching ones’ feet towards the Qiblah. Some contemporaries claim that this is baseless. However, far from being baseless, this ruling is derived from the following Quranic verses and Prophetic ahadith.

The Ka’bah is a Sign of Allah Ta’ala and a very sacred place. Allah Ta’ala said:

جَعَلَ اللَّـهُ الْكَعْبَةَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ قِيَامًا لِّلنَّاسِ

“Allah has appointed the Ka’bah, the Sacred House, a standard for mankind”[7]

He also said:

وَإِذْ جَعَلْنَا الْبَيْتَ مَثَابَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَأَمْنًا

“And [remember] when We made the House (at Makkah) a resort for mankind and sanctuary.”[8]

And Allah Ta’ala has declared it necessary on us to revere and honour His signs and sacred places. He said:

وَمَن يُعَظِّمْ شَعَائِرَ اللَّـهِ فَإِنَّهَا مِن تَقْوَى الْقُلُوبِ

“And whosoever honours the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety of the heart.”[9]

Similarly, the direction of the Ka’bah, known as the Qiblah, has also been afforded a high status in Islam.

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Verily, for everything there is a leader and the leader of sittings is towards the Qiblah.”

Collected by Tabarani in ‘Al-Awsat’[10] and graded sound by Hafidh Mundhiri[11] and Hafidh Haithami[12] رحمهم الله.
In two other narrations it was called the noblest and most honourable sitting.[13]

Many of our acts of worship are conducted facing the Qiblah. Our Salah would not be valid without facing the Qiblah.[14] Allah Ta’ala says, “We have certainly seen the turning of your face, [O Muhammad], toward the heaven, and We will surely turn you to a Qiblah with which you will be pleased. So turn your face toward al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you [believers] are, turn your faces toward it [in prayer].”

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) also faced towards the Qiblah in many other rituals. The great Hanbali scholar, Ibn Muflih رحمه الله said that it is desirable to face the Qiblah in all acts of Ebadah unless there is evidence saying otherwise.[15]

He (ﷺ) faced it in dua after pelting the Shayateen.[16]
After climbing Mount Safa, he (ﷺ) faced towards the Qiblah.[17]
In Arafaat, the Messenger (ﷺ) faced the Qiblah while standing.[18]
It is narrated that he turned his face towards the Qiblah when sleeping.[19]
He (ﷺ) faced it when supplicating on the night of Badr.[20]
After Salatul Istisqaa he (ﷺ) faced the Qiblah.[21]
He faced his two animals of udhiyah (qurbani/sacrificial animals) towards the Qiblah when slaughtering them.[22]
The Angel that taught the Ansaari Sahabi, Abdullah ibn Zaid رضي الله عنه the Adhaan in the dream faced the Qiblah and said it.[23] Therefore, Bilal رضي الله عنه would face the Qiblah and call out the Azan.[24]
He (ﷺ) faced the Qiblah when making dua after burial.[25]
Rather, the Prophet of Allah (ﷺ) has designated the direction of the Ka’bah as our Qiblah even after death.[26]
These ahadith clearly prove the respect afforded to the Qiblah by the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) on so many separate occasions. Conversely, The Prophet (ﷺ) has explicitly prohibited from desecrating the sanctity of the Qiblah and its honour in many ahadith.

He (ﷺ) has said, “Whenever you go to the washroom, neither turn your face nor turn your back towards the Qiblah while urinating or excreting.”[27]

In this hadith, he (ﷺ) has prohibited us from urinating or defecating towards the Qiblah as this is disrespectful.

Anas رضي الله عنه narrates that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) noticed some phlegm in the direction of the Qiblah. It displeased him to the extent that it was noticeable on his face. He stood up and scraped it off with his hand. He then said, “When any one of you stands up in salah, he is conversing with his Sustainer, and his Sustainer is between him and the Qiblah. He should therefore not spit in the direction of the Qiblah.”[28]

In an authentic narration of Sahih Ibn Khuzaimah, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) prohibited spitting towards the Qiblah in all cases, whether one was in Salah or not. He (ﷺ) said, “Whosoever spits towards the Qiblah will come on the Day of Judgment with his spit between his eyes.”[29]

Since spitting in a person’s direction is also considered disrespectful, the Messenger (ﷺ) prohibited us from spitting towards the Qiblah.

Therefore, the fuqaha and jurist deduced from these divine texts that one should refrain from any act which is disrespectful towards the Qiblah. Stretching one’s feet towards a person is considered disrespectful, so the fuqaha have also considered stretching one’s feet towards the Qiblah, intentionally, without any excuse as disrespectful and makrooh tanzihi. And Allah Ta’ala knows best.

May Allah allow us to honour His Sacred Signs and may He grant us the piety of our hearts.

For footnotes please see the original article.

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