You are on page 1of 2

The Obligation to Shorten the Obligatory Prayers in Islam

Dr. Ali White


A considerable body of Prophetic evidence exists for the proposition that Imams in
Islam ought to shorten the obligatory prayers when they are leading them. The best
sources of this judgement are two of the books of Ahadith (vewrified sayings of the
Prophet of Islam (SAW): Sahih Bukhari, Book on Adhan and Sahih Muslim, Book on
the Salah. The most relevant Ahadith are reported below:
Sahih Bukhari, Book on Adhan, Hadith No. 704 states:
Narrated Abu Masud:
A man came and said, "O Allahs Messenger (SAW)! I keep away from
the morning prayer because so-and-so (Imam) prolongs it too much."
Allahs Messenger (SAW) became furious and I had never seen him
more furious than he was on that day. The Prophet (SAW) said, "O
people! Some of you make others dislike the prayer, so whoever
becomes an Imam he should shorten the prayer, as behind him are the
weak, the old and the needy.
In Sahih Muslim we read:
Book 004, Number 0946:
Uthman b. Abul-As at-Thaqafi reported: The Apostle of Allah (may
peace be upon him) said to him: Lead your people in prayer. I said:
Messenger of Allah. I perceive something (disturbing) in my soul. He
(the Holy Prophet) asked me to draw near him and making me sit
down in front of him he placed his hand on my breast between my
nipples. And then, telling me to turn round, he placed it on my back
between my shoulders. He then said: Act as an Imam for your people.
He who acts as Imam of the people, he must be brief, for among them
are the aged, among them are the sick, among them are the weak, and
among them are the people who have business to attend. But when any
of you prays alone, he may pray as he likes.
Book 004, Number 0947:
Uthman b. Abul-As reported: The last thing which the Messenger of
Allah (may peace be upon him) instructed me was: When you lead the
people in prayer, be brief.
Book 004, Number 0948: Anas reported: The Apostle of Allah (may
peace be upon him) used to be brief and perfect in prayer.
Book 004, Number 0949: Anas reported: The Messenger of Allah (may
peace be upon him) was among those whose prayers was brief and
perfect.

Book 004, Number 0950:


Anas reported: I never prayed behind an Imam who was more brief and
more perfect in prayer than the Messenger of Allah (may peace be
upon him).
Book 004, Number 0951:
Anas reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him)
would listen to the crying of a lad in the company of his mother, in
prayer, and he would recite a short surah or a small surah.
Book 004, Number 0952:
Anas b. Malik reported the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon
him) having said: When I begin the prayer I Intend to make it long, but
I hear a boy crying; I then shorten it because of his mothers feelings.
Book 004, Number 0957:
Thabit reported it on the authority of Anas: I have never said such a
light and perfect prayer as I said behind the Messenger of Allah (may
peace be upon him). The prayer of the Messenger. of Allah (may peace
be upon him) was well balanced. And so too was the prayer of Abu
Bakr well balanced.
When it was the time of Umar b. al-Khattab he prolonged the morning
prayer. When the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said:
Allah listened to him who praised Him, he stood erect till we said: He
has forgotten. He then prostrated and sat between two prostrations till
we said: He has forgotten.