Standing is obligatory only for Takbeer Tahreema in Fardh Salah (Obligatory Prayers) with which the prayer begins. After that a person can sit. This is the opinion of Imam Shafaee and others.
This Fatwa banning chairs in masajid is nonsense•. To say that there were no chairs at the time of the Prophet is ridiculous. Human beings had chairs from the time they had old age and arthritis. Banning chairs in massajid is to ban the elderly and those with arthritis which nobody has any authority to do .
Saying that there were no chairs at the time of the Prophet is ridiculous for another reason. If there were no chairs, why is there a word for chair (kursi) in classical Arabic. There are no words in classical Arabic for bicycle, aeroplane, car, toothpaste, refrigerator, computer or a million other things that we have today simply because they didn’t exist in classical times. Therefore the existence of a word proves that the thing it refers to, existed. This is simple plain logic. So how anyone can claim that there were no chairs at the time of the Prophet , I have no idea.
Secondly, the Sunnah doesn’t extend to chairs. The Sunnah is the teachings, rulings and actions of the Prophet – not equipment, logistics and material at his time. If not, there were also no carpets, electric lighting, electric fans, air conditioning, microphones, concrete roofs on masjid and so on. So are we going to advocate masaajid without all these things today?
Finally there is an authentic report that the Prophet gave his court poet, Hassan bin Thabit a chair to sit on and recite poetry in response to the defamatory poetry of the Quraysh and made dua for him. So we know that there was at least one chair in Madina at the time of the Prophet . I am sure that was not the only chair in all Arabia.
It is very sad that thanks to these ridiculous fatawa, Muslim ulema have become the laughing stock of the world. There is a very great need to strongly curb such loose cannons who bring a bad name to everyone including the admirable scholars whose learning and work are a credit to our community.
•It was confirmed in Saheeh Muslim that Abdullah Ibn Shaqeeq asked Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her), “Did the Prophet pray while he was seated?” She said, “Yes, after (serving) the people wore him down.”
Photo credit: Deccan Chronicle/Sunoj Ninan Mathew