Banning Chairs Fatwa is Nonsense | Shaykh Yawar Baig

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 ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) 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 ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) 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 ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), I have no idea.

Secondly, the Sunnah doesn’t extend to chairs. The Sunnah is the teachings, rulings and actions of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) – 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 ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) gave his court poet, Hassan bin Thabit raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) 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 ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). 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.

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•It was confirmed in Saheeh Muslim that Abdullah Ibn Shaqeeq asked Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her), “Did the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) pray while he was seated?” She said, “Yes, after (serving) the people wore him down.”

Photo credit: Deccan Chronicle/Sunoj Ninan Mathew

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17 responses to “Banning Chairs Fatwa is Nonsense | Shaykh Yawar Baig”

  1. p4rv3zkh4n says:

    Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisi said:

    The scholars are unanimously agreed that if a person cannot stand then he may pray sitting down. Al-Mughni, 1/443

    Al-Nawawi said:

    The ummah is unanimously agreed that whoever is unable to stand during the obligatory prayer may pray sitting, and he does not have to repeat it. Our companions said: his reward will not be less than the reward for praying standing, because he is excused. It is proven in Saheeh al-Bukhaari that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If a person is sick or travelling, the same reward will be written for him with regard to what he used to do when he was not travelling and was healthy.”

    Al-Majmoo’, 4/226

    Al-Shawkaani said:

    The hadeeth of ‘Imraan indicates that it is permissible for one who has an excuse and cannot stand to pray sitting, and for one who has an excuse and cannot pray sitting to pray lying on his side.

  2. Shaykh, Islamic Foundation Bangladesh has removed the complete text of the Fatwa issued by Mufti Mohammad Abdullah from their website. However, I had the opportunity to read the entire Fatwa earlier and based on that I should say that the Fatwa is not nonsense per se. In fact, it is mostly in alignment with the Fatawa issued by Darul Uloom Deoband and Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani (hafizahullah).

    The Fatwa, consisting of 12 points, say that if a person is unable to stand up in Salah, he can pray sitting down on the floor. If someone is able to pray sitting down on the floor, this Fatwa bars him/her from praying on a chair. Using a chair, according to this edict, is permissible only if someone is unable to pray sitting down on the floor.

    Unfortunately, the Fatwa does state that if someone is compelled to pray on a chair, he should do so at his home or office, and chairs should not be brought in Masajid. This specific part of the Fatwa is genuinely disturbing as it discourages a good number of people from attending the Masajid.

    And by the way, the Fatwa does not say that there was no chair during the time of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) in Madinah. In point no. 11 of the Fatwa, it says: “According to a narration by Bukhari and Muslim, once the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) fell from a horse and got injured. He lead the Salah sitting down. There was a chair in the Masjid, but he did not use it”. [rough translation from Bengali]

    • Mirza Yawar Baig says:

      Jazakallahu khairan for your comment Br. Shawon. A person who can sit on the floor doesn’t need a chair. People who have arthritis or knee problems can’t sit on the floor. So saying that those who can sit on the floor must sit on the floor and not use chairs, doesn’t make sense. Those who can sit on the floor, do that already. Those who need chairs, can’t sit on the floor. To ban them from the masaajid makes no sense and has no precedence from the Sunnah. As for the claim that there were no chairs at the time of Rasoolullah (S), I saw a Fatwa saying that. That is why I mentioned that in my comment. May Allah guide us to speak with wisdom or to remain silent.

      • Wa iyyak, Shaykh. Thanks a lot for replying to my comment and clarifying that you were referring to another Fatwa about the existence of chair during the era of our Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam).

        I am writing this second comment to give some clarifications for an important point of my earlier comment that may have been misunderstood. With this second comment, I am closing the conversation from my part.

        My clarification:

        Nobody is contesting the ruling that a person can pray sitting down if he is unable to establish Qiyam, Ruku etc. properly. The point of contention here is, if someone has a valid excuse, should he pray sitting on the floor or is it alright to use a chair? My teacher [of Fiqh of Salah in Hanafi Madhhab] has taught me that sitting on the floor should take precedence over using a chair. This appears to be the mainstream Hanafi position on this issue. However, problem arises when someone with a valid excuse is able to sit on the floor and pray [Ruku with gesture and proper Sajda, or both Ruku and Sajda with gesture], but prefers to pray on a chair instead. They *do not need* a chair to pray, but they *do prefer* it over sitting on the floor. According many Hanafi scholars, this changing of orders (i.e. preferring a chair over sitting on the floor, when there is not a genuine need to do so) is problematic. Unfortunately, people of this category are increasing slowly in Bangladesh, a Hanafi dominated country. As I am from Bangladesh, I can talk about my own cultural context and not of others. This inappropriate trend [according to many Hanafi scholars] was a catalyst behind the Fatwa that I was referring to. It has nothing to do with those who genuinely cannot sit on the floor and pray, and must use chairs instead. Considering the context of Bangladesh, this Fatwa was much needed, because it will help rectify the actions of many worshippers [of Hanafi leanings particularly]. With regard to the issue of banning chairs in Masajid, I have already agreed with you in my earlier comment.

        السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ

  3. Ahmad says:

    Regardless of agreement or not. A fatwa is scholarly opinion and a mufti is person who has attained a certain degree of knowledge.

    I feel offended that a scholar would resort to a poor choice of word…”nonsense” to show disagreement towards another scholar. It seems immature and disrespectful.

    • Kashfalmajub says:

      Assalamoalaikom wa rahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

      I agree with brother Ahmad, one should not use such words. If you think you have a strong reason to disagree, fine, one should be tolerant to others opinions as well.

      After all the Sheikh who said that is a MUSLIM, and alhamdulillah its a good enough reason to respect him.

      Wassalam

      • Noor says:

        There are levels of making a mistake in opinions.. If someone gives a ridiculous opinion, which makes a laughing stock of Muslims and the Sunnah of the Prophet, then such a opinion/person should be seriously rebuked.

  4. Muadh Khan says:

    Asslamo Allaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,

    Is it possible to actually get a link to the original Fatwa to compare if the Justification and tone of refutation is Justified? The only link is to a Pakistani newspaper which isn’t known for its honesty and integrity to begin with. Secondly, the report is in an unashamedly “Islam-Bashing” newspaper about Bangladesh!

    Jazakallahu Khayran

  5. Shabir says:

    Salaam
    I am disabled person who has to sit on a chair for Salah. Unfortunately, I have to say that the attitude of both attendees and officials of masjids towards the sick and disabled is woefully backward and inadequate. Such fatwas certainly do not help particularly in Deobandi masjids where the attitudes are particularly bad.

    • Fatimah says:

      I too am disabled and although the people of my masjid try to be understanding, I do find that there is much to be learnt. I tend to simply stay in the hallway outside the women’s prayer hall to do Salah in my wheelchair because I am not permitted into the prayer hall in my wheelchair unless plastic or outdoor rugs are placed over the floor of the prayer hall. I’m not certain why this occurs, in all honesty. The same carpet (designed so that not each one needs to have their own prayer mat) is used in the classrooms so that during Ramadan and Eid when there is no room in the regular prayer halls, the classrooms can be quickly turned into overflow. I can go any day into the classrooms in my wheelchair with no problem and the desks are in there but once it becomes overflow, everything is taken out, I cannot go in using my wheelchair because of the wheels. I haven’t figured it out yet, so if I go to the masjid, I do Salah in the hallway.

      I think many people just are not that well informed about disabilities which is unfortunate.

      • Mirza Yawar Baig says:

        Very sorry to hear this. I have not encountered this myself. Certainly strange. One thing is certain, it is not Islamic at all because our religion is a religion of compassion. This is not compassion. May Allah guide them and give you Sabr. Request for dua.

  6. Abu says:

    From when did Br Mirza Yawar Baig become a SHAYKH?! Baig Sb is an inspirational speaker mashaAllah but this doesn’t give him the authority to speak about Fiqhi matters, absolutely not. Please continue your lectures but stay away from giving fatwas and refuting them. This is absolutely not your field. I would like you to submit an apology for the use of harsh words like ‘NONSENSE’. When it comes to refute someone or disagree, the respected scholars haven’t and do not use this kind of language. Again, I would humbly request Mr Baig to not enter the Fiqhi field etc and stick to lectures. Mr Baig ISN’T A SCHOLAR OR A SHAYKH. Jazak-Allāhu Khairan

  7. Momin says:

    assalamualaikum

    dear editors,

    please do not turn MM into a tabloid & means of propogating unsubstantiated accusations on your website with such articles.

    thank u

    Momin S.

  8. abdulhamied says:

    alsalmalakum
    I have knee problems I have to use a share to pray but their is one masjid in Dearborn mi that feels that if you have to use a shre you should be in the back on the bench that thay have against the wall. But I feel that I don’t have to set back ther if I come early. It’s to bad because it’s close to my hose and thay give me a hard time about it all the time so now I drive to a nothe masjid to avoid the any problems.

  9. AayanKhan says:

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  10. atif says:

    #fatwaagainstISIS
    #indiaagainstISIS
    in.news.yahoo.com/over-1000-indian-islamic-scholars-issue-worlds-biggest-024255152.html
    youtube.com/watch?v=V3p-6FcEg6M

  11. adamite says:

    very disapointing article.

    Unnecessarily critical imho.
    Re arthiritis etc, are u seriously saying these ulama are forcing ppl with arthiritis etc to sit on floor even if they can’t? How ridiculously slanderous that seems!

    I understand the urge to criticise traditional ulama from certain quarters, but interpreting, mocking and defaming based on fatawa is exactly what i’ve nmoticed anti-Muslim tabloid journos have been doing in India vs respected Muslim institutions…following such precedents isn’t going to help your cause as a shaykh!!

    You say they are “giving ulama a bad name”…i think that is better done by English articles online by Muslim leaders themselves mocking ulama who pass fatwas, as if to remove trust upon them from hearts of the masses.

    just observations based on article. i havent seen fatwa nor am i aware of much about writer of article.

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