The prohibition of looking towards the sky in Salah

Question

Kindly explain the Hadith in Sahih Muslim which states that one should not lift their eyes to the sky when making du’a as one’s eyes would be snatched away.

Does this Hadith refer to Salah only?

 

Answer

The following narrations appear in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim under the chapter, ‘Chapter on raising the eyesight towards the sky in Salah’ and ‘Chapter on the prohibition of raising the eyesight towards the sky in Salah’:

1) Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reported that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “What is the matter with people who look towards the sky in Salah? Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then spoke sternly and said, ‘They should stop this otherwise their eyesight will be taken away.'”

(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 750)

 

2) Sayyiduna Jabir ibn Samurah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “People should certainly stop looking towards the sky in Salah or it would not return to them [i.e. They would lose their eyesight].”

(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 428)

 

3) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “People should certainly stop looking towards the sky when making du’a in Salah lest their eyesight is snatched away.”

(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 429)

 

These narrations explicitly prohibit looking towards the sky in Salah as well as when making du’a in Salah.

 

The commentators explain that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) either said this as a caution/warning or Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said they would lose their eyesight due to celestial light which the angels descend with upon those engaged in Salah.

Qadi ‘Iyad (rahimahullah) explains, “In raising one’s gaze towards the sky, a person is actually turning away from the qiblah and not acting in accordance to the postures/manner of Salah.”

 

The commentators then quote Ibn Battal (rahimahullah) who has stated: “The Scholars are unanimous that it is reprehensible to look towards the sky in Salah but have differed regarding looking towards the sky in du’a out of Salah. Qadi Shurayh (rahimahullah) and others have deemed it reprehensible but majority have permitted it as the sky is the qiblah for du’a like the Ka’bah is the qiblah for Salah.” Qadi ‘Iyad (rahimahullah) has also echoed similar sentiments.

 

(Refer: Ikmalul Mu’lim, Hadith: 428-429, Sahih Muslim with Al Minhaj, Hadith: 965-966, Fathul Bari, Hadith: 750, Fathul Mulhim, Hadith: 428-429)

 

Note: Kindly refer to a Mufti/Darul Ifta for a fatwa on this issue.

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.

 

Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala

 

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar