Sunday 15 Muḥarram 1446 - 21 July 2024
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Do Cats Invalidate The Prayer If They Pass in front of You?

Question

If my pet cat walks in front of me or sits in front of me while I'm praying, what must I do? Should I carry on or cut off and keep it away?

Summary of answer

Cats do not invalidate the prayer even if they pass in front of you, because the basic guideline is that the prayer is valid and there is no evidence to suggest that cats can invalidate the prayer.

Praise be to Allah.

What invalidates prayer if it passes in front of you?

Prayer is invalidated if one of three things mentioned by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) walks in front of the worshipper . He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Prayer is invalidated by a woman, a donkey or a dog ; that may be prevented by something equal in height to the back of a saddle [placed in front of the worshipper as a sutrah or screen].” (Narrated by Muslim, 511) 

According to one report, “a black dog.” The narrator said: “I said, ‘O Abu Dharr, what is the difference between a black dog and a red or yellow dog?’ He said, ‘O son of my brother, I asked the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) the same question, and he said, “The black dog is a devil.”’” (Narrated by Muslim, 510) 

This ruling applies if one of the things mentioned passes in front of the worshipper and he does not have a Sutrah or object to serve as a screen in front of him. But if he has a screen in front of him and the person or animal passes beyond that Sutrah, then his prayer is not affected, because of the Hadith of Abu Juhayfah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: “I heard my father narrating that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) led them in prayer in Al-Bat-ha’, and in front of them was an ‘Anzah (a short spear, iron-tipped at its lower end). He prayed two Rak`ahs for Dhuhr followed by two Rak`ahs for `Asr, and a woman and a donkey passed in front of him.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari, 495)

This ruling applies to the Imam and to one who is praying alone; with regard to the members of a congregation praying behind an Imam, the Sutrah of the Imam is also a Sutrah for them. Please refer to question no. 3404

Do cats invalidate prayer if they pass in front of you?

As for cats , they do not invalidate the prayer even if they pass in front of you, because the basic guideline is that the prayer is valid, and there is no evidence to suggest that cats can invalidate the prayer. 

But the worshipper should try hard to ensure that nothing passes in front of him. `Amr ibn Shu’ayb narrated from his father that his grandfather said: “We stopped with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in Thaniyyat Adhakhir and the time for prayer came, so he prayed facing a wall which lay in the direction of the Qiblah, and we were behind him. A lamb came and tried to pass in front of him and he kept pushing it back until its belly was pushed up against the wall, then it passed behind him.” (Narrated by Abu Dawud, 708; Al-Albani classed it as sound in Sahih Abu Dawud, 652) 

Are cats pure?

Cats are pure , and based on that, if a cat drinks from a vessel of water, the vessel does not become impure, because of the Hadith of Kabshah bint Ka’b ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with her), who was the wife of Abu Qatadah’s son, she said: “Abu Qatadah came in and I poured water for him to do Wudu. A cat came and drank some of the water so he tilted the vessel to let it drink. He saw me looking at him and said, ‘Do you find it strange, O daughter of my brother?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said that they are not impure, rather they are among those who go around amongst you.’” (Narrated by At-Tirmidhi, 92; classed as authentic by Al-Albani in Sahih At-Tirmidhi)

And Allah knows best.

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Source: Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid