Smiling and Laughing in Salah
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
قال الله تعالى : قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ (1) الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ
Allah said: Successful indeed are the believers.. Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.(Al-Mu’minun 1-2)
عن أبي هريرة قال: قال رسول الله صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: “من ضحك في الصلاة فليعد الوضوء والصلاة
Abu Hurayrah (radi Allahu anhu) narrated the Prophet (ﷺ) said:”Whoever laughs in the prayer must redo the Wudu and the Prayer.
وَقَالَ جَابِرُ بْنُ عَبْدِاللَّهِ : إِذَا ضَحِكَ فِى الصَّلاةِ أَعَادَ الصَّلاةَ وَلَمْ يُعِدِ الْوُضُوءَ
Jabir ibn Abdillah (Radi Allahu anhu) said: If a person laughed in Salah, he would need to redo his prayer, but not his Wudu.
عَنْ جَابِرٍ قَالَ لاَ يَقْطَعُ التَّبَسُّمُ الصَّلاَةَ حَتَّى يُقَرْقِرَ
Jabir (رضي الله عنه) said: “Smiling doesn’t cut the prayer until there is outbreak of laughter (from it).
A discussion about this topic:
- Allah the Most High said: The Believers are successful. Those who in their prayers a focused. Sheikh Abdur Rahman As-Sa’dee said:(Khushoo’) in the prayer is to bring the presence of the Heart between Allah’s Hands in order to feel the closeness to the All-Hearing. As result of this mindset during the prayer the Heart feels tranquil and the soul is at ease. The slave during the prayer doesn’t move rapidly or looks to the right or left of him, but instead his manners are proper before The Most High;as he’s concentrating on everything he says and does from the beginning of the prayer until the end. Praying with this state of mind removes the whispers of Satan or bad ideasكand this is the essence of Salah. This is the intended benefit of the prayer and when the servant offers it in this fashion it’s written for him (with the highest reward). Conversely, the prayer which lacks the heart and minds attention is deficient and is only measured based on the degree of the Heart’s presence; however the Muslim is still rewarded for performing it.
- The hadith mentioned from Abu Hurayrah is weak. It was collected by Imam Ad-Daraqutni and Khateeb Al-Baghdadee in his Tareekh.
- Other hadith have been mentioned by other companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) with similar wording; nonetheless all of those narrations are weak as mentioned by Imam Ahmed.
- Imam Ad-Daraqutni titled a chapter in his Sunnan,(The narrations about laughing out loud in prayer and their weaknesses.)
- Jabir ibn Abdillah ibn Amr ibn Haraam was a senior scholar , Hafith and Mujtahid amongst the Sahabah. He was a Mufti in Madeenah during his lifetime and died in 77 or 78 Hijrah at the age of 94. His collection of hadeeth total 540 and 58 of them are collected in Bukhari’s and Muslim’s Saheeh. He always wore his Izar above his ankles and used to wear a long white turban.(Radi Allahu anhu)
- There is a consensus among the scholars and Jurists that laughing outside of the prayer doesn’t invalidate the Wudu, and if a person is praying and laughs or giggles then his salah is unacceptable.
- The scholars differ about the wudu being rendered null and void for a person who laughs during the Salah. Some scholars such; Hasan Al-Basri, Ibrahim An-Nakha’ee, and the Hanafis had the opinion it’s a must to redo the Wudu and then start over the prayer based on a narration from Abee Al-Aaliyah on the Prophet (ﷺ). While other scholars like; Jabir, Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari , Al-Qassim, Ata ibn Rabah, Malik, Ash-Shafa’I and Ahmed said: redo the prayer,but not the Wudu.
- Imam Ibn Munthir (318H) said: The person in a ritual pure state remains that way and it’s not permissible to invalidate his state except by the Sunnah, Ijma, or by other proof which state laughing in prayer invalidates Wudu. The hadeeth by Abee Al-Aaliyah is Mursal and cannot be used as evidence.
- The difference between smiling and laughing is smiling is unheard and laughing has a sound.
- Jabir, Ata, Mujahid,An-Nakha’ee, Qattadah, Al-Hasan Al-Basri,and Al-Awza’ee all have the idea that smiling in prayer doesn’t invalidate it.
- Ibn Sireen independently considered the prayer null and void due to smiling based on the verse. “So he [Sulaiman (Solomon)] smiled, laughing and amused at her speech .( An-Naml:19.) Ibn Sireen said : I don’t know any instance where smiling isn’t followed by laughter.
- Sheikh Abdus Salam As-Suhaymee said: The strongest position about smiling in Salah is it doesn’t invalidate it, based on the narrations of Jabir, and besides smiling in prayer is small action and minor movements don’t break the prayer.
- Ibn Taymiyyah’s position about laughing and smiling in the prayer is smiling doesn’t cut the prayer, but laughing out loud does. To laugh, chuckle or giggle breaks the prayer but not the Wudu;however it’s recommended to redo the wudu since the person committed a sin and to be safe among the differing opinions on both sides.
How to restart the prayer after laughing
- Imam Abul Hasan Ali ibn Muhammad Al-Lukhmee Al-Qirwanee Al-Malikee (478H) said: If a person is praying alone and laughs he should stop immediately and start his prayer over,but if he is in congregation following an Imam he should continue, then after the prayer ends he should stand up and re-pray.
Conclusion points for the Slave to rememeber
- When praying we need to put our undivided attention in this act of worship.
- The Proof the laughing in prayer invalidates it is the Ijma and all the hadith that mention laughing in prayer invalidates it are all weak.
- It’s recommended to redo the wudu if you laughed during prayer,but it not Wajib. This places the slave on safe side among the different scholarly opinions according to Ibn Taymiyyah
- If you laugh in congregation then continue with the Imam and then pray again after he’s done. And if you are alone stop the prayer, go make Wudu(optional), then start over again. May Allah grant us Success and accept our deeds.
Prepared by the one in need of Allah’s Mercy your brother,
Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Lamont Battle Sr.
PhD Student of Hadith and its Sciences
Doha, Qatar 1437©
 Sunnan Ad-Darqutn1(611) and Khateeb Al-Baghdadee in Tareekh (9/379)
 Sunnan Ad-Darqutn1(651)
 Sunnan Ad-Darqutn1(661)
 Tafsir As-Sa’dee
 Tanweer, Al-Ameer As-San’anee vol 10/299
 Siyr , Imam Ath-Thahabi, (4/86)
 Al-Awsot, Ibn Munthir, (vol 1/330)
 Ibid vol 3/439.
 Hukm Al-Kalaml wa ma Shabeeha fees Salah, Shiek Abdus Salam As-Suhaymi page 51
 Majmo’ Al-Fatawa,Vol 22/614
 At-Tabsira, Vol 1/ 400