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Fatwa Answer

Question ID: 757 Category: Worship
Looking at TV Monitors During Salah

Assalamoalaikum :  I have a question for respected Mufti Sahib whether this is haram.    At a Richardson, Texas mosque, they have put big TV monitors in the prayer hall and while Quran is being recited during salat, they have English translation on TV monitors. They are encouraging people to look at TV monitors and read translation. TV monitors are higher so people have to look up during salat. These monitors also display imam and other people while they give Khutba or making other announcements.  Ladies area is upstairs so these monitors make it “easy” for ladies to see whoever is giving Khutba or making announcements. 

 
My understanding is that we are to look down at the place of prostration during salat not up. Also we are suppose to listen to Quran while it is recited. Quran are the words of Allah (SWT), they have special power and blessings while translation are the words of human being. This looks wrong may be even haram.  Would you please be kind enough to express your esteemed opinion. I would sincerely appreciate your reply as several people have stopped coming to mosque after they put big TV and as this is also creating a rift in our mosque. 
 
Thank you and JazakAllah Khairun

الجواب وبالله التوفيق

Salah is such an act of worship which demands complete concentration. An action during salah which is against its requirements is considered incorrect. It has been instructed to perform salah in such a manner that one believes that he is seeing Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta‘alaor that Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta‘ala is seeing him.Salah should be performed with the vision of the might and greatness of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta‘alain addition to being present and attentive from ones qalb(heart). During salah, there can be two possibilities of watching, reading or understanding a written statement:

  • Accidently seeing or understanding will not invalidate the salah however doing it on purpose is not free from karahat(dislikeness).

ولا یفسد نظرھا الی مکتوب وفھمہ ولو متغھما وان کرہ قولہ وان کرہ ای لا شتغالہ بما لیس من اعمال الصلوۃ واما لو وقع علیہ نظرہ بلا قصد وفھمہ فلا یکرہ (فتاوی محمودیہ ص 156، ج11، بحوالہ شامی باب ما یفسد الصلوۃ)

  • However, according to ahnaf, if a statement written somewhere is being read and understood intentionally and on purpose then this action will lead to invaliding ones salah(regardless if it is fardhor nafl). As per the situation described in your question, this is in fact the case, therefore the salah of the people who are engaged in these actions will be considered invalid and the people who are motivating others to do so will get the sin for making other’s salah

Following are some of the reasons due to which such a salahis considered invalid:

  • The actions performed by the individuals in your question are against the commandment “واذا قری القرآن فاستمعوا”, which demands the musallis to focus on the recitation of the imam, whereas here their focus is on the screens.
  • These actions are considered “Amal-e-Kathir” i.e. a person seeing from far away will think that this individual is not in the state of salah. In addition, other actions categorized as amal-e-kathirinclude, raising one’s neck continuously due to the screen being at a height, watching and reading Quran continually and not focusing on the place of sajdah Such actions are also against the following verse of Quran and ahadith of Rasulullah Sallallaho Alyhi Wasallam as such salah becomes free of khushu‘ and khudhu‘:

(قوموا للہ قانتین (بقرہ

(ان تعبد اللہ کانک تراہ فان لم تکن تراہ فانہ یراک (مشکوۃ ، حدیث جبریل

لا صلوۃ الا بحضور القلب

  • عن ابن عباس قال نھانا امیر المومنین عمر بن الخطاب ان قوم الناس فی المصحف ونھانا ان یومنا الا المحتلم

(کتاب النوازل ، ص 141، ج4، بحوالہ کنز العمال، ابو داؤد شریفص 122)

وان قرازالمصل من المصحف او من المحراب تفسد صلاتہ عند ابی حنیفہ 

واللہ اعلم بالصواب