Somebody moved my chair!


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al-Hamdu lillāh I’m now able to stand and make rukū‘ in salāh. Sujūd is still a bit difficult though, I pray with a chair nearby so that I can approximate prostration from a seated position.

I’ve also abandoned my crutches, leg brace and have felt confident enough to venture back into salāh in the jama’ah.

One thing that never occurred to me prior to getting injured was the nervousness that a person who needs a chair feels whilst making their way to the masjid.

Why so?

Well, sometimes you arrive only to find that all the chairs are in use and you’re immediately thrown into a dilemma as to what to do next.

The first time it happened to me I thought to myself that as I can make qiyām and rukū‘ I just wouldn’t feel comfortable about sitting on the floor for the entire salāh and so I opted to “have a go” at sujūd to see how difficult it really was.

It probably looked more like someone searching for a lost contact lense than your regular sajdah. I survived but I decided afterwards that it was way too early to be reintroducing this motion onto my “things I can do” list.

So now I try to make sure that I leave early enough to be able secure a chair for myself.

Another chair related decision that people like me face when attending the jama’ah is where exactly do you position your chair?

I’m totally unaware of any scholastic insight into this issue but will happily read any “Chapter: How to align your chair with the row” that anyone can link me to.

To my mind I’d previously decided that it’s best to align the chair’s back-legs with the ankles of those on either side of me and I decided this for a number of reasons:

1) When we’re sitting for the tashāhud all of our backs will be neatly in a straight line.

2) I figured that my chair’s hind legs being directly underneath my back when I sit, were analogous to my own legs and hence should be aligned with the feet of those in my row.

3) If I chose to move my chair behind the row that I’m a part of it would encroach upon the guy in the row behind me’s prostration space.

Anyway, I’d always assumed that this was an individual’s prerogative to decide and felt that my particular chosen method would have the least impact upon others in the masjid.

Then today I’d just risen from the second sajdah of the first rak’ah of maghrib and I sensed movement behind me as I stood up. Suddenly the brother to my right started pulling at my arm, dragging me backwards.

“What’s he doing?!” I exclaimed internally. Has he..? I can’t believe this – he’s moved my chair and is now insisting that I move backwards to align my chest with the rest of the row.

(Which is admittedly the downside of having your chair aligned with the feet of others; you’re chest is consequently out of line in qiyām.)

chairs-in-salah-2.gif

Now as much as I’d have loved to turn to him and ask “What on earth do you think you’re doing mate?!” I realised that talking would break my salāh and so I decided to soldier on in my newly enforced position.

Not being able to turn around and check (as I was in salāh), I was now petrified that the guy may have moved my chair back so far that I’ll fall when I try to sit on it later; and even if it’s not that far back then surely anybody who joins the row immediately behind mine will innocently decide that there’s a chair in his way and move it to one side before he begins.

I mean jazāhu Allāhu khayran to the brother for his dedication and zeal in ensuring that the chests of the musallīn are aligned but seriously, could he not have waited until after the salāh to try and convince me that his fiqh al-Kursī is the most accurate one out there?

I was left with my concentration totally gone out of the window due to a combination of worrying about falling on my backside whilst attempting to sit on a chair that’s not there (*sigh, reminisces about school day pranks*) and trying to suppress my outrage at his intervention.

al-Hamdu lillāh, I managed to finish my prayer without any further event but now it’s putting me off going back to that particular masjid lest it happen again.

I went back for ‘ishā’ but it was still playing on my mind and any kind of movement from those around me had me thinking “They’re going to take my chair again, I just know it!”

The brother even left before I made taslīm (we both missed the first rukū) and so I was deprived of being able to turn to him afterwards and soulfully ask “Laysh (why)?!” and thereby get some kind of closure to the whole incident.

So I’m basically looking for any suggestions that you have as to how to deal with the possibility of a reoccurrence (until I’ve made a 100% recovery, inshā’ Allāh) that doesn’t involve handcuffing my chair legs to my ankles.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “Somebody moved my chair!

  1. Somebody moved my blog. 😦

    Anyway, I’m not sure either. I would’ve gone with the guy’s position because I believe the back of the feet should be aligned. But yeah, I don’t know if this applies in sitting as well. No idea what to do though.

    Reminds me of a former teacher who related an incident where she was praying in Masjid al-Haram (I believe). And well, she prays with her limbs all close to her body. So when she goes into sujud, her feet would stick together. And this woman behind her kept parting them for her every time she went into sujud. It was funny just imagining it. But eh, must’ve felt bit horrifying in the least. Lol.

  2. “Somebody moved my blog. 😦

    I don’t think it’s just you though. The forums, main site and all of Muslimpad have been down for days now. Insha‘ Allah, it’ll be back soon.

    “I would’ve gone with the guy’s position …”

    I might have inclined towards doing that myself if I were somewhere that I could guarantee there’d be no line formed behind me. If you look at my [expertly drawn] diagram you’ll note that anyone directly behind me is knackered if he wants to make sajdah himself.

    And thank you for your teacher’s story, that’s a much worse intervention story and I feel much better now.

    Actually, I remember once I put my keys down as a sutrah for a Sunnah prayer and half way through the elderly brother in front of me finished praying himself and looking behind, he spotted my keys, assumed they’d fallen out of his own pocket, picked them up and started to leave the masjid.

    I sped up and started praying double-time so that I could finish quickly and run after him. “Excuse me brother, excuse me, hold on, uh, brother – wait!”

    Anyway, that was the last time I used my keys as a sutrah.

  3. salaam,
    i’m not sure if this was supposed to be funny but it made me laugh. it’s a very serious issue though, why can’t people wait until after the salah to inform you of their views. surely concentration is the most imporant thing, i really don’t see why people would want to jeopardise that.

  4. I’m a great fan of keeping big pads of Post-It notes on hand and writing whatever I need to on them, then sticking them up in obvious places (my forehead, back of chair, on your own back, etc.).

  5. hema,

    It was a real situation and only Allah knows how much it’s bugged me since it happened but I do try to see the funny side of things when I relate life events so it’s okay to have laughed.

    I popped into one of the da’wah centres today to ask if this brother had a point and was reassured that I’d understood the issue correctly and so I think I’ll just stick to my chair positioning.

    AnonyMouse,

    That is a truly awesome suggestion!

    I could even have a T-Shirt printed.

  6. Umm S

    I cudn’t help but laugh. I used a chair once as a sutr, during salaah, and some kind sister, came up, removed my bag from the chair, dropping it sumwhere to my right, picked up the chair, walked infront of me and went to join her friends to chat n chill…

    cud have done with a chair sign like that then… but im not sure that lady wudda been able to read it…

  7. I just remembered another story about intervention.

    One brother was making the final tashāhud in salāh and moving his finger as he did so.

    The elderly brother to his right took extreme offence to this fiqhi difference and grabbed his finger and warned him “Do that again and I’ll break it!”

    Ahh! There’s nothing like gentleness in da’wah is there?

  8. So, are you using that idea? 😀

  9. After assessing the situation and realising that there’s a very real risk of me lol-ing in salāh if I hear someone behind me comment on it I decided not to.

    But I still maintain that it was an excellent idea.

  10. What, the post-it note? Uh, yeah.

    Do you think I may have a future in art?

  11. What I’ve started doing is taking advantage of the Saudi (I say Saudi because I never saw it in the UK, although there’ll probably be other nations out there who do this) inclination to fit cushioned back rests to the first rows of their masājid.

    It’s normally just in the first row but the bigger mosques will have another set drilled into the floor around about row five.

    Anyway, I try to get to the front so that when it’s time for sujūd I can just sit on top of the back rest.

    Admittedly there’s a small irking fear that it could break but I can live with that due to the spiritual peace that it gives me knowing that someone would have needed to have brought a sledgehammer with them to the salāh to be able move it from underneath me.

  12. Lol. Hey, that backrest looks cool! Pretty smart sutrah too.

    And yes, you’re totally an artist in the making. I was like whoa, is there anything this guy couldn’t do? And then I thought of many things. Many, many things.

  13. Hey! I can tie my own shoe laces, count backwards from twenty and can name all four members of the A-Team – beat that!

    I must confess that I do like to doodle though.

    Here’s some boredom that I released by scribbling on my friend’s classroom’s black[green]board. His name is Abu Sufian (in case you can’t read it).

  14. looks cool….masha’Allah

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