What’s the criterion in walking infront of a person praying or an Imām?
And is it permissible to walk past them, if it was past their place of prostration?
And is it permissible to walk in front of a person praying while in a crowded Masājid like that of the Haramayn?
Because we see this taking place often.
It appears the question is regarding when a person does not have a Sutrah.
If that was the case then walking past a person, while keeping the distance of three Dhirā‘ (three forearm to the fingers), then it wouldn’t harm his prayer.
A number of the people of knowledge have specified this being the distance of the Sutrah, using as an evidence the prayer of the Prophet ﷺ in the Ka’ba, whereby there was between him and the Western wall three Dhirā‘ (the span of three forearm to the fingers), as mentioned by Al-Bukhari on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar.
And this doesn’t negate the hadīth of Sahal bin Sa’d in the two Sahihs that there was between the place of prayer of the Prophet ﷺ and the wall, the span of that of a sheep’s pathway.
This is understood as when prostrating.
And from the people of knowledge are those that declared that the distance returns back to custom, acting upon the principle:
Whatever the legislative texts left general, and there is no proof to indicate to its restriction to something, is restricted with custom.
And those who gave a legal ruling with this is the ‘Allāmah Ibn Bāz, may Allah have mercy upon him, in his explanation of “Fathl Bāri”.
As for the Sutrah in Makkah, its affair isn’t different than that of elsewhere, upon that which is most correct. As in Al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu Jahīfa, that the Prophet ﷺ prayed towards an ‘Anazah in Bathā in Makkah, and this was during his Hajj.
As for what is used as an evidence to the contrary of this is either weak or unclear.
And success is granted by Allah.
Shaykh Abu Hatim Yusuf Al-‘Inaabi Al-Jazaa’iree – may Allah preserve him.
27th, Muharram, 1438H
Abu ‘Abdirrahman ‘Abdullaah bin Ahmed Ash-Shingaani