If I was to be in the first row, before the iqāmah to the prayer was made, then a hizbi was to stand besides me, can I move away from him and pray in another place?
If this was before the iqāmah for the prayer was called, and it was in your capability to move to another place, then this is what’s requested.
But if your exit from praying at that place, in this scenario, being in the first row, would cause a disturbance to those praying, disconnecting the rows.
Then this situation could be used by that hizbi to harm your da’wah, he could intentionally pray besides you so you exit from the row, making the layfolk see this, and then portray you in a bad light.
If you was able to leave the row to the one behind it without causing any disturbance or fitnah, then do so, for the heart of the Salafi will be preoccupied by a hizbi standing besides him, rowing next to him, his shoulder next to your shoulder and his ankle next to your ankle.
The prayer in the first row is Mustahab (preferred), and you becoming preoccupied in the prayer is a harm.
And the warding of harms comes before the attainment of benefit.
Shaykh Abu Hatim Yusuf Al-‘Inaabi Al-Jazaa’iree – may Allah preserve him.
Abu ‘Abdirrahman ‘Abdullaah bin Ahmed Ash-Shingaani.