Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: As salam alaykum,
Does a woman passing in front of a praying person invalidate the prayer? I have found two hadiths in Sahih muslim regarding this issue indicating that the answer to this question is yes.
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
I pray this message finds you well, insha’Allah.
The legal ruling
No, a woman passing in front of a praying person does not invalidate the prayer, and neither does the passing by of anything else.
However, the person passing in front of the one praying may incur sin, or vice versa (i.e. the person praying may incur sin), depending on certain considerations. [see attached answer]
How to understand the hadiths regarding the passing of a woman in front of a praying person?
As for the traditions which seem to indicate that the prayer is invalidated by the passing of a woman, they are understood to mean that the person’s humble worshipfulness (khushu`) is nullified, by the distraction and disturbance caused, or that the prayer is deficient due to the heart being busied, and not that the actual prayer itself is invalidated.
[Kasani, Bada`i al-Sana`i; Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim]
And Allah Most High knows best.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani