Holding a Baby During the Prayer

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I had a question regarding the salah.  When I pray fard salah at home (sometimes praying alone and sometimes as the imam leading my family) my son(9 months old) will grab on to my leg and cry.  During the sitting parts of the salah he will just come and sit on my lap and will stop crying.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

His holding on to you or sitting in your lap does not affect your prayer. However, you should avoid grabbing or carrying him while praying since if the diaper is soiled, you will be deemed as “carrying filth” in the prayer, which invalidates the prayer. [Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiyat al-Tahtawi ala Maraqi l-Falah]

If you wish to be able to pick your baby up in the prayer, you should be reasonably sure that the diaper isn’t soiled. If you don’t have strong reason to believe it is soiled, then your default assumption is purity. However, one should be careful in this regard, since while every baby is different, many babies do soil their diapers as often as every 5-10 minutes.

Lastly, even if the diaper is filthy, you may still comfort the baby with slight movements. You just can’t ‘carry’ the child.

And Allah knows best.

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani