Answered by Ustadh Sufyan Qufi
Is using a sutra (physical barrier) obligatory in prayer?
And also what is the minimum for it? How tall should it be and how wide should it be? Can it be hollow?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
I pray this finds you in the best of states.
A sutra is an object that the believer places in front of him while praying. It is merely recommended to be placed if you think that there is a possibility that someone could walk in front of you while you are praying. You will be rewarded for doing so and won’t be punished for leaving it. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Idah]
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said: “Each of you should use a sutra, even if only an arrow.” [Bukhari]
Its length should be 50 centimeters or more and it should be at least as wide as a finger. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]
If you can’t find one, you can trace a line on the ground if possible. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Idah]
And Allah knows best.
[Ustadh] Sufyan Qufi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani