Is Supplicating While Facing Humans, Portraits, or Animate Objects Considered Shirk?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch


Does supplicating when one happens to face humans, portraits, or animate objects take one out of the fold of Islam?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

Supplicating when one happens to be facing humans, portraits, or animate objects does not take one out of the fold of Islam.

The only thing that takes one out of the fold of Islam is rejecting that which one is required to affirm to enter into Islam. [Tahawi; al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya]

There are many examples where the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) faced people while supplicating. The Jumu‘a sermon is the most obvious situation. The one delivering the Jumu‘a sermon supplicates while facing an entire congregation of people.

As for the ritual prayer (salat), it is prohibitively disliked to pray towards the face of a human, an animate object, or a portrait. [Maydani, al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]

However, even when prostrating in the direction of these things, it does not take one outside the fold of Isla, unless one intends to worship these things.


I would highly advise that you take some preliminary courses in Islamic Beliefs and Theology. This will help you sift between what true belief is and what constitutes disbelief.

Much of what is commonly passed around is hearsay or from a very puritanical fringe group that does not represent a fraction of the Muslim community let alone a majority. Formally taking classes in Aqida (Islamic Beliefs) will help you discern true knowledge from the rest.

Course Suggestion: What Muslims Believe and Why: Dardir’s Kharida al-Bahiyya.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch teaches Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he completed four years at the Darul Uloom Seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences.

He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he studied for three years in Dar al-Mustafa under some of the most outstanding scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib.

In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Quran and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.