I am a university student who lives in a rented house. I have a pet cat. However, I have a question here on my worship of prayer as when I was performing prayer, my cat keeps disturbing me. For example, playing around my feet and passing my praying mat at the place where I pray. Is my prayer valid? Hope for an explanation from Dato’.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
We start with a saying of the Prophet PBUH:
يَقْطَعُ الصَّلاَةَ الْمَرْأَةُ وَالْحِمَارُ وَالْكَلْبُ
“A woman, a donkey and a dog disrupt the prayer,”
Sahih Muslim (511)
Some narrations come with the phrase ‘black dog’. Then, the Prophet PBUH was asked what differentiates black dog and the other? He answered:
الْكَلْبُ الأَسْوَدُ شَيْطَانٌ
“The black dog is a devil,”
Sahih Muslim (510)
Syeikh Fuad al-Baqi when commenting on the above hadith states that black dog is known as devil (shaytan) because it is the fiercest, most wicked (bothering others), having the least benefit and always in rest (laziest) dog. [Refer: Sahih Muslim (1/365)]
The ruling of one’s prayer when something passes in front of him
Majority of the scholars are of the opinion that one’s prayer is not invalidated if something passes in front of him. And the meaning of disrupting the prayer in the hadith is the lessening of reward as his heart (focus) is disrupted by those matters. [Refer: al-Dibaj ‘ala Sahih Muslim (2/193)]
Imam al-Nawawi also said that:
أن المراد بالقطع القطع عن الخشوع والذكر للشغل بها والالتفات إليها لا أنها تفسد الصلاة
“Indeed, the meaning of disrupting here is disrupting him from khusyuk (of the prayer) and dhikr because he is distracted by it as well as turning to it. Not due to it causes his prayer to be nullified.” [Refer: al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab (3/251)]
So, what we understand from it is these matters do not reach to the extent of invalidating one’s prayer, but has cause one to lose his khusyuk. At last, it resulted in the decrease of reward in prayer.
Due to that, during prayer, we should try our best to preserve the khusyuk and avoid things that may cause our heart lose the focus during prayer. This is as stated in the saying of the Prophet PBUH:
لاَ يَقْطَعُ الصَّلاَةَ شَىْءٌ وَادْرَءُوا مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ فَإِنَّمَا هُوَ شَيْطَانٌ
Nothing interrupt prayer, but repulse as much as you can anyone who passes in front of you, for he is just a devil.
Sunan Abi Dawud (719)
Cat Passes by and Playing Around One’s Feet
Referring back to the question asked, we are inclined to state that one’s prayer is still valid and not invalidated if a cat passes by or plays around the feet. This is strengthened by the narration of Abdullah bin Umar and Ali bin Abi Talib R.Anhum as recorded by Imam Malik in his book where they said:
لا يَقطَعُ الصَّلاةَ شَيءٌ ممّا يَمُرُّ بيْنَ يَدَيِ المُصَلِّي
“Nothing interrupts prayer anything passes by in front of the one who prays.” [Refer: al-Muwatto’ (1/156)]
Cat is a Pure Animal
Besides, cat is also a pure animal which always being around the humans. Kabshah binti Ka’ab bin Malik once reported that one day, Abu Qatadah was at his home, then, she prepared him a water in a container to take wudhu’. Suddenly, a cat came and drank from the container. Abu Qatadah just let it be. Then, Abu Qatadah realized that Kabsyah was looking at him, so he asked, "O my niece! Are you surprised at that?" She said yes. He said: "Indeed Allah's Messenger said:
إِنَّهَا لَيْسَتْ بِنَجَسٍ، إِنَّمَا هِيَ مِنَ الطَّوَّافِينَ عَلَيْكُمْ، أَوِ الطَّوَّافَاتِ
'It is not impure; it is only one of those roam around among you.'
Jami` at-Tirmidhi (92)
So, we know that there is a flexibility and specific ruling given to cats because it is the animal which goes around humans or be made as a pet.
Al-Son’ani said in his book that:
خَفَّفَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى عَلَى عِبَادِهِ بِجَعْلِهَا غَيْرَ نَجَسٍ رَفْعًا لِلْحَرَجِ… وَالْحَدِيثُ دَلِيلٌ عَلَى طَهَارَةِ الْهِرَّةِ وَسُؤْرِهَا
“Allah SWT has given flexibility upon His slaves (on rulings regarding cats) by making them pure (not considered as najis), to lift hardship (from you) … and this hadith is a dalil that cats are pure, including what’s left from their drink (remainder of water drank by cats).” [Refer: Subul al-Salam (1/33)]
Besides, in madhhab Imam al-Shafi’e, water from cat’s lick is pure and it is not makruh to be used. [Refer: al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab (1/172)]
Ibnu Qudamah also stated that for each animal, the ruling of its skin, fur, sweat, tears or saliva is of the ruling of its drinking residue (residual drinking water) either it is pure or not. [See: al-Mughni (1/39)]
While al-Khatib al-Syarbini states:
وَالْجُزْءُ الْمُنْفَصِلُ مِنْ الْحَيَوَانِ الْحَيِّ ...كَمَيْتَتِهِ أَيْ ذَلِكَ الْحَيِّ : إنْ طَاهِرًا فَطَاهِرٌ، وَإِنْ نَجِسًا فَنَجِسٌ... فَالْمُنْفَصِلُ مِنْ الْآدَمِيِّ أَوْ السَّمَكِ أَوْ الْجَرَادِ طَاهِرٌ، وَمِنْ غَيْرِهَا نَجِسٌ... أَمَّا الْمُنْفَصِلُ مِنْهُ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهِ فَحُكْمُهُ حُكْمُ مَيْتَتِهِ بِلَا شَكٍّ إلَّا شَعْرَ... الْمَأْكُولِ فَطَاهِرٌ بِالْإِجْمَاعِ
“Detached parts of a living animal (its ruling) is the same as its corpse. Means the living animal, if it is pure (the corpse), then the detached parts are also pure. If it is najis, then the detached parts are also najis… Hence, detached parts of humans, fish or grasshopper are pure, while others (other than these three) are najis… While detached parts from a dead animal, its ruling is of the ruling when it is dead (slaughtered or not) without doubt except for the fur of animals that can be eaten. The ruling is it is pure according to scholarly consensus (ijma’).” [See: Mughni al-Muhtaj (1/235)]
Hence, according to madhhab al-Syafi’e, cat’s fur that are shed when it is still alive is najis because cats are among animals that cannot be eaten. However, cat’s fur is categorized under excusable najis because cats are pets and are hard to control. Hence, if one’s body, clothes or praying place have cat’s fur, then his prayer is valid.
After reviewing scholars’ opinions as well as their arguments, we can conclude that:
- Cats passing by or playing around one’s feet during prayer do not cause one’s prayer to be invalidated. However, we advise to put the cats in another area for a while (not the praying area) or put them in their cages as it is better this way. Hopefully, our khusyuk in prayer will not be disturbed that it may cause us getting less reward.
- Cat’s fur is among the excusable najis as it is a pet and cannot be controlled. This is as what is known as Umum al-Balwa . Hence, if one’s body, clothes or praying area have cat’s fur, then the prayer performed is valid.
- To know more about cats and rulings pertaining it, you may refer to our articles:
- Irsyad al-Fatwa #82: Hukum Bulu Kucing yang Tertanggal. (The Ruling of Cat’s Fur)
- Al-Kafi li al-Fatawi: Hukum Jual Beli Kucing. (The Ruling of Trading Cats)
- Al-Kafi li al-Fatawi: Najiskah Jilatan Kucing? (Is Cat’s Lick Najis?)
- Al-Kafi li al-Fatawi #313: Hukum Memandulkan Kucing. (The Ruling of Cat Castration)
- Al-Kafi li al-Fatawi #1139: Bolehkah Bertemu Kucing Kesayangan di Syurga? (Can Someone Meets His Beloved Cat in Paradise?)
May Allah SWT give us taufiq and hidayah for us to understand His religion as well as practicing His Shari’a the best we can.
 something which generally or normally happens