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IslamQA: Rolling sleeves and pants in prayer

Salamu alaikum. Brother, I want to ask that I read somewhere a very long time ago that we are not suppose to roll our shirt's sleeves or our pants to pray. Is it true and what does that mean? Shukran.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There is a hadith mentioned in Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim that says it should not be done:

Ibn Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

I have been commanded to prostrate myself on seven bones:" forehead," and then pointed with his hand towards his nose, hands, feet, and the extremities of the feet; and we were forbidden to fold back clothing and hair.

Sahih al-Bukhari Book 10, Hadith 207; Sahih Muslim 490 d

The meaning of the hadith is somewhat vague regarding folding clothes. The word it uses is kaff, which means “to gather together”, “to fold together” according to Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani. It is not entirely clear if this applies to sleeves and pants as it may have been a reference to folding together one’s robes and holding it with one’s hand in prayer. But just to be safe, it is best to avoid all kinds of folding and rolling.

However, it does not nullify the prayer if someone prays in such a state as it is considered makruh (“disliked”) rather than forbidden.


And God knows best.
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