Stepping over the others in the masjid
It was annoying to see latecomers stepping over people who are sitting in the masjid on Friday – what is the ruling, is it permissible or haram?
In the Name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
All praise and thanks are due to Allāh, May Allāh blessings and peace be upon His Messenger.
The favoured view on the issue of stepping over people is that it is haram; evidence from a sahih ahadith that The Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) prohibited stepping over people when coming to Jumu’ah.
It was narrated that ‘Abdallah Ibn Busr (radiallahu’anhu) said: A man came and started stepping over the people one Friday when the Messenger of Allah (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was delivering the khutbah, and the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said to him:
“Sit down, for you have annoyed (people).”
[Abu Dawud (1118) and Ibn Majah (1115); Classified as sahih]
In this hadith there is a prohibition on stepping over people when coming to Jumu’ah (Friday) prayer. The scholars differed concerning this matter and there are two views.
1. That it is makruh. This was narrated by Ibn Al-Mundhir from the majority. Ibn Hajar said: The majority is of the view that it is makruh in the sense that it is better not to do it. This is the view of the Shafi’e and the Hanbalis.
[Fath al-Baari, 2/392; Kashshaf al-Qina’, 2/44; al-Majmu’, 4/466]
Malik and Al-Awza’ie limited its being makruh to when the khatib is on the minbar. Malik said: Rather it is makruh to step over people when the imam has come out and has sat on the minbar. Whoever steps over people then is the one of whom the hadith speaks. But before that there is nothing wrong with it if there is a gap in front of him, but he should be polite in doing that. End quote. [Al-Mudawwanah (1/159)]
2. That stepping over others is haram in all cases, on Fridays and at other times. According to the hadith of ‘Abdallah Ibn Busr (may Allah be pleased with him) in which he said:
A man came and started stepping over the people one Friday when the Messenger of Allah (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was delivering the khutbah, and the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said to him: “Sit down, for you have annoyed (people).”
[Narrated by Abu Dawud, 1118; Ibn Majah, 1115; classified as sahih]
Al-Tirmidzi said: This is what is to be followed according to the scholars. They regarded it as makruh for a man to step over people on Friday, and they were very strict with regard to it.
This is what a number of scholars regarded as more likely to be correct, such as Ibn Al-Mundhir, Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, al-Nawawi, and Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taimiyah, as stated in al-Ikhtiyarat al-Fiqhiyyah, p. 81, and others.
Ibn Al-Mundhir( rahimullah) said: It is haram because causing annoyance is haram, whether it is a little or a lot, and this is causing annoyance, as it says in the sahih hadith in which the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said to one whom he (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) stepping over people: “Sit down, for you are causing annoyance.” [Al-Majmu’, 4/467]
Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr ( rahimullah) said : The words of the Messenger of Allah (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) to the one who was stepping over people on a Friday, “You are causing annoyance,” indicate that stepping over people is an annoyance, and it is not permissible to annoy a Muslim under any circumstances, on Friday or at any other time. [Al-Tamhid (1/316)]
Al-Nawawi (rahimullah) said: The favoured view is that stepping over people is haram, because of the ahadith on this topic. [Rawdat Al-Talibin (11/224)]
Stepping over people is haram during the khutbah and at other times, because the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said to a man whom he (sallallāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam) stepping over people: “Sit down, for you are causing annoyance.” That is even more forbidden if it happens during the khutbah, because it is causing annoyance to people and distracting them from listening to the khutbah, even if he is moving towards a gap.
[Via Islam Q&A with minor modification]