One of my current projects is to give students of fiqh a taste of the evidence behind rulings and legal reasoning, as well as a few hints as to why one opinion is preferred over others. Here’s an example from a section concerning things that invalidate prayer.
Prayer is invalidated by:
- intentional speech;
- excessive motion;
Like three continuous steps, even if it is accidental. The difference between a small amount of motion and a large amount is that large amounts are possible to avoid, in contrast to small amounts. Discontinuous motion does not invalidate the prayer since he ﷺ would pray while carrying Umāmah bint Zaynab; whenever he ﷺ prostrated he would place her on the ground, and when he stood he would carry her. [Agreed upon.]1
Additionally, excessive motion negates the overall organization and system [niẓām] of prayer.
- ritual impurity;
- the occurrence of filth without its immediate removal;
- exposure of one’s nakedness;
- a change of intention;
Such as intending to exit prayer.
- turning away from the direction of prayer;
Since the previous five things involve omitting a condition or essential element of prayer.
Since it negates that one is praying. Eating invalidates the prayer unless it is done accidentally or without knowing that it is unlawful. In such a case, eating a small amount does not invalidate the prayer.
- audibly cackling; and
Since these matters negate the general form of prayer and its conditions.
Intentionally adding or omitting an essential element invalidates the prayer, due to him fooling around. Concerning this I know of no disagreement.
- Bukhārī (516); Muslim (543 #41–43). From Abū Qatādah al-Anṣārī. ↩