Question: What is the ruling regarding reserving one’s position in the front saff between 2 Salahs with one’s scarf, hat or any other item?
The Masjid is the house of Allah and is open to all Muslims who come for Salaah. Whoever comes first and sits in a certain place, then he is deserving of that spot. The Fuqaha (jurist) have written that is Makrooh (reprehensible) for one to reserve a place for himself in the Masjid to perform Salaah on that spot. (Kitabul Fatawa vol. 3 pg. 115 – Al Fatawa Al Hindiya vol. 1 pg. 108).
Based on these explanations, it will not be proper (in fact, it will be reprehensible) for one to fix a spot in the first Saff by putting a scarf, hat etc. to reserve it for his own self. It should also be noted that it is Makrooh (reprehensible) for a person to ask another one to get up from his place (in the Masjid) and sit in that place. Abdullah Bin Umar (R.A) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w) prohibited that one should make another get up from his place and then sit on it.
With respect to if a person was sitting on a spot and then left to attend to a need (to return), when he returns he will be more deserving of that spot. In this regard, Abu Hurairah (R.A) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w) said, ‘If anyone gets up from his place of sitting and then returns to that spot, then he is more deserving of that spot. (Abu Dawood – Kitabul Fatawa vol. 3 pg. 113)
And Allah Knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan.