The Prophet talked about a man leveling the earth on prostrating, and said, “If you have to do so, then do it once.”
They used to pray on bare earth back then, so ‘leveling the earth’ was required. So if you’re leveling the earth or the mat you’re praying on, do it once only. Any more than that might disturb the khushoo` of your prayer or of those praying with you.
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
We used to pray with the Prophet in scorching heat, and if someone of us could not put his face on the earth (because of the heat) then he would spread his clothes and prostrate over them.
Women may use their dupattas for this purpose, and men should have spare hankies with them. :)
Hadith is a repeat, by the way. Read here.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Apostle said, “A woman called her son while he was in his hermitage and said, ‘O Juraij’ He said, ‘O Allah, my mother (is calling me) and (I am offering) my prayer (what shall I do)?’ She again said, ‘O Juraij!’ He said again, ‘O Allah ! My mother (is calling me) and (I am offering) my prayer (what shall I do)?’ She again said, ‘O Juraij’ He again said, ‘O Allah! My mother (is calling me) and (I am offering) my prayer. (What shall I do?)’ She said, ‘O Allah! Do not let Juraij die till he sees the faces of prostitutes.’ A shepherdess used to come by his hermitage for grazing her sheep and she gave birth to a child. She was asked whose child that was, and she replied that it was from Juraij and that he had come out from his hermitage. Juraij said, ‘Where is that woman who claims that her child is from me?’ (When she was brought to him along with the child), Juraij asked the child, ‘O Babus, who is your father?’ The child replied, ‘The shepherd.’ “ (See Hadith No 662. Vol 3).
A longer version from Sahih Muslim here.
Juraij was from Bani Israel, just so you know. Commenting on this Hadith (Ibn Battaal), scholars have said that talking during prayer was not forbidden in Juraij’s shari`ah (religious law). He could have answered his mother but he didn’t. As to why and all the other questions in your mind, let’s just not be judgmental. We get to know from the story that his mother’s du`a against him was accepted, but Allah did bring out his innocence towards the end. And that’s all there is to it.
In our shari`ah (Islam), talking during prayer was allowed before this ayah was revealed:
وَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ قَانِتِينَ
“And stand before Allah with obedience [and do not speak to others during the Salat (prayers)].” [Al-Baqarah: 238]
Now, if someone talks deliberately during prayer, his/her prayer in invalidated.
So what if your mom called you while you were praying? You won’t answer her? :O
Yeah, you won’t. Because Prophet (SAW) said:
لا طاعة لمخلوق فى معصية الخالق
“There is no obedience to creation in disobedience to the Creator.”
Meaning, if you respond to your mother’s call during your prayer, you’ll obey your mother but you’ll disobey your Creator. And such obedience is not required. Allah has more rights on us than our parents.
Possible solution: make your prayer light (finish it early) and respond to your mother. (y)
Note: The prohibition comes only during the obligatory Salah. It is allowed to interrupt your prayer and answer your parents if you’re performing a voluntary Salah.
Imam Nawawi said in his Riyad-us-Saliheen that honoring one’s parents takes precedence over voluntary prayer and other actions. This is because obeying parents is obligatory whereas continuing with a nafil (voluntary) Salah is voluntary. The same have also been explained by other scholars.