Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abdullah:
I saw ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar crossing his legs while sitting in the prayer and I, a mere youngster in those days, did the same. Ibn ‘Umar forbade me to do so, and said, “The proper way is to keep the right foot propped up and bend the left in the prayer.” I said questioningly, “But you are doing so (crossing the legs).” He said, “My feet cannot bear my weight.”
- Proper way of sitting in tashahhud is to keep the right foot propped up and bend the left one.
- Don’t follow others in `Ibadah (and otherwise) without knowing why they’re doing things the way they’re doing them.
- Don’t rush to judge people. You only see the apparent. But reality has a lot more to it.
- Islam is an easy religion. You’ll always find relaxation (rukhsat) in commandments. For example, `Abdullah ibn `Umar could not sit in tashahhud the proper way, because he was old and his feet could not bear his weight due to weakness. So he took a rukhsat in prayer, and crossed his legs while sitting. It’s allowed and very much recommended as long as you have a genuine excuse.
Other examples of rukhsat (relaxation) are: the option to not fast while traveling in Ramadan, the option of shortening the prayer while traveling, the option of performing Hajj on a camel (ride) if unable to walk etc.
Hadith no. 341 is as follows.
Narrated Shaqiq bin Salama:
I was with ‘Abdullah and Abu Musa; the latter asked the former, “O Abu AbdurRahman! What is your opinion if somebody becomes Junub and no water is available?” ‘Abdullah replied, “Do not pray till water is found.” Abu Musa said, “What do you say about the statement of ‘Ammar (who was ordered by the Prophet to perform Tayammum). The Prophet said to him: “Perform Tayammum and that would be sufficient.” ‘Abdullah replied, “Don’t you see that ‘Umar was not satisfied by ‘Ammar’s statement?” Abu Musa said, “Alright, leave ‘Ammar’s statement, but what will you say about this verse (of Tayammum)?” ‘Abdullah kept quiet and then said, “If we allowed it, then they would probably perform Tayammum even if water was available, if one of them found it (water) cold.” The narrator added, “I said to Shaqrq, “Then did ‘Abdullah dislike to perform Tayammum because of this?” He replied, “Yes.”
Abdullah (RA) was not against tayammum. He just feared that people will stop doing wudhu if they found the water cold. He had the fear of relaxation.
Tayammum is allowed but only under certain conditions, i.e there’s no water found despite the effort and search. But if people don’t know that this relaxation can only be taken under these conditions, they’ll stop doing wudhu because tayammum is so much easier.
Lesson: Don’t opt for tayammum just because the water is cold. :)