Question # 512: In our masjid, we have frequent kids activities, wherein some kids recite Quran, some Nasheed, some hadis, or some other halal performance. The parents as well as the other kids applause to encourage and boost their morale. My question is that is it permissible to clap in Islam.
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: Clapping of hands to show admiration and encouragement is considered one of the actions of jaahiliyyah and regarded makrooh (disliked) and even considered haram by some scholars (more so in the mosque). Only women are permitted to clap during prayer to draw attention if something happens; for example, if the imam makes a mistake in the prayer. In summary, clapping on the part of men implies imitation of the disbelievers and women, and therefore, forbidden. The sunnah way of appreciation is to say ‘Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah)’ or ‘Allahu akbar (Allah is Most Great),’ or one may use other suitable phrases, such as “Well done!” or “Excellent!” and so on.
Long Answer: Generally, clapping of hands could be classified in two [broad] categories:
- Clapping during prayer to draw attention if something happens is forbidden for men and [desirable] for women; [for example, when the imam makes a mistake in the prayer.] The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “If something happens in the prayer, the man can invite the attention of the Imam by saying “Subhan Allah. Clapping of hands is meant for women” (Reported by Imam al-Bukhari and Muslim).
- Clapping [to show admiration and encouragement; this type of clapping is considered] one of the actions of jaahiliyyah. The least that can be said about it is that it is makrooh (disliked), but [some scholars even consider it as] haraam, because the Muslims are not allowed to resemble the disbelievers. Allah says in the Qur’an: “Their Salaah (prayer) at the House (of Allah) was nothing but whistling and clapping of hands” (Soorah al-Anfaal, 8:35)
From the above, it may be known that clapping on the part of men implies imitation of disbelievers and women, and all of that is forbidden. (Shaykh Ibn Baaz)
The Sunnah is, when the believer sees something that he likes or dislikes, to say ‘Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah)’ or ‘Allahu akbar (Allah is Most Great),’ as was narrated from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) in many ahadith.
The Standing Committee was asked about men clapping when they play with children, or children clapping to encourage their classmates. They replied: “This clapping is not appropriate, and at the very least it is intensely makrooh because this is one of the characteristics of the jaahiliyyah, and because it is something that is done only by women, to draw attention to a mistake in the prayer…” (From Fataawa Islamiyyah, vol. 4)
Children can be encouraged by saying ‘Allahu akbar’ if they do something that the watcher or listener likes, or one may use other suitable phrases, or raise one’s hands, or raise one’s voice in words of praise such as “Well done!” or “Excellent!” and so on.
[Nevertheless, some scholars allow] the audience’s clapping when listening to a lecture or a poem out of… admiration and encouragement, provided that it is not in the mosque, although it is preferable to express admiration and encouragement through other means like Takbeer (saying Allahu Akbar), or other good words.
(The above reply is based on various answers on similar topics provided by:
- Islamqa.info; and
- Islamweb.net, a website belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (swt) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (swt) forgive me, Ameen.