Question # 417: I would like to know about yawning during prayer, if it happens several time (very often) Because, I start to yawn continuously during Salah, not only for Fajr, also in other prayers and it makes me worry about that am I performing Salah correctly! It disturbs me as well. Please help me.

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).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: It is clear from the ahadith of Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) that Shaytaan prompts the human to yawn, which is indicative of laziness and sluggishness; and that he enters the mouth of the person who yawns, and he laughs at man and makes fun of his ugly appearance when he is in that state. The person who is praying must resist yawning, should cover his mouth and should suppress his voice (not make a sound). According to scholars, there is no Islamic evidence for seeking refuge in Allah when yawning, neither in prayer nor outside the prayer. However, if a person who yawns, says “A‘oodhu Billaahi min ash-Shaytaan ir-rajeem (I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytaan),” on the grounds that yawning is from the Shaytaan, although he does not believe that this is a Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم), then there is nothing wrong with that.

Long Answer: There follows a number of ahadith of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) on this matter:

  • Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Yawning is from the Shaytaan. If any of you feels the urge to yawn, let him resist it as much as possible, for if any of you says Ha (makes a noise when yawning), the Shaytaan” (al-Bukhari)
  • Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Allah loves the act of sneezing and dislikes the act of yawning. If any one of you sneezes and praises Allah, it is a duty on every Muslim who hears him to say Yarhamak Allah (May Allah have mercy on you). As for yawning, it is from Shaytaan, so if any of you feels the urge to yawn, let him resist it as much as he can, for if any of you yawns, the Shaytaan laughs at him.” (al-Bukhari, Fath)
  • Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Yawning is from Shaytaan, so if any of you feels the urge to yawn, let him resist it as much as he can.” (Muslim)
  • Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Sneezing is from Allah and yawning is from Shaytaan. If any of you yawns, let him place his hand over his mouth. If he says Ah, ah! (makes a noise when yawning), Shaytaan laughs from inside him.” (Abu Eesaa said: this is a sahih hasan hadith; Sunan al-Tirmidhi; classified as hasan by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Jaami)
  • Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Allah loves sneezing and dislikes yawning. If any one of you sneezes and says Al-hamdu Lillaah, it is a duty on everyone who hears him to say Yarhamak Allah. As for yawning, if any one of you feels the urge to yawn, let him resist it as much as he can, and do not say Hah, hah (do not make a noise when yawning), for this is from Shaytaan and he laughs at it.” (Abu Eesaa said: This is a sahih (Sunan al-Tirmidhi))
  • Abu Saeed al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “If any of you yawns, let him cover his mouth lest the Shaytaan” (Abu Dawud)
  • Abu Saeed al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “If any of you feels the urge to yawn, let him resist it as much as possible, lest the Shaytaan enter his mouth.” (Imam Ahmad)
  • According to another report also narrated by Imam Ahmad, Shaytaan enters when a person yawns. (Saheeh al-Jaami)

With regard to saying “A‘oothubillaah” (I seek refuge in Allah) when yawning, we do not know of any Islamic evidence for it. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen  said: “It is not prescribed to say “I seek refuge in Allah from Satan the accursed” when yawning, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) commanded that if one yawns one should suppress it as much as possible, and if one cannot do so, he should put his hand on his mouth, and he did not advise the Muslims to say, “I seek refuge in Allah from Satan the accursed”. As regards the verse in which Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says  in the Qur’an: “And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge in Allah. Indeed, He is Hearing and Knowing” (Soorah Al-A’raf, 7:200), the evil suggestion from the devil here means the devil urging the person to commit a sin or to abandon an act of obedience to Allah.”

Moreover, a Fatwa from the Permanent Committee of Iftaa’ reads: “We are not aware of any Islamic evidence for seeking refuge in Allah when yawning, neither in prayer nor outside the prayer.”

[On the other hand,] among the fatwas of the scholars, there is a fatwa on the issue of seeking refuge with Allah after yawning, which is similar to the case under discussion here. In Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah in a fatwa issued by a committee under the leadership of Shaykh Ibn Baaz, it says: “Seeking refuge with Allah after yawning was not mentioned in any report at all. Rather the individual should try to suppress yawning as much as he can, but if he seeks refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan when yawning, during prayer or otherwise, there is nothing wrong with that.”

He also said: “Many of the common folk do that because they know that this is from the Shaytaan, and that is why they do it. Otherwise, we do not know of anything in the Sunnah concerning that. Undoubtedly yawning is from the Shaytaan, and when a believer feels lazy, or when something harmful happens to him from the enemy of Allah, it is prescribed for him to seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytaan, and to remember Allah a great deal, and to send blessings upon the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم). But we do not know of any specific report concerning this issue. But if he seeks refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan when yawning because he knows that it is from the Shaytaan, there is nothing wrong with that. However, we do not say that it is Sunnah because there is no evidence to that effect.”

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Muhsin al-‘Abbaad said: “If a person seeks refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan on the grounds that yawning is from the Shaytaan, although he does not believe that this is a Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم), then there is nothing wrong with that. But if he believes that this is Sunnah or thinks that it is prescribed for a person to say such and such when yawning, this is not correct. But if he remembers that yawning is from the Shaytaan, so he seeks refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan because of that, without believing that this is Sunnah, there is nothing wrong with that.” (Sharh Sunan Abi Dawood)

(The above reply is based on the following resources:

  • Islamweb.net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar
  • Various answers provided by Islamqa.info on similar topics)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam