More on the position of feet…
Wa alaykum as-Salam,
This has been covered in the recently republished Fiqh al-Imam.
In addition to tacit approval not forming a Prophetic command:
1. An explicit Prophetic command mentions the shoulders touching. So
this should be given far more emphasis than the feet, not the reverse.
2. An explicit Prophetic command stipulates: “I`tadilu” when standing in
a prayer-row. I`tidal requires the proportional repose of the limbs
whereby if a person is standing in i`tidal he is at rest; if he bows
from that posture he would not look like a camel drinking and if he
started walking he would walk normally, not like a duck or a penguin.
This means that any touching of the neighbor’s feet must be within the
boundaries of i`tidal. Otherwise, touching is abandoned and i`tidal is
3. Even if it were hypothetically established that touching the
neighbor’s toes with one’s toes in the prayer-row were among the Sunan
of Salat, which no Madhhab has stated, nevertheless, since it has become
the slogan of Ahl al-Bid`a it should be left to them and not put into
The Hanbali madhhab says that an individual’s feet should be one shibr (hand-span) apart. It’s also the distance one typically keeps them when simply standing.
Also in response to one of the comments that claimed that:
“Ibn Abidayn, one of the foremost scholars of the Hanafi madhab, said in his book Hashiyah: “As for what is reported, that they would cling ankle to ankle, the meaning by that is in congregation, that is – one stands next to the other, and it is like this in Fatawa Samiraqand”.
[From an Alim friend:] In reality someone who can’t read a text shouldn’t quote it. La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah.
Ibn Abidin is explicitly negating the literal understanding. Rather, he is
saying that those texts simple refer to straightening the lines. As for “Fatawa Samiraqand,” it is: Fatawa Samarqand.