Praying with Close Eyes

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Question:

Assalamu Alaykum,
Is it Makrooh to pray with close eyes? Or is it permissible to close the eyes during Farz/Sunnah/Nafl prayer while in qayaam to concentrate in Surah ayaats?
Jazak Allahu Khayr

Answer:

It is makrooh to close the eyes for no reason when praying. Al-Kaasaani said: it is makrooh because it goes against the Sunnah, which is to focus the gaze on the place of prostration, and because all of a person’s faculties have a role to play in worship, including the eyes. (Badaa’i’ al-Sanaa’i’, 1/503).
Imaam al-‘Izz ibn ‘Abd al-Salaam said in his fatwas that it is permissible when necessary, if that helps the worshipper to focus more fully on his prayer.
Ibn al-Qayyim said in Zaad al-Ma’aad that if a man can focus more fully on his prayer by opening his eyes, then it is better to do so. If he can focus more fully by closing his eyes because there are things that may distract him from his prayer, such as adornments and decorations, then it is not makrooh at all and the view that in this case it is mustahabb for him to close his eyes is closer to the aims and principles of sharee’ah than saying that it is makrooh. (Zaad al-Ma’aad, 1/283).
Imam Nawawi chose that it is not disliked in his Majmu` and also in his Minhaj, which some interpreted as saying it is absolutely permitted to close one’s eyes, and others that it is better not to (khilaf al-awla), unless it aid’s one’s presence of heart.
In short if one does not gain full attentiveness or is distracted in prayer if one’s eyes are open, then it would be permitted (or, perhaps, even better) to close one’s eyes.

Answered by Shaykh Mohammed Shakeeb

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