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Ruling 784

If someone who wants to perform prayers does not even have tree leaves, grass, mud, or sludge with which to cover himself, and if he is not hopeful of finding something before the end of the prayer’s prescribed time with which he could cover himself, then, in case he is confident that someone from whom it is obligatory to cover his private parts will not see him, he must perform his prayer in a standing position and perform rukūʿ and sujūd normally. Furthermore, in the event that he deems it probable that an onlooker (al‐nāẓir al‐muḥtaram)16 will see him, he must perform his prayer in such a manner that his private parts are not visible; for example, by performing it in a sitting position. If in order to prevent himself from being seen by an onlooker in each of these three states he is obliged to perform his prayer in a sitting position and to leave out rukūʿ and sujūd, he must sit and perform rukūʿ and sujūd by indicating; and if he is obliged to leave out only one of these three acts, he must leave out only that one. Therefore, if he can stand only, he must perform rukūʿ and sujūd by indicating; and if standing results in him being seen, he must sit and perform rukūʿ and sujūd normally. However, in this case, the recommended precaution is that he should combine this kind of sitting and performing the prayer in a standing position with doing rukūʿ and sujūd by indicating. And the obligatory precaution is that a naked person performing prayers must cover his private parts using some part of his body, such as his thighs in a sitting position and his hands in a standing position.

16 Al‐nāẓir al‐muḥtaram (literally, a ‘respected onlooker’) is someone who is sane (ʿāqil), able to discern between right and wrong (mumayyiz), of the age of legal responsibility (bāligh), and not married to the person being seen.