Excessive yawning


Assalamu Alaykum dear Shaykh

I have a problem of excessive yawning, especially in the fajr time when I wake up for prayer and also other times as well. I was told that you should keep your left hand while yawning and say “Auzubillahi mina sshaytani rrajeem“. But sometimes I feel so irritated by excessive yawning even if I had good sleep. Please advise how can we stop this.

Jazakallah khair


`Alaykum as-Salam,

The Holy Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) said yawning in prayer was from shaytan and ordered us to “repress it as much as possible” (fal-yakzhim ma-stata`) and in one version he added: “and let him not bark,” a hyperbole comparing unchecked yawning to the baying of a dog; and he used the same term as in the Holy Verse {those who control (al-kazhimin) their anger} (3:134). “Fal-yakzhim” was explained to mean “hold it in and keep it in check by placing the hand(*) over the mouth or clenching the teeth and closing the lips. (Mubarakfuri, Sharh al-Tirmidhi)

(*) i.e. the back of the left hand, as we have been taught by our teachers in Damascus. Or putting anything such as cloth (Fath al-Bari)

One of the major Tabi`in masters in Iraq, Ibrahim al-Nakha`i (Allah be well-pleased with him), said: “I swear I fight yawning with coughing.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi) I.e. insure you (i) do not let the mouth open (ii) nor allow the slightest sound of yawning to escape; eventually shaytan gives up, as “its goal is to disfigure the person” (Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir).

Ibn al-`Arabi al-Maliki in his Sharh al-Tirmidhi said:

Every detestable act, the Law has attributed it to shaytan because it is its means; and every beauty, the Law has attributed it to the angel because it is its means. Yawning is from filling up the belly and becoming lazy, which is done by means of shaytan. Eating little and feeling energetic is by means of the angel, and so forth. So let one repress it, especially in Salat.

Note: It is one of the exclusive Prophetic characteristics (khasa’is) that the Holy Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) never yawned, and it is also related that he said: “No Prophet ever yawned.” (Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari)

Hajj Gibril Haddad

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