Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum
Can I sit for prayer if my legs are painful due to exercise?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
No, you cannot sit for the obligatory (fard) prayer unless you (a) experience severe, unbearable pain in the standing (qiyam) position, or (b) are reasonably sure that standing will prolong an illness or injury. The determination of the latter is deferred to [ideally] a Muslim physician, or prior, relevant experience, or clear signs of greater detriment.
This is because the standing is an obligation of the prayer, and obligations cannot be left unless there is a genuine, legal excuse to do so. But you may sit [on the ground] for your sunna prayers, and similarly your supererogatory (nawafil) prayers, even without excuse. The reward is halved, but the prayer will remain valid. However, you may not sit for the two sunna cycles (rak‘as) before Fajr due to the strength of its emphasis.[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah, with Tahtawi’s Gloss (2.20); Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (1.508)]
Please also see: The Fiqh of Praying Sitting Down
And Allah Most High alone knows best.[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.