teacher and student

Hands At Salah (Prayer)

NNM wrote in a message

1. How to have both hands to be held while at Salah (Prayer):
2. While at Attahayyath position (sitting), how to position your fore finger?

1. The Sunna is to place the right palm over the left wrist.

This is thus stated in the marfuʿ hadith from Wa'il ibn Hujr in Ahmad, Muslim, and the Sunan.

As for the elevation of the hands, all the different positions are reported from the Prophet ﷺ, and he clearly did not stick to a single one. Imam Ahmad said: one has a choice because all positions are narrated. This was reiterated by our teacher Nur al-Din ʿItr in his book on the hadiths of Tahara and Salat, Iʿlam al-Anam Sharh Bulugh al-Maram (p. 499). So all are correct and all are Sunna: chest, or below/on/above navel, and Allah knows best.

2. The Sunna is to point the finger during tashahhud.

The vast majority of the evidence, and the position adopted by the Four Imams, is to point the index without moving in the tashahhud. All that was reported from the Sahaba indicates there was no moving of the index finger.
Furthermore, Abu Dawud and al-Nasa'i narrated from ʿAbdAllah ibn al-Zubayr that the Prophet ﷺ "would point with his finger when making duʿa [in tashahhud] without moving it". Furthermore the riwaya of moving is reported by Ahmad, al-Nasa'i, Ibn Khuzayma, and Ibn Hibban from Wa'il ibn Hujr, but Ahmad, Abu Dawud, al-Nasa'i, and others also report from Wa'il himself through sounder chains that there was no moving of the index.

The chosen position in the Maliki madhhab-the only school stipulating moving - is that such moving be done in the last tashahhud only, and in order to put into practice the first narration of Wa'il. And Allah knows best.

As for the precise moment, direction, and duration of pointing in Tashahhud, they were not stipulated in the hadiths pertaining to tashahhud and therefore are not a matter ordained by the Lawgiver, but other hadiths prove that (1) the Prophet ﷺ raised his index finger in the Farewell Pilgrimage Address at the precise moment of saying: "O Allah! Bear witness" and (2) the Shahada of Tawhid is the best Dhikr, is a Qur'anic text, and is therefore the noblest passage of the first Tashahhud, and consequently the worthiest of dinstinction through this distinguishing gesture.
Furthermore, it has been the practice of most the peopleof knowledge among the Sahaba and Tabiʿin at the point of saying ILLAllah, as stated by al-Baghawi in Sharh al-Sunna (3:177) and al-Bayhaqi in Maʿrifat al-Sunna (2:131). And Allah knows best.

Hajj Gibril

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latest update: Thu, 12 Feb 2009
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