Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim
Questions Concerning Prayer
Assalaam u alaykum Wr Wb
I hope that you are all in the best of health inshaAllah.
I have read much information on the prayer of men and women in that
it differs for both in terms of physical action. Please may I ask as
to whether there really is any difference in a man and woman's prayer
in terms of physical actions. If so, how?
May I also ask what the Hanbali point of view is on raising the
finger during tashahhud. I recall reading a few years ago that the
reason we raise our finger is because, on one occasion, Prophet
Muhammad (pbuh) was praying and shaytaan came to him to disturb him.
At this point, the Prophet (pbuh) raised his finger. Is there any
basis to this? I would appreciate any clarification on this issue.
Secondly, should the right index finger be raised throughout the
whole tashahhud or during a specific point? If we made a mistake and
have been doing this incorrectly throughout our lives, would this be
one of the factors that invalidate the prayer?
Lastly, I recently sustained an ankle injury and was unable to make
sujood properly although I tried my best to have both of my toes
touching the ground properly; I was also unable to sit properly
between the two sujoods and after the 2nd and 4th sujoods of prayer.
Will I have to repeat these prayers?
JazakAllah Khayran Katheeran Kabeeran for your time and help
wa `alaykum al-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
1. Differences Between The Way Men And
Yes, there are minor differences between the physical
actions of a man's prayer in comparison to a woman's prayer.
Al-Hajjawi and Al-Buhuti write that
M ar`i bin Yusuf writes the same, though a bit clearer and with
a few additional details
- A woman prays like a man except that she bunches herself
together and sits with her legs slightly slid underneath her to her
right. (b: If there is a non-mahram male who can hear her, it is
obligatory for her to conceal her recitation so that only she hears
it.) (Al-Raud al-murbi`, p74)
P lease note that the only obligatory difference concerns
recitation, and that even though it would be unlawful for a woman to
raise her recitation where non-mahram men hear it, the prayer would
still be valid. The other differences fall under the category of
recommended actions during prayer.
- Women are like men in all that was previously mention--even
concerning raising the hands. However, she bunches herself together
when bowing and prostrating and does not unbunch herself [like a
man]; she sits with her legs slightly slid underneath her on the
right--and this is best--or cross-legged; and she must conceal her
recitation when non-marhman men hear it, and otherwise there is no
harm in making it audible. (Ghayat al-muntaha,
The general topic of general related differences associated to
prayer is found in hadith literature known as the
musannafat. The musannafat include accounts from
the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), his Companions
(Allah be pleased with them), and the first few generations of
Successors. The discussion is in the Musannaf of Abu Bakr
`Abd al-Razzaq bin Hammam al-San`ani right before the chapter on
Friday Prayer, or more precisely 3.126-51.
And Allah knows best.
2. The Finger During The Tashahhud
The issue of what should be done with the finger has
been mentioned at least once in previous messages. Members of the
group should use the group's home-page to search
through the archives, especially these days with my slow response
time. The most recent message on the topic is dated Fri, 24 Jan 2003
01:02:28 +0200 with a topic of [hanbali] Re: Moving the finger in
Salah, with the answer text being
I did not find anything related to the reason for why the
Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) raised his noble finger.
The sources I looked in tend to restrict themselves to legal
evidence, such as Al-Mutaqa min al-akhbar, Tuhfat al-muhtaj ila
dalil al-minhaj, Bulugh al-maram, Al-Tajj al-jami` li-l-usul. My
search was not exhaustive.
- The opinion that my sheikh (may Allah preserve him) taught me
and that he practices himself is that the finger is raised whenever
the Majestic Name "Allah" is mentioned. My sheikh says that this
should be done outside of prayer, as well.
- Another opinion is that the finger simply remains pointed the
entire time, without moving.
- Ibn Muflih gives a detailed list of the different ways of doing
this in Al-Furu` (1:441).
- And Allah knows best,
However, I did find in Tuhfat al-muhtaj the
T he editor of Tuhfat al-muhtaj mentions that Ahmad
mentioned the first hadith in the Musnad (2.119) and that
Al-Bazar also mentioned it (1.272). Al-Bayhaqi mentioned them both
(2.132), pointing out Al-Waqidi--a narrator for his chain to both
hadiths--is weak. Some later scholars considered the hadith to have a
rigorously authenticated chain (Al-Albani, Sifat al-salah,
p151; Ahmad Shakir, Takhrij al-musnad, 8.194). Al-Ruyani
considered it well-authenticated (Musnad al-ruyani, 2.249).
The editor of the book gave the details for why Imam Al-Bayhaqi
considering it weak but did not give details for why Sheikh Ahmad
Shakir and Al-Albani said otherwise. (Tuhfat al-muhtah,
2.325 fn 3-4)
- Ibn `Omar (Allah be pleased with him and his father) said that
the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,
"Pointing with the finger is more severe [ashadd] to Satan
- And [Ibn `Omar (Allah be pleased with him and his father) said
that] the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, "...it
is a mudhri`ah to Satan."
- Ibn Al-Sukn mentioned them in his Sihah in this [same]
chapter. (Tuhfat al-muhtah, 2.325)
Moving or not-moving the finger is not an integral or obligatory
part of the prayer as far as I know. The validity of one's prayer is
not determined by whether or not it is performed, nor how.
And Allah knows best.
3. Sajdah and Sitting
It is highly unlikely that you will need to make up
missed prayers. The minimal requirements of sajhad and sitting for
completely healthy people are as follows:
T his is how things are when the person is completely healthy.
If you have questions, feel free to email with more details.
- The most complete way to make sajdah is to supporting one's
weight on the seven body parts: the forehead, nose, palms, knees,
and the tips of the toes. The minimal requirement is to support
one's weight on just a portion of the parts, so putting the tops of
the feet or the edge of the hand suffices. (see Nail
- The preferred way for men to sit is iftirash, whish is
sitting with the left foot spread below while raising his right.
But the minimal requirement is just to sit, even by sliding one's
legs off to the right or left, or sitting cross-legged. (see
And Allah knows best.
I hope that your recovery is swift and complete.
wa al-salamu `alaykum