Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim

Placing The Hands Back On The Chest After Bowing

as-salaam alaykum,

Is it truly from the Hanbali mathab to place the hands back on the chest after rukoo?

Wa `alaykum al-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Here is a copy from message number 170:

Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim

The Hands After Ruku`

Can you please post some proof of why one should or should not place the right hand on the left forearm when standing up from rukoo. I have read that some of the Hanbali scholars allow it and other do not.

What was the opinion of Imaam Ahmad [radi allahu `anhu], Ibn Qudamah [radi allahu `anhu] or other great Hanbali scholars on this issue?

Are there any good books in English that deal with this issue?

[message slightly modified]

al-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

The great Hanbali Imams have various opinions on this issue. In his notes on Majd al-Din's Al-Muharrar, Ibn Muflih (may Allah be merciful with them both) writes

...[Al-Majd] did not mention the ruling of his [the person praying] hands after rising from bowing. Imam Ahmad (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "If he so wishes, he lets them dangle [irsal]. And if he wishes he places his right [hand] on his left [hand]." Al-Qadi [Abu Ya`la] was certain of this [later] position [qata` bihi] in Al-Jami` [...] And in Al-Mudhhib and Al-Talkhis that he lets them hand down after rising. And in Ri`ayah it was mentioned that the difference here is just as in the case of [where] to place them after the inaugural takbir. (Al-Muharrar 1:62)

So: both opinions are transmitted from Imam Ahmad (may Allah be pleased with him) and both opinions were accepted by early Imams of the madhhab (may Allah be pleased with them). Here's what we find in books (in rough chronological order):

Ibn Qudama in Al-`Umdah says nothing about where to place the hands after rising, and its commentary Al-`Uddah does not clear up the matter.
But in Al-Mughni Ibn Qudama puts forth the opinion of returning the hands to where they were.
Zad al-Mustaqni` (cf c3.9 in the translation) does not mention the hands after coming up. But in Al-Raud al-murbi` , Al-Buhuti says that either one is fine.
In Kashshaf al-qina` Al-Buhuti gives no preference (1:348).
In Mukhtasar  al-ifadat (92) Ibn Balban does as Al-Buhuti.
But he says nothing in Akhsar al-Mukhtasarat although Al-Ba`li does explain it this way in Kashf al-mukhaddarat (1:134).
Mar`i bin Yusuf also does the same in Ghayat al-muntaha (1:128).
But in Dalil al-talib, he says that it is a sunna to let them hang down. Sheikh `Abd al-Qadir al-Taghlabi in Nail al-ma'arib is silent on this, as is Al-Lubadi in his marinal notes. (See Nail al-ma'arib 1:142). Ibrahim Duwayyan in Manar al-Sabil  is also silent (p84).

Here in Sham, the preferred book for fatwa is Nail al-ma'arib, so it is best to leave the hands down. But in the Gulf the preferred books for fatawa are Al-Buhuti's, so there the two are equal.

[The evidence]

Both opinions have their textual evidence. If you have Bulugh al-maram you can open the book to Bab sifat al-salat (The Prayer's Description), and look for hadiths 280 and 284 (the third and seventh hadiths). Numbering varies from print to print, and some do not even include hadith 280.

Those who say that the hands can (or should) be put back to where they were before bowing can cite hadith 280, a narration from Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) in Imam Ahmad's Musnad, that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said about rising from bowing, "And straighten your body [sulbak] until the bones return" (Ahmad 3:340). Since "bones" here is general, it includes all bones and not just the bones in the back. Therefore, this is a command to return all bones back to where they were before bowing, which includes returning the hands beneath the navel, clasping the left hand with the right.

Those who say that the hands should be left dangling can cite hadith 284, a hadith in Bukhari's Sahih narrated from Abu Humaid al-Sa`idi (Allah be pleased with him), in which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, "And when you raise you head straighten up until each bones in your spine [the vertabra] returns to its place" (Al-Bukhari 2:305). Since "bones" here is constrained to the bones of the back and thus has nothing to do with other bones, so it only indicates that the back should be straightened as much as possible.

And Allah knows best.


I personally have not read anything on this specific this topic in English, but I'm sure that there's quite a bit to be found.

And Allah knows best.

At your service
wa al-salamu `alaykum

[Closing comments]

I have specifically abstained when mentioning the evidence from giving anything that gives precedence to one side or the other. My reason for doing so is that this is an issue that has been used to cause rifts and divisions between the Muslims. This need not be so, since this is an instance of where the Imams of Islam have differed over a matter. Support one side if you must, but be sure when doing so that you use an extravagantly abundant supply of etiquette, manners and respect, and never force your Imam's opinion on others. And be sure that you first check what the Imams have said before you speak of scholarly consensus and those who contravene it.

Of the four madhhahib of Islam, the one least known and most misrepresented--by friends and foes alike--is the that of the Hanabila. Considering how few people can list more than three scholars from the madhhab, and considering how rare it is to find people who know the books of the madhhab and which ones are used for fatwa, it seems quite rash for anyone to go making claims of scholarly consensus in general or the Hanbali madhhab in specific without taking these  initial steps. But it ceases being rash when someone starts pulling things out from thin air.

Sloppy fiqh is being used to divide the Umma. Students should be more concerned with uniting the Umma under the banner of obedience to Allah through His Shari`a by showing its breadth of the madhdhahib and giving people options. And they should be less worried about making their madhhab the only one standing after a fight, or giving one of their teammates a sucker-punch so their madhhab gets the coveted MVP award.

Do you want to be the one who pushed your drunk brother into the well, or do you want to be the one who pulls him out and puts him back on his feet?

Is your model Harun (peace be upon him) or Al-Samiri?

Forgive me, ya Allah.

And Allah knows best.

Wa al-salamu `alaykum,