The Legislation of Placing your Hands on the Chest While Standing in the Prayer Before the Rukoo’ and Not in the Standing After it
Muhammad Nasir- Deen Al-Albaani
Silsilah Ahadeeth As-Saheehah
Shaykh al-Albaani said in ‘Silsilah Ahadeeth As-Saheehah’:
2247- ‘When the Messenger -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- used to stand in the prayer he would take a hold of his left hand with his right hand.’
Collected by Yaqoob al-Foosi in ‘al-Ma’rifah’ (3/121) and with the same chain al-Bayhaqi narrates it in ‘as-Sunnan al-Kubra’ (2/28) and Tabraani in ‘al-Kabeer’ (22/9/1) from another chain: Abu Nu’aeem said that Musa bin Umayr al-Anbaree narrated to us who said that ‘Alqama bin Wa’il narrated to me from his father that ‘When the Messenger -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- used to stand in the prayer he would take a hold of his left hand with his right hand.’
And I saw ‘Alqama do this.
Al-Foosi said: ‘and Musa bin Umayr Koofi is Thiqaah (trustworthy).’
I (al-Albaani) said: and other scholars graded him Thiqaah (trustworthy), the rest of the narrators are also trustworthy from the narrators of Muslim, so the Sanad (chain of narration) is Saheeh.
It has been collected by Nisa’ee (1/141) from Abdullaah bin al-Mubarak from Musa bin Umayr al-Anbaree and Qeess bin Saleem al-Anbaree who both said that ‘Alqama bin Wa’il narrated to us with the previous narration and with something similar to that, without mentioning that ‘Alqama did the action.
And it was collected by Ahmad (4/316) and Ibn Abee Shaybah in ‘al-Musannaf’ (1/390) that Wakeea’ narrated to us: that Musa bin Umayr al-Anbaree narrated to us this narration with a summary of the narration with the wording:
‘I saw the Messenger of Allaah –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– placing his right hand on his left hand in the prayer.’
But he did not mention: while standing in the prayer.
And it was collected by al-Bagawi in ‘Sharh as-Sunnah’ (3/30) from another chain from Wakeea’.
Likewise, Ahmad (4/316-319) narrated from other chains from Wa’il bin Hajr without mentioning the standing in prayer.
The researcher can have no doubt in the different chains of this hadeeth that the hadeeth is also summarized – as in the narration of Wakeea’ – from the hadeeth of Wa’il which explains the description of the Prophet’s prayer -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam-, and the standing in the prayer where he would clasp his hands, which is before the Rukoo’. This was mentioned from two chains:
The first: From Abdul Jabbar bin Wa’il from ‘Alqama bin Wa’il and their freed slave that they narrated to him from his father Wa’il bin Hajr:
That he saw the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- raise his hands opposite his ears when he entered into the prayer and said the Takbeer, as was described by Hammam.
Then he gathered his garment (thobe) around him-self.
Then he placed his right hand on his left hand.
When he wanted to perform Rukoo’ he took out his hands from his Thobe and then he raised his hands, then said Takbeer, then performed Rukoo’.
Then when he said: ‘Sami Allaahu liman Hamida.’ (Allaah Hears the one who praises Him) he raised his hands.
When he performed Sajda (prostration), he would prostrate between his hands.’
Collected by Muslim (2/130), Abu Awaanah (2/106-107), Ahmad (4/317-318) and al-Bayhaqi (2/28 & 71).
The second narration: from ‘Aasim bin Kulayb from his father from Wa’il bin Hajr who said:
‘I said: Indeed I want to see the prayer of the Messenger of Allaah –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– how he used to pray?
He said: ‘The Messenger of Allaah –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– stood and faced the Qiblah, said the Takbeer (Allaahu Akbar) and raised his hands until they were opposite his ears.
Then he took his left hand by his right one.
When he wanted to go into Rukoo’ he raised his hands like that.
Then he placed his hands on his knees.
Then he raised his head from Rukoo’ he raised his hands like that.
So when he prostrated, he placed his head at that place between his hands, then he sat and spread (iftarasha) his left leg….. and indicated with his index finger….’ Until the end of the Hadeeth.
Collected by Abu Daawood, Nisa’ee, Ahmad and others with an authentic Sanad (chain) and it is collected in ‘Saheeh Abu Daawood’ (716-717) with two other narrations from other Imams from a group of Thiqaat (trustworthy narrators) from ‘Aasim, and some of the narrations have extra wording more than others. The most complete sequence of wording is that of Za’idah bin Qadamah and Bashr bin al-Mufadal and he is Thiqata Thabt (trustworthy and firm) and the wording is his, and Ibn Majah narrates from him with the wording:
‘I saw the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- praying and he took his left hand by his right hand.’
I say (Albaani): If the researcher reflects upon just this sentence alone, and he does not know, or at the very least does not call to mind that it is summarized from the hadeeth, then he understands from it the legislation of clasping the hands in every standing position in the prayer, whether it was before the Rukoo’ or after it.
However, the sequence of the hadeeth illustrates that this is a mistake, since it is clear that this placing of the hands is in the first standing of the prayer, and in the wording of ‘Aasim it is clearer, since he mentioned raising of the hands in the Takbeeratul-Ihraam (the opening Takbeer), then he made Rukoo’ and raised up from it, then he said in those two narrations: this is how he prayed.
So if Wa’il had memorized that, if the placing of the hands was after Rukoo’ ’, then he would also have mentioned it as is clear, because he mentioned the raising of the hands three times before, but if someone separates that sentence from its sequence in the hadeeth, then it is presumed that it is to place the hands back on the chest after raising from Rukoo’. This is what some of the present-day noble scholars say, without them having a precedence from the Salaf as-Salih, from what I know.
What confirms what we have mentioned is the narration of Ibn Idrees from ‘Aasim with this narration with a summarized wording:
‘I saw the Messenger of Allaah –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– when he said Takbeer, take his left hand by his right hand.’
Many people fell into this type of presumption due to some narrators mentioning these narrations in a summarized form, or being precise in narrating this hadeeth.
I used to declare in a lot of my lectures and lessons the causes and reasoning regarding this clasping of the hands after Rukoo’ ; that a person is about to introduce a new Bida’ due to relying upon a general hadeeth not knowing that it is specific, and this Bida’ is none other than pointing with the finger in other than the sitting of Tashhaud!
Indeed there are two Ahadeeth mentioned in ‘Saheeh Muslim’ about pointing in the sitting of Tashhaud, one of them, the hadeeth of Ibn Umar and the other hadeeth of Ibn az-Zubayr. Both have wordings which are general and specific or summarized and detailed: ‘If the Messenger -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- would sit in the prayer he would put his hands on his knees and raise his right finger which is next to his thumb and made Dua’ during it…’ so here the sitting is general.
And in the other narration: ‘If he -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- used to sit in Tashhaud he would place his left hand on his left knee and he would place his right hand on his right knee….’ Until the end of the Hadeeth.
So here the sitting is specific for Tashhaud. And the wording of the hadeeth of Ibn az-Zubayr is similar to this.
So in the first wording ‘he sat’ includes all sittings in the prayer, like the sitting between the two Sajdahs and sitting between the second Sajdah and the second Rakah which is well known to the scholars as the sitting for rest.
I used to say: we are about to see some of them point with their finger in these two sittings!!
And before long, it was said to me that some students point with their finger between the two Sajdahs (prostrations)! Then I saw this with my own two eyes, when one of the graduates from the Islamic University did this when he visited me in my house in the beginning of the year 1404 A.H.
Then we were waiting for a third Bida’ to be introduced; which was none other than pointing with the finger in the sitting for rest in the prayer! Then what we were waiting for took place and Allaah’s aid is sought!
An example of this type of presumed summary for the legislation of pointing in the prayer is also in the hadeeth of Wa’il from the narration of ‘Aasim bin Koolayb from his father from Wa’il, which is in ‘Musnad Ahmad’ (4/316-319) from two angles:
First angle: generally pointing in the prayer without restricting it to Tashhaud.
It is collected by Imam Ahmad (4/116-117) from the way of Shu’ba from Wa’il with the wording:
‘While sitting he -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- spread his left thigh away from his right thigh and he pointed with his index finger.’
It is also collected by Ibn Khuzaimah in his ‘Saheeh’ (1/345/697), however he said at the end of it:
‘i.e. in the sitting in Tashhaud.’
This explanation is either from Wa’il or from one of his narrators, the first one is the stronger opinion due to what follows.
And in another wording of Wa’il in ‘al-Musnad’ (4/316) from the narration of AbdulWahid with the wording:
‘So when the Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– sat he spread his left leg….. and he pointed with his index finger.’
Ahmad followed him up (4/317 & 318) with Sufyaan Thawaree and Zuhayr bin Muwaweeyah and it was also collected by Tabraani 922/78, 83, 85, 90) from their chains and others.
The second angle: Pointing restricted to the Tashhaud.
It is in ‘al-Musnad’ (4/319) from another chain from Shu’abah with the wording:
‘So when he sat for Tashhaud… he pointed with his index finger and he linked the index finger in a circular form with the forefinger.’
Its Sanad (chain) is authentic, and Ibn Khuzaimah also narrated it (698).
Abul-Ahwaas followed him up which is in Tahawee in ‘Sharh al-Ma’aani’ (1/152), and Tabraani in ‘al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer’ (22/34/80), with extra wording:
‘then he began supplicating with the other.’
Zaidat bin Qadaamah followed them up with the wording:
‘He -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- made a circular ring, then he raised his finger, and I saw him move it and supplicate with it/during it.’
Collected by Abu Daawood and by others from the collector of the Sunnan, and Ahmad (4/318), Tabraani (22/35/82) and Ibn Khuaimah, Ibn Hibban, Ibn al-Jarood, Nawawi and Ibn al-Qayyim authenticated it, and it is researched in ‘Saheeh Abu Daawood’ (717).
Abu ‘Awwana followed them up with similar to it and in it is mentioned:
‘then he supplicated’
Collected by Tabraani (22/38/90)
And by Ibn Idrees likewise
Collected by Ibn Hibban (486)
And by Salaam bin Sulaym by Tayalisee (1020).
Tahawee said commenting on the previous narration of Abul-Ahwaas:
‘In this is the evidence that the Messenger -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- was at the end of the prayer.’
I say: and this is clear in the narration of Abu ‘Awwana which was indicated to earlier, since he said:
‘Then he made Sajdah (prostration) and placed his head on the floor between his hands, then he prayed another Rakah, then he sat and spread his left leg and then he supplicated and placed his left hand on his left knee, and his right hand on his right knee and supplicated with the index finger.’
And its Isnaad is Saheeh.
And likewise is the narration of Sufyaan Ibn Uyainyah and his wording is:
‘And if the Messenger –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– sat in the two Rakah, he would recline his left leg and prop up his right leg, and he placed his right hand on his right thigh and raised his finger for the supplication and he placed his left hand on his left leg.’
Collected by Nisa’ee (1/173) with an authentic chain and by al-Humaydee (885) similarly.
I say: so what becomes clear from these authentic narrations is that moving or pointing with the finger is indeed in the sitting of Tashhaud and unrestricted sitting as is mentioned in some of the narrations is restricted with the sitting in Tashhaud. This is what necessitates of the clarity from gathering and combining the narrations. The principle of carrying the unrestricted (Mutlaq) upon the restricted (muqayid) is reported in the science of Usool of Fiqh (science of Fiqh), that is why it has not been mentioned by anyone from the Salaf, of pointing unrestrictedly in the prayer nor in every sitting of the prayer as far as I know. And similarly it is said about placing the hands upon the chest and indeed it is in the standing in the prayer which is before the Rukoo’ ’, implementing the previously mentioned principle.
[The Reply to the narration of AbdurRazzaq]
If a person says: that AbdurRazzaq narrated from Thawri from ‘Aasim bin Kulayb with a previous Isnaad from Wa’il ….. and he mentioned the hadeeth and the spreading of his left leg in his sitting and said:
‘Then he pointed with his index finger and placing his thumb upon his middle finger making it in a circular form, and he clenched the rest of his fingers, then he prostrated (performed Sajdah) and his hands were opposite his ears (i.e. when he placed his hands on the floor).’
From the apparent meaning of the narration it indicates that the pointing was in the sitting between the two Sajdahs, due to him saying after mentioning the pointing:
‘Then he prostrated…’
I say: Yes, AbdurRazzaq collected this in his ‘Musannaf’ (2/68-69), Imam Ahmad narrated it upon him (4/317) and Tabarani in ‘al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer’ (2/34-35) and Shaykh Habibur-Rahman al-Azaami claims in his comment upon this narration:
‘That this narration was collected by the four Sunnan (Abu Daawood, Nisa’ee, Ibn Majah & Tirmidhi), except that Tirmidhi and Bayhaqi narrated it in a number of dispersed chapters.’
This claim is false, indicating his negligence, that what is obligatory to substantiate. Since not one of those who narrated it mentioned after pointing: ‘Then he prostrated…’
Rather this is what AbdurRazzaq narrates from Thawri alone. And Muhammad bin Yusuf al-Faryyabi opposed him in this and he used to adhere to Thawri and he did not mention the prostration.
This was collected by Tabarani (22/33/78).
Abdullaah bin al-Waleed followed him in narrating this: Sufyaan narrated to me …… the same narration.
Collected by Ahmad (4/318).
Ibn al-Waleed is truthful but perhaps he made a mistake. His narration being followed up with the narration of al-Faryyabi for him is stronger than the narration of AbdurRazzaq, especially that they mention in his biography that he has Ahadeeth which are not accepted from him; one of them is from his narration from Thawri, see ‘Tahdheeb’ by Ibn Hajr and ‘Meezan’ by Dhahabi, so these extra wordings are from his erroneous presumptions.
Indeed from what emphasizes this, is that a large number from the Thiqaat (trustworthy) Huffaadh (memorizers) followed up Thawri in his narration which is preserved and from amongst those who preserved the narration are AbdulWahid bin Ziyaad, Shu’bah, Za’idah bin Qadaamah, Bashr bin al-Mufadal, Zuhayr bin Muaweeyah, Abul-Ahwaas, Abu ‘Awaanah, Ibn Idrees, Salaam bin Sulayman, Sufyaan bin Uyainyah and other than them.
So all of these narrators did not mention this extra wording in the hadeeth of Wa’il, rather one of them mentioned it before pointing, like Bashr and Abu ‘Awaana and other than these two and their wordings have preceded and some of them mentioned it clearly that the pointing was in the sitting of Tashhaud, as is preceded.
And this is what is correct, that which majority of the scholars from the Muhaditheen (Scholars of Hadeeth) and Fuqaha (Scholars of Fiqh) hold the opinion of. I do not know anyone who said that pointing with the finger is legislated in the sitting between the two Sajdahs except for Ibn al-Qayyim, since his apparent statement in ‘Zad al-Ma’ad’ corresponding to the hadeeth of AbdurRazzaq.
Perhaps that university student whom I indicated to earlier on, blindly followed him in this, or blindly followed those who blindly followed Ibn al-Qayyim from the present day scholars and I explained to him and other students who visited me the irregularity of the narration of AbdurRazzaq and its fragility.
One of those students informed me from one of the well-known scholars in some Arab lands that he implements this hadeeth of AbdurRazzaq and uses it as an evidence.
From this it indicates that he does not specialize in this knowledge, and this is what has compelled me to write this investigation and research, so if I was correct then it was from Allaah and if I was mistaken then it is from myself.
I ask al-Mawla – Subhana wa Ta’ala – to take us by our hands and guide us to the truth which the people have differed in, indeed He guides who He Wills to the straight path and all praise belongs to Allaah the Lord of all the worlds.
[Taken from ‘Silsilah Ahadeeth as-Saheehah’ by Shaykh al-Albaani (vol 5/2247)]