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A Detailed Research Regarding the Position of the Hand in Salah

This research comprises of three issues mainly, vigorously moving the finger while pointing; when to raise and when not to raise one’s finger; the manner of making a circle with the thumb and middle fingers within the Salah and these issues have been dealt with separately. This work

is not

a refutation of any particular individuals nor party partisanship to any particular group.

Position of the Hand in Salah

Vigorously Moving the Finger While Pointing

Secondly, with regards to the “vigorous” and continuous movement of the index finger then supporters of this view have defended their position mentioning:

1. The Hadith of Wail ibn Hujr and the addition, “moving it, making Du’ah with it”

2. That of it being hard on Shaytan, “like a fort of iron”

3. That of ibn Hibban and the “movement under the cloaks

4. The statement of Imam Ahmad and the word “vigorously”

5. The single narrator and the disagreement of Al-Faryyabi

1. Negating the Addition in the Narration of Wa’il Ibn Hujr

This narration has been reported by the following individuals:

1.

Sufyan Ath-Thawri who said: “then he pointed with his index finger, putting the thumb to the middle finger to make a ring with them” (Al-Musannaf 2/68-69);

2.

Sufyan ibn Uyayna said: “he joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring, and pointed with his index finger” (Ahmad, 4/318);

3.

Shu’ba ibn Al-Hajjaj who said: “he pointed with his index finger, and formed a ring with the middle one” (Ahmad, 4/319);

4.

Qays ibn Ar-Rabi’: “then he joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring, and pointed with his index finger” (Tabarani, 22/33-34);

5.

Abdul-Wahid ibn Ziyad Al-‘Abdi: “he made a ring with a finger, and pointed with his index finger” (Ahmad, 4/316);

6.

Abdullah ibn Idris Al-Awdi: “he had joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring and raised the finger between them to make supplication in the Testification of Faith” (Ibn Majah, 1/295);

7.

Zuhayr ibn Mu’awiyah: “and I saw him (‘Asim) say, ‘Like this,’ and Zuhayr pointed with his first index finger, holding two fingers in, and made a ring with his thumb and second index (middle) finger” (Ahmad, 4/318-19);

8.

Abu Al-Ahwas Sallam ibn Sulaym: “he began making Du’ah like this – meaning with his index finger, pointing with it” (Musnad At-Tayalisi, 137);

9.

Bishr ibn Al-Mufaddal: “and I saw him (‘Asim) say, ‘Like this,’ and Bishr joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring, and pointed with his index finger” (Abi Dawud, 1/251);

10.

Khalid ibn Abdullah Al-Wasiti: “then he joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring, and pointed with his index finger” (Bayhaqi, 2/131).

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Ibn Khuzaymah and the Irregularity of the Addition

About the addition in the Hadith of Wa’il, the famous scholar of Hadith, Muhammad Ibn Khuzaymah said:

“There is not a single Hadith containing “Yuharrikuha” (“He Moved It”) except this Hadith mentioned by Za’ida ibn Qudaamah Ath-Thaqafi from ‘Asim ibn Kulayb.” (Ibn Khuzaymah, 1/354).

Shaykh Muqbil and Arna’ut and the Irregularity of the Addition

The Muhaddith and Reviver of Islam in the lands of Yemen (Shaykh Muqbil) said,

“…And that is that the finger is not moved during the Tashahhud, rather one only points with it, without moving it.

This is in agreement with Shaykh Shu’ayb Al-Arna’ut (**see footnote**) and what he mentioned regarding the Hadith related by Imam Ahmad, Al-Bayhaqi, Ibn Khuzaymah, and Ibn Hibban, with a reliable chain of narrators (except for Kulayb ibn Hisham, who is “acceptable” that the Companion, Wa’il ibn Hujr Al-Hadrami said that when he,

Watched the Prophet (saw) kneeling in the Tashahhud of his prayer, the Prophet lifted his index finger, and I saw him move it, supplicating with it. (Al- Bayhaqi), (with the addition) I came sometime after that and saw people in winter over-cloaks, their hands moving under the cloaks.” (Ibn Hibban).

However, the issue of difference revolves around a single Hadith reported by Wa’il ibn Hujr. Shaykh Muqbil discusses it in his book As-Sahih Al-Musnad Mimma Laysa Fis- Sahihayn (Vol. 2 pg. 265). The narration was recorded by Ibn Majah and Wa’il said,

“I saw the Prophet (saw) making a circle with his thumb and middle finger and he lifted the one that was next to them, supplicating with it in the Tashahhud.”

Shaykh Muqbil said,

“This Hadith is Hasan and it proves pointing with the finger. However, in reference to moving it, then the only one who narrated that was Za’idah bin Qudaamah in the collection of Al-Bayhaqi and he has contradicted all 13 narrators who all narrated the same Hadith from Wa’il.”

and we are mentioning them here for reference:

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1.

Bishr bin Al-Mufaddal with Abi Dawud

2.

Sufyan ibn Uyaynah with An-Nasa’i

3.

Sufyan Ath-Thawri with An-Nasa’i

4.

Abdul-Wahid bin Ziyad with Imam Ahmad

5.

Shubah with Imam Ahmad

6.

Zubayr bin Mu’awiyah with Imam Ahmad

7.

Abdullah ibn Idris with Ibn Khuzaymah

8.

Khalid bin Abdullah At-Tahhan with Imam Al-Bayhaqi

9.

Muhammad bin Fudayl with Ibn Khuzaymah

10.

Abul-Ahwas Salam bin Sulaym with Imam At-Taylisi

11.

Abu Awanah with Al-Bayhaqi

12.

Ghelaan bin Jami with Al-Bayhaqi, and all of them reported it from

13.

Asim bin Kulayb who narrated it from his father, Kulayb ibn Shihab, from Wa’il and not a single one of them mentioned the moving of the finger in it.

Meanwhile, it was reported from the companions Abdullah bin Zubayr, Abdullah bin Umar, Abu Humayd As-Sa’di, Abu Hurayrah, Sa’id bin Abi Waqqas, Ibn Abbas, Khaffaf bin Ema, and not a single one of them mentioned the moving of the finger either. So from this it is known that the report of Za’idah is strange and contradicting (Shaathth). And Allah knows best regarding its authenticity.

The detailed explanation concerning those who reported the Hadith of these narrators who have opposed Za’idah and the Hadith of these companions can be seen in the research of our noble brother Ahmad bin Sa’id may Allah preserve him.

Shaykh Al-Albani considered this a case of Ziyaadatuth-Thiqah (the additional information added in a narration of one of the narrators who is reliable that is not found in the other versions of the Hadith). This is because Al-Albani did not consider the additional wording, “and he would move it” as contradictory because he says that pointing does not negate movement.

Shaykh Muqbil went with the basic principle that a Ziyaadah (extra added wording) that contradicts what others who were more reliable or more numerous in number reported is Shaathth, and thus unaccepted. Arna’ut and Ibn Khuzaymah preceded Shaykh Muqbil in this.

(Footnote)

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A questioner asked Shaykh Muhammad bin Abdul-Wahab Al-Wasabi (one of the students of Shaykh Muqbil), “What is the condition of Shu’ayb Al-Arna’ut? And should his ruling upon the Hadiths, regarding authenticity or weakness, be taken (i.e. accepted)?

Shaykh Al-Wasabi responded,

“His checkings in general are good, and the ruling he gives regarding Hadiths – both in authenticity and weakness should be taken (i.e. accepted). That is unless you are certain that he made an error in the ruling of a Hadith, then you take that which is correct. However, if you do not find anything other than his statement (regarding the grading of a Hadith), then there is no harm in you taking it (his statement). And indeed our Shaykh, Muqbil was asked about him, and he gave a verdict similar to this (that I am saying). That is that his checkings are to be benefitted from, and that they are in general good, except regarding what relates to the subject of Al-Aqidah. For he (Shu’ayb Al-Arna’ut) is criticized regarding Aqidah. However, in reference to Hadith, investigating, checking and ruling upon the Hadiths (i.e. giving them grades of authenticity), then he is thanked for that and we ask Allah to guide us, and him, and all of the Muslims.”

As a reminder the great scholars of Hadith: Imam Al-Bayhaqi, An-Nawawi, and Ibn Hajr were also Ash’ari (like Arna’ut) and criticized in Aqidah.

2. Negating the Narration of It Being Frightening and Hard on Shaytan

With regards to the Hadith,

“The movement of the finger in Salah frightens the Shaytân”

Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani has stated, “This Hadith is weak” in his book Ila’us Sunan (Vol. 3 pg. 112) and Imam An-Nawawi has also stated, “This is not sound” in Al-Majmu’ Sharh ul- Muhazzab (Vol. 4 pg. 441). However, Nafi’ said,

“When Abdullah ibn Umar sat during the prayer, he would put his hands on his thighs and point with his finger whilst looking at it. Then he said: The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “It is harder on the Shaytan than iron,” meaning the index finger. (Ahmad no. 5964)

has been graded Sahih.

So it frightening the Shaytan is weak but it being hard on him like iron is classed as Hasan by Al-Albani in Sifat Salaat un-Nabi, pg. 159. However, it only says that pointing with the

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index finger is harder on Shaytan then iron and not that moving the finger is harder on Shaytan than iron. Thus, this is not supporting evidence for bobbing the finger vigorously.

Shaykh Al-Fawzaan and Being Hard on Shaytan

On the program Nur Ala Ad-Darb, Shaykh Al-Fawzaan was asked,

Oh Shaykh, if you could please explain to me the way to do the ‘Sabbaaba(Using the Index Finger in Tashahhud, sometimes referred to as Sabaaha).

Fawzaan replied,

Yes. You raise the index finger during prayer when you pronounce the name of Allah or when you make supplication. You raise it as a signification of the Oneness of Allah.”

The questioner added,

Some people, Oh Shaykh, raise and move their index finger until the end of the prayer.

Shaykh Al-Fawzaan responded,

Yes, that is because it is believed from some traces (Hadith) or the likes that it must be moved and that it’s severe against the Shaytân. But the most correct way, and Allah knows best, is that he doesn't move it, he just raises it but doesn’t move it and that is a sign of Tawhid.

Understanding “Movement” in a Different Way

Then as for the Hadith of Imam Al-Bayhaqi and the tradition in which it is narrated that Wa’il bin Hujr described the Salah of the Prophet (saw) and mentioned that he (the Prophet) placed both hands in Tashahhud and then raised his finger, saying,

“I saw him moving it, making Du’ah with it.”

While commenting on this narration, Imam Al-Bayhaqi says,

“It is possible that what is meant by “moving the finger” was that he (the Prophet) pointed with it and did not move it continuously.”

So, Imam Al-Bayhaqi has joined between the addition of Za’ida ibn Qudaamah and the many Hadiths that apparently contradict it by suggesting that moving the finger in the

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Za’ida Hadith may mean simply “Lifting It” (“Rafa’a”), a wording explicitly mentioned in one version recorded by Muslim that the Prophet (saw),

“raised the right finger that is next to the thumb, and supplicated with it.(Muslim, 1/408)

So according to Al-Bayhaqi, the contradiction is only apparent, and raising the finger could be the “movement” that Wa’il saw from the Prophet (saw) as well as the people’s hands under their cloaks, according to Za’ida’s version in Sahih Ibn Hibban which remains Shadhdh (Deviant) from a Hadith point of view, unless understood in this literary sense (that it was actually the raising of the finger to point and not the continuous movement of it that he saw).

The previous Ahadith and statements of Ibn Khuzaymah, Arna’ut and Shaykh Muqbil establish that no one has said that you should move it continuously or vigorously except two and that is the statement of Imam Ahmad and the strange addition found in the narration of Za’ida reported by Al-Bayhaqi and Ibn Hibban.

Because the narration of Al-Bayhaqi (and Ibn Hibban) can be understood differently (that this movement was not continuous but rather, the movement was while raising it) then we are left with the statement of Imam Ahmad.

The Statement of Imam Ahmad and the Majority Opinion

The majority of the scholars are of the opinion not move the finger when raising it except one of the two opinions of Imam Ahmad when he was asked,

“Should a man point with his finger during prayer?”

He replied,

“Yes, vigorously.

as was mentioned by Ibn Haani in his Masaa’il of Imam Ahmad (1/80).

But here, the wording asked was, “should a man point with his finger in the Salah,” and not “should a man point and/or move his finger in the Salah.There is no indication in this narration that movement was being addressed. Therefore, I (the author) say that,

“All one can gather from these two narrations is that pointing ‘vigorously’ is hard on Shaytân (like iron) because it signifies the Oneness of Allah, but neither of these two narrations (it being hard on Shaytân and the statement of

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Imam Ahmad) support the bobbing movement of the finger and thus cannot be used as supporting evidence.

The Disagreement of Al-Faryyabi

See: The Weakness of the Hadith of Abdur-Razzak

Opposing Argument

The Argument of Those who are of the Position that the Finger Should Not be Moved include:

1. The Hadith of Ibn Az-Zubayr, Abdullah bin Umar, Abu Humayd As-Sa’di, Abu Hurayrah, Sa’id bin Abi Waqqas, Ibn Abbas, Khaffaf bin Ema

2. The Fact that there is no proof to move it except the strange addition of Za’ida which according to the basic principle should be ruled out

3. That fact that if we were to accept the strange narration which contradicts over 13 others it still could be understood differently and

4. The Principle that movement in Salah should be minimized

1. Disparaging the Addition in the Hadith of Ibn Az-Zubayr

In his notes to Mishkat Al-Masabih, Al-Albani has discussed the Hadith of Wa’il ibn Hujr and of Ibn Az-Zubayr. He said,

“The first Hadith has a Sahih chain (that of Wa’il that he would move it). The narrators of the latter Hadith (that of Ibn Az-Zubayr that he would not move it) are all trustworthy. Muhammad ibn Ijlan (a narrator in the chain going back to Ibn Az-Zubayr) has some weakness due to his memory, but his memory was not so poor as to drop to the rank of Hasan.

According to Al-Albani this addition (“and he did not move it”) is Irregular and Rejected (Shadh and Munkar). Here Shaykh Al-Albani rejected the strange addition in accordance with the basic principle (the same way he rejected the addition of the bending of the finger) but why not in the irregular and much stranger addition of moving it in the Hadith of Wa’il (that he, the Prophet, moved it)?

The addition of Wail is stranger than the addition of Ibn Az-Zubayr because Ibn Az-Zubayr only contradicts the single addition of Za’ida (which is strange itself and could be understood differently), while the addition of Za’ida contradicts 13 others (who narrated from the same Companion) and another seven companions. Meanwhile, Ibn Ijlan (one of

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the narrators in the chain of Ibn Az-Zubayr wasn’t even weak enough to reach the rank of Hasan.

“So we know that the Prophet (saw) used to point with his index finger, and that the version of moving his finger’ is Shadhdh (Deviant, sometimes translated as Strange or Irregular) and represents a slip of the narrator, for the word Ishara in the majority's version means only “to point or gesture at,” or “to indicate with the hand,” and has no recorded lexical sense of wiggling or shaking the finger.” (Lisan Al-‘Arab, 4/437 and Al-Qamus Al- Muhit 540).

This interpretation is explicitly borne out by well authenticated Hadiths related from the Hadith of ibn Az-Zubayr that,

“…the Prophet (saw) used to point with his index finger when making supplication (in the Testification of Faith), and he did not move it.(Abi Dawud, 1/260)

and that he (saw),

“…Used to point with his index finger when making supplication, without moving it.(Al-Bayhaqi, 2/131-32)

and that he would,

“…point with his finger when he supplicated but he did not move it.” (An- Nasa’i, chapter 35, no. 1271)

This addition (“but he did not move it”) was classed as Da’if by Ibn Qayyim in Zaad ul- Ma’ad (1/238) and by Al-Albani in Tamaam Al-Minnah (pg. 218). But here we want to mention two things and that is that,

1. this is awfully close to Shaykh Al-Albani’s statement regarding the scholars who made Taqlid of Ibn Qayyim (with regards to raising it between the Sujud) when he (Albani) said,

“Perhaps that university student whom I indicated to earlier on, blindly followed him in this, or blindly followed those who blindly followed Ibn Qayyim from the present day scholars and I explained to him and other students who visited me of the irregularity of the narration of Abdur-Razzaq and its fragility. One of those students informed me from one of the well-

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known scholars in some Arab lands that he implements this Hadith of Abdur- Razzaq and uses it as an evidence.” (Silsilah Ahadith As-Sahihah Vol. 5/2247)

However, if Uthaymin was intended by this statement then he relied on the general Hadith found in Sahih Muslim (of pointing while sitting) then the Principle of Particularization. He also relied on the fact that there is no narration saying that he (the Prophet) did not raise it as well as the Principle of Returning to the General Hadith before making Qiyaas us- Sahih. All of which are evidences making the narration of Abdur-Razzak unnecessary regardless of its strength (even though Imam Ahmad and Ibn Qayyim were of the opinion that it was valid and the fact that Abdul-Qadir Al-Jilani and others have verified its authentication as we will address later Insha’Allah). And,

2. that Ibn Ijlan (as we have already stated) wasn’t weak enough to reject.

Regarding his (Albani’s) statement,

“As for pointing in the sitting which takes place between the two Sajdah which some of them do nowadays, then this has no origin, except in the narration of Abdur-Razzaq in the Hadith of Wa’il bin Hujr, and that is an irregularity as has been previously explained in the Hadith which is before this one, an explanation which you will not see in any other place.”

Then the origin can be found,

1. in the general Hadith of pointing while sitting in Sahih Muslim

2. the Principle of Particularization

3. the Principle of Returning to the Asl (of pointing while sitting)

4. the Principle of Returning to the Hadith before making Analogy (to the left hand)

5. the fact that there is no proof that the finger should remain down between the prostrations.

The Weakness of the Hadith of Abdur-Razzak

About which Al-Albani said,

I say: Yes, Abdur-Razzaq 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 Sunan (Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah & Tirmidhi), except that Tirmidhi and Bayhaqi narrated it in a number of dispersed chapters.’ This claim is false, indicating

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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 Abdur-Razzaq 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). Abdullah bin Al-Walid followed him in narrating this Sufyaan narrated to methe same narration. Collected by Ahmad (4/318). Ibn Al-Walid 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 Abdur-Razzaq, especially that they mention in his biography that he has Ahadith which are not accepted from him; one of them is from his narration from Thawri, see Tahdheeb by Ibn Hajr and Mizan by Adh-Dhahabi, so these extra wordings are from his erroneous presumptions.

So here Albani rejected the narration of Abdur-Razzak on two bases,

1. that Abdur-Razzak was alone in this addition (making it strange and rejected)

But this is not the case because Abdullah bin Al-Walid supported Abdur-Razzak in this saying he also heard Ath-Thawri narrate the same “but perhaps he made a mistake” since it was said about him “in his biography that he has Ahadith which are not accepted,and

2. that someone stronger than him (Al-Faryyabi) who narrated from the same person (Ath-Thawri) contradicted him in it (which we accept)

However, here one stronger narrator who also took from the same teacher opposed a single narrator who is not weak (Abdur-Razzak) making it strange and thus rejected in accordance with the Basic Principle (that Muqbil used) by Albani. So, if this is the case with a single narration from someone who is not weak (Abdur-Razzak), and is also supported by someone who is weak but not altogether rejected (Abdullah bin Al- Walid) then what do we say about a single narration (like that of moving it in the Hadith of Za’ida) when it was not supported by anyone at all and was opposed by not just one individual who was stronger than him but rather 13 individuals (plus 5 other companions)?

In simple terms…

Here, Albani rejected the Hadith of Abdur-Razzak who was

1. Not Weak (just like Za’ida was not weak)

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2. supported by a weak narrator (who was not so weak that he is rejected) because it

3. contradicted only 1 other narrator (Al-Faryyabi) who was stronger than him

but he did not reject the addition of Za’ida which was

1. not supported by anyone else,

2. could be understood differently (in accordance with Al-Bayhaqi’s commentary) and

3. contradicted over 13 others who were stronger than him (Za’ida)!!

Regarding his (Albani’s) statement,

“I do not know anyone who said that pointing with the finger is legislated in the sitting between the two Sajdah except for Ibn Qayyim, since his apparent statement in Zaad ul-Ma’ad corresponding to the Hadith of Abdur-Razzaq.”

Then it has escaped him that Imam Ahmad narrated it, Abdul-Qadir Al-Jilani preceded Ibn Qayyim in this as well as the verifier of Zaad ul-Ma’ad and Ash-Shawkani, Ash-Shanqeeti and Al-Uthaymin all agreed.

He (Albani) followed Ibn Qayyim in his declaration of the addition in the Hadith of Ibn Az- Zubayr to be weak but did not follow Ibn Qayyim in his declaration of the Hadith of Abdur- Razzak (with regard to pointing with the finger between the prostrations) as Sahih.

The weakness (of the addition in the Hadith of Ibn Az-Zubayr) is from three angles.

1. the weak memory of Ijlan

but as we mentioned before it was not weak to the extent of rejection.

2. its contradicting of the Hadith of Wa’il

but the Hadith of Wa’il is stranger and irregular.

So for the sake of argument, even if we were to accept it on the principle that “pointing does not negate movement” scholars have understood this movement to mean raising and not a continuous movement. Lastly,

3. its weakness is due to it being strange and irregular however both narrations include something strange and irregular and the strangeness of the addition in the narration of Wa’il is far stranger due to the 13 narrations that do not include it and

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the other 5 companions (other than Wa’il) who reported Ahadith in this regard along with 3 of them who said that he (saw) did not move it.

The Statement of Ibn Abi Zayd

Ibn Abi Zayd Al-Qayrawani said,

“At the time a worshipper reads the Tashahhud, that is the Tahiyyah, he places his hands on his thighs. He then folds the fingers of his right hand, but he leaves his index finger unfolded and which you extend with its side uppermost, (palm toward the left with the pinky finger resting flat on the thigh). There are differences of opinion about the interpretation of the state of the finger. Some believe that, keeping the finger still signifies that Allah is one God. Those who shake it consider it a club with which to ward off the Satan. I consider that the interpretation of that is that it reminds the worshipper that he is in the state of prayer, and that moving the finger will prevent him from forgetting himself. The worshipper then places his left hand on his left thigh with the palm downwards, he must not move it nor point with it even if his right hand has been amputated.” (Ar-Risala, 10.3, The position of the Tashahhud)

Ibn Abi Zayd here mentions two things

1. that some people say that moving it repels the Shaytân

and it has not been narrated authentically (as far as I know) by anyone other than Abdullah ibn Umar that pointing with the finger is hard like iron on the Shaytân (repelling him) and it has already been mentioned that there is no indication of movement but only pointing with it.

2. that moving it reminds the worshipper that he is praying

but this is absurd and opposing the generality of the Salah that movement should be minimized.

POINTS 2 AND 3 HAVE ALREADY BEEN ADDESSED

4. Movement in Salah Should be Minimized and the Oddity of Movement

I (the author) say that a point of interest here is that if pointing signifies

1. Oneness, then at no other time (neither inside nor outside the prayer) does one ever move it, intending Oneness by it. If the pointing is to

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2. ward off the Shaytân, then consider the weakness of this narration by Ibn Hajr and Nawawi and that the authentic narration of Ibn Umar doesn’t mention moving it at all (neither can movement be found in the narration of Imam Ahmad). Also,

3. consider the statement of Umar Barakat and what he said in his commentary to Umdat As-Salik,

It is offensive to move it here, though some hold that it is recommended… Precedence is given to the former Hadith (of Ibn Az-Zubayr), which negates moving the finger, over the latter Hadith (of Za’ida), which affirms it, because scholars hold that what is sought in prayer is stillness or lack of motion, and moving it diminishes one’s humility.”

The Statement of Shaykh Uthaymin

Shaykh Muhammad bin Salih Al-Uthaymin said,

The scholars have said that you point with your index finger when there is a reason to do so. But this begs the question, what classifies a reason? We say, its reason is when Allâh is mentioned, but the scholars differ on when this actually is. Some say this means whenever the name of Allâh is mentioned in the Tashahhud (you raise your finger every time Allâh’s name is mentioned). Whilst others say, it is only when the Kalimah Laa Ilâha Illallâh is said that one raises his finger. This is the difference between the scholars; however, the Sunnah teaches us that one should raise his finger only during the time of Du’ah, since the wording of the Hadith is “He moved it (the finger) while supplicating with it.(Imam Ahmad, An-Nasa’i, Al-Bayhaqi and Ibn Khuzaymah)

However, both moving the finger as well as not moving the finger have been reported in different Hadiths. The answer to this is easy, and it is that the Hadiths mentioning not moving the finger is while pointing, (this means not moving it all the time non-stop). And as for the Hadiths that mention moving the finger then this refers to moving it during the time of making Du’ah only. So whenever you make Du’ah move (raise) your finger, and this is closer to the Sunnah.(Ash-Sharh Al-Mumti’ ‘ala Zaad Al-Mustaqni’)

Here, Uthaymin combined between narrations like Al-Bayhaqi did saying in essence that there is a time to move and a time not to move the finger. That one moves it to raise it when making a supplication and not continuously while pointing.

Permanent Continuous Practice or A Single Practice?

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The words narrated by Ibn Az-Zubayr (and that he did not move it) indicate a permanent and continuous practice of the Prophet (saw) saying,

“The Prophet (saw) used to point with his finger (in Tashahhud) and he would not move it.”

Whereas the narration of Wa’il bin Hujr, reflects an isolated case of an act which was done in only one Salah. This understanding of his statement can be clearly seen from Ibn Hujr’s own words when he said,

“I will certainly look at the Salah of the Prophet (saw)…”

He then went on to describe the movement of the finger in Tashahhud.

Relieving the Narration of Ibn Az-Zubayr from Weakness

Shaykh Al-Albani (and Ibn Qayyim) report that the addition of the Hadith of Abdullah ibn Zubayr “and he (the Prophet) did not move it” is weak because it

1. has some weakness in the chain (Ibn Ijlan)

but not much

2. the addition is irregular

but not extremely irregular like that of Za’ida and

3. it contradicts the narration found in Al-Bayhaqi and Ibn Hibban that he (saw) did move it.

However, once we rule out that its weakness is not enough to reject it, that its irregularity is acceptable by Albani’s terms (because pointing with it does not negate keeping it still) then we will see that it does not contradict the single narrator (Za’ida) which itself is very strange and thus it (the addition of Ibn Ijlan and that he would not move it) is a much stronger evidence than that of Za’ida (that he, peace and blessings be upon him, would move it) especially when some of the scholars have reconciled between the Hadith like Al- Bayhaqi and Ibn Uthaymin.

However, it doesn’t matter if it contradicts the Hadith of Al-Bayhaqi if the narration of Bayhaqi is extremely strange and thus weak and rejected (as mentioned by Shaykh Muqbil and Arna’ut) thus relieving the Hadith of Abdullah ibn Zubayr from its weakness because it no longer contradicts something presumed to be sound and if it does contradict, then it contradicts a weaker narration and the Hadith of Abdullah bin Zubayr is graded as Sahih

14

Position of the Hand in Salah

by Imam An-Nawawi and it is well known that when something strong contradicts something weak then which of the two takes precedence. Just like the statement of an Innovator (like Abi Ishaq Al-Huwayni) who’s testimony is rejected and cannot be used as an evidence when butted up against a great scholar who’s known for his deep knowledge and Trustworthiness like Muhammad bin Salih (Al-Uthaymin) and the narration which he mentioned from Imam Ahmad or the one narrated by Imam Maalik with regards to the clenching of the fist.

Leaving Something for the Sake of Doubt or for the Sake of Allah

Lastly, Al-Albani (known for his efforts in striving with regard to perfecting the sunnah) is not infallible and if he got it wrong then he still receives one reward because the matter is difficult. However, not a single one of those who encourage the movement of the finger believe that it is an obligation but rather that it is a Sunnah (recommended act) and it could be left either for

1. the sake of doubt since it is not required or

2. for the sake of Allah who will replace it with something better than it (as Albani stated when discussing leaving the non-obligatory fast if it falls on a Saturday).

And here it should be noted that the raising of the finger should be a continuous raising due to the wording of the Hadith in this regard which indicates that the raising was a continuous raising such as the phrase:

“Supplicating with it”

Supplication While Pointing

In addition to this it is narrated that the Prophet (saw) sometimes supplicated by raising his forefinger and the most common example is the pointing of the finger while supplicating (by the Imam) on the day of Al-Yawmul Jumu’ah. Moreover, when supplicating in the Tashahhud one points as well as what was mentioned by our Shaykh Sayfur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri in his Seerah of the Prophet (saw) when he said that in the house of Aisha,

“he (the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him) either lifted up his hands or pointed his forefinger toward the heaven. His voice was weak, but Aisha could hear him speak as he raised his eyes and repeated three times…”

and then he (the Prophet) supplicated.

15

Position of the Hand in Salah

Or when on the Mountain when he (saw) asked the people what they had to say and they bore witness that he (saw) had conveyed the message in its entirety before raising his forefinger, pointing to the sky with it, invoking Allah, asking Him (the Most High to bear witness to their statement. And at no other time did he bob it nor was he (saw) seen moving it.

Also it can be found in the narration of Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas that,

“The Messenger of Allah (saw) passed by me when I was supplicating with my fingers and he said, ‘Use only one, use only one.’ And he pointed with his forefinger.” (Collected by Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i and others about which Al- Hakim and Shaykh Al-Albani declared it Sahih).

About which it was the opinion of Abu Dawud that this took place outside of prayer (although An-Nasa’i disagreed and Allah knows best which of them it was).

And this is the opinion of Imam Maalik and it is reported that he would raise it until the end of the sitting because the sitting is continuous supplication and as Shaykh Muhammad bin Salih Al-Uthaymin mentioned that the worshiper should raise it when supplicating and the entire sitting is a supplication except for the Shahaddatayn which is not a supplication and this is proof that the one who raises it and lowers it when mentioning the name of Allah is incorrect because the raising and the lowering is linked to the supplicating and not to the mentioning of Allah’s Glorious Name and this is a well know Hanafi opinion.

However, I do not say that it should not be raised when making the Testification and mentioning Allah’s Name because the primary purpose is to signify the Oneness (and this is proven) and then to increase the chance of the supplication being accepted like the raising of the palms toward the heavens.

Furthermore, there is no proof in the Ahadith that the Messenger of Allah (saw) or any of his Companions lowered it after raising it and Allah knows best. So I request proof from the one who raises it only at this point to produce a proof that he (the Prophet) would lower it because all the narrations indicate that he would raise it and not a single one of them mention that he would lower it.

Conclusion

In conclusion I say, the addition to the narration is

1. Strange; and

2. the basic principle is to reject it but not just strange from the 13 narrators but also from the other 7 Companions who narrated Ahadith in this regard making it

16

Position of the Hand in Salah

3.

not just strange but very strange and it is

4.

much stranger than the opposing narration (that he would not move it).

5.

It contradicts 3 other narrations that specifically state very clearly that he would not move it.

6.

Those who wish to support this very odd addition by using other weak narrations are baseless

7.

There is no indication that he moved it other than this exceptionally strange addition but rather that he pointed with it and that this pointing is hard upon Shaytan.

8.

Imam Ahmad added that it should be done vigorously and these are his own words.

9.

The narration of Al-Bayhaqi and Ibn Hibban can be understood in a different way and was

10.

only one single occasion (as he said “verily I will watch how the Messenger prays”) as opposed to the narration of Abdullah ibn Umar who said “that is what he (the Prophet) used to do” indicating a continuous practice (without the addition of moving it).

11.

Moving it contradicts the principle of being at ease and humble during the Salah and

12.

it is not narrated that he (the Prophet) would bob his finger at any other time when indicating the Oneness of Allah (whether inside or outside the prayer).

13.

It opposes the Majority scholarly opinion and

14.

I have yet to see an indication that the movement that was seen was in fact a bobbing movement and it is

15.

more likely that the movement was a left to right movement (with the palm inboard) in accordance with Imam Maalik’s opinion and my reasoning for this is that it is supported by the practice of the People of Madinah (as appose to bobbing up and down which I have yet to see any support for).

16.

And can be left due it not being something obligatory for fear of doubt while hoping

17.

That leaving it for the sake of Allah that He will replace it with something better than it

and it is for these reasons that I say the proof indicates not to move it, except when moving it to raise it as Al-Bayhaqi and Uthaymin stated and if one insists upon moving it continuously then it may be closer to correct that he moves it the way Maalik and the People of Madinah moved it nearly 1400 years ago (with the hand resting upon its side moving the finger left to right as appose to up and down) and Allah knows best.

17

Position of the Hand in Salah

When to Raise and When Not to Raise One’s Finger

Third, with regards to raising it between the prostrations, Shaykh Al-Albani labeled the raising of the finger during the sitting between the Sujud as a Bid’ah in his detailed research regarding the placing of the hands back on the chest after Ru’ku and he based this opinion upon two arguments:

1. that there are general Hadith and there are specific Hadith in this regard and that the specific Hadith clarify the general in accordance with the science of Usul ul-Fiqh specifically the rule of Particularization and

2. that from the specific Ahadith there were some that were weak, specifically the hadith of Abdur-Razzak (“If a person says that Abdur-Razzaq narrated from Thawri from ‘Aasim… up until he said, “from the apparent meaning of the narration it indicates that the pointing was in the sitting between the two Sajdah, due to him saying after mentioning the pointing: ‘Then he prostrated’…”)

So regarding the Principle of Particularization, he (Albani) mentioned in Usul ul-Fiqh…

“The principle of carrying the Mutlaq (Unrestricted) upon the Muqayid (Restricted) is reported in the science of Usul ul-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.” (Silsilah Ahadith As-Sahihah)

Then there is the statement of the Noble Scholar and Great Usuli, Shaykh Abdur-Rahman bin Nasir As-Sa’di,

“Thus, IF THERE DOES NOT EXIST any contradiction between the ‘Aam (General) and the Khaass (Specific) texts, then each of them are independently acted upon. However, if a contradiction is presumed, then the ‘Aam (General) is specified and delineated by the Khaas (Specific).” (Risaalah Lateefah Jaami’ah Fi Usulil Fiqhil-Muhimmah)

And the statement of Shaykh Muhammad bin Salih Al-Uthaymin (a Great Usuli in his own right) who said:

“The first wording is general and the second is specific, and THE RULE IS THAT MENTIONING THE SPECIFIC IN A RULING THAT AGREES WITH THE GENERAL DOES NOT NECESSITATE PARTICULARIZATION. An example of this is that one man says to another, ‘You should respect students of knowledge.’ And he says to him, ‘You should respect Muhammad, and

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Position of the Hand in Salah

Muhammad is one of the students of knowledge.’ This DOES NOT necessitate that he does not respect the other students of knowledge. The scholars of Usul have written about this, and Ash-Shaykh Ash-Shanqeeti, may Allah have mercy on him, has mentioned it in Al-Adhwa Al-Bayan. But if he said, ‘You should respect the students,’ then he said, ‘Do not respect those who sleep in the lessons,’ this necessitates particularization, because it was mentioned with a ruling which contradicts the general ruling.” (Fatawa Arkan ul-Islam Vol. 2, No. 252, pg. 481)

So here we see that the general and the specific Ahadith (of raising the finger when sitting and raising the finger when sitting in Tashahhud) do not contradict each other and therefore each of them are to acted upon independently according to Shaykh As-Sa’di mentioned in his book on Usul ul-Fiqh. Likewise, it DOES NOT require any particularization or specification because they do not conflict as Shaykh Al-Uthaymin and Shaykh Ash-Shanqeeti mentioned in their books all of whom were masters in the Science of Fiqh.

Not only that but pointing it when sitting in Tashahhud does not negate pointing it when sitting between the Sujud in accordance with the principle Albani used when stating that pointing with the finger in Tashahhud does not negate movement.

And it is for these reasons that the first argument is rejected, mainly that it in fact contradicts the Principle in this regard and cannot be applied here (thus the second argument is baseless).

Weakness of the Hadith of Abdur-Razzak

Regarding the second argument and that is that the specific Hadith of Abdur-Razzak is weak then this is assuming that the authentication of this Hadith escaped

1. Imam Ahmad,

2. Abdul-Qadir Al-Jilani who authenticated it,

3. Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah and

4. the Commentator of his Book who verified it, as well as

5. Shaykh Ash-Shawkani and

6. Shaykh Ash-Shanqeeti,

7. Shaykh As-Sa’di and

8. Shaykh Al-Uthaymin and the scholars who agreed with him and preceded him in mentioning this.

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Position of the Hand in Salah

Furthermore, even if the Hadith is weak (which we have addressed its slight weakness in the portion regarding the Vigorous Movement due to him being alone in reporting it – which he wasn’t because he was supported by Ibn Al-Walid, who could have possibly made a mistake and that one other person who was stronger than him contradicted him) it is not necessary in this regard to use it as a proof so long as we have a general Hadith to return to namely that he (saw) would point “while sitting” (as mentioned above).

In other words even without the narration of Abdur-Razzak the pointing of the finger between the Sujud is still proven by several other proofs and indications.

Improper Analogical Deduction between the Right and the Left

We cannot make Qiyaas us-Sahih (by not raising the right hand the way the left hand is not raised) when there is a general Hadith established as Shaykh As-Sa’di said,

“Qiyaas is only resorted to when there exists no text. So this Asl (Fundamental Principle) is turned to when there exists no other source. And Qiyaas supports the text (and does not oppose it). Thus, all that the texts that the Lawgiver has given rulings to, then they are in agreement with the Qiyaas, not in opposition to it.” (Risaalah Lateefah Jaami’ah Fi Usulil Fiqhil- Muhimmah)

And since we have a text (that is general) then we must return to it as it is the Asl or Foundation regarding sitting in the Salah.

And saying that you don’t raise it when you have a general Hadith that says you should raise it contradicts the evidence.

Challenging the one who Claims the Right Hand Should be Laid Flat

Furthermore, Shaykh Muhammad bin Salih Al-Uthaymin has challenged those who reject this position saying,

“And whoever said that he did not move it, we say to him, ‘Then what did he do with the right hand? If you say that he used to spread it on his right thigh, then we request you to provide an evidence, for it has not been reported in the Ahadith that he used to spread his right hand on his thigh. And if he had spread it (and here is the same argument Albani used regarding there being so many narrations about placing the hands upon the chest in general), the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, would have made clear that he did so as they made clear that he (saw) used to spread his left hand on his left thigh.”

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Position of the Hand in Salah

What is the Majority Opinion?

Here, we want to mention what the Majority of the scholars have understood with a similar issue and it is the placing of the hands back on the chest after the Ruku’ (and how appropriate that we mention it here for it was the original refutation made by Shaykh Al- Albani).

So form them it is the statement of the Muhaddith, our Shaykh Muhammad bin Hadi Al- Madkhali when he said,

“That which is apparent to me is that it holds the same ruling as placing the hands on the chest before Ruku’, due to the generality of his (the Prophet’s) statement, ‘The people were ordered to place the right hand over the left while standing (in Salah). The standing is generalized whether before Ruku’ or after Rukubecause it is a standing and Allah knows best. The person that differentiates regarding this, upon him is the burden of proof, because this Hadith is regarding the origin of standing, and prayer is standing, Ruku, Sujud and sitting. As for Sujud, then where to place the hands was clarified, and for the Ruku, the placing of the hands has been clarified! Nothing left except the standing, and there is no difference between before and after the Ruku’ – it’s all standing. And its placing of the hands is on the chest. ‘Let the one put his right upon the left on his chest just as it was narrated from Ibn Hujr…”

Or that which was asked of the Noble Shaykh Zayd bin Hadi Al-Madkhali by his son (Abu Hatim Ali bin Zayd) when he asked,

“If someone prays behind an Imam who does not raise his hands when going into Ru’ku do those following him in prayer likewise oppose the Sunnah in following?

The Shaykh responded,

“Those praying behind him should follow the Sunnah even if the Imam does not raise his hands. Those praying behind him who have knowledge of this Sunnah should do it, even if the Imam does not do so. They should teach the Imam.”

And in another sitting Shaykh Zayd was asked,

“Where do we put our hands after Ru’ku if the Imam does one of these two things, even if we are of the opinion of something else (differing with the Imam in his opinion)?”

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Position of the Hand in Salah

He responded,

“Firstly, your opinion is irreverent. Your opinion is only acknowledged if you are from the People of Knowledge, in any case it is an issue which has room for maneuver who ever does has does something good because that is the Asl and you are returning back to the origin. However, whoever puts it back down to his side you do not accuse or blame this person, it is an affair in which there is room for disagreement.”

In addition it was discussed in Al-Furu’ by Ibn Muflih (1/433); Al-Insaaf by Al-Mirdaawi, (2/63); Sharh Muntaha Al-Iraadaat (1/185); and Ash-Sharh Al-Mumti’ by Ibn Uthaymin,

(3/146).

The Hadith scholar Shaykh Badi’ ul-Din As-Sindi wrote a paper specifically on this topic in which he supported the opinion that it is Sunnah to place the right hand on the left forearm after standing up from Ruku’ in his, Ziyaadat Al-Khushu’ bi Wad’ Al-Yumna ‘ala’l- Yusra Ba’d Al-Ru’ku.

Shaykh Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah ibn Baz also wrote a paper on this topic, in which he supported the idea of putting the hands on the chest after standing up from Ru’ku in which he said,

“It is authentically reported in the Hadith related by Wa'il Ibn Hujr on the authority of An-Nasa'i with an authentic chain of narrators that: ‘Whenever the Prophet (saw) stood up in Salah, he used to place his right hand on his left one’ (Muslim no. 401, Nasa’i no. 887, Abu Dawud no. 726)

And

“The statement of Imam Ibn Abdul-Bar proves that placing the right hand on the left hand during standing in Salah is the opinion adopted by the majority of scholars.”

And

“…On the contrary, it is obvious through the authentic Hadiths mentioned above that it is an act of Sunnah to hold one’s hands in both cases.” (Majmu’ Fatawa Ibn Baz Vol. 11 Chapter: Description of Salah)

So how about the one who comes about and says that it is a Bid’ah or that it has no origin in the Sunnah or something exactly like it (raising of the finger when sitting)?

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Position of the Hand in Salah

Qiyaas us-Sahih Actually Encourages Raising between Prostrations Rather than Placing it Flat upon the Thigh

And here we could say all the same things about the sitting with regard to the position of the hands being clarified in all other pillars of the prayer so we return to the Asl when there is no Clear and Specific narration.

Then it is the Hadith narrated on the authority of Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas that,

“The Messenger of Allah (saw) passed by me when I was supplicating with my fingers and he said, ‘Use only one, use only one.’ And he pointed with his forefinger.” (Collected by Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i and others about which Al- Hakim and Shaykh Al-Albani declared it Sahih).

Also it is authentically reported that the Messenger (saw) used to point while supplicating over the people on the Day of Al-Jumu’ah. Furthermore it’s also correct to point with the finger during supplication and remembrance in Salah (Wablul Ghamamah Fi Sharh ul- Umdah Li Ibn Qudaamah) about which Shaykh Abdur-Razzaq ibn Abdul-Mushin ibn Hammad Al-Abbad Al-Badr said,

“Raising the right finger when supplicating is an established act Sunnah…”

in the

So long as the people understand that the raising of the finger in the Tashahhud refers to signifying the Oneness of Allah (in the Shahaddah) and not what the Companion Abdullah ibn Umar mentioned (which is that it is to be raised for the sake of supplication when he said “…supplicating with it,”) then one will not realize that between the Sajdatayn there is also supplication (namely asking Allah to forgive oneself) and thus the worshipper raises it in accordance with the evidences while hoping that by raising it, it will repel the Shaytan, be hard on him like a fort of iron it will signify the Oneness of Allah thus increasing the chance of Allah accepting his supplication.

Raising During the Sitting of Rest

“…So in the first wording ‘he sat’ includes all sittings in the prayer, like the sitting between the two Sajdah and the 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!!” (Albani in Silsilah Ahadith As-Sahihah)

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Position of the Hand in Salah

As for pointing in the sitting that is well known to the scholars as the “sitting of rest,” (immediately before standing) then there is no pointing in it as this is excluded due to the fact that

1. the pointing of the finger is linked to the making of supplication and there is no supplication in this brief sitting, and

2. it is specifically mentioned what the Messenger of Allah would do with his hands during this sitting that he (the Prophet) would use his hands to “prop himself up.” Likewise,

3. this is a short sitting just long enough to say that one has sat “and he would make this sitting as short as possible.

And therefore based upon these reasons it becomes clear that one should not raise his finger during this sitting because,

1. it is known what the hands should be doing during this time;

2. there is no supplication and

3. the shortness of the sitting

The Full Statement of Uthaymin Regarding the Raising of the Finger

“With regard to the left hand, it should be laid flat with all the fingers hand close together and pointing towards the qiblah and the edge of the elbow should be at the end of the thigh, meaning that he should not hold it away from the body; rather it should be resting on the thigh.

As for the right hand, the Sunnah indicates that he should clench the pinkie finger and ring finger, make a circle with the thumb and middle finger, and raise the forefinger, moving it when saying the Du’ah. This is what it says in the reports from Imam Ahmad of the Hadith of Wa’il ibn Hujr, with an Isnad of which the author of Al-Fath Al-Rabbaani said is Jayyid (3/147). The commentator on Zaad Al-Ma’ad said that it is Sahih (1/231), and that was also the view of Ibn Al-Qayyim.

As for the Fuqaha’, they said that the right hand should be laid flat when sitting between the two prostrations, like the left hand, BUT FOLLOWING THE SUNNAH IS BETTER (emphasis mine), and IT IS NOT NARRATED IN THE SUNNAH IN ANY HADITH, whether it be Sahih (Sound), Da’if (Weak) or Hasan (Good) that the right hand should be spread out on the right thigh. Rather, it is narrated that it should be clenched; the pinkie finger and ring finger should be clenched, and a circle should be made with the thumb and

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Position of the Hand in Salah

middle finger, or the middle finger should also be clenched, and the thumb should be clenched with it when sitting in prayer. Thus it was narrated in general terms, and in some versions it says, “when he sits for the Tashahhud.” Both versions appear in Sahih Muslim. So when we take the phrase “when he sits in prayer,” we say: This is general and applies to all sittings, and the words “when he sits for the Tashahhud” in some versions do not refer to that specific point in the prayer, because we have a principle which was mentioned by the scholars of usool, and among those who always mentioned it was Ash- Shawkani in Nayl Al-Awtaar and Ash-Shanqeeti in Adwa’ Al-Bayaan, among others, who say that if there is a report stating that the ruling is broadly application and there is another report which mentions that ruling in a specific situation, that does not mean that the second report is specifying and limiting the application of the ruling mentioned in the first report; rather the specifying and limiting is to be understood as applying when a report refers to specific situations with a ruling different from that which is applicable in regular situations.

An example of the first is if I tell you: honor the students. This is general in meaning and includes all students. Then I tell you: honor So and so - who is one of the students. Does this imply that I should not honor other students? The answer is no, but it implies that there is a particular reason why I singled him out for mention.

And an example of the second is if I say: honor the students, then I say: do not honor So and so who is one of the students. This is specifying, because in the first case I mentioned So and so, so as to apply a ruling to him that is applicable to everyone, because he is one of the students, but in the second case, I mentioned him so as to apply a ruling different from the ruling that is applicable to everyone. Hence they say when defining specification in the context of a ruling that is different or when excluding some from that ruling:

therefore a different ruling must be applied to them. But if the ruling that applies to these is the same ruling as is applicable to the others, the majority of scholars of usool think that it does not indicate exclusivity for this group, as stated by the author of Adwa’ Al-Bayaan. This is clear, as in the examples that we have given. Based on this, the fact that some of the versions of the Hadith of Ibn ‘Umar which refer to clenching the hand in the Tashahhud only does not mean that this is the only point in the prayer in which that is to be done,

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Position of the Hand in Salah

because there are other reports which state that this is to be done in any sitting in the prayer.” (Ash-Sharh Al-Mumti’, 3/177)

Responding to those who Claim there is No Origin

So if it is responded,

“Well what are your evidences that he did raise it?” Then we respond with that which we have previously mentioned. Namely,

1.

It is the general Ahadith ‘when sitting’; also

2.

the apparent meaning of the Hadith (which we don’t deviate away from except when it is impossible to harmonize the narrations);

3.

the fact that the first sitting is like the second sitting, and

4.

that hat you cannot apply here the ruling of Specification and Particularization, as well as the fact that

5.

you must return to the Ahadith before relying on Qiyaas us-Sahih because there exists a (general) text (not to mention a authentically verified specific one) that we must return to, and Ijtihaad (which is not a decisive evidence) so that it does not contradict the (general) Hadith in this case and the Principles (which are decisive evidences). Also,

6.

Qiyaas us-Sahih actually contradicts this because it would make more sense that one would raise it between the Sujud then it does that one would flatten it (due to the fact that the Hadith supports the former and contradicts the latter). In addition to this

7.

it contradicts the Principle that they must be acted upon individually (when not contradicting) and it is that

8.

we return to the Asl of raising the finger when sitting (and supplicating) as mentioned with regard to placing the hands on the chest after Ruku.

9.

It is the Majority opinion to place the hands back on the chest after Ruku’ and the two cases are almost identical

10.

The challenge presented

11.

The lack of evidence to do otherwise

Thus the evidence for this issue, and where it is origin is to be found is made clear to you, gentle reader, and I say that raising it has a precedent in the Sunnah removing it from being labeled as a Bid’ah and is actually something recommended for the one who hopes to increase the chance of his supplication being accepted, the same way the traveler hopes by raising his palm to the sky and this position has preceded us by Great Scholars of the Science of Fiqh and Allah knows best.

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Position of the Hand in Salah

The Manner of Making a Circle with the Thumb and Middle Fingers

With regards to the ring formed by the thumb and the middle finger then we wanted to mention the reports so from them there is,

Sufyan Ath-Thawri who said: “then he pointed with his index finger, putting the thumb to the middle finger to make a ring with them” (Al-Musannaf 2/68-69);

Sufyan ibn Uyayna said: “he joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring, and pointed with his index finger” (Ahmad, 4/318);

Shu’ba ibn Al-Hajjaj said: “he pointed with his index finger, and formed a ring with the middle one” (Ahmad, 4/319);

Qays ibn Al-Rabi’ said: “then he joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring, and pointed with his index finger” (Tabarani, 22/33-34);

Abd Al-Wahid ibn Ziyad Al-‘Abdi said: “he made a ring with a finger, and pointed with his index finger” (Ahmad, 4/316);

Abdullah ibn Idris Al-Awdi said: “he had joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring, and raised the finger between them to make Du’ah in the Testification of Faith” (Ibn Majah, 1/295);

Zuhayr ibn Mu’awiyah said: “and I saw him (‘Asim) say, ‘Like this,’ and Zuhayr pointed with his first index finger, holding two fingers in, and made a ring with his thumb and second index (middle) finger.” (Ahmad, 4/318-19);

Bishr ibn Al-Mufaddal said: “and I saw him (‘Asim) say, ‘Like this,’ and Bishr joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring, and pointed with his index finger” (Abi Dawud, 1/251);

Khalid ibn Abdullah Al-Wasiti: “then he joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring, and pointed with his index finger” (Bayhaqi, 2/131).

All of these narrators are Thiqat (Reliable), and all heard from ‘Asim ibn Kulayb but NOT A SINGLE ONE of them said that the Prophet (saw) put the tip of his thumb on the tip of his middle finger the way we see individuals doing today.

Ibn Az-Zubayr narrating from his father who said,

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Position of the Hand in Salah

“When the Messenger of Allah (saw) sat for supplication, i.e. Tashahhud, he placed his right hand on his right thigh and his left hand on his left thigh, and pointed with his forefinger, and placed his thumb on his middle finger, and covered his knee with the palm of his left hand.” (Sahih Muslim, 1/1202)

As-Sayyid Sabiq said,

“Wa’il ibn Hajr reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) would place his left palm on his left thigh and knee. He would place the end of his right elbow upon his right thigh and would then close his right hand, forming a circle. In another narration it states, he would make a circle with his middle finger and thumb and point with his index finger, and (Wa'il) saw him moving it to make supplications (related by Ahmad).” (Fiqh us-Sunnah, Vol. 1, pg. 157)

In his notes to Mishkat Al-Masabih, Al-Albani has discussed the Hadith of Wa’il ibn Hajr and of Ibn Az-Zubayr. He said that the first Hadith has a Sahih chain (That of Wa’il that he would move it). The narrators of the latter Hadith (that of Ibn Az-Zubayr that he would not move it) are all trustworthy. Muhammad ibn Ijlan (a narrator in the chain going back to Ibn Az-Zubayr) has some weakness due to his memory, but his memory was not so poor as to drop to the rank of Hasan.

However, it is found in Imam Maalik’s Muwatta that Yahya related from Maalik from Muslim ibn Abi Maryam that Ali ibn Abdur-Rahman Al-Muawi said,

“Abdullah ibn Umar saw me playing with some small pebbles in the prayer. When I finished he forbade me, saying, ‘Do as the Messenger of Allah (saw), used to do.’ I said, ‘What did the Messenger of Allah (saw) do?’ He said, ‘When he sat in the prayer, he placed his right hand on his right thigh and closed (or clenched) his fist and pointed his index finger, and he placed his left hand on his left thigh. That is what he used to do.” (Chapter 3, Prayer Hadith no. 51)

and Shaykh Muhammad bin Salih Al-Uthaymin who said,

“Also there is a particular Hadith in this matter which was reported by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad with a chain of narrators about which the author of Al- Fath Ar-Rabbaani (and he is Al-Imam Abdul-Qadir Al-Jilani d. 561 H) said its chain of narrators is Hasan (3/147) and one of the commentators on Zaad ul- Ma’ad (by Ibn ul-Qayyim d. 751 H) said its chain of narrators is authentic:

When the Messenger of Allah (saw) sat between the two prostrations he

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Position of the Hand in Salah

(saw) would make a fist and point with the forefinger.” (Arkan ul-Islam Vol. 2 no. 252 pg. 481)

Also Imam An-Nasa’i said,

“Chapter 33: Clenching the Fingers of the Right Hand Apart from the Forefinger”

and then he narrated many Ahadith saying “and made a circle with the thumb and the middle finger (or something similar)” so his understanding of the circle made was a circle that involved “clenching.”

Reconciling the Ahadith

So the one who says:

“But other narrations say he made a circle with the thumb and middle ”

finger

Then I ask you, “is this the only way to make a circle with the thumb and the middle finger?” Do you not still have a circle or a ring between the thumb and the middle finger when you make a natural fist (and clench it) as indicated in the above mentioned Ahadith?

Is this not the same principle that Shaykh Al-Albani used when he stated that just because one narration indicates that he raised it doesn’t mean that he didn’t move it (which we will mention later Insha’Allah). And it doesn’t mean that the Ahadith are contradicting because they can be reconciled and so we don’t say that one can do either (clench a fist or use the tips) in this case but rather he should collectively take the Ahadith the same way Al-Albani did in his famous book Sifat Salaat un-Nabi and if he were to do so then he would arrive at the same conclusion as Imam An-Nasa’i and clench his fingers apart from the pointing one.

Then the investigator will find that there is no contradiction in the Ahadith, but rather the contradiction is in the understanding of the reader and in his inability to reconcile between the Ahadith. And it is not my (the Author’s) understanding of the Hadith but rather it is the statement of Imam Ahmad and it is the statement of Imam An-Nasa’i, Abdul-Qadir Al-Jilani, Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, Shaykh Muhammad bin Salih Al-Uthaymin amongst others.

How can these Hadith be reconciled?

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Position of the Hand in Salah

The Principle is that the Bones Should be Relaxed

In the Salah are the bones not to be natural and is there anything natural about the way one places his tip of his thumb with the tip of his middle finger?

It’s Against Analogous Deduction and One’s Natural Inclination

Is making a fist not more in-tune with the way of pointing when professing the Shahaddah or do you believe that when the Messenger (saw) or his companions (ra) pointed to signify the Oneness of Allah or pointed to the sky indicating that He is high above (whether it be in the Hadith of Juwayriyah, or whether it be in the Hadith of the Messenger (saw) when he pointed to the skies and said: “bear witness that I have conveyed the message in its entirety”) that he did so by placing the tip of his thumb on the tip of his middle-finger or is this in-tune with the natural way of pointing at any other thing, whether it be a boy or a ball or a cup or anything else for that matter? Is it in-tune with the way the Imam points his finger while supplicating for the Jama’ah on Friday or does he put the tip of his thumb on the tip of his middle finger?

In conclusion one finds that not only is there

1. NO indication that he did make a ring in that manner but it also

2. contradicts the narrations, and

3. the Ahadith should be understood collectively;

4. it contradicts the principle regarding the Salah of the bones being natural and

5. Qiyaas us-Sahih as well as

6. one’s natural inclination when pointing and any other thing in existence or making the number ‘one’

and indeed Allah knows best.

And it is for these reasons that I say,

based on the proof it is incorrect to make a circle the way Abi Ishaq Al-Huwayni narrated that he saw Albani doing it. Huwayni has been declared an Innovator by many and he’s not on the same level as Shaykh Uthaymin with regards to his knowledge nor with regard to his trustworthiness nor with regard to those preceding him in this affair. So for the one who makes Taqlid and follows the Scholar he trusts then he too should accept this position in accordance with what has been mentioned above.

Lastly, if it is indeed true that Shaykh Al-Albani did it in this manner then this was his understanding of the Hadith and every one of us is either correct or corrected and that is why this religion isn’t based on Party Partisanship but rather it’s based upon proofs Wal-

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Position of the Hand in Salah

Hamdullillah! And this is a statement by which I seek the Face of Allah. So let the one who hates it hate it and let the one with a diseased heart indulge and I complain to Allah from the accusations that they make (that by this I intent to refute or equate myself with Albani) and I seek refuge in Allah from my mistakes and the People of the Hellfire.

Harun Abdul-Hadi Al-Amreeki

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1434 AH