Placing hand in Salah (Qiyam)

Madhab Hanafi:

Hajjaj ibn al-Hassan relates, either I heard Abu Mijlaz saying or I inquired from him, "How should one position his hands [during prayer]?" He replied, "He should place the inner portion of his right hand upon the back of the left one beneath the navel." [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 1:390] The transmission of this hadith is sound [hasan], as Allama Mardini states in his book al-Jawhar al-naqiyy.

Ibrahim al-Nakhay relates, "One should place his right hand upon the left one beneath the navel whilst in salat." [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 1:390] The transmission of this hadith is also sound [hasan].

Abu Hurayra r.a narrates, "The placing of one hand over the other in salat should be beneath the navel." [al-Jawharal-naqiyy 2:31

Anas r.a reports that there are three aspects from the character of Nubuwwa [Prophethood]: "to open fast early, to delay the suhur [pre-dawn meal], and to position the right hand over the left one beneath the navel while in salah." [al-Jawharal-naqiyy 2:31]

The author of al Durr al Mukhtaar, explaining the Hanafi position says: "For men the hands should be below the navel."

Madhab Maliki:

Imam Malik rah. has three narrations: 1) Not fastening the hands at all but letting them hang at the sides. This is the most famous ruling of his madhab. 2) A choice of fastening or letting them hang at the sides. 3) Placing the hands above the navel but below the chest.

(One of Imam Malik rah. view is that the right hand should not be placed on the left either on the chest or on the navel, rather both the hands should be left on their respective sides. Even there was no hadith to support this view but however, there is a practice of some Sahabah on which Imam Malik rah. has based his view. This is a juristic matter which is subject to different opinions. The three Imams i.e. Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Shafi'i and Imam Ahmad, do not endorse the view of Imam Malik in this regard. Same as moving the finger in tahsyahud which only Imam Malik rah. hold this view)

Madhab Shafi'e:

Imam Shaf
'i rah. says that they should be placed above the navel but below the chest. Imam Nawawi rah. discusses this in his commentary of Muslim saying, 'This is the better known ruling of our Madhab.' He also says in Sharh al Muhaddhab, 'He should place them below his chest and above his navel. This is the correct and clear ruling (of our school).'

Madhab Hanbali:

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal's rah. view is that that hands should be fastened below the navel. This is his most famous narration and is adopted by virtually all the hanbali ulama.

The Hanbali scholar Alaa al Deen al Mardawi writes in his al Insaaf, "He should place his hands below the navel. This is the Madhhab (of the Hanbali's), and upon this are the clear majority of the Hanbali ulama." [al Insaaf 1/46]

Imam Ahmed rah. also has two other narrations: 1) Above the navel but below the chest. 2)A choice of either of the two positions without preference for either.

Sheikh-ul Hadith, Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya rah. quotes the authors of Nail al Maarib, al Anwaar and al Rawdh al Murabb'a in his Awjaz al Masalik and then concludes, "We learn from this that the preferred and secure narration amongst the Hanbali ulama is that of below the navel." [Awjaz al Masalik 3/171]

- Thus, in reality, there are only two positions of fastening the hands: above the navel, and below it. No school of fiqh advocates the fastening of the hands on the chest.

Abu al tayyib al Madani writes in his commentary on Tirmidhi that none of the four Imams adopted the practise of placing the hands on the chest.

Ibn al Qayyim al Jawziyyah rah. also writes in his Badai' al Fawaid, 'It is makrooh (undesirable) to place the hands on the chest in view of the narration that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) forbade takfeer, which is to place the hands on the chest.' (Bada'i al Fawa'id, 3/73)

Matter of hadith placing hands upon the chest and the following of analysis the hadith which often quoted for placing the hands upon the chest.

1. Wail bin Hujr r.a says, "I prayed with the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and he placed his right hand over his left on his chest". (Ibn Khuzaimah, 479)

Imam Nawawi rah. says, "It's isnad is questionable and the additional wording 'on his chest' is inauthentic and not established."

This hadeeth has been reported by Muammal bin Ismaeel from Sufyan al Thawri from Aasim bin Kulaib from Wail bin Hujr rah. However it is only Muammal who reports these additional words from Sufyan al Thawri. Sufyan's other student, Abdullah bin al Waleed who also narrates this hadith from him does not include these words in his narration as recorded in Imam Ahmad's Musnad. (Ahmad 18392)

The other narrators who report the hadeeth together with Sufyan al Thawri from Aasim bin Kulaib have also not included these words in their narrations. Observe the following list of narrators who have al reported the same hadeeth from Aasim bin Kulaib but none of then have included the additional words reported by Muammal bin Ismaeel

• Sh'ubah, Abdul Wahid, and Zubair bin Muawiyah as in Imam Ahmad's Musnad. (Ahmad 18398, 18371 & 18397)

• Zaidah as in Imam Ahmad's Musnad, Darimi, Abu Dawood. Nasai and Baihaqi (Ahmad 18391, Darimi 1357, Abu Dawood 726, Nasai 889 and Baihaqi 2325)

• Bishr bin al Mufaddhal as in Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood and Nasai (Ibn Majah 810, Abu Dawood 726 & 957, and Nasai 1265)

• Abdullah bin Idrees as in Ibn Majah (Ibn Majah 810)

• Salam bin Saleem as in Abu Dawood Tayalisi's Musnad (Abu Dawood Tayalisi 1020)

There are many other chains for this hadith, however, none contain this extra wording. Thus, it is clear that this is Muammal bin Ismaeel's own erroneous addition to the hadith. Ibn al Qayyim al Jawziyyah rah. also says in I'laam al Muwaqqieen, "No one has said upon the chest apart from Muammal bin Ismaeel." (I'ilaam al Muwaqqieen 2/361) Therefore, as Imam Nawawi rah. has concluded in his al Ta'leeq al Hasan, this hadith with the additional wording of `upon his chest` is extremely weak.

It is an accepted principle of hadith that if a certain authentic and reliable narrator contradicts other equally authentic or more reliable 'arrators in his wording of a hadith then his narration will be declared shaadh and will not be accepted. If this is the case with authentic narrators, then an irregular addition of the words 'upon the chest' cannot be accepted from a narrator who, although declared acceptable by some, errs excessively and is weak of memory like Muammal bin Ismaeel. Study the following observations of the scholars of Jarh and T'adeel about Muammal bin Ismaeel:

Abu Hatim says, "He is sadooq, firm in sunnah, but one of many mistakes."

Imam Bukhari says, "Muammal is munkar al hadith" (People who view Imam Bukhari as the ultimate authority in matters of Hadeeth should note his following statement: "It is not permissible to narrate from anyone whom I have labelled munkar al hadeeth." [Mizan al I'itidal. 1/119]

Dhahabi says in al Kashif, "He is sadooq, firm in sunnah, but one of many mistakes. It was also said that he buried his books and narrated by heart and thus erred."

Ibn Sa'd says, "He is thiqah, though one of many mistakes."

Yakub bin Sufyan says, "Muammal Abu Abdul Rahman is a great sunni shaikh. I heard Sulaiman bin Harb praise him. Our shaikhs would advise us to take his hadith, only that his hadith are not like the hadith of his companions. At times it is obligatory upon the people of knowledge to distance themselves from his narrations as he narrates munkar hadith from even his authentic teachers. This is worse for had he narrated these munkar hadith from weak authorities we would have excused him.'

Saji says, "He errs excessively. He is sadooq, but one of many mistakes. He has errors that would take too long to be mentioned."

Muhammad bin Nasr al Marwazi says, "If Muammal alone relates a certain narration then it becomes obligatory to pause and research the hadith as he had a bad memory and erred excessively." (See Tahdheeb al Tahdheeb)

Hafidh Ibn Hajar has made it clear in his Fath al Bari that there is dhaif (weakness) in Muammal bin Ismaeel's narrations from Sufyan (Fath al Bari, 9/297). The above hadith has this very chain of narration.

We must also bear in mind that Sayyiduna Wail Ibn Hujr(ra), the very companion who narrates this hadith, was a resident of Kufa, and the practice of the people of Kufa was to fasten their hands below the navel. There is nothing to suggest that he contravened this practice. Sufyan al Thawri, from whom Muammal narrates this hadith, is himself of the view that the hands should be placed below the navel (Ibn Qudamah in al Mughni 2/23, and others as quoted by the author of Bughyah al Almaee 1/316)

Furthermore, there is another hadeeth narrated by Sayyiduna Wail (ra) himself (quoted above) which says that he saw the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) fasten his hands below the navel.

2. Sayyiduna Hulb (ra) relates, "I saw the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) turn from both his right and left and I also saw him place this upon his chest." Yahya (one of the narrators) described this as being the right hand upon the left above the wrist joint. 292

The above hadith contains the words 'upon his chest'. This extra wording is not firmly established or confirmed, because of all the narrators who report this hadeeth from Simak, only one reports this extra wording.

Observe the following narrations of the same hadith without the extra wording of 'upon his chest'.

• Abu al Ahwas reports from Simak bin Harb from Qabeesah bin Hulb from his father that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) would lead us in prayer and would clasp his left hand with his right.293

• Shareek reports from Simak from Qabeesah bin Hulb from his father who says (towards the end of a longer hadeeth), "I saw him place one of his hands on the other and I also saw him turn once towards his right and once towards his left." 294. Wakee reports from Sufyan from Simak bin Harb from Qabeesah bin Hulb from his father who says, 'I saw the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) place his right hand upon his left in prayer and I also saw him turn away from both his right and left.'295

• Daruqutni narrates from Abdul Rahman bin Mahdi and Wakee', from Sufyan from Simak bin Harb from Qabeesah bin Hulb from his father who says, "I saw the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) place his right hand upon his left in prayer." (Daruqutni 1087)

The above narrations all clearly show that the wording 'upon his chest' is an unreliable addition on the part of one of the reporters and therefore this particular narration is shaadh.

Imam Nawawi rah. adds in his al T'aleeq al Hasan (1/145): "I have a suspicion that the wording of this hadeeth has mistakenly been changed by a writer. The correct words would appear to be "Yadhau hadhihi ala hadhihi", i.e., "he would place this hand upon this hand", and not "hadhihi ala sadrihi", i.e., "this hand upon his chest". Only this wording would be in agreement with the narrators own interpretation of the hadeeth as is stated in the narration "Yahya described this as being the right hand upon the left above the wrist joint". This would also tally with all the other narrations of this hadeeth that do not contain the wording "upon the chest", and would also explain why the following authors have not included this narration in their comprehensive books: Haithami in his Majm'a al Zawaid, Suyuti in his Jam' al Jawami, and Ali al Muttaqi in his Kanz alUmmal. And Allah knows best."

The author of Awn al M'abud also admits that Yahya's commentary does not fit the wording of the hadeeth.


footnote (fn) no. 292 says: Ahmad 21460. Allamah Hashim Sindhi says in Dirham al Surrah p. 113 that both Simak bin Harb and Qabeesah (two of the narrators of this hadeeth) have been disparaged by some of the ulama of jarh and t'adeel.

fn. 293 Ibn Abi Shaibah 3934, Ahmad 21467, Ibn Majah 809 and Tirmidhi 252. Imam Tirmidhi adds that it is a hasan hadeeth.

fn. 294: Ahmad 21464.

fn. 295: Ahmad2146I & 21475. Daruqutni 1087. al T'aleeq al Hasan 1/145

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