Hands are not raised before prostration in prayer
Fatwa No: 357529

  • Fatwa Date:2-1-2018 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 15, 1439
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum. The day before yesterday, I asked a question (No. 2669912); it states that I read in Sifat As-Salat that our Prophet sometimes used to raise his hands while prostrating, but it was not described in that book how this is done, i.e. before going into prostration while saying "Allahu Akbar" or between the two prostrations. And it was narrated from ten Companions, including Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn ‘Abbaas, Ibn ‘Umar's freed slave, his son, etc.; and Imams Maalik, Shaafi, and Ahmad declared it to be from the Sunnah, so I want to apply this, but you referred me to fatwas 24038, 86962, 87198, 93785, and 337393. I read all of them, but those did not discuss my question at all, nor did they even touch upon it. So please answer my question!

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

Raising the hands is prescribed while reciting Takbeer (saying Allahu Akbar) in the prayer in four positions: when reciting the opening Takbeer, before bowing, when rising from the bowing, and when standing up straight for the third Rak‘ah (unit of prayer) after the first Tashahhud.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him was asked, "Was it authentically established that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to raise his hands in the prayer in other than the four positions? How to answer to the narration that says that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to raise his hands every time he moved down or moved up?"

He replied:

"The questioner said 'raising the hands in other than the four positions', which calls for clarification. The four positions are the following: when reciting Takbeerat Al-Ihraam (opening Takbeer), before bowing, when rising from the bowing, and when getting up after the first Tashahhud. These positions were mentioned in the authentic report of Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with them, who related that 'the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, raised his hands when he recited Takbeer to start the prayer, when reciting Takbeer for bowing, when saying 'Sami‘a Allahu liman hamidah' (Allah answers the one who praises Him), and when getting up from the first Tashahhud.' Ibn ‘Umar said, 'And he did not do that when prostrating).'

These positions were mentioned in authentic ahadaeeth. As for the other positions in prayer, they were not mentioned in authentic narrations about the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). He did not raise his hands for the prostration or when rising from it. Hence, it is not legislated to raise the hands before prostrating or while rising from it.

As for what was narrated; that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) used to raise his hands every time he moved down or up, Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him verified this narration in his book Zaad Al-Ma‘aad, explaining that this was a mistake by the reporter and that he intended to say that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to recite Takbeer every time he moved down or up, but instead he said, He used to raise his hands every time he moved down or up...' Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with them, was keen on observing the actions of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He actually watched the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, while he was performing the prayer and saw him raise his hands upon reciting the opening Takbeer, bowing, rising from bowing‘, and standing up after the first Tashahhud. It was also him who said, 'He did not do this when prostrating.' This hadeeth is stronger (in terms of authenticity) than the other hadeeth indicating that he, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to raise his hands every time he moved down or up.

It should not be argued that these two ahaadeeth belong to the category of 'affirming and negating' and that the narration that affirms the action takes precedence over the one that negates that action. That is because Ibn ‘Umar's narration is explicit in stating that his negation is not because he did not know about the raising of the hands; rather, he knew about not raising the hands (based on his first-hand observation). He was certain about not raising the hands and decisively stated that he (the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not raise his hands when prostrating. Meanwhile, he decisively stated that the Prophet raised his hands before bowing, when rising from it, when reciting the opening Takbeer, and when standing up after the first Tashahhud. This is not a case where the hadeeth that affirms an action takes precedence over the one that negates it due to the possibility that the reporter who negated the action did not know about this matter. Rather, the reporter (Ibn ‘Umar) negated raising the hands based on his knowledge of the matter and personal observation of it. There is no possibility of ignorance of the matter here. This is an important point to bear in mind in this regard, and Allah knows best." [Fataawa Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen]

In his book Zaad Al-Ma‘aad, Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, wrote regarding the manner in which the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, prostrated:

"Then he would recite Takbeer and prostrate without raising his hands. It was also narrated that he used to raise his hands (in this position). Some Haafith scholars, such as Abu Muhammad ibn Hazm  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him classified this narration as authentic, but that was a plain mistake, and it cannot be accepted as an authentic narration at all. He was confused by the mistake of the narrator, who is trustworthy, but instead of saying, 'He recited Takbeer every time he moved down or up', he said, 'He raised his hands every time he moved down or up.' He (Ibn Hazm) did not identify the narrator's mistake or its reason and therefore declared the hadeeth to be authentic."

He  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him also said regarding the description of the manner of sitting between the two prostrations, "Then the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to raise his head while reciting Takbeer without raising his hands, and he used to raise his head from the ground before his hands. Then he would sit in the Iftiraash position, bending his left leg underneath himself, and sitting on it while erecting his right foot (with its toes pointing towards the Qiblah [prayer direction])."

Based on what was mentioned above, raising the hands was authentically established in the four mentioned positions, and it was not authentically reported that they were raised when going down to prostrate or when sitting between the two prostrations.

Allah knows best.

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