Q 1: Is Jalsat-ul-istirahah (a brief sitting after prostration and before standing during the Prayer) Wajib (obligatory) or a confirmed Sunnah?

A: Scholars have agreed that Jalsat-ul-Istirahah after rising from the second Sujud (prostration) of the first or third Rak`ah and before standing up to offer the following Rak`ah is neither one of the obligatory acts of Salah, nor confirmed Sunnah. However, they differed as to whether it is an act of Sunnah, not an act of Salah at all, (Part No. 6; Page No. 446) or an act of Salah for those in need of it due to old age, sickness, or obesity. According to Al-Shafi`y, one of two opinions of Ahmad, and a group of Hadith Scholars, "It is Sunnah." They find support in the tradition reported by Al-Bukhari and the Compilers of Sunan on the authority of Malik ibn Al-Huwayrith: that He saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) praying and in the odd Rak`ah, he used to sit for a moment before getting up. But the majority of scholars, including Abu Hanifah, and Malik, and the second opinion of Ahmad (may Allah be merciful to them) did not approve of it, because the other Hadith do not mention Jalsat-ul-Istirahah. Furthermore, Jalsat-ul-Istirahah mentioned in the Hadith of Malik ibn Al-Huwayrith may have taken place at the end of the Prophet’s life when he had put on weight or for some other reasons. A third group of scholars reconciled the different Hadith suggesting that the Prophet (peace be upon him) sat [at this point during the prayer] when he needed to. They added that it is prescribed to do this when necessary, not at other times. It appears that it is evidently Mustahab (desirable). As to the other Hadith that do not mention it, they do not prove the nonexistence of this act. The desirability of this act is further supported in two facts: First: The Prophet’s actions are essentially examples to be followed. Second: Jalsat-ul-Istirahah is proven in the Hadith of Abu Humayd Al-Sa`idy related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, with a good chain of transmission. Abu Humayd described the prayer of the Prophet (Part No. 6; Page No. 447) (peace be upon him) in the presence of ten of the Sahabah (the Companions of the Prophet - may Allah be pleased with them), and they confirmed what he said. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.