The position of the arms during Salah

Q 6: What is the ruling on putting one's hands on one's side or putting one of them over the other during Salah (prayer)?


A: A similar question was sent to His Eminence Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Al Al-Shaykh, (may Allah be Merciful with him). Therefore, we will mention his answer to this question. The answer is as follows:The Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in this regard is to put the right hand over the left one. Al-Bukhari reported in his Sahih on the authority of Sahl ibn Sa`d (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: "The people used to be ordered to place their right hands on their left forearms (in Salah)." It was mentioned in the narration reported by Muslim: "Then, he put his right hand on the back of his left hand." The Hadiths that ordered putting the right hand on the left one are mentioned in many chains of transmission. Al-Tirmidhy and Ibn Majah reported a similar Hadith from Qubaysah ibn Hulb from his father. Al-Tirmidhy said after reporting it that this Hadith is Hasan (a Hadith whose chain of narration contains a narrator with weak exactitude, but is free from eccentricity or blemish.) Ibn `Abdul-Bar mentioned it in Al-Tamhid and Al-Istidhkar on the authority of Ghutayf Ibn Al-Harith. Al-Daraqutny reported it on the authority of Hudhayfah ibn Al-Yaman. Al-Daraqutny also reported it on the authority of Abu Al-Darda' as a Hadith Marfu` (a Hadith narrated from the Prophet with a connected or disconnected chain of narration), and likewise did Ibn Abu Shaybah. Ahmad and Al-Daraqutny reported it on the authority of Jabir. (Part No. 6; Page No. 361)  Abu Dawud reported a similar Hadith on the authority of `Abdullah Ibn Al-Zubayr. Al-Bayhaqy also reported that on the authority of `Aishah. He said that it is a sound Hadith. Al-Daraqutny and Al-Bayyhaqy also reported it on the authority of Abu Hurayrah. Abu Dawud reported it on the authority of Al-Hasan and Tawus as a Hadith Mursal (a Hadith with no Companion of the Prophet in the chain of narration). Al-Nasa'y and Ibn Majah reported it on the authority of Ibn Mas`ud. Ibn Sayyid Al-Nas said that its men are known for their authenticity. Al-Hafizh ibn Hajar said in Al-Fat-h that it has a good chain of transmitters. Al-Tirmidhy said in his book called Al-Jami' after mentioning the Hadith reported on the authority of Qubaysah ibn Hulb from his father: "Scholars from among the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the second generation of the Ummah (nation) and those who followed them worked according to these Hadiths. They believe that one should put his right hand on his left one during Salah. Some of them said that one should put both hands directly above the navel. There is no blame in doing this or that in this regard." It is clear that the Sunnah is to put the right hand on the left one. Therefore, if a person performs Salah putting his hands on his side, then his Salah will be valid, because putting the right hand on the left one is not one of the pillars, obligations, or requirements of Salah. Performing Salah behind an Imam who puts his hands on his side is permissible.Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said: "The so-called jurist from the followers of Madh-habs (Schools of Jurisprudence) who said that it is not permissible to be a follower of an Imam who contradicts them or does anything that brings fault to his Salah according to the followers is from those who support dissension and Bid`ah (innovation in religion). He is also similar to Al-Rawafid, Al-Mu`tazilah and Al-Khawarij who abandon the Sunnah and support dissension and Bid`ah." (Part No. 6; Page No. 362) He added: "Therefore, some exaggerators said that one should not perform Salah behind an Imam who did not raise his hands upon starting the Salah. Some people refused to perform Salah behind an Imam who makes Wudu' with just a little water or he who does not safeguard himself against lesser impurity that does not affect his Salah. There are also many other misguided behaviors that compel the followers of the same Madh-hab to abstain from performing Salah behind each other. This means that a student is not permitted to perform Salah behind his teacher. Consequently, Abu Bakr was not permitted to perform Salah behind `Umar or `Aly behind `Uthman. Al-Muhajirun and Al-Ansar were not permitted to perform Salah behind each other." He also said: "The misguidance and corruption of these Madh-habs are well-known to all Muslims even if some people fail to understand that. The predecessors of the Ummah (nation) from among the Companions and the second generation of the Ummah agreed upon performing Salah behind each other even if they differ with them concerning some of the branches of jurisprudence; the obligations and invalidators of Salah. Whoever forbids the nation from performing Salah behind each other due to differences in these supplementary matters is one of those who commit misguidance and Bid`ah."If a person performs Salah behind someone who puts his hands on his side while he is standing in Salah, his Salah will be valid even though he abandons the Sunnah. He is not a disbeliever.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

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