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Detailed Account of Prayer (Hanafi Madhab)


''Salah according to the Quran and Hadith''

(Taken from the book 'The Salah of a Believer in the Quran and Sunnah' of Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq, with some additions)

Let's start our Salah,

When you wish to begin your prayer, you should make the intention.


Sayyiduna Umar radiallahu anhu narrates, 'Actions are based on intention. For each man will be the reward of what he has intended. So he who has migrated to Allâh and His Rasool sallallahu alaihi wasallam, his will be a migration to Allâh and His Rasool sallallahu alaihi wasallam. As for he who has migrated to a wordly gain which he hopes to acquire, or a woman whom he wishes to marry, then his will be a migration to whatever he has intended.'[1]

Note that when praying in congrega­tion it is necessary to make the inten­tion of following the Imam also. It is reported from Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu as part of a longer hadeeth that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, 'The Imam has been appointed so that he may be followed. Therefore, do not differ from him." [2]

Sayyiduna Jabir bin Abdullah radiallahu anhu nar­rates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, 'The Imam is responsible, therefore whatever he does, you do.' [3]

Both of the above narrations show the position and leadership of the Imam in salâh, and signify that it is not accept­able for one to join a congregation with­out the intention of following the Imam and making him responsible. The fol­lowing narration makes this clear:

Ibrahim al Nakhai [4] said, 'If you join a congregation and do not make the intention of their salâh then yours will be invalid. And if the Imam makes the intention for a salâh and those behind him make an intention for another salâh, his salâh will be valid but not theirs.' [5]

The intention should preferably be made in one's heart and not verbally. It is sufficient to have a definite knowl­edge in the mind about the salâh and the manner in which it is being per­formed. However, some scholars have made concessions for those who are unable to focus themselves or who regu­larly experience doubt unless they pro­nounce the intention.

[1] Bukhari 1 and Muslim 1907

[2] Bukhari 689 and Muslim 411.

[3] Tabarani in al Mu'jam al Awsat as quoted by Hafidh Haithami 2/66. Also reported by Daruqutni 1214. Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani has declared it hasan 2/175. For details of the lives, learning and works of both Hafidh Haithami and Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani see the biographies in the next volume.

[4] For details of his life and learning see the biographies section in the next volume.

[5] Imam Muhammad in Kitab al Aathaar 153.

And raise your hands until they are level with the lobe of your ears. [6]

Sayyiduna Anas radiallahu anhu says, 'I saw Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam say the takbeer and place his thumbs close to his ears. He bowed down into ruku' until each of his joints became motionless, and then descended (into sujűd) with the takbeer. His knees went before his hands'. [7]

In another narration Sayyiduna Anas radiallahu anhu reports, 'When Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam would say the takbeer he would raise his hands until he brought them in line with his ears and then say Subhânak Âllahumma...[8]

Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu says, 'I saw Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam raise his thumbs till his earlobes in salâh.' [9]

The same has been narrated by the noble companions Sayyiduna Baraa bin Azib radiallahu anhu[10], Sayyiduna Malik bin al Huwayrith radiallahu anhu[11]

There are some ahadeeth that mention the hands being raised till the shoulders in the beginning of salâh. It is quite possible that they did this only when they had shawls and cloaks over them in winter and were unable to raise their hands up to their ears from be­neath their cloaks. This is clearly explained by Imam Tahawi in his Sharh Ma'ani al Athaar [12] and confirmed by the following hadeeth: Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu says, 'I saw Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam raise his hands close to his ears when beginning salâh.' He continues, 'I then came to them (the companions, and in one narration, 'in the following year') and saw them raising their hands till their chests in the beginning of salâh - they had cloaks and shawls over them.'[13]

Hafidh Ibn al Humam has another expla­nation. He writes, 'There is no contradiction here. Bringing the thumbs in line with the earlobes also permits the hands being level with the shoul­ders and the ears. This is because the lower part of the hand together with the wrist is parallel with or close to the shoulder, and the hand itself is in line with the ear. Narra­tors who have distinctly mentioned the thumbs being in line with the earlobes have been successful in combining both reports, hence it becomes obligatory to take this into consideration.'[14]

Thus, the meaning of all these different ahadeeth is that when beginning salâh the hands are to be raised to shoulder height with the thumbs level with the earlobes and the fingers in line with the top of the ears. In this way all the different narrations of rais­ing the hands till the shoulders, earlobes, and the top of the ears will be reconciled. This explanation is confirmed by the following hadeeth:

Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu relates that he observed Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam when he stood up for salâh. He raised his hands until they were close to his shoulders, made his thumbs level with his ears, and then pronounced the takbeer. [15]

It is permissible to raise the hands before the takbeer as in the above hadeeth of Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu and in the hadeeth of Sayyiduna Abu Humaid al Saidee quoted later.[16] It is also permissible to raise them together with the takbeer as men­tioned in the hadeeth of Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu recorded by Abu Dawood.[17] Both methods are permissible but the Hanafi ulama have preferred the first option of rais­ing the hands before the takbeer. [18]

[6] This is for men. Women should raise their hands to their shoulders or close to their bosoms..

[7] Hakim 822 and Baihaqi 2632. Hakim clas­sified it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed with him. Hafidh Ibn al Humam quotes Ibn at Jawzi in Fath al Qadeer 1/287 as saying that all of its narrators are authentic. For details of Hafidh Ibn al Humam's life, learning and works see the biographies section in the next volume.

[8] Abu Ya'laa 3735, Tabarani in al Mu'jam al Awsat as quoted by Hafidh Haithami 2/ 107. Hafidh Haithami adds that its narrators are authentic. Also reported by Daruqutni 1135. Ibn Qudamah says in al Mughni 2/27 that its narrators are all authentic

[9] Imam Abu Hanifah as quoted in Jam'i al Masaneed 1/412. Also reported by Ibn Abi Shaibah 2410, Ahmad 18370, Abu Dawood 737, Nasai in his al Mujtaba 882 and his al Sunan al Kubra 956, Ibn al Jarood in al Muntaqa 202, Ibn Khuzaimah 480, Tahawi 1/196 and Tabarani in al Mu'jam al Kabeer 22/32 no 72. Imâm Nasai says in his al Sunan al Kubra 956, 'Although Abdul Jabbar did not hear ahadeeth directly from his father the hadeeth itself is saheeh.'

[10] Abdul Razzaq 2530, Ibn Abi Shaibah 2411, Ahmad 18199, and Tahawi 1/196.

[11] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2412.

[12] Sharh Ma'ani al Aathaar 1/197

[13] Abu Dawood 728. Imam Nimawi 320 classified it hasan. For details of Imam Nimawi's life, learning and works see the biographies section.

[14] Fath al Qadeer 1/288.

[15] Abu Dawood 724.

[16] See the following page.

[17] Abu Dawood 725.

[18] There is also a third possibility of raising the hands after saying the takbeer as may be understood from the hadeeth of Sayyiduna Malik bin al Huwayrith radiallahu anhu in Muslim, but Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri says in his Arabic commentary of Bukhari, Faidh al Bari, that this has never remained the practice of any one in the ummah. See the biographies section at the end of the book for details of Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri's life, learning and work.


The palms should be facing towards the qiblah and the fingers should be slightly spread out in a natural manner: not too closed, not too open.[19]

Saeed bin Samaan relates: 'Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu entered the masjid of Banu Zurayq whilst we were there. He said, 'There are three things which were of the practice of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam but which people have now abandoned: when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam would stand for prayer he would do this.' (Explaining this) Abu Amir (one of the narrators) then raised his hands without spreading his fin­gers open or closing them tight.[20]

[19] The fingers are to be spread out in ruku' whilst grasping the knees, and kept tightly together in sujud. Apart from these two in­stances the fingers are to be left in their natu­ral position in salâh, not held too tightly to­gether and not too spread out. See the hadeeth of Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu later under the sub-heading 'Grasping your knees with the fingers outspread.' Note that this is for men. Women should try to keep their fin­gers together in all the postures of salâh.

[20] Hakim 856 and Baihaqi 2317. Hakim de­clared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed.

Your gaze should not wander in any direction but should be focused in front of you on your place of prayer.

Sayyiduna Anas radiallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'What is it with certain people that they raise their gaze towards the sky in their salâh?' Sayyiduna Anas radiallahu anhu says, 'Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam then spoke so strongly about this that he said, "Either they refrain from this or their sight will be taken away."[21]

Muhammad Ibn Seereen relates that they (the companions of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam ) would recommend that a person's gaze does not go beyond the place of his prayer.[22]

Sayyiduna Anas radiallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'Oh Anas! Focus your gaze where you will prostrate.[23]


You should then say the consecrating takbeer (takbeerat al tahreemah).

Allâh says in the Holy Qur'ân: And (who) mentions the name of his Lord and prays.[24]

Sayyiduna Ali radiallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'The key to salâh is purity, its con­secration is takbeer, and its deconsecrating act is the salam. [25]

Sayyiduna Abu Humaid al Saidi radiallahu anhu says, 'When Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would stand for prayer, he would face the qiblah, raise his hands and say Allâhu Akbar.'[26]

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah narrates that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would stand up for salâh he would say the takbeer when stand­ing, then whilst bowing for ruku'. He would then read 'Sami Allâhu li man Hamidah' (Allâh has heard the one who praised him) when rising from ruku'. Whilst standing he would say 'Rabbanâ lakal Hamd' (Oh Allâh! All praise belongs to you.) He would then say the takbeer when falling into prostration and again when rising. He would do this throughout the salâh until he completed it. He would also say the takbeer when stand­ing up from the sitting of the second rakah.[27]

Ibrahim al Nakhai says, 'Whoever does not say the takbeer when beginning salâh then he is not in salâh.'[28]

There is no disagreement among the schol­ars that the takbeerat al tahreemah is obliga­tory, and without it the salâh is not valid.[29]

[21] Bukhari 717.

[22] Saeed bin Mansoor as quoted in Muntaqa al Akhbaar 2/194 and Fath al Bari 2/295. Hafidh Ibn Hajar adds that its narrators are authentic. Also reported by Baihaqi 3541

[23] Baihaqi 3545. Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani quotes (666) from Azizi that Dailami has narrated this hadeeth in his Musnad al Firdaus and that it is hasan 1i ghairihi. He also quotes Ibn Hajar Makki who says that the hadeeth has a number of chains that make it eligible for the rank of hasan.

[24] al Aa'laa 18/15.

[25] Abdul Razzaq 2539, Ibn Abi Shaibah 2378, Ahmad 1009, Ibn Majah 275, Abu Dawood 61 & 618, and Tirmidhi 3. Imam Nawawi has declared its isnad saheeh in al Majm'u 3/240. Hakim has also narrated it (457) on the authority of Sayyiduna Abu Saeed al Khudri radiallahu anhu saying that it is saheeh.
Dhahabi agreed with him.

[26] Ibn Majah 803. Imam Nimawi declares it hasan (312).

[27] Bukhari 756.

[28] Imam Muhammad in Kitab al Aathaar 74.

[29] Rahmat al Ummah fi Ikhtilaf al Aimmah, p29.


And placing your right palm over the back of your left hand, wrist and lower arm.

Sayyiduna Sahl bin Sa'd radiallahu anhu anhu relates that people were commanded to fasten the right hand over the left in salâh. Abu Hazim (the narrator from Sahl radiallahu anhu ) says, 'I only know that he (Sahl bin Sa'd radiallahu anhu) is ascribing this directly to rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam.'[30]

As part of a longer hadeeth Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu also narrates that rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam placed his right hand on the back of his left hand, the wrist and the lower arm.[31]

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhu re­ports that he was once praying salâh having placed his left hand on his right. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam saw him and placed his right hand over his left.[32]

Qabeesah bin Hulb narrates from his fa­ther, who says: 'Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would lead us in prayer and would clasp his left hand with his right hand.'[33]

[30] Malik 378 and Bukhari 707.

[31] Ibn Khuzaimah 480 and Baihaqi 2325. Imam Nimawi has classified it saheeh (323).

[32] Ibn Majah 811, Abu Dawood 755, Nasai 888 and Baihaqi 2327. Imam Nawawi has declared it saheeh in al Majm'u 3/313.

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


You should position both hands below the navel. [34]

Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu says: 'I saw Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam radiallahu anhu placing his right hand over his left in prayer, below the navel.[35]

Sayyiduna Ali radiallahu anhu says, 'It is part of he sunnah of prayer to place the palm over the palm below the navel.'[36]

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu says, 'The positioning of the hands upon the hands in prayer is below the navel.'[37]

Hajjaj bin Hasan said, 'I heard Abu Mijlaz[38] say or I asked him how should I place my hands.' He replied, 'He (the individual per­forming the prayer) should place the inside of his right palm on his left hand and position both of them below the navel.'[39]

Ibrahim al Nakhai reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would rest one of his hands on the other in salâh, humbling himself before Allâh. Imam Muhammad (the narrator of this hadeeth) says, 'He would place the palm of his right hand on his left wrist below the navel. The wrist would thus be in the middle of the palm.' [40]

Ibrahim al Nakhai also says, 'He (the in­dividual performing the prayer) should place his right hand on his left, below the navel.'[41]

Imam Tirmidhi says in his Sunan after narrating the above hadeeth of Qabeesah: 'Fastening the hands in prayer is the prac­tice of the learned Sahâbah, Tabi'űn and Tab' Tabieen. They are of the view that the individual performing the prayer should place his right hand on his left. Some of them then say that he should position them above the navel whilst others contend that they should be placed below the navel. All is per­missible in their view.'[42]

[34] This is only for men. Women should place their hands on their bosoms. See later chapters for further explanation

[35] Ibn Abi Shaibah. Hafidh Qasim bin Qutlubughah says in his takhreej of the ahadeeth of 'al Ikhtiyaar' that this hadeeth has a very good sanad. Imam Hashim Sindhi also says in his Dirham al Surrah p84 that its sanad is strong. Imam Nimawi says that its sanad is saheeh (330). Imam Abu Tayyib Madani also says in his commentary of Tirmidhi 1/277 (published by al Matba' al Nidhami, Kanpur, India, 1299 AH) that this is a hadeeth which is saheeh in both sanad and text and is thus a basis for evidence. Also for details of the lives, learning and works of both Hafidh Qasim bin Qutlubughah and Imam Hashim Sindhi see the biographies.

[36] Ibn Abi Shaibah 3954, Ahmad 877, Abu Dawood 756, Daruqutni 1089 & 1090, and Baihaqi 2341 & 2342. Also narrated by Abu Hafs bin Shaheen in his al Sunnah and by Adani in his Musnad as mentioned by Allamah Hashim Sindhi in Dirham al Surrah, p32 quot­ing from Kanz al Ummal. Reported also by Razeen as quoted by the author of Jam' al Fawaid.

[37] Abu Dawood 758 and Ibn Battah as quoted by Allamah Hashim Sindhi in Dirham al Surrah, p36.

[38] For details of his life and learning see the biogra­phies

[39] Ibn Abi Shaibah 3942. Ibn at Turkumani says 2/47 that it has been narrated with a very good sanad. Imam Nimawi (331) and Muhaddith Yusuf Binnouri 2/44 both say that its isnad is saheeh. It has also been men­tioned by Imam Abu Dawood but without a sanad (757). For details of the lives, learning and works of both Ibn at Turkumani and Muhaddith Yusuf Binnouri see their biographies.

[40] Imam Muhammad in his Kitab al Aathaar 120.

[41] Ibn Abi Shaibah 3939 and Imam Muhammad in his Kitab al Aathaar 121. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is hasan (332).

[42] Tirmidhi 252.


Then quietly read thana.

Allâh says in the Holy Qur'ân: And hymn the praise of thy Lord when you stand.[43]

Dhahhak says in the commentary of this verse, 'This means to say: Subhânak Allâhumma…

You are Glorified oh Allâh and praised. Blessed is your Name and Elevated is your Majesty. There is no God besides you.[44]

Sayyiduna Abu Saeed al Khudri radiallahu anhu nar­rates that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would begin salâh he would say Subhânak Allâhumma…'.[45]

The same hadeeth has also been reported from Ummul Mu'mineen Aisha[46] radiallahu anha and Sayyiduna Anas radiallahu anhu[47], as well as other Sahâbah radiallahu anhum.

Abdah reports that Sayyiduna Umar bin al Khattab radiallahu anhu, would recite the following words loudly (in salâh) 'Subhânak Allâhumma...'.[48]

Aswad reports that when Sayyiduna Umar bin al Khattab radiallahu anhu would begin salâh he would say Subhânak Allâhumma...'.[49]

It is also narrated as being the practice of Sayyiduna Uthman,[50] Sayyiduna Abu Bakr[51] and Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud [52] radiallahu anhum

[43] al Toor 52/48.

[44] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2402 and Ibn Jareer at Tabari 32403 & 32404.

[45] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2401, Ahmad 11260, Ibn Majah 804 and Nasai 899. Hafidh Haithami says 2/265 that its narrators are authentic.

[46] Ibn Majah 806, Abu Dawood 776, Tirmidhi 243, Hakim 859 and Baihaqi 2347. Hakim declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed with him.

[47] Abu Ya'laa 3735, Tabarani in al Mu'jam al Awsat as quoted by Hafidh Haithami 2/107. Hafidh Haithami adds that its narrators are authentic. Also reported by Daruqutni 1135. Ibn Qudamah says in al Mughni 2/27 that its narrators are all authentic.

[48] Muslim 399.

[49] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2395, Tahawi 1/198 and Baihaqi 2350. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is saheeh (337).

[50] Daruqutni 1141. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is hasan (338).

[51] Saeed bin Mansoor as quoted by al Shawkani in Nail al Awtaar 2/202. Also reported by Ibn Abi Shaibah 2393

[52] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2391; and Ibn al Mundhir as quoted by Abdus Salam Ibn Taymiyyah in al Muntaqa 2/203.


Ta'awwudh.

Allâh says in the Holy Qur'ân:

Thus when you recite the Qur'ân, seek the protection of Allâh from the accursed Shaitan.[53]

Sayyiduna Abu Saeed al Khudri radiallahu anhu reports that before reciting Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would pray awoozu billahi… [54]

Aswad says, 'Sayyiduna Umar radiallahu anhu started salâh, said the takbeer and then recited:[55]

Subhanakallahumma…. And awoozubillahi…….

Abu Wail reports that they (the compan­ions) would say the ta'awwudh and basmalah silently in salâh. [56]


[53] al Nahl 16/98.

[54] Abdul Razzaq 2589.

[55] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2455.

[56] Saeed bin Mansoor as quoted by Imam Nimawi 340. He adds that its isnad is saheeh.


And basmalah.

Sayyiduna Anas bin Malik radiallahu anhu says, 'I prayed salâh behind Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman radiallahu anhum and I did not hear one of them recite Bismillah al Rahman al Raheem loudly.[57]

The son of Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mughaffal radiallahu anhu narrates, 'My father heard me reading Bismillah al Rahman al Raheem in salâh. He said, "Oh my son. An innovator are you? Beware of innovation." (The son of Abdullah bin Mughaffal radiallahu anhu, adds, "I have not seen anyone amongst Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam's companions to whom innovation was more repulsive than my father.") His father said, "I have prayed with Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, Abu Bakr, Umar and 'Uthmân radiallahu anhum, and I did not hear any one of them recite Bismillah al Rahman al Raheem, therefore do not recite it. When you pray salâh read al Hamdu Lillahi Rabbil Aalameen.'[58]

[57] Malik 179, Muslim 399 and Nasai 907.

[58] Ahmad 16345, Ibn Majah 815, Tirmidhi 244 and Tahawi 1/202. Imam Tirmidhi says that it is hasan.


Followed by a recitation of Sűrah al Fatihah.

Sayyiduna Ubadah bin Samit radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah sallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'There is no salâh for one who does not recite 'the opening chapter of the book'.'[59]

Wahb bin Kaysan reports that he heard Sayyiduna Jabir bin Abdullah radiallahu anhu say, 'He who prays one rak'ah in which he does not recite Sűrah al Fatihah has in fact not prayed at all, unless he is behind an Imam.'[60]

Ahadeeth such as those mentioned above which stress the obligation of Sűrah al Fatihah are for the Imam or the individual, not the muqtadi. Imam Tirmidhi has quoted Imam Ahmad who commented on the above hadeeth (There is no salâh for one...) by say­ing 'This is if he is alone.'

[59] Bukhari 723 and Muslim 394.

[60] Malik 188 and Tirmidhi 313. Imam Tirmidhi says that the hadeeth is hasan saheeh.


On completing Sűrah al Fatihah you should say Ameen silently, regardless of whether you are alone or praying behind the Imam.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallhu alaihi wa sallam said, 'When the Imam says "Ghairil Maghdhoobi Alaihim WaladhaAlleen", say Ameen. For one whose Ameen coincides with that of the angels, he will have all his past sins forgiven."[61]

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallhu alaihi wa sallam said, 'When the Imam says "Ghairil Maqhdhoobi Alaihim Waladhaalleen" say Ameen. And indeed the angels say Ameen and the Imam says Ameen. So one whose Ameen coincides with that of the angels, he will have his past sins forgiven.[62]

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah relates that Rasulullah sallallhu alaihi wa sallam would teach us saying, 'Do not try to outdo the Imam. When he pro­nounces the takbeer, you say it also; when he recites " Waladhaalleen" then say Ameen; when he performs the ruku' you do it also; and when he says 'Sami Allâhu li man Hamidah' say 'Allâhumma Rabbana lakal Hamd'.[63]

As can be deduced from the above hadeeth the Ameen should be said silently just as 'Allâhumma Rabbana lakal Hamd' is said silently. Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu says, 'Rasulullah sallallhu alaihi wa sallam led us in salâh. When he recited "Ghairil Maqhdhoobi Alaihim Waladhaalleen" he said Ameen silently. (Lit­erally, 'He kept his voice silent.') He also placed his right hand on his left hand, and said the salam to his right and left.'[64]

Ibrahim al Nakhai says, 'There are five things which the Imam says silently: "Subhânak Allâhumma...", ta'awwudh, basmalah, Ameen, and "Allâhumma Rabbana wa lakal Hamd".'[65]

Abu Wail reports that Sayyiduna Ali and Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhu, would not say the basmalah, ta'awwudh or Ameen loudly.[66]

Abu Wail says that Sayyiduna Umar and Sayyiduna Ali radiallahu anhu would not say the basmalah, ta'awwudh or Ameen loudly.[67]

Ibn Jareer al Tabari says as quoted by Ibn al Turkurnam[68] that this was the practice of most of the Sahâbah radiallahu anhum and Tabi'űn.[69]

[61] Malik 196, Bukhari 749 and Muslim 410.

[62] Ahmad 7174, Darimi 1246, Nasai 927 and Ibn Hibban 1801. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is saheeh (376).

[63] Muslim 415

[64] Abu Dawood Tayalisi 1024, Ahmad 18363, Tirmidhi 248; Tabarani in al Mu'jam al Kabeer 22/43 no 109, 22/9 no 3, & 22/45 no 112; Daruqutni 1256, Hakim 2913 and Baihaqi 2447. Hakim declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed.

[65] Imam Muhammad in his Kitab al Aathaar 83 (mentioning four instead of five); Abdul Razzaq 2597, and Ibn Abi Shaibah 8849. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is saheeh (386). Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani says that its narrators are authentic (724).

[66] Tabarani in al Mu'jam al Kabeer as quoted by Hafidh Haithami 2/108. Hafidh Haithami says that the sanad contains Abu Sa'd al Baqqal who is authentic and a mudallis. Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani classifies it as saheeh 2/250.

[67] Ibn Jareer al Tabari in Tahdheeb al Aathaar as quoted by Ibn al Turkumani 2/70. Also reported by Tahawi 1/204. Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani says that its narrators are those of the six books of hadeeth except for Abu Sa'd al Baqqal who is authentic and a mudallis.

[68] Ibn al Turkumani 2/85.

[69] For a more detailed discussion of this topic see next volume


Then repeat the basmalah and recite any other Sűrah, or at least one long verse or three small verses from any part of the Qur'ân.

Allâh says in the Qur'ân: Thus, recite whatever may be possible from the Qur'ân.[70]

Sayyiduna Abu Qatadah radiallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallhu alaihi wa sallam would recite Sűrah al Fatihah and another Sűrah in the first two rak'aat of Dhuhr and Asr salâh, and at times he would (read loud enough and) allow us to hear a verse. In the second two rak'aat he would read only Sűrah al Fatihah."[71]

Sayyiduna Ubadah bin al Samit radiallahu anhu nar­rates that Rasulullah sallallhu alaihi wa sallam said, 'There is no salâh for one who does not recite the mother (essential chapter al Fatihah) of the book and more."[72]

Sayyiduna Abu Saeed al Khudri radiallahu anhu re­lates that Rasulullah sallallhu alaihi wa sallam said, 'The key to salâh is purity, its consecration is takbeer, and its deconsecrating act is the salam. And there is no salâh for one who does not recite 'Alhamdu lillâh...'(the opening chapter of the book) and a Sűrah in an obligatory or other (prayer).'[73]


[70] al Muzzammil 73/20.

[71] Muslim 451, Bukhari 725.

[72] Muslim 394, Abu Dawood 822 and Ibn Hibban 1783.

[73] Tirmidhi 238. He adds that it is hasan.


If you are praying in a congregation then you should not read anything behind the Imam.

Allâh says: And when the Qur'ân is recited, listen to it attentively and remain silent, that you may receive mercy.[74]

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu says, 'Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam turned around after a salâh in which he had recited loudly. He enquired, "Has any one of you recited (behind me)?" A man replied, "I did." Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, "I say: what is it with me? I am being contested for the Qur'ân." After the people heard this from Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam they stopped reciting with him (behind him) in those salâh in which he would pray loudly.'[75]

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'The Imam has been appointed so that he may be followed. Thus, when he says the takbeer, you say it also, and when he recites remain silent.'[76]

Sayyiduna Abu Musa al Ash'ari radiallahu anhu says, 'Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam taught us that "When you stand up for prayer one of you should lead the rest, and when the Imam recites remain silent."[77]

Abu Wail reports that Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhu was asked about reciting behind the Imam. He replied, 'Remain silent for the recitation (of the Imam). For indeed there is a duty in salâh for which the Imam is sufficient for you.'[78]

Nafi' reports that when Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Umar radiallahu anhu would be asked, 'Should one recite behind the Imam?' he would reply, 'When one of you prays behind the Imam then the Imam's recitation is sufficient for him. When he prays alone he should recite.' Nafi' adds, 'Abdullah bin Umar radiallahu anhu would not recite behind the Imam.'[79]Sayyiduna Jabir bin Abdullah radiallahu anhu relates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'One who prays behind an Imam, the recitation of the Imam is sufficient for him.'[80]

The above hadeeth has also been reported from Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam on the authority of the noble Sahâbah Anas,[81] Abdullah bin Abbas,[82] Abu Hurairah,[83] Abu Saeed al Khudri,[84] Abdullah bin Umar,[85] Ali,[86] and Abu al Dardaa [87]radiallahu anhum.

Ahadeeth such as those above stressing the obligation of Sűrah al Fâtihah are for the Imam or the individual, not the muqtadi. Imam Tirmidhi has quoted Imam Ahmad who commented on the above hadeeth (There is no salâh for one...) by saying 'This is if he is alone.'

Wahb bin Kaysan reports that he heard Sayyiduna Jabir bin Abdullah radiallahu anhu say, 'He who prays one rak'ah in which he does not recite Sűrah al Fâtihah has in fact not prayed at all, unless he is behind an Imam.'[88]

[74] Al A'raaf 7/204.

[75] Malik 194, Ahmad 7760, Ibn Majah 849, Abu Dawood 826, Tirmidhi 312 and Nasai 919.

[76] Ahmad 9151. Also reported by Ahmad bin Manee' and Abd bin Humaid in their Musnads with a saheeh sanad as quoted by Bouseeree in Misbah al Zujajah Chapter 150, hadeeth 313. Narrated also by Ibn Majah 846, Abu Dawood 603, Nasai 921 & 922 and Tahawi 1/217. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is saheeh. Allamah Abdul Hayy Luckhnawi categorically concludes in his Imam al Kalam, p 165 that the hadeeth is authentic after quoting a number of ulama who have declared it saheeh including Imam Ahmad. For details of Allamah Abdul Hayy Luckhnawi's life, learning and works see the biographies.

[77] Ahmad 19224, Muslim 404 (as part of a longer hadeeth), and Ibn Majah 847.

[78] Imam Muhammad in his al Muwatta 120 & 122, Ibn Abi Shaibah 3780, and Tahawi 1/217. Imam Nimawi says 369 that its isnad is saheeh.

[79] Malik 193.

[80] Imam Abu Hanifah as recorded in the Musnad of Khaskafi p307 and in Jam'i al Masaneed 1/ 334; Imam Muhammad in his al Muwatta 117 and in his Kitab al Hujjah 1/118 with an isnad declared saheeh by Hafidh Badr al Deen al Aini and Imam Nimawi 364. Also reported by Ibn Abi Shaibah 3802 with an isnad classified saheeh by Ibn at Turkumani 2/228; Ahmad 14233; Abd bin Humaid 1050; Ahmad bin Manee' with a saheeh isnad as quoted by Imam Nimawi 364; Ibn Majah 850; Tahawi 1/217 with an isnad declared saheeh by Hafidh Ibn al Humam as mentioned in the footnotes of Sharh Maani al Athaar 1/217; and Baihaqi 2897.

[81] Ibn Hibban in his al Dhuafaa 2/202.

[82] Daruqutni 1238 & 1252.

[83] Daruqutni 1229 & 1230.

[84] Tabarani in al Mu'jam al Awsat as quoted by Hafidh Haithami 2/111. Hafidh Haithami says that the sanad contains Haroon al Abdi who is matrook.

[85] Daruqutni 1225.

[86] Daruqutni 1234.

[87] Daruqutni 1248.

[88] Malik 188 and Tirmidhi 313.


When this recitation is finished, repeat the takbeer…

Abu Salâmah relates that Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu would lead them in salâh, and pronounce the takbeer whenever he rose or fell (into ruku' or prostration). Having completed the salâh he would turn around and say, 'Amongst you my salâh is the closest to that of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam.'[89]

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhu says, 'Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would say the takbeer at the time of each rising, descent, standing, and sitting, and so would Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman radiallahu anhum[90]

[89] Malik 168, Bukhari 752 and Muslim 392.

[90] Ahmad 3652, Darimi 1249, Tirmidhi 235 and Nasai 1149. Imam Tirmidhi says that it is a hasan saheeh hadeeth.


and, without raising your hands,…

Alqamah reports that Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhu said, 'Should I not lead you in salâh in the manner of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam ?' He then prayed and did not raise his hands except in the beginning.[91]

The above hadeeth has also been reported by Imam Nasai with the following wording: 'Should I not inform you of the salâh of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam?' He then stood up and raised his hands once in the beginning. He did not raise them again.[92]

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would raise his hands at the time of the first takbeer and not raise them again.[93]

Sayyiduna Baraa bin Azib radiallahu anhu relates that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would begin salâh he would raise his hands close to his ears and then not raise them again.[94]

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Umar radiallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would raise his hands when beginning salâh and then not raise them again.[95]

Abbad the son of Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Zubair radiallahu anhu relates that when starting salâh Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would raise his hands in the beginning and not raise them again at any time until he completed his prayer.[96]

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud says, 'I prayed behind Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, Abu Bakr, and Umar radiallahu anhum and they did not raise their hands except when beginning salâh.'[97]

Aswad says, 'I prayed salâh with Umar bin al Khattab radiallahu anhu and he did not raise his hands during any part of salâh except in the beginning.' Abdul Malik (one of the narrators) says, 'I also observed Sha'bi, Ibrahim, and Ishaq not raising their hands except when beginning their salâh.'[98]

Ibrahim al Nakhai says, 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhu would not raise his hands in any part of salâh except in the beginning.'[99]

Aasim bin Kulaib narrates from his father that Sayyiduna Ali radiallahu anhu would raise his hands at the first takbeer of salâh. He would not raise them again after this.[100]

Abu Ishaq says, 'The companions of both Abdullah bin Mas'ud and Ali radiallahu anhum would not raise their hands except in the beginning of salâh.' Wakee' adds, 'And they would not raise them again.'[101]

Mujahid says, 'I prayed salâh behind Ibn Umar radiallahu anhu and he would not raise his hands in salâh except at the time of the first takbeer.'[102]

Abdul Azeez bin Hakeem says, 'I saw Ibn Umar radiallahu anhu, raise his hands to the level of his ears at the time of the first takbeer in the beginning of salâh, and he did not raise them apart from this.'[103]

Husain bin Abdul Rahman relates, 'Amr bin Murrah and I visited Ibrahim al Nakhai. Amr said, "Alqamah bin Wail al Hadhrami narrated to me from his father radiallahu anhu that he prayed salâh with Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. He saw him raise his hands when he said the takbeer, when he bowed into ruku' and when he rose there from." Ibrahim replied, "I do not know. He may possibly not have seen Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam pray except on that day and thus remembered this of him. (Otherwise) did Ibn Mas'ud radiallahu anhu and his companions not remember this of him? I have not heard it from any one of them. They would only raise their hands in the beginning of salâh when saying the takbeer".'[104]

Sayyiduna Jabir bin Samurah radiallahu anhu says, 'Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam came out to us saying 'Why is it that I see you raising your hands as though they are the tails of obstinate horses? Remain calm in salâh.'[105]

Abu Bakr bin Ayyash says, 'I have not seen a single faqeeh do it: raise his hands at any time other than the first takbeer.'[106]

Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad al Uthmani writes,

'This shows that the raising of the hands when bowing into ruku' and when rising from it was most likely not practiced widely during the time of the Tabi'un, for Abu Bakr bin Ayyash was one of the foremost Tab'i Tabieen. Malik who was also a prominent Tab'i Tabiee says as is recorded in al Mudawwanah al Kubra, "I do not know of raising the hands in any takbeer of salâh, neither whilst rising or bowing except in the beginning when he should raise his hands slightly."[107] Ibn al Qasim also says, "Raising the hands was weak in the view of Malik except in the beginning of salâh." This also shows that the raising of the hands was generally not practiced during that time.' [108]

Imam Nimawi says:

'The Sahâbah radiallahu anhum and those who came after them differed in this regard. As for the four caliphs, the raising of the hands has not been proven from them except in the first takbeer of tahreemah. And Allâh knows best.'[109]

After narrating the above hadeeth of Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhu, Imam Tirmidhi comments:

'There is a narration of the same meaning on the authority of Baraa bin Azib, Abdullah bin Mas'ud's radiallahu anhu hadeeth is hasan, and many of the Rasulullah's (salallahu alaihi wa sallam) learned companions are of the same view, i.e., the hands should not be raised during salâh except once in the beginning. This is also the view of Sufyan al Thawri and the people of Kufah.'

Not raising the hands except in the beginning of salâh was the known practice of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr, Sayyiduna Umar, Sayyiduna Ali and Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhum as well as many others from amongst the learned Sahâbah radiallahu anhum as mentioned by Tirmidhi above. It has also been reported from Sayyiduna Ibn Umar radiallahu anhu, and others. From amongst the Tabi'un it was the known practice of the companions of Sayyiduna Ali radiallahu anhu and Sayyiduna Ibn Mas'ud radiallahu anhu, Aswad bin Yazeed, Alqamah bin Qais, Ibrahim al Nakhai, Khaithamah, Qais bin Abi Hazim, Aamir al Sha'bi,[110] Abu Ishaq al Sabiee, Wakee', Aasim bin Kulaib, virtually all of the fuqahah and people of Kufah, and many in other cities. It is also the view and practice of Mughirah, Hasan bin Salih, Sufyan al Thawri, Hasan bin Hayy, Wakee', Ishaq bin Abi Israeel, Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik, Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad and their followers.[111]


[91] Imam Abu Hanifah as recorded in Jam'i al Masaneed 1/355. Also reported by Ibn Abi Shaibah in his al Musannaf 2441 as well as his Musnad 323; Ahmad 3672, Abu Dawood 748, Tirmidhi 257; Nasai in al Mujtaba 1058 and also in al Sunan al Kubra 645 & 1099; Abu Ya'laa 5040 & 5302, and Baihaqi 2531. Ibn Hazam 2/ 264, Ibn al Turkumani 2/113 and Imam Nimawi 402 have all declared the hadeeth saheeh.

[92] Nasai 1026. Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani says 814 that its narrators are those of both Bukhari and Muslim except Suwaid who is thiqah (authentic) and Aasim who is a thiqah narrator of Muslim.

[93] Tahawi 1/224 with two different isnads. Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani has discussed each narrator of both these sanads and proven that they are all authentic 3/71.

[94] Abdul Razzaq 2531, Ibn Abi Shaibah 2440, Abu Dawood 749; and Abu Ya'laa 1689, 1690, 1691 & 1692; and Tahawi 1/224. Allamah Anwar Shah al Kashmiri says as quoted by Muhaddith Yusuf al Binnouri 2/493, 'In short, this discussion of the topic from the angle of both hadeeth and historical data concludes that it is correct to use the hadeeth of Baraa (bin Azib) as evidence with the authentic additional wording (of "he would not raise them again")'.

[95] Baihaqi in al Khilafiyyat as quoted by Hafidh Zailaee 1720. Muhaddith Yusuf al Binnouri 2/ 498 quotes Qadhi Abid Sindhi who says in al Mawahib al Lateefah, 'In my view this hadeeth is undoubtedly saheeh.' He also quotes 2/496 Allamah Anwar Shah al Kashmiri as saying, 'The sanad mentioned in the takhreej (Nasb al Ra'yah by Hafidh Zailaee) is saheeh.' For de­tails of the lives, learning and works of both Hafidh Zailaee and Qadhi Abi Sindhi see the biographies.

[96] Baihaqi in his al Khilafiyyat as quoted by Hafidh Zailaee 1721. Allamah Anwar Shah al Kashmiri says as quoted in Ma'arif al Sunan 2/ 496, 'I have researched the narrators of its isnad and the conclusion of the research was that it is saheeh.' He also added, 'It is a jayyid mursal hadeeth.'

[97] Abu Ya'laa 5039, Daruqutni 1120, and Baihaqi 2534. Ibn al Turkumani says that this is a jayyid supporting narration. The hadeeth contains Muhammad bin Jabir bin Sayyar who has been declared weak by some, reliable by others. Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani 3/67 discusses his position at length before concluding that his hadeeth is at least hasan.

[98] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2454 and Tahawi 1/227. Imam Tahawi says that it is a saheeh hadeeth. Ibn al Turkumani says 2/109 that this sanad is saheeh according to the conditions of Muslim. Hafidh Ibn Hajar says in al Dirayah

p113 that its narrators are authentic.

[99] Abdul Razzaq 2533-2535, Ibn Abi Shaibah 2443 and Tahawi 1/227. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is jayyid (very good) and mursal.

[100] Imam Muhammad in his al Muwatta 109, Ibn Abi Shaibah 2442, Tahawi 1/225 and Baihaqi 2535. Hafidh Zailaee says that it is a saheeh hadeeth 1/406. Hafidh Ibn Hajar says in al Dirayah 1/113 that its narrators are authentic and Hafidh Badr al Deen al Aini says in Umdat al Qari as quoted by Imam Nimawi 404, 'The isnad of Aasim bin Kulaib's hadeeth is saheeh according to the conditions of Muslim.'

[101] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2446. Ibn al Turkumam says 2/115 that this is a great saheeh sanad.

[102] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2452 and Tahawi 1/225. Hafidh Badr al Deen al Aini says Umdat al Qari 5/273 that its isnad is saheeh.

[103] Imam Muhammad in al Muwatta 108.

[104] Imam Abu Hanifah as recorded in Jam'i al Masaneed 1/353, Imam Muhammad in his al Muwatta of which Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani says that its narrators are authentic (825). Also reported by Tahawi 1/224, Daruqutni 1108 and Baihaqi 2536.

[105] Ahmad 20450 & 20522, Muslim 430, Abu Dawood 1000 and Nasai 1184. For a further explanation of this hadeeth see in next volume

[106] Tahawi 1/228. Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani says 827, 'Its narrators are those of Bukhari except Ibn Abi Dawood and he is thiqah (authentic).' Muhaddith Yusuf al Binnouri says 2/494 that its sanad is strong. Abu Bakr bin Ayyash is one of the narrators of Bukhari and one of the teachers of Sufyan al Thawri, Ibn al Mubarak and Imam Ahmad.

[107] al Mudawwanah al Kubra 1/165.

[108] I'ilaa al Sunan 3/76.

[109] Aathaar al Sunan p215.

[110] For the narrations describing the practice of the above Tabi'un see

al Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaibah 2444-2454.

[111] See next volume for discussion of this topic.


… bow down into ruku',

… Allâh says in the Holy Qur'ân:

Oh you who believe! Bow down and prostrate, and worship your Lord.[112]

[112] al Hajj 22/77.

… grasping your knees with the fingers outspread, and keeping the back straight, not arching it, neither raising the head nor lowering it. Ensure that your arms are also kept free of your body.[113]

Salim al Barrad relates in the longer hadeeth describing Sayyiduna Uqbah bin Amr's radiallahu anhu demonstration of the Rasulullah's sallalahu alaihi wa sallam prayer[114] that 'When he performed the ruku', he placed his palms on his knees with his fingers slightly lower, and distanced his arms from his body until he was motionless'.[115]

Sayyiduna Ibn Abbas radiallahu anhu says, 'When Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would bow down into ruku' (his back would be so straight that) if water was poured onto his back it would settle there.'[116]

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu reports that once a man entered the masjid and performed his salâh whilst Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam was in the corner of the masjid. He then greeted Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam returned the greeting and said, 'Return and pray because you have not prayed.' The man went back, prayed and then greeted Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam again. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam returned the greeting for a second time and said, 'Return and pray because you have not prayed.' On the third time the man said, 'Teach me.' Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'When you stand for prayer, complete the wudhu, face the qiblah, pronounce the takbeer, and recite whatever Qur'ân you may know. Then bow down until you are motionless in ruku'. Now stand erect and then fall down and settle into prostration. Then rise from your prostration and sit motionless. Then fall down again and settle into prostration. Then rise until you stand up straight. Do this throughout your salâh.'[117]

Sayyiduna Abu Qatadah radiallahu anhu relates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'The worst of all thieves is one who steals from his salâh.' They asked, 'Oh Prophet of Allâh! How does he steal from his salâh?' He replied, 'He does not complete its ruku' or sujűd, and nor does he straighten his back in ruku' or sujűd.'[118]

The same hadeeth has also been reported on the authority of the noble Sahâbah Sayyiduna Nu'man bin Murrah,[119] Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah,[120] and Sayyiduna Abu Saeed al Khudri radiallahu anhum[121]

Sayyiduna Ali bin Shaiban radiallahu anhu (who was part of a delegation) reports: 'We came to Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam and pledged our allegiance to him. We prayed behind him, and he noticed a man from the corner of his eye who was not straightening his back in ruku' and sujűd. When Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam completed his salâh, he said, "Oh Muslims! There is no salâh for one who does not straighten his back in ruku' and sujűd."'[122]

Sayiiduna Abu Humaid, Sayyiduna Abu Usaid, Sayyiduna Sahl bin Sa'd and Sayyiduna Muhammad bin Salâmah radiallahu anhum came together and discussed the salâh of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. Sayyiduna Abu Humaid said, 'I am the most knowledgeable of you about the salâh of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. When he would bow down into ruku' he would place his hands upon his knees as though he was grasping them, and he would bend his arms and distance them from his sides.'[123]

Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu reports that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would bow down into ruku' he would spread his fingers wide, and when prostrating he would keep them together.[124]

The above hadeeth has also been narrated without the mention of the sujűd [125].

Sayyiduna Umar radiallahu anhu said, 'The knees are sunnah for you so grasp your knees.'[126]

[113] Unlike men, in ruku', women should tuck their arms into the body and not spread them outward. They should also simply place their hands over their knees with closed fingers, and not grasp them with the fingers spread wide open. See later chapter for details.

[114] See Chapter 1 in next volume

[115] Ahmad 16628, Darimi 1304, Abu Dawood 863 and Nasai 1036. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is saheeh.

[116] Tabarani in al Mu'jam al Kabeer and Abu Ya'laa as quoted by Hafidh Haithami 2/123 who adds that its narrators are authentic

[117] Bukhari 6290 & 760.

[118] Ahmad 11138, Darimi 1328, Ibn Khuzaimah 663, Tabarani in al Mu'jam al Kabeer 3283 and Hakim 835. Hakim declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed. Hafidh Haithami also says that its narrators are those of Bukhari

[119] Malik 401.

[120] Ibn Hibban 1885, and Hakim 836 who declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed.

[121] Abu Dawood Tayalisi 2219, Ahmad 11549, and Abu Ya'laa 1311.

[122] Ahmad 15862, Ibn Majah 871 and Ibn Hibban 1888. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is saheeh (420).

[123] Tirmidhi 260. He adds that the hadeeth is hasan saheeh.

[124] Ibn Hibban 1917, Tabarani in al Mu'jam al Kabeer as quoted by Hafidh Haithami 2/135; and Baihaqi 2695. Hafidh Haithami says that its isnad is hasan.

[125] Ibn Khuzaimah 594 and Hakim 814 who declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed

[126] Tirmidhi 258 and Nasai 1034. Imam Tirmidhi says the hadeeth is hasan saheeh.


Say tasbeeh for a minimum of three times.

Allâh says in the Holy Qur'ân:

Then hymn with praise the name of your Lord, the Most Great.[127]

Sayyiduna Uqbah bin Aamir al Juhani radiallahu anhu narrates, 'When the verse 'And praise the name of your Lord the most great' was revealed to Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, he said, 'Place this in your ruku'.' And when the verse 'Praise the name of your Lord the Most High' was revealed he said, 'Place this in your prostration.'[128]

Sayyiduna Hudhaifah radiallahu anhu says that he prayed salâh with Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam who would read 'Subhâna Rabbiyal-Azeem' (Praised be my Lord the Most Great) in his bowing of ruku', and 'Subhâna Rabbiyal-A'lâ' (Praised be my Lord the Most High) in his prostration.[129]

Similar ahadeeth about rasulullah's sallallahu alaihi wa sallam own practice have been narrated on the authority of Sayyiduna Abu Bakrah radiallahu anhu [130] and Sayyiduna Jubair bin Mutim [131]

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhu relates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'When one of you bows down into ruku' he should say 'Subhâna Rabbiyal-Azeem' three times and this is the minimum, and when he falls into prostration he should say 'Subhâna Rabbiyal-A'lâ' three times and this is the minimum.'[132]

[127] al Waqi'ah 56/74.

[128] Abu Dawood Tayalisi 1000, Ahmad 16961, Darimi 1305, Ibn Majah 887, Abu Dawood 869, Abu Ya'laa 1738, Ibn Khuzaimah 670, Tahawi 1/235, Ibn Hibban 1895, Tabarani in al Mu'jam al Kabeer 889, Hakim 818 and Baihaqi 2555. Imam Nawawi says that the hadeeth is hasan as quoted by Mulla Ali Qari in al Mirqat, and Imam Nimawi also declares it hasan (424).

[129] Ibn Majah 888, Nasai in al Mujtaba 1046 and in al Sunan al Kubra 634, Tahawi 1/235, and Ibn Hibban 1894. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is saheeh (423).

[130] Bazzar as quoted by Hafidh Ibn Hajar in Mukhtasar Zawaid al Bazzar 384. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is hasan (425).

[131] Bazzar as quoted by Hafidh bin Hajar in Mukhtasar Zawaid al Bazzar 383. Also reported by Tabarani in al Mu'jam al Kabeer 1572 and in Musnad al Shamiyyeen 1359.

[132] Ibn Majah 890, Abu Dawood 886 and Tirmidhi 261.


And then rise again to the standing position (qiyâm) saying 'Sami'-allâhu li man hamidah (Allâh hears those who praise Him)'. You should stand erect and say 'Allâhumma Rabbanâ wa lakal Hamd (Oh Allâh, Our Lord! You are Praised)'.


Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'When the Imam says "Sami Allâhu li man Hamidah" say "Allâhumma Rabbanâ lakal Hamd". For one whose above prayer coincides with that of the angels will have all his past sins forgiven.'[133]

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu also reports that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would intend to pray salâh, he would pronounce the takbeer when standing and then when bowing into ruku'. When he raised his back from ruku' he would say 'Sami Allâhu li man Hamidah', and then whilst standing he would say 'Rabbanâ lakal Hamd'.[134]

[133] Bukhari 763 and Muslim 409.

[134] Bukhari 756 and Muslim 392.


Members of the congregation should only say 'Rabbanâ…'.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'When the Imam says 'Sami Allâhu li man Hamidah' say 'Allâhumma Rabbanâ lakal Hamd'. For he whose above prayer coincides with that of the angels will have all his past sins forgiven.'[135]

Amir al Sha'bi says, 'The congregation behind the Imam will not say 'Sami Allâhu li man Hamidah'. They will only say 'Rabbanâ lakal Hamd'.'[136]

[135] Bukhari 763 and Muslim 409.

[136] Abu Dawood 849. Sha'bi is a tabiee and Ijli has said that the mursal narrations of Sha'bi are saheeh.


Whilst standing in this position do not fasten your hands but leave them at your sides.

As part of a longer hadeeth it is reported that when Sayyiduna Ali radiallahu anhu would stand up for prayer and say the takbeer he would place his right hand on his left wrist. He would remain like this until he bowed down into ruku'.[137]

Leaving the hands hanging at the side after ruku' has always been the practice of the entire ummah. The method of fastening the hands at this time as adopted by certain people has never been mentioned by any of the Sahâbah in their narrations despite being so particular and diligent in their description of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam's prayer and in turn this has never been quoted as being the practice of anyone from amongst the Sahâbah, Tabi'un or Tab' Tabieen.[138]

[137] Ibn Abi Shaibah 3940 and Baihaqi 2333.

[138] See next volume for details.


Then, repeating the takbeer and without raising your hands begin the prostration.

Allâh says in the Holy Qur'ân:

Oh you who believe! Bow down and prostrate, and worship your Lord.[139]

[139] al Hajj 22/77.


Allow your knees to first touch the ground followed by the hands.

Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu says, 'I saw Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam place his knees (on the ground) before his hands when he would prostrate, and lift up his hands before his knees when rising.'[140]

Khattabi,[141] Tibi, Ibn al Mundhir,[142] and Ibn Sayyid al Naas al Ya'muri have all declared the above hadeeth of Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu as more established and authentic than the hadeeth of Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu (discussed later in next volume) on the same subject.

This hadeeth is supported by the following narrations:

Sayyiduna Anas radiallahu anhu says, 'I saw Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam say the takbeer and place his thumbs close to his ears. He bowed down into ruku' until each of his joints became motionless, and then descended (into sujűd) with the takbeer. His knees went before his hands.'[143]

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'When one of you falls down into sajdah he should begin with his knees before his hands and he should not descend in the manner of a camel.'[144]

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'When one of you falls down into sajdah does he do so in the manner of a camel?'[145]

Sayyiduna Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas radiallahu anhu says, 'We used to place our hands before our knees, then we were instructed to place our knees before our hands.'[146]

Kulaib narrates that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would prostrate his knees would fall to the ground before his hands.[147]

Sayyiduna Hakeem bin Hizam radiallahu anhu says, 'I pledged to Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam that I would not descend except whilst being upright.'[148]

Sayyiduna Ubayy bin Ka'b radiallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would fall down upon his knees and not lean.[149]

Aswad reports that Sayyiduna Umar radiallahu anhu would fall down on his knees.[150]

The same has been reported about Sayyiduna Umar radiallahu anhu by Alqamah[151] and Ibrahim al Nakhai.[152]

Ibrahim al Nakhai says, 'It has been remembered of Ibn Mas'ud radiallahu anhu that his knees would fall to the ground before his hands.'[153]

Abdullah relates that when his father (Muslim bin asaar)[154] would prostrate his knees would fall to the ground followed by his hands and then his head.[155]

Nafi' reports that when Ibn Umar radiallahu anhu would prostrate he would place his knees before his hands and when rising from the prostration he would raise his hands before his knees.[156]

Abu Ishaq relates that when the companions of Abdullah (bin Masood) radiallahu anhu would descend for sujűd their knees would fall to the ground before their hands.[157]

Mahdi bin Maimoon says, 'I saw Ibn Seereen place his knees before his hands.'[158]

Mugheerah says, 'I asked Ibraheem (al Nakhai) about a man who places his hands before his knees when falling down into sujűd. He replied, "Only a fool or mad man would do it."'[159]

Imam Tirmidhi says after narrating the above hadeeth of Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu, 'This is the practice of most of the people of learning. They are of the view that a man should place his knees before his hands, and when rising he should lift his hands before his knees.'[160]


[140] Darimi 1320, Ibn Majah 882, Abu Dawood 838, Tirmidhi 268, Nasai 1089, Ibn Khuzaimah 626, and Tahawi 1/255. Also reported by Ibn al Sakan in his Saheeh as quoted by Hafidh bin Hajar in al Talkhees al Habeer 1/254 no. 379. Narrated also by Ibn Hibban 1909, Hakim 822, Baihaqi 2628 and Baghawi 3/133 no 642. Imam Tirmidhi says that the hadeeth is hasan ghareeb and Hakim has declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed. This hadeeth has also been narrated with other chains.

[141] As mentioned by Hafidh in Fath al Bari 2/370, and Baghawi in Sharh al Sunnah 3/135.

[142]. In al Awsat 3/166

[143] Hakim 822 and Baihaqi 2632. Hakim classified it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed with him. Hafidh Ibn al Humam quotes Ibn al Jawzi in Fath al Qadeer 1/287 as saying that all of its narrators are authentic

[144] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2702, Abu Ya'laa 11/414 no 6540, Tahawi 1/255 and Baihaqi 2635.

[145] Abu Dawood 841, Nasai 1090 and Baihaqi 2636.

[146] Ibn Khuzaimah 828 and Baihaqi 2637. Hafidh Ibn Hajar says in Fath al Bari that two of its narrators are weak.

[147] Baihaqi 2630. This hadeeth is mursal.

[148] Ahmad 14888 and Nasai 1084.

[149] Ibn Hibban as quoted by Hafidh Haithami in Mawarid al Dhamaan 497.

[150] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2704.

[151] Tahawi 1/256. Imam Nimawi says 432 that its isnad is saheeh.

[152] Abdul Razzaq 2955.

[153] Tahawi 1/256. Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani says 3/35 that its isnad is saheeh.

[154] For details of his life and learning see the biographies.

[155] Abdul Razzaq 2958 and Ibn Abi Shaibah 2706.

[156] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2705.

[157] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2711.

[158] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2709.

[159] Abdul Razzaq 2956 & 2957, Ibn Abi Shaibah 2707, and Tahawi 1/256. Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani says that its narrators are authentic (3/35).

[160] For a more detailed discussion of the topic refer next volume

(Allow your) nose (to touch the ground) and finally the forehead which should be positioned between the two palms laid flat on the ground towards the qiblah.

Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu also says, 'I observed Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam (praying salâh), and when he prostrated he placed his hands close to his ears.'[161]

Abu Ishaq says, 'I asked Baraa bin Azib "Where did Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam place his face when prostrating?" He replied, "Between his palms."'[162]

Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu reports that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would prostrate he would do so between his palms.[163]

There are other ahadeeth which suggest that a person should place his hands close to his shoulders in sujűd. Muhaddith Yusuf Binnouri explains in his commentary of Tirmidhi that the different narrations of the place of the hands in sujűd are similar to those relating to the raising of the hands in the beginning of salâh. They can be reconciled in the same manner and collectively taken to mean that in sujűd the hands should be placed in such a way that the wrists are close to the shoulders, the fingertips are near the top of the ears and face is in between the palms.

Imam Tahawi also explains that those who raise their hands till their shoulders in the beginning of salâh place the hands in the same way in sujűd, and those who raise them till their ears in the beginning of salâh place them close to their ears in sujűd also.

Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu reports that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would bow down into ruku' he would spread his fingers wide, and when prostrating he would keep them together.[164]

Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu narrates that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would prostrate he would keep his fingers (tightly closed) together.[165]

[161] Abdul Razzaq 2948, Tahawi 1/257 and Baihaqi 2692. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is saheeh (438).

[162] Tirmidhi 271. He adds that the hadeeth is hasan saheeh ghareeb.

[163] Ahmad 18365.

[164] Ibn Hibban 1917, Tabarani in al Mu'jam al Kabeer as quoted by Hafidh Haithami 2/135. Also reported by Baihaqi 2695. Hafidh Haithami says that its isnad is hasan.

[165] Ibn Khuzaimah 642 and Hakim 826. Hakim has declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed.


Do not rest your forearms on the ground but keep them raised and away from the body.[166]

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Malik bin Buhainah radiallahu anhu reports that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam prayed and then prostrated he would spread out his arms until the whiteness of his armpits became visible.[167]

Ummul Mu'mineen Maimoonah radiallahu anha says that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would prostrate (he would spread his arms so much that) if a small lamb wanted to pass under him it could do so.[168] Sayyiduna Anas bin Malik radiallahu anhu relates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'Complete your prostrations, and let not one of you rest his forearms in the manner of a dog.'[169]

Sayyiduna Ibn Abbas radiallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'I have been instructed to prostrate on seven bones: on the forehead, and he also pointed to his nose; on the hands, on the knees, and on the balls of the two feet. And (I have also been instructed that) we do not gather our clothes and hair.'[170]

Sayyiduna Abu Humaid radiallahu anhu relates that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would prostrate he would firmly rest his forehead and nose on the ground, distance his arms from his sides, and place his palms close to his shoulders.[171]


[166] During prostration men should allow for some space and distance between their stomachs and thighs, and arms and the side of the body, whilst women should press these limbs together. Men should also raise their arms off the ground and allow for some distance but women should let them cling to the ground.



[166] During prostration men should allow for some space and distance between their stomachs and thighs, and arms and the side of the body, whilst women should press these limbs together. Men should also raise their arms off the ground and allow for some distance but women should let them cling to the ground.

[167] Bukhari 383 and Muslim 495.

[168] Muslim 496.

[169] Bukhari 788 and Muslim 493.

[170] Bukhari 779 and Muslim 490.

[171] Tirmidhi 270. He adds that the hadeeth is hasan saheeh


Also ensure that your thighs are not pressed against your abdomen and your toes are facing qiblah.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurnaid radiallahu anhu reports as part of a longer hadeeth that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam prostrated he would distance his thighs (from the upper torso), and would not let his abdomen touch any part of them.[172]

Again as part of a longer hadeeth Sayyiduna Abu Humaid al Saidee radiallahu anhu reports that when prostrating he (Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam ) would place his hands without spreading them out or bringing them too close (to himself), and point his toes towards the qiblah [173]

[172] Abu Dawood 730.

[173] Bukhari 794.


Say tasbeeh for a minimum of three times.

Allâh says in the Holy Qur'ân:

Hymn with praise the name of your Lord, the Most High.[174]

[174] al A'laa 87/1


And then pronouncing the takbeer raise your head and sit upright, without sitting on the balls of your feet…

Sayyiduna Samurah radiallahu anhu narrates that the Prophet forbade iqa'a[175] in salâh[176]

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah says, 'My beloved friend, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam advised me of three things and forbade three things. He forbade me from pecking like a cock, squatting in the manner of a dog, and looking around like a fox.'[177]

Sayyiduna Ali radiallahu anhu says, 'Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said to me, "Oh Ali! I like for you whatever I like for myself and I dislike for you whatever I dislike for myself. Do not sit in an iqa'a position between the two sajdahs."[178]

Anas bin Malik radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said to him, 'When you raise your head from sujűd then do not sit in an iqa'a position as a dog sits, Place your posterior between your feet and firmly place the top part of your feet upon the ground.'[179]

Tawoos reports, 'We asked Ibn Abbas about sitting (in the iqa'a position) on the two feet. He replied that it is sunnah. We said, "We view it as an affliction upon the foot." He replied, "Nay. It is the sunnah of your Prophet."'[180]

Tawoos's son reports from his father that he saw Abdullah bin Umar, Abdullah bin Zubair, and Abdullah bin Abbas radiallahu anhum sit in an iqa'a position.[181]

There is no contradiction here in the ahadeeth. As explained by Imam Baihaqi, Ibn al Salah, Imam Nawawi and others, iqa'a is of two kinds: the iqa'a of a dog, which is to place both the posterior and the hands on the floor and to raise the knees in front. It is this kind of iqa'a that has been prohibited in the ahadeeth. The second form of iqa'a is to sit on the balls of the feet keeping the knees on the ground, and to rest the posterior upon the heels. It is this second kind of iqa'a that has been ascribed to the three Sahâbah in the above hadeeth. However, even this second form is only to be adopted at the time of need because under the general statement of the ahadeeth the ulama have described it as being makrooh also. The correct sunnah method of sitting between the two sajdahs, as described in the next hadeeth by Abdullah bin Umar radiallahu anhu himself, is to sit on the left foot with the right foot erect.

Mughirah bin Hakeem relates that he saw Abdullah bin Umar radiallahu anhu sit back from the two sajdahs in salâh on the balls of his feet. When he ended his prayer, he mentioned this to him, upon which he replied, 'This is not the sunnah of salâh. I only do this because I am ill.'[182]


[175] To place both the posterior and the hands on the floor and to raise the knees in front in the manner of a dog

[176] Tabarani in at Mu'jam at Kabeer 7/229 no 6957, Hakim 1005 and Baihaqi 2739. Hakim declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed

[177] Ahmad 8044, Abu Ya'laa and Tabarani in al Mu'jam al Awsat as quoted by Hafidh Haithami 2/80. Hafidh Haithami adds that the isnad of Ahmad is hasan

[178] Ibn Majah 894, Tirmidhi 282 and Baihaqi 5790.

[179] Ibn Majah 896. Bouseeree says in Misbah al Zujajah Chapter 158, hadeeth 329, 'This is a dhaeef isnad.' He later adds that the hadeeth has a supporting narration reported by Tirmidhi on the authority of Sayyiduna Ali .

[180] Muslim 536.

[181] Abdul Razzaq 3029. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is saheeh (442).

[182] Malik 201.


… and without leaning to any one side.

Sayyiduna Anas radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam forbade iqa'a and tawarruk in salâh. [183]

Abdullah bin Dinar reports that he had seen Abdullah bin Umar radiallahu anhu with a man praying at his side. When the man sat down, he adopted the tarabbu' position (put out both legs to one side and sat on the ground) and crossed his feet. When Ibn Umar finished he disapproved of this. The man protested, 'But you do the same.' Abdullah bin Umar radiallahu anhu said, 'I am ill.'[184]

Abdullah (the son of Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Umar radiallahu anhu ) reports that he used to see his father adopt the tarabbu' position when sitting in salâh. He said, 'So I did the same, and I was young at the time. Abdullah forbade me and said, "The sunnah of the prayer is that you keep your right foot vertical and lay down your left foot." I said to him, "But you do the same." He said, "My feet do not support me."'[185]

In the above hadeeth Sayyiduna Ibn Umar radiallahu anhu is not quoted as mentioning how a person should sit after spreading the left foot on the ground; by placing the posterior upon the ground or on the left foot? The following hadeeth clarifies this though:

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Umar radiallahu anhu says, 'It is the sunnah of salâh to raise the right foot and face it towards the qiblah with its toes, and to sit on the left foot.'[186]


[183] Ahmad 13025. Also reported by Bazzar as quoted by Hafidh Haithami 2/86. Narrated also by Baihaqi 2740. Suyuti has classified it saheeh in his al Jam'i al Sagheer 9333 and Muhaddith 14 Yusuf Binnouri has also declared it saheeh 3/ 162.

[184] Malik 200.

[185] Malik 202.

[186] Nasai 1157 & 1158. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is saheeh (458).


You should sit with both your legs tucked in beneath you, the left foot spread out with the toes in the direction of the right foot which itself should be upright with the toes facing the qiblah. Both hands should be rested upon the thighs with the fingers facing the qiblah. This sitting posture is to be adopted throughout the salâh. There is no difference in the manner of sitting for the second and last rak'ah or for the sitting between the two prostrations. [187]

Ummul Mu'mineen A'ishah radiallahu anha reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would begin his salâh with the takbeer, and his recitation with 'Alhamdu lillâhi Rabbil 'Âlameen', and when he would bow down into ruku' he would not raise his head nor lower it but keep it in between. Then when he would raise his head from ruku' he would not prostrate until he had stood upright, and having raised his head from sajdah he would not prostrate again until he had sat upright. He would recite the tahiyyah after every two rak'ah, spread his left foot and raise erect his right foot. He would forbid the squatting of the devil, and that a man should spread his arms upon the ground in the manner of animals. He would end his salâh with the salâm.[188]

Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu reports, 'I prayed salâh behind Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam and said to myself "I will preserve the salâh of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam." When he sat for tashahhud he spread his left foot upon the ground and sat on it, and placed his left palm upon his left thigh and his right arm upon his right thigh. He then shaped his fingers making a circle with the middle finger and the thumb and began praying with the other one (forefinger).'[189]

In another narration Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu says, 'I arrived in Madinah and said to myself, "I will observe the prayer of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam." When he sat for tashahhud he spread his left foot, placed his left hand on his left thigh, and raised his right foot upright.'[190]

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Umar radiallahu anhu says, 'It is the sunnah of salâh to raise the right foot and face it towards the qiblah with its toes, and to sit on the left foot.'[191]

After narrating the above hadeeth of Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu Imam Tirmidhi says, 'This is the practice of the majority of the people of learning.'


[187] Women should take out both their legs towards the right hand side of the body and rest on the posterior without raising their right foot.

[188] Muslim 498.

[189] Saeed bin Mansoor as quoted by Imam Nimawi 457. Also reported by Tahawi 1/259. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is saheeh. A similar narration has also been recorded by Abu Dawood Tayalisi 1020.

[190] Tirmidhi 292 and Tahawi 1/259. Imam Tirmidhi says the hadeeth is hasan saheeh.

[191] Nasai 1157 & 1158. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is saheeh (458)


Then repeating the takbeer, fall into the second prostration, and after having recited the tasbeeh as in the first prostration, say the takbeer again and return to the standing position. Whilst standing up, ensure that you first lift your forehead and nose, followed by your hands and finally your knees. Do not support yourself on your hands…

Sayyiduna Ibn Umar radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam forbade that a man should support himself on his hands when rising in salâh.[192]

Sayyiduna Ibn Umar radiallahu anhu also reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam forbade that a man should support himself on his hands in salâh.[193]

Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu says, 'I saw Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam place his knees (on the round) before his hands when he would prostrate, and lift up his hands before his knees when rising.'[194]

Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu narrates (as part of a longer hadeeth), 'And when he (Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam ) would rise he would do so on his knees, and he would place his hands (for support) upon his thighs.'[195]

Sayyiduna Ali radiallahu anhu says, 'It is part of the sunnah of fardh salâh that when a man rises in the first two rak'ahs he should not place his hands upon the earth for support unless he is an old man who cannot stand up without doing so.'[196]

Ibrahim al Nakhai would disapprove of someone leaning on his hands when sitting in between the two rak'ahs or when rising.[197]


[192] Abu Dawood 992 and Baihaqi 2808. Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani says that its narrators are those of Bukhari except Muhammad bin Abdul Malik who is thiqah (810).

[193] Ibn Khuzaimah 692, Hakim 837 and Baihaqi 2807. Hakim declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed with him

[194] Darimi 1320, Ibn Majah 882, Abu Dawood 838, Tirmidhi 268, Nasai 1089, Ibn Khuzaimah 626, and Tahawi 1/255. Also reported by Ibn al Sakan in his Saheeh as quoted by Hafidh bin Hajar in al Talkhees al Habeer 1/254 no. 379. Narrated also by Ibn Hibban 1909, Hakim 822, Baihaqi 2628 and Baghawi 3/133 no 642. Imam Tirmidhi says that the hadeeth is hasan ghareeb and Hakim has declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed. This hadeeth has also been narrated with other chains. See next volume for further details.

[195] Abu Dawood 839. The hadeeth is munqati' but all the narrators up to Abdul Jabbar are authentic as explained by Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani 811.

[196] Ibn Abi Shaibah 3998.

[197] Abdul Razzaq 2961.


And do not adopt a sitting posture in between.

In the longer hadeeth of Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu about the man who did not complete his salâh (who has been identified as Sayyiduna Khallad bin Rafi' radiallahu anhu the brother of Sayyiduna Rifaah bin Rafi', the other narrator of this hadeeth a part from Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu) Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam says to Sayyiduna Khallad, 'Then fall down into prostration until you are motionless, then rise and sit until you are motionless, then fall down prostrate again until you are motionless, then rise and stand straight. Do this throughout your salâh.'[198]

Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam does not mention any sitting after the second prostration but instructs him to stand up straight.

Abbas or Ayyash bin Sahl al Saidee reports that he was in a gathering where his father, who was a companion of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam was present. In the gathering there was also Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu, Abu Humaid al Saidee radiallahu anhu, and Abu Usaid. He relates a long hadeeth in which he mentions that, 'He (Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said the takbeer and prostrated. He then said the takbeer again and stood up but did not sit.'[199]

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu says, 'Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would stand up on the balls of his feet in salâh.'[200]

Nu'maan bin Abu Ayyash says, 'I have seen more than one of the companions of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. When they raised their heads from the prostration in the first and third rak'ah they would stand up straight as they were and they would not sit.'[201]

Abdul Rahman bin Yazeed says, 'I observed Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhu in salâh, and saw him rise and not sit.' He adds, 'He would stand up on the balls of his feet in the first and third rak'ah.'[202]

Wahb bin Kaysan says, 'I saw Abdullah bin al Zubair radiallahu anhu standing up on the balls of his feet when he had completed the second prostration.'[203]

Khaithamah and Nafi' both report that Abdullah bin Umar radiallahu anhu would stand up on the balls of his feet in salâh.[204]

Abu Atiyyah reports that Ibn Abbas radiallahu anhu and Ibn Umar radiallahu anhu would do the same.[205]

Sha'bi says, 'Umar, Ali and the companions radiallahu anhum of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would stand up on the balls of their feet in salâh.'[206]

Ubaid bin Abi al Ja'd reports the same about Sayyiduna Ali[207]

Zuhri says, 'Our Shaikhs would not do mumayalah (reel), meaning when one of them would rise from the second sajdah in the first rak'ah he would stand up as he was and not sit.'[208]

After quoting the above hadeeth of Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu, Imam Tirmidhi says, 'This is the practice of the people of learning. They prefer that a man stands up on the balls of his feet in salâh.'


[198] Bukhari 6290 & 760.

[199] Abu Dawood 733 & 966. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is saheeh (449). Also reported by Tahawi 4/354, Ibn Hibban 1863 and Baihaqi 2642.

[200] Tirmidhi 288 and Baghawi 669.

[201] Ibn Abi Shaibah 3989. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is hasan (451).

[202] Abdul Razzaq 2966 & 2967, Ibn Abi Shaibah 3979 & 3986, Tabarani in

al Mu'jam al Kabeer 9/266 no. 9327, and Baihaqi 2764. Hafidh Haithami says 2/136 that its narrators are those of Bukhari, and Baihaqi has also declared it saheeh.

[203] Ibn Abi Shaibah 3983 & 3984. Imam Nimawi says that its isnad is saheeh (453).

[204] Ibn Abi Shaibah 3980 & 3985.

[205] Abdul Razzaq 2968.

[206] Ibn Abi Shaibah 3982.

[207] Ibn Abi Shaibah 3978.

[208] Ibn Abi Shaibah 3987.


With this you will have completed your first rak'ah. All the remaining rak'aat of salâh are to be performed in a similar manner, with the same recitations, movements and postures. However, in the remaining rak'aat you should not recite thana, and istiaadhah, nor should you raise your hands with any takbeer as you did in the beginning of the salâh.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu relates that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would rise for the second rak'ah he would begin the recitation with 'Alhamdu lillâhi Rabbil 'Âlameen'and would not remain silent.[209]


[209] Muslim 599.

You should, however, recite basmalah before Sűrah al Fâtihah at the beginning of each rak'ah. When you have completed your second prostration of the second rak'ah, do not stand up but adopt the sitting posture as before and recite the tashahhud.

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhu relates, 'When we prayed behind Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, we would say, "Peace (as-Salâm) be upon Allâh." Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, turned to us and said, "Indeed Allâh is the one who is as-Sâlam so you should say:[210] Athahiayatu lillahi wassalawaatu…

Imam Tirmidhi says, 'The hadeeth of Ibn Mas'ud radiallahu anhu has been narrated from him in more than one way. It is the most authentic hadeeth from Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam regarding tashahhud, and it is the basis of the practice of most of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam's companions and the Tabi'un after them'

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhu also reports that it is sunnah to read the tashahhud silently.[211]

[210] Bukhari 6946, Muslim 402.

[211] Abu Dawood 986, Tirmidhi 291, Ibn Khuzaimah 706 and Hakim 838. Hakim declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed.


When you reach the words 'Lâ ilâha' (there is no god…) raise your index finger and tuck the middle, third and last finger into the palm, with the thumb and middle finger touching and forming a circle.

Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu says, 'I saw Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam make a circle with his thumb and middle finger, and lift the one next to it (the forefinger) praying with it in tashahhud.[212]

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin al Zubair radiallahu anhu narrates that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam sat praying (tashahhud) he would place his right hand upon his right thigh and his left hand upon his left thigh. He would point with his forefinger and place his thumb upon his middle finger, whilst his left hand would be grasping his knee.[213]And in the narration of Nasai, Abu Dawood and Ahmad, 'His gaze would not pass beyond his pointing.'[214]

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Umar radiallahu anhu relates that when Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would sit in salâh, he would place his right hand upon his knee and raise his forefinger praying with it, whilst his left hand would be spread out upon his left knee.[215]

Sayyiduna Numair al Khuzai radiallahu anhu relates that he saw Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam seated in salâh. He had placed his right arm upon his right thigh and raised his forefinger, having bent it slightly whilst praying.[216]


[212] Ibn Majah 912 and Nasai 1264. Bouseeree (Chapter 163, no. 336) and Imam Nimawi (464) have both declared the hadeeth saheeh.

[213] Muslim 579 and Abu Dawood 988.

[214] Ahmad 15668, Abu Dawood 990 and Nasai 1275.

[215] Muslim 580, Tirmidhi 294 and Nasai 1269.

[216] Ahmad 15439, Abu Dawood 991, Nasai 1274 and Ibn Hibban 1943.


The index finger should only be raised once during the tashahhud at the time mentioned. It should not be raised at any other point nor should it be constantly moved.

Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn al Zubair radiallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would point with his finger when he prayed and he would not move it.[217]

[217] Abu Dawood 989, Nasai 1270, Abu Awanah 2/226 (Dar al Ma'rifah edition, Beirut.), Baihaqi 2786 and Baghawi 676. Imam Nawawi has declared it saheeh in his al Majmu' 3/454

The describing of the pointing of the finger according to the Hanafi jurists.

The chosen opinion according to majority of the Hanafi scholars is that the hands should be kept on the thighs (during Qa’dah). At the time of the words showing Tawhid, the little and ring finger (of the right hand) should be folded inwards, a circle should be formed with the middle finger and thumb. Pointing should be done with the index finger; it must be lifted when negating everything (when saying 'Lâ ilâha') and should be dropped when establishing the oneness of Allah (after saying 'ill Allah'). The fingers and the circle should be kept this way till the end of the Salaah.

(NB: Dropping does not mean that it should be dropped completely, it should be just lowered).

At the same time, the commentator of al Munyah, a Hanafi Fiqh book says that the pointing should be done as the 53 sign, which means that the middle, ring and little fingers should be folded inwards and the tip of the thumb should be placed at the base of the middle finger, the index finger should be then used to point, lifting at the time of negation and dropping at the time of affirmation of the oneness of Allah.

This gives us scope for making a choice between the two, because both are established from Nabi (sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam). It would therefore be appropriate to practice upon one sometimes and the other at other times.

[Ref: Majmua Rasail Ibn Abidin vol.1 pp.120, Fataawa Mahmudiyya vol.5 pp.635, Ahsanul Fataawa vol.3 pp.30]


If this is a three or four rak'ah prayer, then you should recite no more than the above tashahhud and stand up for the third rak'ah.

Towards the end of a longer hadeeth about tashahhud Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhu reports that, 'If Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam was in the middle of his salâh he would stand up after having completed his tashahhud, and if he was at the end of his salâh he would pray after his tashahhud whatever Allâh wished him to pray and then say the salâm.'[218]

Ummul Mu'mineen Aisha radiallahu anha reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would not pray more than the tashahhud after two rak'aat.[219]

Sha'bi says, 'He who recites more than the tashahhud after two rak'aat should perform two sajdahs of sahw.'[220]

Hasan al Basri would say that one should not recite more than the tashahhud after two rak'aat.[221]


[218] Ahmad 4369 and Ibn Khuzaimah 708. Hafidh Haithami says 2/142 that its narrators are authentic.

[219] Abu Ya'laa 7/337 no.4373. Hafidh Haithami says 2/142. 'It seems that Ibn al Huwayrith (one of the narrators) is Khalid bin al Huwayrith who is authentic and the rest of the narrators are those of Bukhari

[220] Ibn Abi Shaibah 3022.

[221] Ibn Abi Shaibah 3021.


Again whilst rising you should not support yourself on your hands but stand up directly. In the final two rak'aat of a fardh salâh, you should only recite Sűrah al Fâtihah.

Sayyiduna Abu Qatadah radiallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would recite Sűrah al Fâtihah and another sűrah in the first two rak'aat of Dhuhr and Asr salâh, and at times he would (read loud enough and) allow us to hear a verse. In the second two rakaat he would read only Sűrah al Fâtihah.[222]


[222] Bukhari 725 and Muslim 451.


After completing the second prostration of the final rak'ah you should again adopt the sitting posture and recite the tashahhud as before, followed by prayer and salutations upon Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam as follows.

Abdul Rahman bin Abu Layla says, 'K'ab bin Ujrah radiallahu anhu met me and said, "Should I not give you a gift that I have heard from the Messenger sallallahu alaihi wa sallam?" I replied, "Of course. Give me this gift." He said, "We questioned Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam saying, "Oh Apostle of Allâh! How should the 'Salâh' (prayer) be made upon you, the people of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam's household? Indeed Allâh has already shown us how we are to send salutations upon you." He sallallahu alaihi wa sallam replied, "Say:[223] Allahuma salli alaa mohammadin….., Allahumma baarik alaa mohammadin…


[223] Bukhari 3190 and Muslim 406.


You should then recite one or more prayers ensuring that they are known authentic prayers from the Qur'ân and Hadeeth.

Sayyiduna Muawiyah bin al Hakam al Sulami radiallahu anhu relates as part of a longer hadeeth that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'No speech of men is correct in this salâh. It should only be tasbeeh, takbeer and the recitation of the Qur'ân.'[224]

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhu says, 'A man should recite tashahhud, then send prayers and salutations upon Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam and then pray for himself.'[225]


[224] Ahmad 23250, Darimi 1502. Muslim 537. Abu Dawood 930 and Nasai 1218.

[225] Ibn Abi Shaibah 3026, Hakim 990. Dhahabi says of Hakim's sanad, 'according to the conditions of Bukhari and Muslim.' Also reponed by Baihaqi 2879.


After completing your prayers you should say 'Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah' once turning your head to the right and then a second time turning yur head to the left. These final words end your salah.

Amir bin Sa'd relates from his father who said 'I used to see Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam do the salam to his right and left until I could see the whiteness of his cheek'.[226]

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhu says, 'Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam would say the takbeer at the time of each descent, rising, standing and sitting, and he would do salam to his right and left (saying) 'Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah, Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah' (turning so much that) the whiteness of his cheek could be seen. I saw Abu Bakr and Umar radiallahu anhum do this also.' [227]

[226] Muslim 582.

[227] Nasai 1319. Also narrated by the following without mentioning Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna Umar radiallahu anhum: Ahmad 3691. Ibn Majah 914. Abu Dawood 996 and Tirmidhi 295. Imam Tirmidhi also adds that the hadeeth is hasan saheeh.


Difference in salah between men and women:


Some people are of the view that all the laws of salah are common to both men and women, and that there is no difference between them. They also claim that the hadeeth 'Pray as you have seen me praying' is general and, therefore, should be applied equally to both men and women. It should be realised, however, that our own interpretation and logical inference of this hadeeth cannot compare with the other ahadeeth of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, and the verdicts and practice of the Sahabah and Tabi’un quoted below.

The Shariah has ordained distinct rules for men and women in many important questions of salah.

For example,

•Jumua’ah is fardh upon men but not on women, and the Eid prayer is wajib for men but again not for women.

Sayyiduna Tariq bin Shihab radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said. Jumuah in congregation is an obligatory duty upon every Muslim except four people: a slave, a woman, a child, and one who is sick[240]

Sayyidatuna Umm Atiyyah radiallahu anha says as part of a longer hadeeth, 'We have been forbidden from following funerals and there is no Jumuah upon us’[241]

•The reward of congregational prayer for men is twenty seven times more than an individual prayer. Contrary to this, the more rewarding prayer of a woman is that which is most concealed and performed within the confines of her innermost living quarters.

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'The prayer of a woman in her makhda' (partition) is better than her prayer in her hujrah (chamber), and her prayer in her hujrah is better than her prayer in her bait (house).'[242]

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'The most beloved salah to Allah of a woman is one that she performs in the darkest spot or her home.' [243]

•Unlike men, women should not give adhan or say the iqamah

Sayyidatuna Asmaa radiallahu anha narrates as part of a longer hadeeth that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. said, 'There is no adhan, iqamah or Jumuah upon women.'[244]

Sayyidatuna Ibn Umar radiallahu anhu says, 'There is no adhan or iqamah upon women.'[245]

There is a great difference in the awrah of a man and that of a woman in salah. Women must cover their entire body including the hair, leaving only the face, hands and feet exposed.

Ummul Mu'mineen Aisha radiallahu anha reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, ‘Allah does not accept the salah of a mature female without a scarf.'[246]

•Women cannot lead men in salah

Abu Bakrah radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'Never will those people succeed who have appointed a woman over them.'[247]

Jabir bin Abdullah reports as part of a longer hadeeth that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'Know that a woman should not lead a man in salah.'[248]

•For the purpose of correcting or deterring someone in salah men should say 'subhanallah' loudly, whilst women are only allowed to clap their hands.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'Tasbeeh is for men, and clapping is for women.'[249]

The different postures, positions and rulings concerning the prayer of the female are not the invention of a group or an individual but the teaching of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam himself. He was the very first person to differentiate between the prayer of a man and a woman.

Yazid bin Abi Habib reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam passed by two women who were praying salah. He said, 'When you prostrate, let part of your body cling to the earth, for women are unlike men in this regard'.[250]

Sayyiduna Ibn Umar radiallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said. 'When a woman sits in salah she should place one thigh over the other, and when she prostrates she should press her stomach to her thighs in a manner that is the most concealing for her. Indeed Allah looks at her saying, "Oh my angels! I make you witness that I have forgiven her."[251]

Sayyiduna Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, 'Oh Ibn Hujr! When you pray make your hands level with your ears. And the woman shall raise her hands close to her bosom’[252]

We derive some very important and fundamental principles about the prayer of a woman from all the above ahadeeth.

1. The laws of salah are not always the same for men and women.

2. The sunnah posture of a female in any position of salah is that which is the most concealing for her .

Imam Baihaqi says,

‘All of the laws of salah in which a woman differs from a man are based on the principle of satr (concealment). This means that the woman is instructed to do all that which is more concealing for her. The following chapters of hadeeth explain this meaning in detail.’[253]

[240] Abu Dawood 1067 and Hakim 1062. Hakim declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed..

[241] Ibn Khulaimah 1722

[242] Abu Dawood 570 and lbn Khuzaimah 1690.

[243] lbn Khuzaimah 1691, and Tabarani in al M'ujam al Kabeer as mentioned by Hafidh Haithami 2/35. Hafidh Haithami also says that its narrators are authentic.

[244] Baihaqi 1921

[245] Baihaqi 1920.

[246] Ahmad 24012. Ibn Majah 655. Abu Dawood 641. Tirmidhi 377. Ibn Khuzaimah 775. Hakim 917 and Baihaqi 3254. Hakim declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed.

[247] Ahmad 19507. Bukhari 4163. Tirmidhi 2262 and Nasai 5388.

[248] Ibn Majah 1081 and Baihaqi 5131.

[249] Bukhari 1145.

[250] Abu Dawood in his al Marasee1 p18 (Muassahah al Risalah edition), and Baihaqi 3201

[251] Baihaqi 3199. He also declared it dhaeef.

[252] Tabarani in at M'ujam al Kabee'r 22/19 no.28. Hafidh aithami says 2/103, 'Tabarani has narrated it as part of a long hadeeth on the virtue of Wail bin Hujr radiallahu anhu with a chain of Maimoonah bint Hujr narrating from her auntie Umm Yahya bint Abdul Jabbar. I have not identified her but the rest of the narrators are reliable.’

[253] Baihaqi 2/314.



As mentioned earlier, this variation in the salah of a woman has been prescribed by none other that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam himself. It is also reflected in the rulings of the Sahabah and Tabi'un. The Ulama and fuqaha of all four schools have always recognised this difference and, as is evident in their books of fiqh, have always observed the above principles whenever making a ruling about the salah of a woman. Following are a few narrations detailing the verdicts and practice of the Sahabah radiallahu anhum together with the verdicts of some of the Tabi 'un and the Ulama of the different schools of fiqh:

Verdicts and practice of the Sahabah radiallahu anhum.

Imam Abu Bakr Ibn Abi Shaybah narrates:

"Abd Rabbih Ibn Zaytun said that he saw Umm ud-Dardaa raising her hands parallel to her shoulders when beginning salah. "

(al-Musannaf li-Ibn Abi Shaybah: vol. 1 p 239)


Khalid bin al Lajlaaj reports as part of a longer hadeeth that women were ordered to do tarabb’u[254] when sitting in salah.[255]

Nafi' narrates that Safiyyah radiallahu anha would pray and do tarabb'u [256]

Nafi' also narrates that the womenfolk of Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Umar's radiallahu anhu family would do tarabb'u. [257]

Sayyiduna Ibn Umar radiallahu anhu was once asked. 'How did women pray their sa/ah during the time of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam? He replied. 'They used to sit cross legged until they were told to practice ihtifaz.[258]

Sayyiduna Ali radiallahu anhu says, 'When a woman prostrates she should do ihtifaz and press her thighs together', and in Abdul Razzaq's narration 'press her thighs against her stomach.' [259]

Sayyiduna Ibn Abbas radiallahu anhu was asked about the prayer of a woman He replied, 'She should pull herself close together and do ihtifaz.[260]

[254] i.e., to draw out one's right leg towards the right side of the body and to place the left leg beneath the right leg.

[255] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2783.

[256] Abdul Razzaq 5074 and Ibn Abi Shaibah 2784

[257] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2789.

[258] Narrated by all three, Abu Muhammad al Bukhari, Qadhi Umar bin al Hasan al Ashnani, and Ibn Khusruw in their Musnads of Imam Abu Hanifah's ahadeeth. Ihtifaz is to lean to one side and rest on the posterior. It is more or less the same as sadl

[259] Abdul Razzaq 5072 and Ibn Abi Shaibah 2777, Muhaddith Dhafar Ahmad Uthmani 3/32 has declared it hasn

[260] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2778.


Verdicts of the Tabi'un and other ulama.

Ibn Abi Shaybah has narrated:

"Ataa was asked how a woman should raise her hands in salah. He replied that she should raise them till her breast "

Based at Makkah, Ataa [the great Follower (tabi`i) and imam] used to issue this fatwa.

Ibn Abi Shaybah narrates:

"Hammad ibn Salamah al-Basri used to say that a woman should raise her hands parallel to her breast when beginning salah. "

Hammad was based at Kufa and he used to issue this fatwa

Ibn Jurayj reports, 'I asked Ataa: "Should a woman motion with her hands at the time of takbeer as a man does?" he replied, "She should not raise her hands with takbeer in the manner of men." Ataa then demonstrated (the way in which she should.) He placed his hands very low and then pulled them towards him. He then said. "The posture of a woman in salah is not that of a man” [261]

Ataa also says, ‘A woman should pull herself together when she bows down into ruk'u: she should bring up her hands to her stomach and pull herself together as much as possible. When she prostrates she should bring up her hands close to her and press her bosom and stomach against her thighs: she should pull herself together as much as possible.[262]

Hasan al Basri says, ‘A woman should pull herself close together in sujud.’ [263]

Hasan and Qatadah both say, 'When a woman prostrates she should pull herself together as much as possible. She should not allow for any space between her limbs so that her posterior is not raised’.[264]

One certain author has argued that all the descriptions of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam's prayer are equally applicable to both men and women and there is nothing in the sunnah that excludes women from any of them. Insha Allah the contents of this chapter will answer that claim. The author then goes on to say that this is the view of lbrahim al Nakhai who said, 'A woman's actions in the prayer are the same as a man's.' transmitted by Ibn Abi Shaibah (1/75/2) with a saheeh sanad from him.

This is not what Ibrahim al Nakhai said at all nor is it his view. His narration transmitted by Ibn Abi Shaibah actually reads, ‘A woman will sit in salah just as a man does.’[265] This somehow has been misquoted as ‘A woman's actions in the prayer are the same as a man's.’

In fact, Ibrahim al Nakhai’s other narrations quite clearly contradict the above report. His view about the prayer of a woman as reported by Ibn Abi Shaibah and others is as follows:

Ibrahin al Nakhai says, ‘When a woman prostates she should press her stomach against her thighs. She should not raise her posterior nor should she allow for any space or distance beween the limbs of her body as a man does.’[266]

He also says, 'When a woman prostrates she should bring her thighs together and press her abdomen to them.'[267]

He also says, ‘A woman should sit to one side in salah.’[268]

Imam Baihaqi says,

‘All of the laws of salah in which a woman differs from a man are based on the principle of satr (concealment). This means that the woman is instructed to do all that which is more concealing for her. The following chapters of hadeeth explain this meaning in detail.’ [269]

Ibn Qudamah al Maqdisi al Hanbali quotes Imam Ahmad Hanbal in his al Mughni as saying, ‘I consider sadl[270] to be better for a woman.’ He also quotes the narration of Sayyiduna Ali radiallahu anhu who says, ‘When a woman prays salah she should do ihtifaz and press her thighs together.’[271]

Imam Ahamad was asked about how a woman should prostrate and sit for tashahhud. He replied, ‘She would do whatever is more concealing for her.’ He added, ‘She should do tarabb’u in tashahhud and draw her legs to one side (sadl).’[272]

According to narration of Abu Dawood, Imam Ahamd was asked about how a woman should sit in salah. He replied, ‘She should press her thighs together.’[273]

Qadhi Iyadh has also quoted from some Salaf that the sunnah for women is tarabb’u’[274]

Imam Shafi'i writes in Al-Umm "A man and woman in regards to remembrance and salat are the same, except that I instruct that they be more concealing than men in ruku' and prostration by joining their limbs together.

All the above quite clearly demonstrates that the prayer of a woman is different in some aspects from that of a man, and that this distinction was first made by none other than Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, and then maintained by the prominent Sahabah and Tabi’un. Furthermore, as can be seen in their works, there is almost universal agreement amongst the scholars of all schools of fiqh on this issue.


[261] Abdul Razzaq 5066 and Ibn Abi Shaibah 2474

[262] Abdul Razzaq 5069.

[263] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2781.

[264] Abdul Razzaq 5068.

[265] Ibn Abi Shaibah 1/242,. no 2788.

[266] Abdul Razzaq 5071 and Ibn Abi Shaibah 2782.

[267] Ibn Abi Shaibah 2779.

[268] Abdul Razzaq 5077 and Ibn Abi Shaibah 2792.

[269] Baihaqi 2/314.

[270] To draw out the right leg to one side of the body and place the left leg beneath one’s right thigh. In this way the posterior will come to rest on the ground rather than on the left leg. She would, therefore, not be resting on her legs, but on her posterior as mentioned in the narration of Sayyiduna Ali radiallahu anhu

[271] Ibn Qadamah in al Mughni 2/135.

[272] Masaail of Imam Ahmad narated by his son Abdullah 373

[273] Masaail of Imam Ahmad narrated by Abu Dawood p51.

[274] Awjaz al Masalik 2/119.


List of differences between the prayer of a man and a woman.

Some of the differences as mentioned in the Hanafi books of fiqh listed below.

•In all the postures and movements of salah, including qiyam, ruk’u, sajdah, and tashahhud a woman should adopt that which is the most modest and concealing for her.

•At the beginning of salah a woman should not raise her hands to her ears but only to her shoulders or close to her bosom.[275]

•In qiyam, women are to place their hands on ther bosoms. They can fasten them in any one of the dirrerent ways ‘akdh, (grasping) or ‘wadh’(placing) described earlier or they can simply rest the right palm on the left one.

Allamah Abdul-Hayy Luckhnawi writes:

"As for women, the jurists are unanimous that it is sunnah for them to place their hands on their bosoms. "[276]

There is ijmaa' on this mas'alah.

•Unlike men, in ruk’u, women should tuck their arms into the body and not spread them outward. They should also merely place their hands over their knees with closed fingers, and not grasp them with the fingers spread wide open.[277] In fact, women should try to keep their fingers close together in all the postures of salah.

•During prostration men should allow for some space and distance between their stomachs and thighs, and arms and the side of the body, whilst women should press these limbs together.

•Again in prostration, men should raise their arms off the ground and allow for some distance but women should let them cling to the ground.

[275] Imam Ahamad bin Hanbal also says that she should raise them slightly and, according to one narration, she should not raise them at all

[276] as-Si'aayah: vol. 2 p 152

[277] In some books of Hanafi fiqh it has been suggested that in ruk’u they should also bend their backs and knees slightly. The hanbali scholar Imam Khirqi also says as part of a longer statement. ‘The woman should gather herself in ruk’u and sujud.’ (al Mughni 1/134.)


The great Hanafi jurist Allaamah Muhammad Amin Ibn Abidin as-Shami rahimahullah collects all these differances of women in prayer en thus concludes,


"A woman should raise her hands till her shoulders. She should not take her hands out of her sleeves. She should place one palm over the other on her breast . She should bend only slightly in ruku'. She will not spread her fingers out in ruku' but rather keep them close together and place her palms on her knees without clasping them. She should bend her knees slightly. She should contract herself in ruku' and sajdah. She should place her arms flat on the ground. She should sit with her legs out and resting on her posterior in tashahhud. In tashahud she should keep her fingers close together. If any mistake occurs in salah, she should clap her hands without uttering anything. She cannot make imamah of a male. It is makruh to have a female only congregation. The female imam will stand in their midst. It is makruh for her to attend the congregation. In a mixed congregation the females will stand at the rear. Jumu'ah is not obligatory for her, but if she attends it, she will be absolved of responsibility. Neither is Eid compulsory on her nor the takbir of tashriq. It is not mustahab for her to perform Fajr when it brightens up. In the loud salahs she will not raise her voice. " [278]

He says in another place:

"A woman should bend slightly in ruku; without spreading her fingers out completely. However, she must contract herself and place her palms on her knees and bend them slightly . She must not spread out her arms as this is more concealing for her. " [279]

[278] Radd al-Mukhtaar: vol. 1 p 504; see also al-Bahr ar-Raa'iq: vol. 1/320
[279] Radd al-Mukthaar: vol. 1 p 494


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