Question # 307: Assalam o alaqum. Want to know the exact manners & position of hands after standing the bow (ruku)?
Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: The scholars have differed over the issue of placing the right hand over the left forearm when standing up from ruku’. Some think it to be sunnah mustahabbah (preferable) but others think that since no specific report on this matter has been narrated, one should let his hands drop to his sides; while others (such as Imam Ahmad) believe that a person has the choice of placing his hands on his chest or by his sides, because nothing clear has been reported in the Sunnah on this point. Nevertheless, either way is valid and the differences in such matters should not lead to reprehensible disputes and conflict, or accusations of bid’ah among ummah.
Long Answer: This is one of the issues on which the scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) have differed. Some of them think that placing the right hand on the left forearm when standing up from ruku’ is sunnah mustahabbah (preferable) because of the general meaning of the hadith of Sahl ibn Sa’d al-Saa’idi (رضي الله عنه), who said: “The people were told that a man should place his right hand on his left forearm in prayer.” They said: the general meaning of the phrase “in prayer” makes it clear that when standing up from ruku’, one should place one’s hands thus, because the qiyaam (standing) includes the standing both before ruku’ and after, so a person should place his right hand on his left forearm in both qiyaams.
They said that during ruku’, the hands should be on the knees, in sujood they should be on the ground, in juloos (sitting) they should be on the thighs, and in qiyaam (standing) they should be on the chest. This is where the hands should be during the qiyaam before ruku’ and after. The attitude of humility and proper conduct before the Lord requires this in both qiyaams, and this position is the furthest away from fidgeting. Other scholars think that the right hand does not have to be placed on the left forearm after standing up from ruku’, and their evidence is the fact that no specific report on this matter has been narrated, as well as the fact that the general meaning of qiyaam does not include standing up from ruku’, because this is a straightening of the back, not a standing (qiyaam), so the person should let his hands drop to his sides.
Some scholars say that a person has the choice of placing his hands on his chest or not, because nothing clear has been reported in the Sunnah on this point. This is the opinion of Imam Ahmad (May Allah have mercy on him).
The hadith scholar Shaykh Badee’ al-Deen al-Sindi wrote a paper specifically on this topic in which he supported the opinion that it is sunnah to place the right hand on the left forearm after standing up from ruku’: Ziyaadat al-Khushoo’ bi wad’ al-Yumna ‘ala’l-Yusra ba’d al-Ruku’.” Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abd-Allah ibn Baaz also wrote a paper on this topic, in which he supported the idea of putting the hands on the chest after standing up from ruku’.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: it seems that the Sunnah is to place the right hand on the left forearm, because of the general meaning of the hadith of Sahl ibn Sa’d which was narrated by al-Bukhari: “The people were commanded that a man should put his right hand on his left forearm when praying.” If you look at the general meaning of this hadith you will note that it says “when praying,” not “when standing”. Thus, it will be clear that when standing after ruku’ it is prescribed to put (the right hand on the left forearm), because when bowing (ruku’) the hands are placed on the knees, and when prostrating they are placed on the ground, and when sitting they are placed on the thighs. But when standing – which includes standing both before and after ruku’– a person should place his right hand on his left forearm. This is the correct view. (Al-Sharh al-Mumti’)
The first opinion (i.e., placing the right hand on the left forearm when standing up from ruku’) is more likely to be correct, in sha Allah, but in any case, either way is valid. Differences in such matters should not lead to reprehensible disputes and conflict, or accusations of bid’ah if someone does this, or of neglecting the Sunnah if he does not. Such comments can only be made in cases where there is a clear sahih text and definite evidence.
However, Shaykh Muhammad Nasir-Deen Al-Albaani differed over the issue. Here is the Summary of his opinion regarding the issue of Placing the Hands Back on the Chest after the Ruku’:
- ‘I do not doubt that placing the hands on the chest in this standing is an innovation and misguidance. Since it has not been mentioned at all in any of the Ahadith of prayer – and there are so many of them! If this issue had a foundation, then it would have been transmitted / conveyed to us even if there was one chain for this action. What strengthens this opinion, is that not one of the Salaf did this and it was not mentioned by any one of the Imams of hadith, as far as I know.’ (Original Sifat as-Salah)
- ‘As for the statement of Imam Ahmad, which indicates placing of the hands after the Ruku’ as has been mentioned, is not established in the Sunnah according to Imam Ahmad himself, because indeed he himself chose (optional) between doing it and leaving it!’ Furthermore, Imam Ahmad did not ascribe this to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), rather he said this with his Ijtihad and his opinion, and an opinion can be wrong. (Original Sifat as-Salah)
- ‘I used to declare in a lot of my lectures and lessons the causes and reasoning regarding this clasping of the hands after Ruku’; that a person is about to introduce a new Bida’h due to relying upon a general hadith not knowing that it is specific, and this Bida’h is none other than pointing with the finger in other than the sitting of Tashhahud!’ (Silsilah Ahadeeth As-Saheehah)
- Wa’il bin Hajr said: “I prayed behind the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), when he entered into the prayer he would raise his hands and say ‘Allahu Akbar’, then he gathered his garment and entered his hands within his garment and took his left hand by his right hand and when he intended to go into Ruku’ he took out his hands and raised them and said ‘Allahu Akbar’, then went into Ruku’ and when he raised his head from Ruku’ he raised his hands then said ‘Allahu Akbar’ and went into Sajdah, then he placed his face on the floor between his hands.’ ‘The readers should reflect upon how well Wa’il (رضي الله عنه) narrates the description of how the Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) raised his hands in the opening Takbir, then how he summarized his words regarding it when he performed the Ruku’ and standing up from it by saying: ‘he raised his hands likewise’; so if, what some of the respected people ascribe to him, about placing the hands after rising from Ruku’ was sahih then he would have said the likes of: ‘and he placed his right hand over his left hand likewise.’ Or something similar, since this is a time where that explanation would be given as is apparent, so reflect upon this justly.’ (Saheeh Mawaarid ath-Thamaan)
- ‘…this [hadith] does not indicate placing the hands in the second standing, and that is why the Salaf did not act upon this.’ (Saheeh Mawaarid ath-Thamaan)
(The above is a summary of the Detailed Research by Shaykh Muhadith Muhammad Nasir- Deen Al-Albaani Rahimullaah of ‘Placing the Hands Back on the Chest after the Rukoo’; Translated by Abbas Abu Yahya)
Also, Shaykh Muhadith Rabee ibn Hadi al-Madkhali has the same opinion has Shaykh Muhammad Nasir-Deen Al-Albaani. Here is the summary of his opinion regarding the issue of Placing the Hands Back on the Chest after the Ruku’:
Shaykh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: “It is not recommended in the standing up from Ruku’, because the Sunnah does not mention it and also because the time in this standing is short and it is required to prepare for going into Sujood.” (From ‘Kitaab Sifat as-Salat min Sharh al-Umdah)
- Indeed, a number of noble Companions (رضي الله عنهم) narrated the description of the prayer of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and a number of the Imams of the Sunnah mentioned them in the recordings of Islam, in the books where there are the collections of ‘Saheeh’, Sunnan and al-Mua’jim. I do not find in their Ahadith the placing of the hands upon the chest whilst in the standing position coming up from Ruku’.
- I (Rabee) say: indeed Abu Humayd (رضي الله عنه) mentioned in this Hadith of his, a number of Arkaan (pillars) of the prayer, its obligatory actions and its recommended ones. He did not mention placing the hands on the chest whilst in the standing position after the Ruku’, and ten of the Companions approved this description of the prayer.
- Placing them on his chest during standing straight after the Ruku’ was not mentioned, if it was that Abu Humayd had forgotten it then why did not, the ten Companions who were with him remind him.
(The above is a summary of the Detailed Research by Shaykh Muhadith Rabee ibn Hadi al-Madkhali of ‘Placing the Hands Back on the Chest after the Rukoo’; Translated by Abbas Abu Yahya)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.