Question # 325: What is the evidence for making the takbir and raising the hands while sitting before rising for the third unit of prayer?

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).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: There is a difference of opinion among scholars with regards to raising hands after the middle tashahhud and standing up for the third rak’ah. According to the Shafi’is and scholars of the Standing Committee, and Shaykh al-Albani, raising of hands is before standing up, when one is still sitting, while the view of Abu Hurayrah, Ibn ‘Umar, Imam Maalik, Shaykh al-‘Uthaymeen and others is that it is after standing up. Further, the scholars have said that the hands should be raised after standing up, and that it is not necessary to raise the hands at the same time as saying takbeer; the takbeer may come before raising the hands, or raising the hands may come before the takbeer, or they may be done at the same time.

From the apparent meaning of many ahadith, and actions of some of the Sahabah, it is proven that raising the hands comes after one has finished standing up; for example, ‘Ali (رضي الله عنه) narrated: “he (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not raise his hands at any point during his prayer when he was sitting”. Although this may be interpreted as referring to not raising the hands when prostrating and when rising from prostration, different views are acceptable in this issue, and since it is Sunnah, not an obligatory part of prayer, it is not permissible to denounce harshly anyone – either he raises his hands before standing up (i.e., while sitting) or after standing up. Also Refer Question # 36

Long Answer: With regard to raising the hands after the middle tashahhud and standing up for the third rak’ah, the scholars differed as to the point at which the hands should be raised. Some of them said: before standing up, when one is still sitting. This is the view of the Shafi’is and of the scholars of the Standing Committee, and of Shaykh al-Albani. Others said that it is after standing up. This is the view of Abu Hurayrah, Ibn ‘Umar, Imam Maalik and others; it was also stated by Shaykh al-‘Uthaymeen in his fatwas.

There are proven ahadith about this raising of the hands, including the following:

  • It was narrated from Naafi’ that when Ibn ‘Umar began to pray he would say takbeer and raise his hands, and when he bowed he would raise his hands, and when he said ‘Sami’a Allahu liman hamidah (Allah hears the one who praises him)’ he would raise his hands, and when he stood up after two rak’ahs he would raise his hands.  And Ibn ‘Umar attributed that to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم). This was narrated by al-Bukhari, who included it in a chapter entitled: “Chapter on raising the hands when standing up after two rak’ahs”.

[In the above hadith, it is seen clearly] …that Ibn ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) would say takbeer and raise his hands after he had stood up straight.

  • It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that he would say takbeer in every prayer, obligatory or otherwise, in Ramadan and at other times. He would say takbeer when he stood up, then he would say takbeer when he bowed, then he would say ‘Sami’a Allahu lima hamidah (Allah hears the one who praises him)’, then he would say, ‘Rabbana wa laka’l-hamd (Our Lord, to You be praise)’ before he prostrated; then he would say Allahu akbar when he went down in prostration, then he would say takbeer when he raised his head from prostration, then he would say takbeer when he prostrated, then he would say takbeer when he lifted his head from prostration, then he would say takbeer when he stood up after sitting following the two rak’ahs, and he would do that in every rak’ah until he had finished the prayer. Then he would say when he finished: By the One in Whose hand is my soul, I am the one among you whose prayer most closely resembles that of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم). That is how he used to pray until he departed this world. (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

[In the above hadith, it is seen clearly] …that Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) would say takbeer after he had stood up straight.

  • It was narrated from ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (رضي الله عنه) that when the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) stood up to offer an obligatory prayer, he would say takbeer and raise his hands up to his shoulders, and he would do that when he had finished his recitation and wanted to bow, and he would do it when he rose from bowing, but he did not raise his hands at any point during his prayer when he was sitting, but when he stood up after two prostrations he would raise his hands likewise and say takbeer. (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi; he said it is hasan sahih. Also narrated by Abu Dawood and classed as sahih by Ibn Khuzaymah, Ibn Taymiyah in al-Fatawa and al-Albani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi)

What is meant by the phrase “when he stood up after two prostrations” is when he stood up after two rak’ahs. This is stated clearly in one of the two reports of al-Bukhari in the section on “Raising the hands” where it says: When he stood up after two rak’ahs he would do likewise.

  • It was narrated from Muhammad ibn ‘Amr ibn ‘Ata’ that Abu Humayd al-Saa’idi said: I heard him when he was among ten of the companions of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم), one of whom was Abu Qataadah ibn Rib’i, saying, I am the most knowledgeable of you about the prayer of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم). They said: You are not among the senior of us in terms of companionship and you are not among those who met him often. He said: Yes, I was. They said: Then tell us. He said: When the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) stood up to pray, he stood up straight and raised his hands until they were in line with his shoulders. When he wanted to bow in ruku’, he raised his hands until they were in line with his shoulders, then he said “Allahu akbar” and bowed, and he made his backbone straight, neither raising his head nor lowering it, and he put his hands on his knees. Then he said “Sami’a Allahu liman hamidah (Allah hears those who praise Him),” and raised his hands and stood up straight until every bone went back to its place. Then he went down in prostration, then he said “Allahu akbar” and held his upper arms away from his body and spread out his toes. Then he would tuck his foot under his body and sit on it. Then he sat upright until every bone has returned to its place. Then he went down in prostration. Then he said Allahu akbar and tucked his foot under his body and sat on it. Then he sat upright until every bone has returned to its place. Then he got up, then he did likewise in the second rak’ah , and when he stood up after two rak’ahs, he said takbeer and raised his hands until they were in line with his shoulders, as he did when he started the prayer, then he did likewise until, in the rak’ah with which he ended his prayer, he pushed back his right foot and sat on his left buttock mutawarrikan (with the left upper thigh on the ground and both feet protruding from one (i.e., the right) side), then he said the salaam. (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood, al-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah. Classed as sahih by al-Tirmidhi, al-Nawawi in al-Majmoo’ and al-Albani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi)

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:  This hadith of Abu Humayd is a sahih hadith that accepted (by the scholars) and has no faults. Some people regarded it as having faults but Allah and the scholars of hadith showed it to be free of such faults. We will mention the faults they ascribed to it, then we will explain what is wrong with their thinking …  (Haashiyat Ibn al-Qayyim ‘ala Tahdheeb Sunan Abi Dawood)

Opinions of The Scholars, and the Reason for the Difference in their Opinions

The first opinion:

Those scholars who said that the worshipper should raise his hands whilst he is still sitting, before he stands up for the third rak’ah, only said that because of the apparent meaning of some of the texts that we have quoted, which say that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) raised his hands before standing. What is meant by “when he stood up” in their view is when he wanted to stand up.

Because of that, raising the hands was mentioned in conjunction with the takbeer. There are texts which clearly state that that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said the takbeer for the third rak’ah when he was still sitting, so these scholars said that the takbeer should be accompanied by the raising of the hands.

Abu Ya’la narrated that Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) said: When the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) wanted to prostrate he would say takbeer then prostrate, and when he stood up after sitting he said takbeer then stand up.

Shaykh al-Albani (may Allah have mercy on him) said: This hadith clearly shows that the Sunnah is to say takbeer and then prostrate, and to say takbeer whilst sitting, then get up. (Al-Silsilah al-Saheehah)

It should be noted that some of those who study hadith refuted the Shaykh (may Allah have mercy on him) and explained that this report of Abu Ya’la is shaadhdh (odd). We say: Even if it is sahih, it does not mention raising the hands.

Those imams did not think that the words of the narrator “when he stood up he said takbeer” mean that he said takbeer after standing; rather it was when he wanted to stand up. This is like the verse in which Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “So when you want to recite the Qur’an, seek refuge with Allah from Shaytaan (Satan), the outcast (the cursed one)” (Soorah al-Nahl, 16:98); the original text literally says “when you recite” but what is meant is: when you want to recite, then seek refuge with Allah.

The scholars of the Standing Committee replied to a similar question: It is prescribed to raise the hands in prayer when getting up after the first tashahhud, and say takbeer after one has started to move from sitting to standing. (Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Razzaaq ‘Afeefi, Shaykh ‘Abd-Allah ibn Ghadyaan, Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah)

The second opinion:

The scholars said that the hands should be raised after standing up, and that it is not necessary to raise the hands at the same time as saying takbeer; the takbeer may come before raising the hands, or raising the hands may come before the takbeer, or they may be done at the same time. All of these are proven in the Sunnah about the places where one is to say takbeer and raise the hands. Some of these imams do not think one should say takbeer when sitting, even if it is without raising the hands, rather they think it should be said when standing. They said: The text should be understood in accordance with its apparent meaning, and the texts prove that he used to raise his hands “when he stood up” which means when he had finished standing.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Based on this, the places where the hands are to be raised are four: When saying the opening takbeer, when bowing, when rising from bowing, and when standing up after the first tashahhud, which should be done after one has stood up, because the wording of the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar is: “When he stood up after two rak’ahs, he raised his hands,” and that can only mean when he had finished standing. Based on this, (the worshipper) should not raise his hands when he is sitting and then get up, as some people imagine. It is known that the phrase “when he stood up” does not mean when he was getting up, rather there is a difference between the two. There is no raising of the hands apart from that. (Al-Sharh al-Mumti’)

This is with regard to raising the hands. As for saying takbeer, the Shaykh – may Allah have mercy on him – said that it should come between the two positions, not with either one of them. With regard to the issue under discussion here, he should say takbeer whilst moving to stand up, and raise his hands when he had stood up fully. Shaykh al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:  The takbeer for moving from one posture of the prayer to another should be said between the two posture. So, when he wants to prostrate, he should say takbeer between standing and prostrating, and when he wants to stand up after prostrating, he should say takbeer between prostrating and standing. This is what is best. If he starts to say takbeer before he goes down to prostrate, and completes it as he is going down, there is nothing wrong with that. Similarly, if he starts it whilst he is going down and does not complete it until he is prostrating, there is nothing wrong with it. (Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh al-‘Uthaymeen)

What makes it more likely that this view is correct is what it says in the third hadith – the hadith of ‘Ali (رضي الله عنه) – in which he says “he did not raise his hands at any point during his prayer when he was sitting”. It seems that this view is the one that was regarded as more correct by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah. He (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked about raising the hands after standing up following the sitting after the first two rak’ahs: is it recommended? Did the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) or any of the Sahabah do it? He replied: Yes, it is recommended according to the scholars who are well versed in the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم), and it is one of the two views narrated from Ahmad, and the view of a number of his companions, and the companions of al-Shafi’i, and others. That was proven from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) in the books of al-Saheeh and al-Sunan. (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa)

Ibn Daqeeq al-Eid (may Allah have mercy on him) said: They differed concerning the time of this takbeer. Some of them favored the view that it should be when starting to get up, which is the view of al-Shafi’i. Others were of the view that it should be when one has stood up straight. This is the view of Maalik. (Ahkaam al-Ihkaam)

The action of Abu Hurayrah: ‘Abd al-Razzaaq narrated that Ibn Jurayj said: ‘Ata’ told me: I prayed behind Abu Hurayrah and I heard him saying takbeer when he started to pray, and when he bowed, and when he went down to prostrate, then when he raised his head, then when he lowered his head for the second prostration, then when he raised his head, then when he stood up straight after two (rak’ahs).  He said to me: That is how the takbeer should be in every prayer. (Musannaf ‘Abd al-Razzaaq; its isnad is sahih)

The action of ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar: ‘Abd al-Razzaaq narrated that Ibn Jurayj said: Naafi’ told me that Ibn ‘Umar used to say takbeer with his hands when he started to pray, and when he bowed, and when he said ‘Sami’a Allahu liman hamidah (Allah hears the one who praises Him) and when he raised his head from bowing, and when he stood up straight after two (rak’ahs). He said: And he did not say takbeer with his hands when he raised his head after the two prostrations. (Narrated by ‘Abd al-Razzaaq in al-Musannaf and by al-Bukhari in Juz’ Rafa’ al-Yadayn; Its isnad is sahih)

If these Sahabah – along with Imam Maalik – say that the takbeer should come when one has stood up straight, then it is more likely that the hands should be raised when standing. The report of Ibn ‘Umar clearly shows that he said takbeer and raised his hands when he had stood up straight.

But we do not accept that it is not allowed to say takbeer when sitting, before standing up, or whilst getting up – as Imam Maalik disallowed it – because there is evidence which indicates that one may say takbeer whilst sitting and we cannot reject that. This is the view of the majority of scholars. But as for raising the hands, we think that it should be done whilst standing.

Al-Bukhari said, in a chapter entitled: Saying takbeer whilst getting up after doing two rak’ahs and Ibn al-Zubayr used to say takbeer whilst getting up.  He narrated two hadith concerning that:

  • It was narrated that Sa’eed ibn al-Haarith said: Abu Sa’eed led us in prayer and he said the takbeer out loud when he raised his head from prostration, and when he prostrated, and when he stood up following the two rak’ahs. He said: This is what I saw the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) do.
  • It was narrated that Mutarrif said: ‘Imraan ibn Husayn and I prayed behind ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (رضي الله عنه). When he prostrated he said takbeer, and when he raised his head he said takbeer, and when he got up after two rak’ahs he said takbeer. When he said the salaam, ‘Imraan took me by the hand and said: This man has led us in a prayer like that of Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم), or: This man reminded me of the prayer of Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم). (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The evidence in these two ahadith which al-Bukhari quoted in this chapter shows that in the hadith of Abu Sa’eed the takbeer comes when rising from prostration, which is apparent in starting to say takbeer when starting to rise.  As for the hadith of ‘Imraan, it says: “When he rose, he said takbeer” which may also be understood as meaning that he said takbeer when he started to rise. The hadith of Abu Hurayrah to which we referred is clearer than all of that; it says: “He used to say takbeer when he raised his head from the first and second prostration.” There is no dispute concerning this.  In the hadith of Abu Sa’eed the takbeer comes “When he stood up following the two rak’ahs.” In the hadith of ‘Imraan is says: “When he got up following the two rak’ahs he said takbeer.” There was a difference of opinion concerning the interpretation of this. The majority interpreted it as meaning that he said takbeer when he began to stand up and get up. In the hadith of Abu Hurayrah referred to at the beginning of the chapter, it says: “He said takbeer when he stood up from sitting in the two (rak’ahs).” This is the view of Abu Hanifah, al-Thawri, al-Shafi’i and Ahmad.

Maalik said – according to the better known of the two reports narrated from him: He should not say takbeer when he stands up after the two rak’ahs until he is standing up straight, because in some versions of the hadith of Abu Humayd and his companions it says: “when he stood up following the two rak’ahs he said takbeer.” (This was narrated by al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasaa’i, Ibn Majaah and Ibn Hibbaan) A similar report was narrated from Abu Hurayrah, Anas and others. These ahadith may be understood as meaning that he said takbeer when he wanted to stand up following the first tashahhud.  (Fath al-Baari by al-Haafiz Ibn Rajab)

[In summary,] …the majority of scholars say that the takbeer for standing up for the third rak’ah should be said whilst sitting before standing up, or when getting up, unlike Imam Maalik who said that the takbeer should come after one has stood up straight. From all the reports that we have quoted in this answer, it is clear to us that the takbeer may come before standing up, whilst standing up and after standing up.

[Next,] what is proven from the apparent meaning of many of the ahadith, and from the actions of some of the Sahabah, is that the raising the hands in these places comes after one has finished standing up, especially as it says that there is no raising the hands when sitting, as we quoted in the third hadith, from ‘Ali (رضي الله عنه), which says: “he did not raise his hands at any point during his prayer when he was sitting”. Even though that may be interpreted as referring to not raising the hands when prostrating and when rising from prostration.

[Lastly,] This issue is one of the issues in which different views are acceptable, and it is Sunnah, not an obligatory part of prayer, so it is not permissible to denounce harshly the one who does something different, let alone hate him or cut off ties with him.

(The above reply is based on answer provided by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on the topic)

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.

Wassalaam