What Has Been Said About The Position of the Hands in the Prayer According to Maalik and the ʿAmal of Madinah

What Has Been Said About The Position of the Hands in the Prayer According Maalik and the ʿAmal of Madinah

The placement of the hands in salaah is another example of an action by ʿAmal verses an action by hadith.  In the Muwatta, Imaam Maalik  has recorded two hadiths in the ‘Book of Prayer’ the section on: ‮ ‬وضع اليدين إحداهما على الأخرى في‮ ‬الصلاة‮ ‬(The Placing of the Two Hands One Over the Other in Salaah).   They are quoted as follows:

(حَدَّثَنِي‮ ‬يَحْيَ‮ ‬عَنْ‮ ‬مَالِكٍ) عَنْ‮ ‬عَبْدِالْكَرِيمِ‮ ‬بْنِ‮ ‬أَبِي‮ ‬الْمُخَارِقِ‮ ‬الْبَصْرِي‮ ‬أَنَّهُ‮ ‬قَالَ‮ ‬مِنْ‮ ‬كَلاَمِ‮ ‬النُّبُوَّةِ‮ ‬إِذَا لَمْ‮ ‬تَسْتَحِ‮ ‬فَافْعَلْ‮ ‬مَا شِئْتَ‮ ‬وَ‮ ‬وَضْعُ‮ ‬الْيَدَيْنِ‮ ‬إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الأُخْرَى فِي‮ ‬الصَّلاَةِ‮ ‬يَضْعُ‮ ‬الْيُمْنَى عَلَى الْيُسْرَى وَ‮ ‬تَعْجِيلُ‮ ‬الْفِطْرِ‮ ‬وَ‮ ‬الاسْتِيناءُ‮ ‬بِالسُّحُورِ

Yahya reported from Maalik  from ʿAbdu-l-Kariim bin Abii al-Mukhaariq al-Basrii  that he said from the words of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم “If you do not feel shy, then do what you like.   The placing of the hands one over the other in salaah is the placing of the right over the left.  You should hurry to break the fast and delay the suhuur (the meal before the fast).”

(حَددَّثَني‮ ‬يَحْيَ‮ ‬عَنْ‮ ‬مَالك عَنْ‮ ‬أَبِي‮ ‬حَازِم بِنْ‮ ‬دِينَارٍ) عَنْ‮ ‬سَهْلِ‮ ‬بِنْ‮ ‬سَعْدٍ‮ ‬أَنَّهُ‮ ‬قَالَ‮ ‬كَانَ‮ ‬النَّاسُ‮ ‬يُؤْمَرُونَ‮ ‬أَنْ‮ ‬يَضْعَ‮ ‬الرَّجُلُ‮ ‬الْيَدَ‮ ‬الْيُمْنَى عَلَى ذِرَاعِهِ‮ ‬الْيُسْرَي‮ ‬فِي‮ ‬الصَّلاَةِ‮ ‬قَالَ‮ ‬أَبُو حَازِمٍ‮ ‬لاَ‮ ‬اَعْلَمُ‮ ‬إلاَّ‮ ‬أَنَّهُ‮ ‬يَنْمِي‮ ‬ذَلِكَ‮

Yahya reported from Maalik from Abu Haazim bin Diinaar from Sahl bin Saʿiid that he said, “The people were ordered that the man should place the right arm over his left in salaah.  Abu Haazim said, “I only know that he traces that back.” (That is to say, he ascribes to a Prophetic tradition)

Although these Ḥadith have been related in the Muwatta, it appears that they are in that category of Ḥadith that were considered sound in all of its aspects and it was even recorded in the Muwatta yet it were not acted upon because according to the Mudawwana Imaam Maalik disapproved of placing the right hand over the left in Fard Salaah but permitted it in the Nafl salaah.  In the Mudawwana Imaam Maalik is quoted as saying:

لا اعرف ذلك في‮ ‬الفريضة و لكن في‮ ‬النوافل إذا طال القيام فلا بأس بذلك‮ ‬يعين به على نفسه

“I do not know of this in the faraa’id (obligatory prayers) but in the nawaafil (voluntary prayers) it can be done if the standing has been long in order to make it easy for himself.”

[ al-Mudawwanatu-l-Kubraa transmitted by Imaam Sahnuun bin Saʿīd at-Tanuukhī page 74 (Daaru-s-Saadir edition) Beirut, Lebanon]

In this same Ḥadith above which has been transmitted by Sahnuun, he relates:

عن ابن وهب عن سفيان الثوري‮ ‬عن‮ ‬غير واحد من اصحاب رسول الله صلى الله علىه و سلم أنهم رأوا رسول الله‮ ‬صلى الله عليه وسلم‮ ‬وضعًا‮ ‬يده اليمنى على‮ ‬يده اليسرى في‮ ‬الصلاة

“From Ibn Wahb from Sufyaan ath-Thawrii  who received it from more than one of the companions of the Messenger Of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم saw the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم place his right hand on his left in the salaah.”

In spite of this report, the two Ḥadith recorded in the Ḥadith and the fact that the majority of jurist consider the position of qabd (the placing the right hand over the  left in the prayer as a sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, it was consider makruuh by Maalik  what was preferable with him was the ʿAmal of praying with one’s hands in the position of sadl (to sides).

Ibn Rushd explains in his book ‘Bidaayatu-l-Mujtahid’ the cause of the difference of opinion between Imaam Maalik  and the rest of the jurist.  He says:

والسبب في‮ ‬اختلافهم إنه قد جاءت آثار ثابتة نقلت فيها صفة صلاته عليه الصلاة والسلام ولم‮ ‬ينقل فيها أنه كان‮ ‬يضع‮ ‬يده اليمنى على اليسرى وثبت أيضًا أن الناس كانوا‮ ‬يؤمرون بذلك وورد ذلك أيضًا من صفة صلاته عليه الصلاة والسلام في‮ ‬حديث أبي‮ ‬حميد فرأى قوم أن الآثار التي‮ ‬اثبتت ذلك اقتضت زيادة على الآثار التي‮ ‬لم تنقل فيها هذه الزيادة و إن الزيادة‮ ‬يجب أن‮ ‬يصار إليها و رأى قوم أن الاوجب المصير إلى الآثار التي‮ ‬ليس فيها هذه الزيادة لأنها اكثر ولكن هذه ليست مناسبة لافعال الصلاة وأنما هي‮ ‬باب الاستعانة ولذلك اجازها مالك في‮ ‬النفل ولم‮ ‬يجزها في‮ ‬الفرض‮ …‬

The jurists differed about placing one hand over the other in prayer. Malik disapproved this in obligatory prayers; but permitted it in supererogatory prayers. A group of jurists, and these are the majority, maintained that t,his act is among the sunan of prayer. The reason for their disagreement is that confirmed traditions have been reported in which the description of the Prophet’s prayer have been transmitted, but it has not been transmitted that he used to place his right hand over his left during the prayer, while it, has also been related that the people were commanded to do this. This has been related in the description of the prayer of the Prophet (God’s peace, and blessings be upon him) in the tradition ‘of Abii Humayd. A group of jurists, therefore, held that the traditions in which this is established imply an addition over those’ in which this addition has not been transmitted, and an addition has to be accepted. 

Another group said that it is necessary to adopt the traditions in which this addition has not been transmitted as these are more in number, and also because it (this practice) is not compatible with the acts of prayer for it belongs to the category of seeking support; therefore, Malik permitted it in supererogatory and not in obligatory prayers. It appears ,that it depicts a posture of humility, which is appropriate for it.

Both az-Zurqaanii in his sharh on the Muwatta of Imaam Maalik and Khaliil bin Ishaaq in his ‘Mukhtasar’ have reconfirm Imaam Maalik’s position on the placement of the arms in salaat.   Az-Zurqaanii reports:

و روى ابن القاسم عن مالك الارسال و صار إليه اكثر اصحابه و روى أيضًا عنه اباحته في‮ ‬النافلة لطول القيام و كرهه في‮ ‬الفربضة و نقل ابن الحاجب أن ذلك حيث تمسك معتمدا لقصد الراحة

“Ibn al-Qaasim has related from Maalik  the transmission and many of his companions went to him and he also related from him the allowance of it (qabd) in the naafilah salaah because of standing in prayer for a long time while he disliked it in the fard salaah.”

Khaliil bin Ishaaq says in the Mukhtasar:

و سدل‮ ‬يديه‮

(“and he should let his hands hang” [that is to say, let them hang to his side”])

One final point on this matter.  As mentioned above, the majority of Sunni ulamaa maintain that the placing of the hands in the position of qabd is the most correct position for them, yet among the majority of the Shiiʿah ulamaa you will find the opposite.  They maintain that the position of the arms is sadl.  There is a view that this position of the Shiiʿah ulamaa is derived directly from the amal of the people Madinah because the dispute which arose between them and the Sunnis occurred at an early date in Islamic history and was based on issues of politics rather fiqh.  In other words the Shiiʿahs did not drop their arms to their sides as one of the signs of their opposition to the Sunnis and Allah is the Best Knower in this matter.

For Other Discussions About The Position of the Hands in Prayer, Click on the Following Links:

1. Nuṣratu-l-Faqiihi-s-Saalik ʿAlaa Man Ankara Mashuriyyati-s-Sadli Fii Madh-hab Mālik  (The Support of the Upright faqiih Against Those Who Dispute What is Well Known in the Madh-hab of Mālik about letting the hands hang down [in prayer] )

2.Sadlu-l-Yadayn fi-s-Salaah (The Lowering of the Arms in Prayer)

3. The Vindication of the People of the Maghrib Concerning the Issue of Sadl (Laying the Hands Straight in the Prayer in the Mālikī Madh-hab)

4. The Fatwa from al Azhar University on the position of the Hands in Prayer

Published on July 3, 2010 at 19:06  Leave a Comment  

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