Manner of placing right hand over left in prayer
Fatwa No: 358057

  • Fatwa Date:12-12-2017 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 24, 1439
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum. A hadith states that one should keep his right hand on his left hand while standing in prayer, but it does not describe how. There is the hadith which says that the Prophet used to keep his right hand on the back of the left palm, wrist, and forearm, which were on his chest, but the hadith that I mentioned first does not give a description of it. It merely says that the right hand is placed on the left hand, so if put my right hand on my left hand in my own way, by putting my right hand on my left hand and grasping the elbow area of the left hand with my right hand, it looks like a square with the shoulders, so am I doing this right or wrong? I feel more comfortable doing this than when putting my hands on my chest.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

Imaam Maalik  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him narrated, "One of the sayings of the early Prophets is 'as long as you do not feel ashamed, do whatever you wish', and placing the hands one over the other in prayer; the right over the left..." Moreover, Sahl ibn Saʻd As-Saaʻidi, may Allah be pleased with him, said, 'People were ordered – i.e. the Messenger of Allah ordered them – to place the right hand on the left forearm in the prayer.'" [Al-Muwatta']

There is no contradiction between the two ahaadeeth, because if he places his right hand on the left hand, the fingers of the right hand will be placed on the left forearm. Al-Qastallaani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "It means that he places his right hand on the backside of his left hand and the wrist of the forearm..." [Irshaad As-Saari Sharh Saheeh Al-Bukhaari]

ʻAbdullah ibn Masʻood, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, saw me placing my left hand on my right hand, so he pulled it and placed the right over the left." [An-Nasaa'i; Ibn Hajar declared its chain of narration Hasan (good) in his book Fat-h Al-Baari]

Waa'il ibn Hajar, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that he saw the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, place his right hand on his left. [Muslim]

It was also narrated in the Sunnah books that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, grasped his left hand with the right one. Ibn ʻAbd Al-Barr  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "The version of the hadeeth narrated on the authority of ʻAlqamah ibn Waa'il from his father reads, 'I saw the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, grasp his left hand with his right while standing in prayer.' ... ʻAli, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that when the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, performed the prayer, he used to place his right hand on his (left) wrist until he would bow."

The Shaafiʻi scholar Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami underlined that the praying person grasps the wrist of his left hand with his right hand. Sharh Al-Muqaddimah Al-Hadhramiyyah (also known as Al-Minhaaj Al-Qaweem) reads, "...and he grasped the part below the left thumb and the wrist joint and first part of the forearm with his right hand and its fingers. The rationale is to place the hands as such over the heart, the noblest part of the body, which is the place where sincere intention and Khushooʻ (serenity, humility) reside."

The mentioned narrations in this regard indicate that the manner of placing the right hand on the left is flexible. Accordingly, there is no harm in the manner which you described in the question, Allah willing.

Allah knows best.

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