Details about raising hands in prayer
Fatwa No: 360367

  • Fatwa Date:3-1-2018 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 16, 1439
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum, Shaykh. When did our Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, start raising his hands in the prayer? According to Hanafi scholars, he did do so for some time but did not continue doing it. Can you please give me the details regarding raising the hands in prayer?

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 ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

It is confirmed in an authentic hadeeth that the Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, used to raise his hands (Raf’ Al-Yadayn) in four positions in the prayer. It was not confirmed that he ever left raising his hands in these four positions.

Shaykh Ibn ʻUthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him was asked, “Was it authentically reported that raising the hands in prayer is done in other than the four positions?

He replied:

The questioner said: ‘raising the hands in other than the four positions.’ This needs clarification. The four positions are: when reciting Takbeerat Al-Ihraam (opening Takbeer [saying Allahu Akbar (Allah is Most Great)]), when bowing, when rising from bowing, and when standing up (for the third unit of prayer) after the first Tashahhud. These are the positions mentioned in an authentic hadeeth from the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, on the authority of Ibn ʻUmar, may Allah be pleased with them, who said, ‘The Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, raised his hands when reciting the opening Takbeer, when reciting Takbeer for bowing, when saying ‘Samiʻa Allahu liman hamidah’, and when rising from the first Tashahhud. He did not do that (raise his hands) when prostrating.’ These are the four positions that were mentioned in an authentic hadeeth from the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam.

For more benefit, please refer to fatwas raising his hands during the prayer ">89001 and 101591

The Hanafis held that it is not an act of Sunnah to raise the hands in other than the opening Takbeer. The Hanafi scholar Al-Kaasaani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

As for raising the hands when reciting Takbeer, our school believes that it is not an act of Sunnah in the obligatory prayers except for the opening Takbeer. Ash-Shaafiʻi said, ‘He raises his hands when bowing and when raising the head from bowing.’ Some scholars said, ‘He raises his hands with every Takbeer,’ and they unanimously agreed that he raises his hands when reciting the Takbeer for the Qunoot supplication and in the Takbeers in the two 'Eed prayers. Ash-Shaafiʻi used the narrations from a group of Companions, such as ʻAli, Ibn ʻUmar, Waa'il ibn Hajar, and Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with them, who related that the Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, used to raise his hands when bowing and when raising his head from bowing as evidence.

Our evidence is what Abu Haneefah cited with his chain of narration from ʻAbdullah ibn Masʻood; that the Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, used to raise his hands when reciting the opening Takbeer and did not raise them again (in the rest of the prayer). It was narrated that ʻAlqamah said, ‘I prayed behind ʻAbdullah ibn Masʻood, and he did not raise his hands when bowing or when raising his head from bowing, so I said to him, 'Why do you not raise your hands?' He said, 'I prayed behind the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, and behind Abu Bakr and ʻUmar, and none of them raised their hands except when reciting the Takbeer that starts the prayer.' It was narrated that Ibn 'Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the ten Companions whom the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )  gave glad tidings of Paradise to did not raise their hands except when reciting the opening Takbeer; it is not appropriate to go against the practice of those Companions..." [Badaa'i' As-Sanaa'i']

However, scholars stated that the Hanafi view in this issue is weak. Sayyid Saabiq  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

The Hanafi view is that it is not an act of the Sunnah to raise the hands except when reciting the opening Takbeer based on the hadeeth of Ibn Masʻood, who said, ‘I shall perform the prayer as the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, performed it for you.’ He prayed, and he only raised his hands once (in the opening Takbeer). This view is not strong, because many leading Hadeeth scholars criticized this narration. Ibn Hibbaan said that this is the soundest narration from the scholars of Kufa in negating raising the hands in prayer when bowing and when rising from it. However, in fact, it is the weakest thing to rely on because there are hidden defects that render it inauthentic. Even assuming that it were to be authentic, as At-Tirmithi explicitly said, it cannot be used to contradict the authentic ahaadeeth in this regard that amounted to the level of Mashhoor (famous).

The author of At-Tanqeeh held that it is possible that Ibn Masʻood might have forgotten the practice of raising the hands in those positions, just as other reporters have forgotten.” [Fiqh As-Sunnah]

Al-Haafith Ibn Hajar  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

The Hanafis relied on the narration of Mujaahid, who related that he prayed behind Ibn ʻUmar and did not see him do that (raise his hands), and they were refuted by challenging the authenticity of the chain of narration because Abu Bakr ibn ʻAyyaash’s memory grew weak in his old age. Even assuming that the report is authentic, then Saalim, Naafi’, and others narrated this practice on the authority of Ibn ʻUmar. A report narrated by a number of reporters is stronger than the one narrated by one reporter only, especially given that those reporters affirm the practice in question while the one reporter is negating it. It is possible, though, to reconcile between the two reports by saying that Ibn ʻUmar did not believe that this practice (raising the hands) was obligatory; therefore, he observed it at times and left it at others.” [Fat-h Al-Baari]

Allah knows best.

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