Ash-Shaafi‘i's view on intention before prayer - At-Tirmithi's view on raising hands in prayer
Fatwa No: 364003

Question

Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu. I have two questions:
1. I want to know whether it is true that Imam Ash-Shaafi‘i, may Allah have mercy upon him, held the view of uttering the intention before the prayer. What is authentically proven from him?
2. Some people quote the statement of Imam At-tirmithi on raising the hands in prayer wherein he said that most of the scholars hold the view to not raise the hand. Is that true?
Please answer in detail. May Allah reward you.

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  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

As far as we know, there is no explicit statement reported from Imaam Ash-Shaafi‘i may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him that indicates that he was of the view that intention is to be pronounced verbally before the prayer. Rather, it was reported from him that he said, “Whoever intends to perform Hajj or ‘Umrah, then it is sufficient for him even if he does not utter it, and it is not like prayer.

Some scholars of Fiqh understood from this that a person utters the intention in the prayer. Imaam An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “Our companions (i.e. the Shaafi‘i scholars) said: the one who says this is wrong; Ash-Shaafi‘i did not mean this by utterance in the prayer; rather, he meant the Takbeer (saying Allahu Akbar [Allah is Most Great] at the beginning of prayer).

Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said the same thing in Az-Zaad:

Some of the later scholars were confused by the statement of Ash-Shaafi‘i  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him about the prayer; that it is not like fasting, and no one enters it except by the mention of Allah, so they understood that by ‘the mention of Allah’, it is for the praying person to utter the intention; rather, Ash-Shaafi‘i  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him meant by ‘the mention of Allah’ the Takbeerat-ul-Ihraam and nothing else. How would Ash-Shaafi‘i consider a matter as recommended while the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) did not do it even once, and none of his Caliphs or Companions did it; this was their way and guidance. If anyone finds a single word about this from them, then we would accept it with complete acceptance, and we would submit to it. There is no guidance that is more complete than their guidance, nor a Sunnah except what they have received from the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ).

On the other hand, Imaam At-Tirmithi did not say – as far as we know – that most scholars do not hold the view of raising the hands in prayer. Imaam At-Tirmithi wrote two chapters about this issue of raising the hands in his Sunan. The first chapter: Chapter of raising the hands in bowing ... and he mentioned in it the hadeeth by Ibn ‘Umar, who said, “I saw the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) raising his hands until they were parallel to his shoulders when he started the prayer, and when he bowed, and when he raised his head from bowing.” In the narration of Ibn Abi ‘Umar, there is an addition: “But he did not raise them between the two prostrations.

Then At-Tirmithi said:

In this Chapter, there are narrations from ‘Umar, ‘Ali, Waa’il ibn Hujr, Maalik ibn Al-Huwayrith, Anas, Abu Hurayrah, Abu Humayd, Abu Usayd, Sahl ibn Sa‘d, Muhammad ibn Maslamah, Abu Qataadah, Abu Moosa Al-Ash‘ari, Jaabir, ‘Umayr, and Al-Laythi ... Some scholars from among the Companions of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) are also of this view, including: Ibn ‘Umar, Jaabir ibn ‘Abdillah, Abu Hurayrah, Anas, Ibn ‘Abbaas, Abdullah ibn Az-Zubayr, and others. Among the Taabi‘is (generation following that of the Companions) who held the same view were: Al-Hasan Al-Basri, ‘Ataa', Taawoos, Mujaahid, Naafi‘, Saalim ibn Abdillah, Sa‘eed ibn Jubayr, and others. Also, Abdullah ibn Al-Mubaarak, Ash-Shaafi‘i, Ahmad, and Is-haaq held the same view.Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak said, ‘The hadeeth of raising the hands was proven; and he mentioned the hadeeth of Az-Zuhri on the authority of Saalim, on the authority of his father, but the hadeeth by Ibn Mas‘ood which says that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) did not raise his hands except in the first time (at the beginning of prayer) was not proven.’"

(Then he mentioned the second Chapter:)

Chapter of what was reported, that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) did not raise his hands except in the first time...”

He mentioned the hadeeth of Ibn Mas'ood, which he referred to above, in it and that Ibn Al-Mubaarak said that it was not proven to be authentic, then At-Tirmithi said after this, “A number of scholars are of this view from among the Companions of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and the Taabi‘is; this is also the view of Sufyaan Ath-Thawri and the scholars of Kufa.

Therefore, you can clearly see that those to whom the statement about raising the hands was attributed are more in number than those to whom the statement about not raising the hands was attributed.

Allah knows best.

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