Bowing the Head Down in Tasleem Has No Basis
Fatwa No: 433312

  • Fatwa Date:2-12-2020 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 17, 1442
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Question

When finishing Salah (at the end of the prayer) is this the salam supposed to be done by bowing the head in the middle then looking right and bowing back in the middle and looking left or is it bida'ah to bow the head at all? Hope to get a reply soon. Thanks. Jazakallah khair.Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatu.

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.

It is not reported, in the description of Tasleem in the prayer, that a worshiper should bow his head down, neither while facing the Qiblah at the beginning of Tasleem, nor when reciting the first Tasleem to the right, nor when reciting the second Tasleem to the left, nor in between them. As far as we know, moving the head down has no basis in Islam, and we do not know of any jurists who held this opinion.

What was reported is that a worshiper should recite Tasleem while turning his face to the right side until his cheek could be seen (by those behind him) and then turn his face to the left side until his cheek could be seen. Some Ahaadeeth state that a worshiper should start reciting Tasleem while facing in front of him, i.e., facing the Qiblah direction, and complete saying the Tasleem while turning his face to the right. It was narrated on the authority of Waa’il ibn Hujr  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that he said: “I prayed with the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and he used to recite Tasleem to his right, saying, ‘As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum wa-Rahmatullaah wa-Barakaatuh’ and to his left, saying: ‘As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum wa-Rahmatullaah.’” [Ibn Daawood with an authentic chain of narration]

It was also narrated on the authority of ‘Aamir ibn Sa‘d, from his father  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that he said: “I used to see the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, making Tasleem to his right and to his left until I saw the whiteness of his cheek.” [Muslim (1/409)]

It was also narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas‘ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that he said: “One of the things I have not forgotten about the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is that he used to recite Tasleem to his right, saying, ‘As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum wa-Rahmatullaah,’ until the whiteness of his cheek could be seen, and to his left, saying, ‘As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum wa-Rahmatullaah,’ also until the whiteness of his cheek could be seen.” [Ahmad and others]

It was reported on the authority of Sahl ibn Sa‘d As-Saa‘idi  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to recite one Tasleem while facing in front of him. [Ibn Maajah]

The last Hadeeth means that he used to start reciting Tasleem while facing the Qiblah. Mughni Al-Muhtaaj ila Ma‘rifat Ma‘aani Alfaath Al-Minhaaj (1/386) reads: “The first (Tasleem) is to the right and the second to the left, following the example of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam… he should turn his face in the first Tasleem until his right cheek only could be seen, not both cheeks, and turn in the second Tasleem until his left cheek could be seen. So he starts reciting Tasleem while facing the Qiblah and then turns his face and completes the recitation of the Tasleem with the completion of turning his face…” [End of quote]

Some jurists believe that he should start reciting Tasleem while his face is turned to the right, not while facing in front of him. The Hanbali scholar Al-Mardaawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Al-Insaaf Fi Ma‘rifat Ar-Raajih min Al-Khilaaf (3/561, edition verified by At-Turki): “The correct view of the [Hanbali] school is to start reciting Tasleem while turning the face … A group of scholars held that he should say ‘As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum’ while facing the Qiblah and then recite, ‘wa-Rahmatullaah’ while turning the face…” [End of quote]

Allah Knows best.

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