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October 2004
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Question Hour

Raising one's Hands during Salaah
Q: A few people in our locality raise their hands before and after doing ‘Rukoo’. Is it a correct act while praying?

zachariah ataun

A: In addition to raising one’s hands in prayer when pronouncing Takbir al-Ihraam (the first Takbir), it is Mustahab (i.e. a recommended act) to raise one’s hands at three other times during Salaah (the Muslim prayer): (i) just before bowing in Rukoo’, (ii) when rising from Rukoo’ and (iii) when standing up after the first Tashahhud. The reports of raising of the hands are ‘mutawaatir’, which means they are reported by so many narrators to so many that it is inconceivable that they could all have agreed on a lie.

Whenever Ibn ‘Umar started the prayer with Takbir, he used to raise his hands: whenever he bowed, he used to raise his hands (before bowing) and he also used to raise his hands on saying, “Sami a-l-lahu Liman hamida”, and he used to do the same on rising from the second Rak’a (for the 3rd Rak’a). Ibn ‘Umar said: “The Prophet used to do the same.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.1 Hadith No.739]

Imam al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) wrote a separate book on this issue, which he called ‘Juz’ fi Raf’ al-Yadayn’ (Section on Raising the Hands), in which he proved that the hands should be raised at these points in the prayer.

Raising the hands in prayer was a well-known practice amongst the companions of the Prophet (pbuh). Imam al-Bukhari said: “Al-Hasan and Humayd ibn Hilaal said: ‘The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) all used to raise their hands, without exception.” [Juz’ raf’ al-yadayn, page 26].

There are no less than four Ahadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari and six in Sahih Muslim with respect to raising the hands before and after Rukoo’ (bowing), besides several other authentic traditions in other Ahadith compilations.

The traditions of not raising hands at these instances are classified as da’eef (weak) by the scholars of Hadith. It is important for us to remind ourselves that once the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) becomes clear to a person, it is not permissible for him/her to ignore it in favour of the opinion of anyone, since we all are Ummatis and followers of the Prophet (pbuh).

Hence, a Muslim should not fail to raise his hands at the points in prayer described in the Sunnah. Every Muslim should strive to make his prayer like the prayer of the Prophet (pbuh) who said, “Pray as you have seen me praying.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.1 Hadith No.631].

And Allah knows the best.

Forbidden Times for Salaah
Q: I am told by many people that it is not permissible to read the Qur’an or do Sajdah after Asr prayers and that we cannot pray, be it reading Qur’an or Namaz at 12.00 clock. Kindly reply!

A: Regarding the time of recitation, it is permissible for a Muslim to recite the Qur’an at any time of the day or night as he/she wishes. Rather it is mustahab i.e. recommended to remember Allah (dhikr) after Fajr, which certainly includes reading the Qur’an, as it is one of the best forms of dhikr.

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whoever prays Fajr in congregation, then sits and remembers Allah until the sun comes up, then prays two rak’ahs, will have a reward like that of Hajj and ‘Umrah.” [Tirmidhi al-Jumu’ah Hadith No.585]

There are certain times at which the Prophet (pbuh) has disallowed prayer. These are: (i) While the sun is rising (i.e. during the time of sunrise), (ii) when the sun has reached its highest point i.e. at noon and (iii) while sun is setting (i.e. during the time of sunset).

‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir said: “There were the times at which the Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) forbade us to pray or to bury our dead: when the sun has clearly started to rise until it is fully risen, when it is directly overhead at midday until it has passed its zenith, and when the sun starts to set until it has fully set.” [Sahih Muslim Vol.2 Chapter 292 Hadith No.1811]

Narrated Abu Said Al Khudri: I heard Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) saying, “There is no prayer after fajr prayer till the sun rises, and there is no prayer after the Asr prayer till the sun sets.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.1 Hadith No.586]

Contrary to this, the Prophet (pbuh) used to pray two raka’ahs after asr prayer as related in many of the authentic traditions. However, it is important for us to note that whenever we perceive a difference between Qaul (command) and Amal (action) of the Prophet (pbuh), then according to the rule of fiqh, command takes precedence over the action.

Thus under normal circumstances, a Muslim should not offer Salaah after the Fajr prayer until the sun rises or after the asr prayer until the sun sets, unless there is a valid reason and requirement. For example, if after having offered his asr salaah a person enters a mosque before sunset, he can offer two raka’ahs Tahiyyat al-masjid (prayer after entering mosque) before sitting which is a recommended Sunnah.

Similarly, if a person does Tawaaf of the Ka’bah after offering Fajr salaah and before sunrise, he can offer two raka’ahs Salaat al-Tawaaf (prayer done after circumambulating the Ka’bah).

And Allah knows the best.