Placing the Hands Below the Navel and the Manner of Placing

By ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-‘Uthmani

Translated by Zameelur Rahman

1. Narrated from Abu Hazim from Sahl bin Sa‘d (Allah be pleased with him), he said: “The people were ordered to place one’s right hand on his left forearm in Salah.” Abu Hazim said “I do not know it [i.e. this order] but that it is traced to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace).” Al-Bukhari narrated it.

I say: In this and similarly in what [comes] after it until the hadith of Wa’il is proof of the sunnah-status of fastening the hands in Salah, and an explanation of its description, in that the right hand is [placed] over the left hand, not vice versa. This is from that which the Imams have agreed upon in its being sunnah, and they differed only over the site of placing the hands as will come.

  1. Narrated from Jabir (Allah be pleased with him), he said “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) passed by a man while he was praying, having placed his left hand on the right, so he caught hold of it and placed the right hand over the left.” Ahmad and al-Tabrani in al-Awsat narrated it; its narrators are the narrators of the Sahih. (Majma‘ al-Zawa’id)

12 thoughts on “Placing the Hands Below the Navel and the Manner of Placing

    • Mawlana Zafar Uthmani does state in the very same section (on the third page of the translation) that the famous opinion of Imam Malik is to place the hands to the side. Probably by “agreement,” he meant the agreement of the majority.

  1. No, it’s not agreed upon, but it’s not relevant to the point I was making; just substitute Scholar of Madina with Imam Malik.

  2. Its actually quite common for the ‘ulama to inaccurately assert a general agreement on the issue, given that (and correct me if I’m wrong) that there is more than one opinion attributed to Imam Malik on the issue, even if one is more sound than the other. I believe this is commonly the reason why many scholars were not intimately aware of the practice of sadl amongst scholars in the western Muslim world.

  3. I would also like to mention that it is common in scholarly discourse of Islamic legal issues to find assertions of agreement that are not unanimous but meant to indicate a specific type of agreement amongst a specific group of scholars. For example, in books of Hanafi fiqh it is common for the ‘ulama to claim an ijma’ on an issue when the intent is simply an ijma’ amongst the Hanafi scholars. Of course, sometimes the ijma’ is simply inaccurate and is simply a claim based on the knowledge of the author. These inaccuracies shouldn’t be considered a blemish on the academic status of a scholar, as it is very difficult to be completely accurate with such claims and the scholars of every generation went out of their way to respectfully correct the inaccuracies. And Allah knows best.

    • “For example, in books of Hanafi fiqh it is common for the ‘ulama to claim an ijma’ on an issue when the intent is simply an ijma’ amongst the Hanafi scholars.” — This is what I thought it was.

      “These inaccuracies shouldn’t be considered a blemish on the academic status of a scholar…” — I don’t consider it as such; rather, as a scholarly discourse, if you want to call that for I am simply imitating scholarship, I sought “to respectfully correct the inaccuracies.”

      Jazak Allahu khayr.

  4. Yes, it was certainly clear from your comment that you only intended clarification and that you were observing a very respectful tone. I was speaking generally about such cases. I hope you didn’t think I was refuting your post. May Allah increase you and us all in knowledge and understanding. Amin.

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