PRAYERS: Obligatory acts of prayer, The Final Sitting and Recital of the Tashahud

Friday, December 08, 2017

The Prophet’s practice illustrates that when the final sitting of the prayer has been made, one must recite the tashahud at that time. In one hadith, he said, “When you raise your head from the last prostration and sit for the tashahud, you have completed your prayer.”

Says Ibn Qudamah, “It has been related that Ibn ‘Abbas said, ‘We used to say, before the tashahud was made obligatory upon us, ‘Peace be upon Allah before His slaves, peace be upon Gabriel, peace be upon Mikhail.’ The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, ‘Do not say, ‘Peace be upon Allah,’ but say, ‘Salutations to Allah.’ This proves that the tashahud was made obligatory, although before it was not.”

The most authentic report concerning the tashahud is Ibn Mas’ud’s, who said, “When we would sit with the Prophet in the prayer, we would say, ‘Peace be upon Allah before His slaves, peace be upon so and so.’ The Prophet said, ‘Do not say peace be upon Allah, for Allah is peace. When one of you sits, he should say salutations be to Allah, and the prayers, and the good deeds, peace be upon us and upon Allah’s sincere slaves (if you say that, it applies to all of Allah’s sincere slaves in the heavens and the earth). I bear witness that there is no god except Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.’ Then you may choose whatever supplication you desire.” (Related by “the group.”)

Says Muslim, “The people are in agreement over the tashahud of Ibn Mas’ud, and the companions do not differ over it.” At-Tirmizhi, al-Khattabi, Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr and Ibn al-Munzhir all agree that Ibn Mas’ud’s hadith is the most authentic one on this topic. 

Said Ibn ‘Abbas, “The Messenger of Allah used to teach us the tashahud like he taught us the Qur’an. He would say, ‘Salutations, blessings, prayers and good deeds for Allah. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be upon us and the sincere slaves of Allah. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger.” (Related by ash-Shaifi, Muslim, Abu Dawud and an Nasa’i.)

Says ash-Shaifi, “Different hadith have been related about the tashahud, but that one is the best in my opinion, for it is the most complete. Al-Hafez states, “Ash-Shaifi was asked about this choice and the tashahud of Ibn ‘Abbas, and he replied, ‘I have found it to be the most encompassing. I have heard it from Ibn ‘Abbas (through) authentic (chains). To me, it is more complete...”

There is another form of the tashahud that Malik chose. In al-Muwatta, it is stated that ‘Abdurahman ibn ‘Abdul-Qari heard ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab teaching the people, from the pulpit, this tashahud: “Salutations to Allah, purifications to Allah, the good deeds and prayers be to Allah. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be upon us and Allah’s sincere slaves. I testify that there is no god but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is His slave and messenger.”

Commenting on the stature of such hadith, an-Nawawi says, “Those hadith concerning the tashahud are all sahih. Hadith scholars are agreed that the strongest of them is the hadith of Ibn Mas’ud, and then the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas. “ Ash-Shaf’i said that any tashahud one uses will suffice, for the scholars agree that every one of them is permissible.”

Obligatory acts of prayer, The Salaam (Peace Be Upon You and the Mercy of Allah) at the Prayer’s End

Saying the salaam at the end of the prayer is obligatory. ‘Ali related that the Prophet said, “The key to prayer is purity. One enters into its inviolable state by the takbir and leaves it by the salaam.”

As to its authenticity, the report is related by Ahmad, ash-Shaf i, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah and at-Tirmizhi who said, “That is the most authentic report on this topic and the best.”

‘Amr ibn Sa’d related that his father said, “I saw the Prophet making the salaam on his right side and on his left side until I could see the whiteness of his cheeks.” (Related by Ahmad, Muslim, an Nasa’i and Ibn Majah.)

Reported Wa’il ibn Hajr, “I prayed with the Messenger of Allah. He would make the salaam on his right side by saying, ‘Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah.” In Bulugh al-Maram, Ibn Hajr says that Abu Dawud related it with a sahih chain.

It is obligatory to say one salaam, and it is preferred to say two. Ibn al-Munzhir comments that all scholars agree that making only one salaam is permissible. Ibn Qudamah writes in al-Mughni, “There is no clear text from Ahmad that states that two salaams are obligatory. He only said, ‘Two salaams are the most authentic act from the Messenger of Allah.’ It is permissible to say that this is the regulation, although it is not obligatory, and others have the same opinion. This is also pointed out in another of his statements where he said, ‘Two salaams are more loved by me. But ‘Aishah, Salamah ibn al-Aku’ and Sahl ibn Sa’d narrated that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, made only one salaam.” We can reconciliate these differences by stating that it is Sunnah to say two salaams, but it is obligatory to say one. This is the consensus that Ibn al-Munzhir mentioned, and we have no option to reject that. Says an-Nawawi, “It is the opinion of ash-Shaifi and most of the early and later scholars that it is Sunnah to say two salaams.” Malik and a group of scholars say that only one salaam is Sunnah. They adduce this from a weak hadith that cannot be used as a proof. If something of this nature had been confirmed from the Prophet, the act was probably done just to show that it is permissible to say only one salaam. Scholars are agreed that only one salaam is obligatory. If one makes only one salaam, he should turn to his right for the first one and to the left for the second one. He should turn until his cheeks can be seen from behind. That is the most authentic form and it is said, “If one says the two salaams to the right or to the left while facing forward, or the first one on the left and the second one on the right, then his prayer would still be valid and he would have fulfilled the act of the two salaams. But, he would have lost the virtue of how they are to be performed.”

Sunnah acts of prayer

The prayer also has certain acts which are Sunnah. It is preferred that the person performs them to get their reward.

A: Sunnah acts of prayer, Raising the Hands

This must be done at the beginning of each prayer’s takbir. Says Ibn al-Munzhir, “All scholars agree that the Prophet raised his hands at the beginning of his prayer.”

Commenting upon this report, Ibn Hajr says, “The Prophet’s raising his hands at the beginning of his prayer has been narrated by fifty companions, including the ten who were given the tidings of Paradise. “ Al-Baihaqi related that al-Hakim said, “I do not know of any sunnah other than this one which is accepted by the four rightly-guided khalifahs, the ten companions who were given the tidings of Paradise, and other companions scattered across many lands.” Summing up his evaluation of the report, al-Baihaqi says, “And it is as our teacher Abu ‘Abdullah has said.”

Sunnah acts of prayer, How to Raise the Hands

Many narrations have been recorded concerning this subject. Many scholars have chosen the following forms: the hands are raised to the shoulders with the fingertips parallel to the button of the ears. Says an-Nawawi, “This is how ash-Shaifi combined the hadith (on this question), and the people found it to be good.” It is preferred that one extends the fingers while raising the hands. Abu Hurairah said, “When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, stood for prayer, he would raise his hands (with them being) open.” (Related by “the five,” except for Ibn Majah.)

Sunnah acts of prayer, When to Raise the Hands

One must raise the hands at about the same time he makes the takbir. Nafa’ related that when Ibn ‘Umar would begin his prayer he would say the takbir and raise his hands. The Prophet also did this. (Related by al-Bukhari, an-Nasa’i and Abu Dawud.) He also reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, would raise his hands upon making the takbir until they were parallel to his shoulders or close to that. (Related by Ahmad and others.)

As for raising the hands just before the takbir, Ibn ‘Umar reported, “When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, stood for prayer, he would raise his hands until they were parallel to his shoulders and would make the takbir. (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.) A hadith from Malik ibn al-Huwairith has the wording, “Make the takbir and then raise your hands.” (Related by Muslim.) This implies that the takbir comes before the raising of the hands, but Ibn Hajr says, “I have not met anyone who holds that the takbir comes before the raising of the hands.”

It is preferred to raise one’s hands while going to bow and upon coming up from the bow

Twenty-two companions narrated that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, did so. Reported Ibn ‘Umar, “When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, stood to pray, he would raise his hands until they were the same height as his shoulders and then he would make the takbir. When he wanted to bow, he would again raise his hands in a similar fashion. When he raised his head from the bowing, he did the same and said, ‘Allah hears him who praises Him.’ (Related by al-Bukhari, Muslim and al-Baihaqi.) Says al Bukhari, “He would not do that when he was neither going to prostrate nor when he came up from his prostration.” Al-Bukhari also says, “He would not raise his hands between the two prostrations.” Al Baihaqi has the addition, “He did not stop doing that until he met Allah.” Ibn al-Madini said, “In my opinion, that hadith is a proof for the whole creation. Whoever hears it must act by it. There is nothing wrong with its chain.” Al-Bukhari wrote a pamphlet on this topic, and related from al-Hassan and Humaid ibn Hilal that the companions used to (perform their prayers) in this manner.

On the contrary, the Hanafiyyah say that one should only raise his hands at the beginning. This is based on the hadith of Ibn Mas’ud, who reported, “I prayed with the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and he raised his hands only once.” This is a weak opinion, and many hadith scholars have criticized this report. Ibn Hibban, though, said that this is the best report.

The people of Kufah narrated that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, did not raise his hands upon bowing or rising. But, in fact, this is a very weak statement, for it contains many defects and is therefore invalid. Even if we accept it, as at-Tirmizhi did, it does not invalidate the authentic and well-known hadith mentioned earlier. The author of at-Tanqih says that perhaps Ibn Mas’ud forgot that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, raised his hands. Az-Zaila’i writes in Nasb ar-Rayah, quoting the author of at-Tanqih, “It is not strange that Ibn Mas’ud may have forgotten that. Ibn Mas’ud forgot some things from the Qur’an that the Muslims after him never differed about, and those are the last two surahs of the Qur’an. He forgot how two people are to stand behind the imam, that the Prophet prayed the morning prayer on the Day of Sacrifice (during the hajj) at its proper time, how the Prophet, upon whom be peace, combined his prayers at ‘Arafah, the position of the forearms and elbows during the prostration, and how the Prophet, upon whom be peace, recited, ‘And Him who created the male and the female.’ If it is possible that Ibn Mas’ud forgot all of these things concerning the prayer, is it not possible that he also forgot about raising the hands?”

Nafa’ related that when Ibn ‘Umar stood for the third rak’ah, he would raise his hands, an action which he ascribed to the Prophet. (Related by al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i.) While describing the Prophet’s prayer, ‘Ali said that when he stood from the two prostrations, he would raise his hands until they reached his shoulders and make the takbir.

Women have to do this the same way. Says Ash-Shaukani, “Know that this sunnah is to be done by men and women. There is no proof to show that there is any difference between them on this point. There is also no proof to show that they are to raise their hands to different levels.”

Sunnah acts of prayer, placing the Right Hand upon the Left

This is a preferred act of the prayer. There are twenty hadith from eighteen companions and their followers on this point. Said Sahl ibn Sa’d, “The people were ordered to place their right hand on their left forearm during prayers.” Commenting on this, Abu Hazm says, “I do not know if he ascribed this to the Prophet.” This hadith is related by al-Bukhari, Ahmad and Malik in his al-Muwatta. Al-Hafez

Maintains, “Its ruling is considered to be from the Prophet, upon whom be peace, as it is implied that the one who ordered them to do so was the Prophet.” He also related that the Prophet said, “All prophets have been ordered to hasten the breaking of the fast and to delay the (pre-fast dawn) meal, and to place our right hands on our left during prayer.”

There is also a hadith from Jabir which says, “The Prophet, upon whom be peace, passed by a man praying with his left hand over his right, and (the Prophet) pulled them away and put his right over his left.” This is related by Ahmad and others. Evaluating its chain, an-Nawawi says, “Its chain is sahih. Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr holds, “Nothing has reached me different from that. It is the opinion of most companions and their followers.” Malik mentioned it in his al-Muwatta and states, “Malik never stopped doing it until he met Allah.”

Sunnah acts of prayer, The Position of the Hands

Al-Kamal ibn al-Hamam is of the opinion, “There is no authentic hadith stating that one must place the hands under the chest or below the navel. According to the Hanifiyyah, the hands are to be placed below the navel, and the Shafiyyah say below the chest. Ahmad has two narrations corresponding to these two opinions. The correct position is somewhere in the middle - to be equal.” Observes at Tirmizhi, “Knowledgeable companions, their followers and those that came after them believed that one should put his right hand over the left during prayer, while some say above the navel and others say below the navel...” Nevertheless, there do exist hadith that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, placed his hands on his chest. Reported Hulb at-Ta’i, “I saw the Prophet, upon whom be peace, praying with his right hand over his left upon his chest above the elbow.” This is related by Ahmad and at-Tirmizhi, who grades it as Hassan.

Reported Wa’il ibn Hajr, “Once when I prayed with the Prophet, upon whom be peace, he placed his right hand over his left upon his chest.” The report is recorded by Ibn Khuzaimah, who considers it as Sahih, and by Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i with the wording, “Then he put his right hand over the back of his left wrist and forearm.”

To be Continued