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A Description of the Prophet's Prayer
  On Placing the Hands in the Prayer
Author: Al-Haafidh al-Mubaarakfooree
Article ID : IBD040002  [21752]  
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And it is clear from the words of al-Haafidh that he considered the hadeeth of Wa’il to be saheeh or hasan, because he mentioned here three hadeeth for the purpose of appointing the place where the hands are to be placed: the hadeeth of Wa’l, the hadeeth of Halb and the hadeeth of Alee. And he declared the hadeeth of Alee to be da’eef, and was silent about the hadeeth of Wa’il and Halb, and if these were also weak according to him then he would have made that clear.......And also al-Haafidh made clear in ‘ad-Diraayah’, after mentioning the hadeeth of Wa’il reported by ibn Khuzaimah, ‘it is in Muslim without the words, "upon his chest"’.

So it is clear from the words of al-Haafidh that this hadeeth is reported in Muslim, with the same text and sanad, but without mentioning where the hands were to be placed.

In conclusion the hadeeth of Wa’il bin Hujr is saheeh and acceptable to depend upon and to derive evidence that placing the hands on the chest in prayer is totally correct.

And from the hadeeth that these scholars depend upon is the hadeeth of Halb at-Taa’ee reported by Imaam Ahmad in his ‘Musnad’ that Yahya bin Sa’eed narrated to us from Sufyaan, from Samaak bin Qabeesa bin Halb from his father that, ‘I saw the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) turn from his left to right, and place these on his chest, and Yahya al-Yamanee depicted this by placing the right hand upon the left (on the chest) above the level of the elbows.’ And the narrators of this hadeeth are all trustworthy, and the isnaad is linked ....[biographies of the narrators omitted]....and the author of ‘Aathar as-Sunan’ acknowledged that it was hasan, so to derive evidence from this that the place for the hands in prayer is on the chest is correct.

And from the ahaadeeth these scholars depend upon is the hadeeth of Tawoos reported by Abu Dawood in ‘al-Maraaseel’ who said, ‘Abu Tawba narrated to us from al-Haytham i.e. ibn Humaid from Thawr from Sulaiman bin Musa from Tawoos who said, ‘The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) placed his right hand upon his left and placed them firmly upon his chest while in prayer.’

And this hadeeth is found in some of the texts of Abu Dawood. And al-Haafidh al-Mizzi said in ‘al-Atraaf’ under the letter ‘taa’ from the book ‘al-Maraaseel’: ‘the hadeeth reported by Abu Dawood in ‘Kitaab al-Maraaseel’ and this was likewise stated by al-Bayhaqee in ‘al-Ma’rifah’. And the hadeeth of Tawoos is mursal, because Tawoos is a Taabi’ee (so he could not have seen the Messenger 9= (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) ) and it’s isnaad is hasan. And the mursal hadeeth is considered a proof with Abu Hanifah and Maalik and Ahmad in general. And according to Shaafi’ee it is a proof when supported by something that occurs via another route that builds upon the first route be it Musnad or mursal. And this mursal hadeeth is supported by the aforementioned hadeeth of Wa’il and Halb at-Taa’iee. So deriving evidence from these to place the hands upon the chest in prayer is correct.

Addendum: Some of the Hanafiyyah try to claim that the hadeeth of Wa’il is mudtarib (confused/confounded) because ibn Khuzaimah reports this hadeeth with the wording ‘upon the chest’ and al-Bazzar with the wording ‘near the chest’ and ibn Abee Shaybah with the wording ‘below the navel’.

I say: it is firmly established in the Usul of Hadeeth that if the hadeeth simply differs in it’s wordings then this does not necessitate idtiraab. Rather from it’s conditions is that the different aspects of the narrations be equivalent in authenticity, so if one of the narrations is found to be stronger then it takes precedence, and if they are equivalent then one can find a reconciliation according to the principles of the Scholars of hadeeth.

And in this case the aspects of difference are not equivalent, for indeed affirming the wording of Ibn Abee Shaybah ‘below the navel’ poses a serious problem as has preceded. And as for the wording of ibn Khuzaimah, ‘upon the chest’, and the wording of al-Bazzar, ‘near the chest’, then the first is stronger and takes precedence over the second, the reason being that the first has supports with the hadeeth of Halb and the mursal of Tawoos, contrary to the second for it has no witnesses.......and even if we were to accept that they were equivalent then a reconciliation is possible - that the two narrations were reported with regards to two different prayers. And similar to this difference is the difference of the wording of the ahaadeeth to do with raising the hands to the level of the shoulders or to the level of the ears. [i.e. the narrations depict different prayers and it is permissible to do either/or]. So the saying of the Hanafiyyah that the hadeeth of Wa’il is mudtarib is not to be given any attention.

[the next three pages (83-85) go on to refute the claim of the Hanafiyyah that the hadeeth of Wa’il is shaadh (odd/irregular) and why the narrations here are not shaadh and the hadeeth of ibn Masud ‘then he did not repeat that’ is]

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