Where to place our hands after the opening takbir in Salat (Prayer) ?
I have a question about where to place our hands after the opening takbir (takbirat al-ihram) in Salah (Prayer): Are we supposed to place our hands below the navel or above or on our chest? Someone told me the other day that it was incorrect to place the hands below the navel as we are required to place it on our chest? I have been brought up in the Hanafi school, and I have been taught all along to place my hands on below my navel while praying. I would like you to clarify this issue for me.
There is no need to be rigid about this issue, for it is perfectly acceptable to place your hands either below one’s navel as the hanafi school teaches or above the navel as taught by the Shafi school; it is also fine, as some hold, to place the hands on one’s chest itself, or even to drop them on the side as is held by some scholars of the Maliki school.
It is highly important for us to know that the differences among various schools of jurisprudence on this issue are not due to the whimsical rulings or improvisations of the Imams or the founders of the various schools themselves; rather they are primarily due to the way they have learned the precise practice and precedents of the Prophet, peace be upon him, through his own companions. In other words, these differences are coming from the companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, whose legacy the Imams transmitted to their disciples.
This is the only conclusion that we can derive if we study the discussions of authentic scholars belonging to various schools on this issue: For instance Imam Ibn al-Humam, a great scholar of the Hanafi school, states: There is no well attested report from the Prophet, peace be upon him, obliging us to place our hands either below or above our navels in a definite sense. Imam Tirmidhi, the author of the great work of hadith, points out that there are authentic reports from the companions and their successors indicating that while some of them opted for placing the hands below one’s navel, others preferred placing them above. Imam Ibn al-Mundhir also confirms the above statement. There are also reports from Imam Ahmad indicating both views, while he looked unfavorably towards placing one’s hands on the chest itself rather than below it.
In conclusion: it is perfectly acceptable for you to continue placing your hands below your navel as you have been taught by your own teachers.
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