Holding hands while making dua.

Q. Do you know of any narrations of how we have to hold our hands during dua? I mean whether we have to leave some space between the two hands or that we must join the handpalms together?

I have found these narrations in Mutalibul Aliya (3/153) of Ibn Hajar in the section of Dua and Adhkaar (rah) where he has put a chapter called; ‘Making dua with the handpalms joined together’

These are the narrations:

3349 – Eshaz bin Suleyman narrates that the Prophet (saw) was passing by a man from the Ansar who was supplicating with his hands seperated. The Prophet (saw) said to him; Join your handpalms and make them one, because Allah is one.

3350 – Eshaz bin Abi Shasa (who narrated from a man from the Ansar from his Grandfather) that the Prophet (saw) was passing by a man who was supplicating with his hands seperated. The Prophet (saw) said to him; ‘Make your handpalms one, because Allah is one.

The first hadith is given referance to Musaddad and the second hadith referance to Ibn Abi Shaybah (according to the footnotes)

I have also find a similar hadith in Tabarani from Ibn Abbas that Nabi (saw) brought his two inside of his palms together and did face them opposite his face when making a duaa. But this one is considered to weak in Al Mawahib see Ahmad bin Hanbal Musnad 4/56.

A. The traditions which have been narrated by Hafiz Ibn Hajar (A.R.) are sound and very good.

Raising the hands for dua (supplication) is amongst the etiquettes of dua and is evident in many traditions. In fact, Hafiz Ibn Taimyah has stated, ‘As for the Prophet (S.A.S.) raising his hands in dua then this has been narrated in so many ahadith that they cannot be counted’. (Arusi).

In this regard, the Messenger of Allah (S.A.S.) said, ‘Indeed, Allah is shy and beneficent. He is shy when his servant raises his hands to him (in dua) to return them empty, disappointed’. (Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Tirmizi, who stated that it is saheeh. Ibn Hibban in his Saheeh, Hakim, who says that it is saheeh upon the conditions of Bukhari and Muslim).

In addition, it is authentically narrated in many traditions that the Prophet (S.A.S.) used to make dua with the inside of his palms facing his face and he also instructed his companions to do so.

It is narrated from Abu Bakr (R.A.) that the Prophet (S.A.S.) said, ‘Ask Allah with the inside of your hand palms and do not ask him (i.e. supplicate) with the outside of the hand palms. (Recorded by Tabrani in Al Kabeer, who said it is saheeh (sound)’.

Another tradition states that Malik bin Yasar (R.A.) narrates that the Prophet (S.A.S.) said, ‘When you ask from Allah, ask him with the inside of your hand palms and do not ask him with the outside of the hand palms’. (Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, Tabrani).

With respect to the act of turning the outside of the palms to the face, it is narrated from Qatada that Anas bin Malik (R.A.) said, ‘I saw the Messenger of Allah making supplication with the inside of the palms and the outside of the palms’. (Abu Dawood). According to the scholars, the act of turning the outside of the palms to the face occurred only in Istisqaa (i.e. supplicating for the rainfall). However in all other cases he supplicated with the inside of the palms turned to his face. (Bazhul Majhood commentary of Abu Dawood Vol. 6 Pg. 215).

It is also recorded that the Prophet (S.A.S.) said, ‘Dua (supplication) is to lift one’s hands to the level of the shoulder and Ibtihaal (i.e. turning earnestly in supplication in avoiding harms from oneself) is to raise the hands stretching them out’. (Baihaqi in his Sunan and Hakim in his Mustadrak. Hakim said it is saheeh (sound)).

Abu Dawood has also recorded from Ikrama that Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A.) said, ‘The etiquette of asking from Allah is that you should raise both hands to the level of your shoulders or close to them. (That is, raising it to the level of the chest). The etiquette of seeking forgiveness from Allah is to indicate with the index finger. (This is a way of condemming the nafs and Satan for having caused one to do a wrong. (Sharh of Allama Teebi).And the etiquette of earnestly repenting and turning to Allah in supplications (i.e. Al Ibtihaal) is to stretch out both hands together’. (Abu Dawood).

From this narration and others, it is evident that there are three different motions that are connected to the acts of making dua and seeking forgiveness from Allah. The first type is to point with one’s finger, without necessarily lifting one’s hands. This action is done when one seeks forgiveness or makes a general zikr (remembrance of Allah).

The second type is to raise one’s hands to the level of one’s shoulders, or chest, with the palms facing up. This is done for regular duas that one makes at any time.

The third type of action is done in extremely severe circumstances, such as asking for rain, seeking protection from an imminent enemy attack etc. In this case, the hands are stretched forth towards the sky.

In this regard, Ibn Abbas has also stated the words of the Prophet (S.A.S.). He said that the Messenger of Allah said, ‘This is Ikhlas (sincerity). Ibn Abbas said, ‘And he indicated to the finger close to the thumb’.

The Prophet then said, ‘And this is Ibtihaal (petitioning). Ibn Abbas said, ‘He then raised both his hands stretching them out’. (Hakim who said it is Saheeh, Baihaqi in his Sunan).

Another etiquette of Dua is that one wipes his face with the inside of his palms when he completes his supplication.

While this is evident in some traditions, some scholars have held the opinion that it is not recommended to wipe one’s hand over one’s face at all. These scholars considered the ahadith pertaining to the topic to be weak. Some of them even considered this act to be an innovation.

In this regard, Al Izz ibn Abdas Salam is reported to have said, ‘No one does this act except an ignorant person’.

Ibn Taimiyah has stated, ‘As for wiping the face after finishing a dua, then there is no hadith except for one, or two, and they do not qualify as proof’. (Majmua al Fatawa).

Al Albani said, ‘In this narration (of wiping the face), the defect is in the name who is not mentioned. However, his name is mentioned in another sanad in Ibn Majah as Salah ibn Hasan and he is a very weak narrator, so this narration must be rejected’. (Silsilah al Sahihah).

While these are the opinions expressed by these scholars, many others from among the great traditionists and scholars of Islam have clearly stated that the act of wiping the face after dua is established from the traditions and it is one which is an acceptable act of practice.

In this regard, there are reliable and authentic traditions which have been accepted by many scholars of hadith to prove this act.

In a tradition, it is narrated that Abdullah bin Abbass (R.A.) said, the Prophet (S.A.S.) said, ‘Ask Allah with the palms of your hands, and when you have finished, wipe your hands over your face’. (Abu Dawood). Having narrated this, Abu Dawood said, ‘This hadith has been reported from other than this chain, from Muhammad bin Kaab and all of them are weak. This particular chain is the best, and it is also weak’. This hadith has also been recorded by Ibn Majah in his Sunan and also by Hakim in his mustadrak.

Abu Dawood has quoted another hadith with a sanad different from the one previously mentioned, which shows that the Prophet (S.A.S.) wiped his face with his hands after dua. He narrates from Saa’ib bin Yazeed from his father (Yazeed bin Saeed a companion of the Prophet S.A.S.) that when the Prophet (S.A.S.) made dua, he would raise his hands and would then wipe his face with the hands. (Recorded by Abu Dawood who remained silent about the sanad, that is, he did not speak against anything in the sanad).

Imam Tirmizi has recorded the tradition from Umar (R.A.) who said, ‘when the prophet (S.A.S.) stretched his hands for supplications, he did not pull them back until he wiped his face with them’. (Having recorded this narration, Imam Tirmizi said, ‘this hadith is saheeh (sound) and ghareeb’. We do not know it except from the hadith of Hamad bin Isa, who is alone in this tradition and he has narrated a few traditions. Many people have narrated from him. And Hanzala bin Abi Sufyaan (a narrator in the sanad ) is reliable. Yahya bin Saeed Al Qattan has considered him reliable ).

Here, Imam Tirmizi has classified this hadith as saheeh (sound) although it is ghareeb. some scholars have said it is weak due to Hamad bin Isa (being weak ). However, while commenting on this, the celebrated Muhadith and great scholar, Hafiz Ibn Hajar (A.S.) has stated, “there are other supporting tradition for this, from the tradition of Ibn Abbas (R.A.). And all put together requires that it be classified as a Hasan (good) hadith. (Bulughul Maram –by Ibn Hajar )

This position of (wiping the face) has been adopted by many great scholars including, Al Hulaimi, Imam Nawawi, As San’ani, Ibn Hajar and others. As recorded earlier, Ibn Hajar writes in Bulughal Maram, after mentioning some of these ahadith, ‘all of these ahadith taken together demonstrate that this hadith is hassan (good)’. Hence based on this judgment of this great scholar of hadith, it shows that the act of wiping the face is evident and established.

In a similar manner, As- San’ani explained, ‘in this hadith, there is evidence that it is allowed to wipe one’s hands after finishing one’s dua’. (Subul As Salaam).
Imam Baihaqi states in his sunan that “this act has been narrated from a number of pious predecessors (Salafus Saliheen), but only outside of the salaah” (as Sunan).

With respect to the statement of Al Izz ibn Abd Al Salaam’s statement that no one does this act except an ignorant person, Imam Al Zakrashi stated, after quoting him, ‘ This statement is held upon the fact that he (Al Izz ) did not come across the traditions narrated to this effect. and these ahadith, even though their isnads are slightly weak, strengthen each other” (Abu Zaid – Juz fi Mashil wajh)

Imam Bukhari has also narrated in his book ‘Al Adab Al Mufrad’from Wahb who Said, ‘I saw Ibn Umar (R.A.) and Ibn Zubair (R.A.) making dua and they wiped their hands on their faces’. (Al Adab Al Mufrad by Imam Bukhari).

This narration is good and Hafiz Ibn Hajar declared it as Saheeh (sound) in Al Amali.

Imam Muhammad ibn Nasr Al Marwazi narrates from Mu’tamar that he saw Abu Ka’b, the author of At Taqreer, supplicating while raising his hands and then he wiped them on his face after finishing. I asked him why he was doing so and he answered that Hasan Al Basri used to do it. (Qiyamul Lail). Al Marwazi has also stated in Qiyamul Lail that the great Muhaddith and Faqeeh (jurist), Ishaq bin Rahawayah approved the action on these hadith of wiping the face after dua. (Qiyamul Lail).

It is also authentically recorded as the narration from Imam Ahmad bin Hambal that the hands should be wiped on the face. (Al Mughni by Ibn Qudama Vol. 2 Pg. 154).

Imam Nawawi also mentioned in his book Al Azkaar that from among the adab of supplication is, ‘facing the Qiblah, raising the hands and wiping them on the face’. (Al Azkaar).

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan