How should hands be held while praying? Should they be adjacent or separate, at the level of the shoulders or the face? How did the Prophet hold his hands when he prayed?

Details of the Question
How should hands be held while praying? Should they be adjacent or separate, at the level of the shoulders or the face? How did the Prophet hold his hands when he prayed?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

While praying, hands are held with palms facing upward (toward the sky) and separately. The palms of both hands are kept like two scales of a balance at the level of the chest, waiting for the divine mercy that will come from the sky.

However, it is not contrary to the sunnah to keep the hands adjacent at times. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) prayed in both ways. However, it is understood that he generally held his hands separate.

As a matter of fact, in Shafii madhhab, palms are faced downward (the ground) during the statements that include fear while praying but in Hanafi madhhab, palms are held downward only in the prayer of rain, not in other prayers.

Shafiis' holding their palms downward while praying in order to avoid misfortunes is based on some hadiths, which is sunnah. One of those hadiths is as follows:

“When the Prophet (pbuh) asked something to happen from Allah, he would hold his hands with palms facing upward. However, when he wanted to take refuge from something, he would hold his hands with palms facing downward.” (For hadiths regarding the issue, see Musnad, Ahmad b. Hanbal IV/56; Majmau’z- Zawaid, X/168; Jamu’l-Fawaid, II/618; al-Fathu’l-Kabir, II/357)

Therefore, those who hold their hands with palms facing down act based on those hadiths. Hanafis imitate Shafiis regarding the issue.

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