How should we position our fingers during salah? Should our fingers be united or separate while standing and prostrating?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

1. According to Hanbalis and Shafis, the way of clasping hands is as follows: The right hand is positioned on or near the wrist of left hand.

According to Hanafis, the inner part of right hand is positioned on the outer part of left hand. In this position, a circle is made with thumb and little finger around the wrist.

As to women, they place their hands on their chest without making a circle because this position forms a harmony with their tasattur (hijab).

According to Hanafis and Hanbalis, the person who prays must position his hands under his belly because as reported from Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), he said,

“Placing right hand on left hand under belly is a sunnah.”  What is meant by this is sunnah of our Prophet (PBUH).

What is preferable (mustahab) according to Shafis is to place two hands leaning to left on the chest for women, and on the belly for men. Thus, hands are positioned on the most honorable limb.

According to Malikis, releasing two hands with solemnity is mandub but releasing them fast is not. Hands are not released from the front because this is contrary to being peaceful. Clasping hands over the chest and keeping them there is permissible in supererogatory prayers.

2. In prayer, during the first and last sitting positions while reading Tahiyyat, it is sunnah to raise the index finger of the right hand while saying “la ilaha” and then put it down after saying “illallah”.

A circle with thumb and index finger must be formed while doing this, and the other two fingers must be twisted inside. Most people cannot do this. Therefore, abandoning it is regarded more appropriate. The ones who do not know how to do it had better not do it.

One of the underlying reasons of this is as follows: The meaning of the word we say when we do this is “there is no god”, and then we say “except for Allah”. So, when we say there is no god, we show the existence of Allah, the Absolute One, with our act.

3. When hands are raised during the first takbir (utterance of Allahu akbar), it is sunnah to keep the fingers in their natural position of width; neither too close nor too separate and to make the palms face towards the qibla.

4. It is sunnah to hold the knees with open fingers during ruku (bowing position). (Women do not open their fingers and do not hold their knees; they only put their hands on their knees.)

5. In prostrating position, it is sunnah to keep fingers next to each other and put the palms on the floor towards the qibla.

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