Placing Hands Below the Navel

Nov 14, 2021 | Salat (Prayer)


Asalamu Alaykum,
My question is, is there any authantic narration about placing the hand below the navel because I heard that shaykh albani weakened the hadith about placing the hand below the navel.
Thank you and I’ll be waiting for your answer.


Before delving into the issue of where to place the hands in salat and the evidences supporting it, a few preliminary points must be understood.

When a ruling is extracted from the primary sources of shari’ah, many factors are taken into consideration, such as the reliability and authenticity of the source of information, the juristic framework being used to extract the rulings from the source, how clear and precise the wording is, etc. The strength of a hadith is only one of many factors.

When scholars look at these various factors, there will likely be some differences of opinion regarding which factors are prioritised and which factors render a narration acceptable or not. For example, there is a difference of opinion whether or not the statement of a companion or successor (tabi’i) can be used as evidence. Those who consider them as evidence will take their actions and statements into consideration and thus rule accordingly. Whereas, those who do not will not and thus may come to a different conclusion. Hence, what might be valid and strong for one set of scholars maybe invalid and weak for another. It is for this reason, the opinion of one particular scholar who has their own methodology cannot necessarily be used to argue the strength or weakness of a ruling in a school which adopts a different methodology all together.

The next point to bare in mind regarding the positioning of hands in salat is that the issue is not one which is an essential component to salat, whereby an error in placing the hands would lead to the salat being invalid, rather, it is one of preference. Hence, practically it is permissible to act upon any of the hadith on this matter.

Although, there are various hadiths in relation to the position of the hands in prayer, many of them have been critiqued in some way or another. It is not just the narrations of placing the hands below the navel which have been critiqued, rather, the narrations of placing the hands on the chest have also been critiqued. Therefore, the task of the jurist would be to sift through these weakening factors and determine which of the narrations are more sound than the others, bearing in mind that this is a matter of preference.

Finally, there are a few different narrations that support placing the hands below the navel. Even though individually they have been critiqued, combined together they can be used to present a valid argument.

We will provide a brief overview of the evidences used to support the positioning of the hands below the navel and will direct you to further detailed reading.

1. The tabi’i Abu Mijlaz narrates that the hands will be placed below the navel. This is recorded in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah and has been classed as jayyid (good) by Ibn Turkuman. Abu Mijlaz is a senior tabi’i and therefore this narration will be valid evidence for those who consider the statement of a such a tabi’i as valid evidence. The same statement is attributed to Ibrahim al-Nakha’i, another tabi’i.

2. Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates, “The sunnah is to place one palm over the other in salat below the navel”. This is narrated by Abu Dawud. Even though this narration does not mention the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with him) it does mention that this practice is from the sunnah. Hence, it will be in the ruling of those narrations that are attributed to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace).

This is the narration which Shaykh Albani has weakened. The chain contains Abdur Rahman Ibn Ishaq al-Kufi who is weak. The Hanafis have not fully relied upon this narration as the basis of their opinion. There are other narrations that support it and therefore it could potentially be used as supplementary evidence.

3. Wa’il Ibn Hujr (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates: “I saw the Messenger (may Allah bless him and give him peace) placing his right hand upon the left one below his navel in prayer.” This is recorded in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah. There is some discussion regarding the phrase ‘below his navel’ as it is not found in all the editions of the Musannaf. However, scholars like Qasim bin Qutlubugha have considered this version to be of sound transmission and Shaykh ‘Abid Sindhi states, “Its narrators are trustworthy”. Hence, like the previous narration, even though there has been critique of it, it will not be totally rejected as there are other reports that strengthen it.

These are some of the narrations presented to support the position of praying with the hands below the navel. For more detail on this matter you may want to read ‘Fiqh al-Imam Key Proofs in Hanafi Fiqh’ published by Whitethread Press.

The position of praying with the hands below the navel is the position of the Hanafi school, Abu Ishaq al-Marwazi from the Shafi’i school and one opinion narrated from Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal.

مصنف ابن أبي شيبة (1/ 343)
سَمِعْتُ أَبَا مِجْلَزٍ، أَوْ سَأَلْتُهُ قَالَ: قُلْتُ: كَيْفَ يَصْنَعُ؟ قَالَ: «يَضَعُ بَاطِنَ كَفِّ يَمِينِهِ عَلَى ظَاهِرِ كَفِّ شِمَالِهِ وَيَجْعَلُهَا أَسْفَلَ مِنَ السُّرَّةِ

الجوهر النقي (2/ 31)
ومذهب ابى مجلز الوضع اسفل السرة حكاه عنه أبو عمر في التمهيد وجاء ذلك عنه بسند جيد

مصنف ابن أبي شيبة (1/ 343)
عَنْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ قَالَ: «يَضَعُ يَمِينَهُ عَلَى شِمَالِهِ فِي الصَّلَاةِ تَحْتَ السُّرَّةِ

سنن أبي داود (1/ 201)
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مَحْبُوبٍ، حَدَّثَنَا حَفْصُ بْنُ غِيَاثٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ إِسْحَاقَ، عَنْ زِيَادِ بْنِ زَيْدٍ، عَنْ أَبِي جُحَيْفَةَ، أَنَّ عَلِيًّا رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، قَالَ: «مِنَ السُّنَّةِ وَضْعُ الْكَفِّ عَلَى الْكَفِّ فِي الصَّلَاةِ تَحْتَ السُّرَّةِ

تدريب الراوي في شرح تقريب النواوي (1/ 208)
الثَّانِي: قَوْلُ الصَّحَابِيِّ: أُمِرْنَا بِكَذَا، أَوْ نُهِينَا عَنْ كَذَا، أَوْ مِنَ السُّنَّةِ كَذَا، أَوْ أُمِرَ بِلَالٌ أَنْ يَشْفَعَ الْأَذَانَ، وَمَا أَشْبَهَهُ كُلُّهُ مَرْفُوعٌ عَلَى الصَّحِيحِ الَّذِي قَالَهُ الْجُمْهُورُ.
وَقِيلَ: لَيْسَ بِمَرْفُوعٍ، وَلَا فَرْقَ بَيْنَ قَوْلِهِ فِي حَيَاةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – أَوْ بَعْدَهُ
(أَوْ مِنَ السُّنَّةِ كَذَا) كَقَوْلِ عَلِيٍّ: «مِنَ السُّنَّةِ وَضْعُ الْكَفِّ عَلَى الْكَفِّ فِي الصَّلَاةِ تَحْتَ السُّرَّةِ» ، رَوَاهُ أَبُو دَاوُدَ فِي رِوَايَةِ ابْنِ دَاسَةَ وَابْنِ الْأَعْرَابِيِّ

سنن الترمذي ت بشار (1/ 336)
عَنْ قَبِيصَةَ بْنِ هُلْبٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، قَالَ: كَانَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَؤُمُّنَا، فَيَأْخُذُ شِمَالَهُ بِيَمِينِهِ
وَفِي البَابِ عَنْ وَائِلِ بْنِ حُجْرٍ، وَغُطَيْفِ بْنِ الحَارِثِ، وَابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، وَابْنِ مَسْعُودٍ، وَسَهْلِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ حَدِيثُ هُلْبٍ حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ وَالعَمَلُ عَلَى هَذَا عِنْدَ أَهْلِ العِلْمِ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَالتَّابِعِينَ، وَمَنْ بَعْدَهُمْ، يَرَوْنَ أَنْ يَضَعَ الرَّجُلُ يَمِينَهُ عَلَى شِمَالِهِ فِي الصَّلاَةِ، وَرَأَى بَعْضُهُمْ أَنْ يَضَعَهُمَا فَوْقَ السُّرَّةِ وَرَأَى بَعْضُهُمْ: أَنْ يَضَعَهُمَا تَحْتَ السُّرَّةِ، وَكُلُّ ذَلِكَ وَاسِعٌ عِنْدَهُمْ

See: I’la al-sunan 2:190

Fiqh al-Imam Key Proofs in Hanafi Fiqh p.55

Answered by:
Ifta Research Fellow

Checked & Approved by:
Mufti Abdul Rahman Mangera
Mufti Zubair Patel