Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pointing Finger During Tashahhud

Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani says in his Risala on Maliki Fiqh:

"While you are saying the tashahhud you put your hands on your thighs, clenching all the fingers of the right hand except your forefinger which you extend with its side uppermost."

Meaning: the side of the finger is facing upwards, while the bottom of the finger is neither facing the sky or the earth.

"There is some difference of opinion as regards the movement of this finger. There are those who say that by holding it straight you are indicating that Allah is one God while those who move it say that doing so repels shaytan. I think they mean by this that you will be reminded in your prayer by moving your finger of what will prevent you, if Allah wills, from becoming forgetful and distracted. Your left hand is laid flat on your left thigh and you neither move it nor point with it."

(http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/aBewley/Page28.html)


Al-Qadi Abu Bakr ibn Al-Arabi said:

وعجباً ممن يقول إنها مقمعة للشيطان

إذا حُركت , واعلموا أنّكم إذا حركتم للشيطان أصبعاً حرّك لكم عشراً , إنما يقمعُ الشيطان بالإخلاص

والخشوع والذّكر والاستعاذة , فأماّ بتحريكه فلا , إنما عليه أن يشير بالسّبابة


Translation:

"And I wonder at he who says it repels the shaytan if it is moved! And know that if you move for shaytan one finger, he will move for you ten. Shaytan is only repelled by sincerity, khushoo' (submissiveness/ reverence/ awe), dhikr, and seeking refuge in Allah from him. But from moving it, no! One should only point with the forefinger."

And he said:

" إياكم وتحريك أصابعكم في التشهد , ولا تلتفتوا لرواية العتبية , فإنها بليّة "

" Beware of moving your fingers in the tashahhud! And don't pay attention to the narration in the Utbiyya, for it is a catastrophe/scourge."

[the narration found in the Utbiyya book that he refers to is a report that someone saw Imam Malik moving his finger in the fajr prayer.]

And most hadiths say that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to clench the fingers of his right hand and make a ring, except the forefinger with which he would point.

There is only one narration that he, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, moved his finger, and it has been questioned.

The shafi'i al-Bayhaqi said:

يحتمل أن يكون المراد بالتحريك الإشارة بها لا تكرير تحريكها، فيكون موافقـًا لرواية ابن الزبير، وذكر بإسناده الصحيح عن ابن الزبير رضي الله عنهما أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يشير بأصبعه إذا دعا لا يحركها» رواه أبو داود بإسناد صحيح

"It is possible that he meant by moving it, pointing with it, not a repetition of movement, and that would make it agree with the narration of Ibn al-Zubayr."

Then he narrated with an authentic isnad back to Ibn al-Zubayr (r.a.) that the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam would point his finger in du'a without moving it. It was also narrated by Abu Dawud with an authentic isnad.

Here is a demonstration of the Shafii school's understanding of the tashahhud based on these hadiths:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4aO5RD6XGw

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And I say: If you point with the finger (toward the Kaaba), it is bound to shake a little, and it might appear to some as if you were moving it. However there is no strong evidence for it to be moved, except to raise it when saying the "illa Allah" (except Allah) part of the tashahhud, as mentioned by an-Nawawi and al-Maqdisi.

Now, the Malikis used to be the only people to move the finger, based on the report in the Utbiyya which al-Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi attacked, and they moved it from side to side.

Then al-Albani came with a novel interpretation of the weak hadiths of moving the finger, and for the first time in history, he began moving his finger up and down.

The problem is that most of the Salafis who are imitating his ijtihad are doing it differently than he did. He only moved its tip very slightly up and down, while most people today who imitate him raise it up and down.

Here is a video by Al-Albani's student, explaining how al-Albani did it, which is much less distracting to the people praying next to them than how most Salafis do it today. So if you're going to follow al-Albani's weak and innovated opinion, at least do it the way he does it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3mXnXM5Dqc


But I remind you of a general principle of Islam, described by Rasool Allah, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, which gives evidence against the moving of the finger, and gives support to the stronger hadiths which don't mention the movement:


AbulMalih reported on the authority of a man: I was riding on a mount behind the Prophet (peace be upon him). It stumbled. Thereupon I said: "May the devil perish!" He said: "Do not say: May the devil perish! for if you say that , he will swell so much so that he will be like a house and say, 'By my power'; But say: 'In the name of Allah' for when you say that, he will diminish so much that he will be like a fly".

- Sunan Abu Dawud, Kitab al-Adab, Number 4946



And Allah knows best.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

as salamu alaykum

with regards to congregational prayer, upon completion of the tashahud and after the dua, while the imam may be still going on, should the person prayin put his finger down and wait for the tasleem, or keep it up until the tasleem?

Silencer said...

wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah.

first of all, i'm definitely not a scholar or a faqih. these are just notes for myself, and in fact am now re-thinking the harsh attitude towards moving the finger. there might be something to it, Allahu a'lam.

so don't ask me, but i dont think it really matters. you can probably put it down, there's no need to keep it up i think.

wassalam

Silencer said...

wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah.

first of all, i'm definitely not a scholar or a faqih. these are just notes for myself, and in fact am now re-thinking the harsh attitude towards moving the finger. there might be something to it, Allahu a'lam.

so don't ask me, but i dont think it really matters. you can probably put it down, there's no need to keep it up i think.

wassalam