QUESTION: Some Ulama are propagating that it is Sunnat for the ankles to touch in Sajdah. They support this claim with a Hadith attributed to Hadhrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu anha). It has always been understood that the feet should be kept apart in Sajdah. The same space between the feet in Qiyaam should be also retained in Sajdah. What is the correct view?
[By Maulana Ahmad Sadiq Desai]
While there is a view that the ankles should touch in Sajdah, it is an extremely weak view which has not been entertained by all the Fuqaha from the earliest era of Islam. In fact it is a discarded view. The Maulana Sahib who is propagating the view of ankles touching in Sajdah has unnecessarily assumed a burden on himself.
None of the early Fuqaha has enumerated this practice to be among the Sunan of Salaat. In fact, they don’t even make reference to it. Hadhrat Maulana Zafar Ahmad Uthmaani (rahmatullah alayh) states in Imdaadul Ahkaam:
None of our Fuqaha has mentioned it except the author of Ad-Durr and the Commentator of Al-Muniyah and the few of who follow them. Al-Qudoori, Al-Kanz, Al-Wiqaayah and others (i.e.other senior Fuqaha) of the authoritative texts who narrate Zaahirur Riwaayat have not entertained it……… In As-Siaayah, Allaamah Abdul Haq Lucknowi states:
“The leader among the Hanafis of those who contend the Sunniyat of Ilsaaq (i.e. joining the ankles in Sujood) is Zaahidi. Despite him being a great Imaam in Fiqh, he is well known for narrating Dhaeef (Weak) narrations Ibn Aabideen has categorically mentioned this fact in Tanqeehul Fatawal Haamidiyyah. It is stated in Fawaaidul Bahiyyah that despite him being a Hanafi in Furoo’ (i.e. the rules of Fiqh), he was a Mu’tazili by beliefs.” (Mu’tazilis hold some very repugnant beliefs of kufr).
“According to the discussion of Imaam Tahaawi (rahmatullah alayh) in Ma-aanil Aathaar, Ilsaaq is not a Shar’i injunction in anything pertaining to the limbs, neither in Ruku’ nor in Sujood for men. In fact, the opposite, i.e. separation between the two ankles, is taught Mashroo’ (i.e. by the Shariah). ……….Imaam Tahaawi added: “We have seen that the Sunnah which came from Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is At-Tajaafi (spreading the feet) in Ruku’ and Sujood. The Muslimoon (i.e. the Ummah) have enacted Ijma’ on this. …..”
Now since the weakness of its narration in the Madhab has been established, and since Tahaawi has unequivocally stated the Sunniyyat of At-Tajaafi (i.e. spreading the feet is Sunnah) in Ruku’ and Sujood, then there is no need whatsoever to establish a daleel for the Sunniyyat of this Ilsaaq (joining the ankles).” (Imdaadul Ahkaam, Vol. 1, Page 478)
The Maulana Sahib has embarked on an unnecessary exercise regarding an issue which the illustrious Fuqaha had settled more than 13 centuries ago. Tajaafi (keeping the feet apart whether in Ruku’ or Sajdah, has been the amal of our Akaabireen as well as the Fuqaha. It is a practice which has come down to us from generation to generation. This continuity of practice (the Tawaaruth of the seniors and the Ummah) may not be altered with a weak view.
The fact that according to the Shafi’i Madhab too Tajaafi is Sunnat, further strengthens the view of keeping the feet apart. The Shafi’i Madhab’s view is stated as follows: “Spreading the feet, etc. in this (i.e. in Sajdah) is on account of following the Sunnah.”
There is really no need for us to publish a detailed response to the arguments of the Maulana Sahib. We do not deem it prudent to publish a booklet in refutation of the arguments presented by the Maulana Sahib in favour of his view. It suffices to say that Tajaafi is the official teaching of our Madhab and that the practice of our Akaabireen has been on this act, and all the senior Fuqaha are of this view.
A practice which the Fuqaha had not proclaimed a Sunnat from the earliest time, cannot in this belated century be elevated to the status of Sunnah. The view which the Maulana propagates implies that the Ummah was not aware of this Sunnat for all the past centuries from the era of the Aimmah Mujtahideen, and that this ‘Sunnat’ has become known only recently. But this is absurd, especially when Imaam Tahaawee had categorically stated many centuries ago that there is no Shar’i basis for Ilsaaq.
The solitary Hadith on which the Maulana Sahib relies was known to the Fuqaha many many centuries ago. Despite their awareness, they set it aside. They did not adopt it as a basis for establishing Ilsaaq to be Sunnat has the Maulana Sahib has erroneously contended.
The contention of the Maulana that the silence of the Fuqaha on this issue is not a daleel, is audacious to say the least. It was the sacred obligation of the Fuqaha of the Khairul Quroon to codify and systematize the whole Shariah. In Kitaabus Salaat the Fuqaha had enumerated all the Sunan of Salaat, even the Mustahabbaat and the Aaadaab. If Ilsaaq was Sunnat, then it is inconceivable that all the Fuqaha – 100% of them – had opted for silence. The obligation of the Fuqaha of the Khairul Quroon era was to prepare, compile and hand over to posterity the entire Shariah. Nothing of the Shariah was lost after Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), hence nothing can be discovered of it fourteen centuries down the line.
The contention that all the Fuqaha, including such illustrious Aimmah as Imaam Abu Hanifah, Imaam Abu Yusuf, Imaam Muhammad and innumerable other great and illustrious Fuqaha of our Madhab were unaware of a Sunnat practice, hence their silence, and that the Maulana Sahib has managed to unearth the ‘lost’ Sunnat, simply boggles the mind.
No one in this age has the right to hoist as Sunnat a practice had not enumerated among the sunan nor had our Akaabireen regardless of what narration he produces.