Why Cracking Knuckles is Makrooh???

By Mujjahid ul Haq

For us as Muslims, Quran and Sunnah is sufficient to understand what is Right, Wrong, Good, Bad, Disliked and so on. Many times people wonder why there are such opinions when science disagrees or may say otherwise.

As Muslims, Science holds very little value in the sense that it can strengthen our Iman but not decrease it no matter what science finds. Eventually, science can only eventually conclude the truth!

Knuckle cracking is one of them. 

Science may say one thing (to follow with photographic evidence etc), Superstitious people will say another.


I’ve personally heard myths that cracking the knuckles breaks the bones of the deceased of a close relative, SubhanaAllah, where do these come from and how can people believe such things.

Here is some basic info on Superstition:

It was narrated from Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no ‘adwa (transmission of infectious disease without the permission of Allaah) and no tiyarah (superstitious belief in bird omens), but I like optimism.” They said, “What is optimism?” He said, “A good word.”  [Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5776) and Muslim (2224)].

It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Tiyarah (superstitious belief in omens) is shirk.” [Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1614), Abu Dawood (3910), Ibn Majaah (3538); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood]. 

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

The word tiyarah is derived from the word tatayyur, which refers to superstition about something that is seen or heard; or it was said that it refers to superstition about anything, whether it is something that is seen or heard, or a time or place. This is more comprehensive as it includes things that are not seen or heard, such as superstition about certain times. 

Now some understanding into what, where and why…

First the Salafi version (partially taken from here) clearly states that it is only disliked IN salah and not outside of Salah.

What is the interpretation of the hadith that talked about cracking the knuckles? Is forbidden both during and outside prayers?

Praise be to Allah.

Cracking the knuckles is makrooh whilst praying, not all the time. Rather it is makrooh during prayer, because it will either distract the one who does it from the prayer, or it will disturb other worshippers. 

The hadeeth that was narrated concerning that is not the words of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him); rather it is mawqoof and its isnaad ends with ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) and is his words. 

It was narrated that Shu‘bah, the freed slave of Ibn ‘Abbaas, said: I prayed beside Ibn ‘Abbaas and cracked my knuckles, and when I had finished praying, he said: May you have no mother! [This is a word of rebuke] You crack your knuckles whilst you are praying?

Narrated by Ibn Abi Shaybah (2/344). Al-Albaani said in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel (2/99): Its isnaad is hasan. 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked: Does cracking the knuckles absentmindedly whilst praying invalidate the prayer? He replied: Cracking the knuckles does not invalidate the prayer, but cracking the knuckles is a kind of fidgeting, and if that is during a congregational prayer, it will inevitably disturb those who hear it, and that is more bothersome than if there is no one around him.

End quote from Fataawa Arkaan al-Islam (p. 341)

However, here we have a Hadith in which The Prophet (Sallallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) clearly says it and is not the opinion of a companion alone, and the answer also holds a reference from Fuqaha in the foot note to say that it is Disliked in Salah and in the Masjid even when not in Salah! and in general too


I have bad habit of breaking knuckles every few minutes. I cant control my self even in salah. Specially when i stand up after sajda, i automatically push my fingers against floor and also of knee joints. 

Please tell me will it affect my salah, and if yes, how can i control myself against this act.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

It is stated in a hadith:


(سنن ابن ماجه (1/ 310

Translation: Ali (Radiyallahu Anh) narrates that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said: Do not crack your knuckles whilst in salah.

The Fuqaha (jurisprudents) have ruled that it is makrooh (reprehensible) to crack ones fingers/knuckles in general and particularly in salah.[1]

Cracking knuckles in salah decreases the quality and value of ones salah. Furthermore, it distracts the salah of others as well.

As Muslims we are advised to perform our salah to the best of our ability, and also be considerate to others. We advise you to exercise restraint in cracking your knuckles.

Once you exercise restraint a few times, the bad habit will stop.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Zakariya Memon

Student Darul Iftaa
Chatham, Canada

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.



(1)   (قَوْلُهُ وَفَرْقَعَةُ الْأَصَابِعِ) هُوَ غَمْزُهَا أَوْ مَدُّهَا حَتَّى تُصَوِّتَ وَتَشْبِيكُهَا هُوَ أَنْ يُدْخِلَ أَصَابِعَ إحْدَى يَدَيْهِ بَيْنَ أَصَابِعِ الْأُخْرَى بَحْرٌ (قَوْلُهُ لِلنَّهْيِ) هُوَ مَا رَوَاهُ ابْنُ مَاجَهْ مَرْفُوعًا «لَا تُفَرْقِعْ أَصَابِعَك وَأَنْتَ تُصَلِّي» ” وَرَوَى فِي الْمُجْتَبَى حَدِيثًا «أَنَّهُ نَهَى أَنْ يُفَرْقِعَ الرَّجُلُ أَصَابِعَهُ وَهُوَ جَالِسٌ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ يَنْتَظِرُ الصَّلَاةَ» وَفِي رِوَايَةٍ «وَهُوَ يَمْشِي إلَيْهَا» وَرَوَى أَحْمَدُ وَأَبُو دَاوُد وَغَيْرُهُمَا مَرْفُوعًا «إذَا تَوَضَّأَ أَحَدُكُمْ فَأَحْسَنَ وُضُوءَهُ ثُمَّ خَرَجَ عَامِدًا إلَى الْمَسْجِدِ فَلَا يُشَبِّكْ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ فَإِنَّهُ فِي صَلَاةٍ» ” وَنَقَلَ فِي الْمِعْرَاجِ الْإِجْمَاعَ عَلَى كَرَاهَةِ الْفَرْقَعَةِ وَالتَّشْبِيكِ فِي الصَّلَاةِ. وَيَنْبَغِي أَنْ تَكُونَ تَحْرِيمِيَّةً لِلنَّهْيِ الْمَذْكُورِ حِلْيَةٌ وَبَحْرٌ (قَوْلُهُ وَلَا يُكْرَهُ خَارِجَهَا لِحَاجَةٍ) الْمُرَادُ بِخَارِجِهَا مَا لَيْسَ مِنْ تَوَابِعِهَا لِأَنَّ السَّعْيَ إلَيْهَا وَالْجُلُوسُ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ لِأَجْلِهَا فِي حُكْمِهَا كَمَا مَرَّ لِحَدِيثِ الصَّحِيحَيْنِ «لَا يَزَالُ أَحَدُكُمْ فِي صَلَاةٍ مَا دَامَتْ الصَّلَاةَ تَحْبِسُهُ» ” وَأَرَادَ بِالْحَاجَةِ نَحْوَ إرَاحَةِ الْأَصَابِعِ، فَلَوْ لِدُونِ حَاجَةٍ بَلْ عَلَى سَبِيلِ الْعَبَثِ كُرِهَ تَنْزِيهًا وَالْكَرَاهَةُ فِي الْفَرْقَعَةِ خَارِجَهَا مَنْصُوصٌ عَلَيْهَا، (الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (1/ 642)

(2)   وَلَا يُفَرْقِعُ أَصَابِعَهُ ؛ لِمَا رُوِيَ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنَّهُ { قَالَ لِعَلِيٍّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ : إنِّي أُحِبُّ لَك مَا أُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِي لَا تُفَرْقِعْ أَصَابِعَكَ وَأَنْتَ تُصَلِّي } ؛ وَلِأَنَّ فِيهِ تَرْكَ الْخُشُوعِ ،( بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (2/ 335)

(3)  و يكره للمصلي….. و لا يفرقع اصابعه لقوله عليه السلام لا تفرقع اصابعك و انت تصلي (الهداية ج1 ص141-مكتبه رحمانية)

Here’s what science has found so far – Remember, Our way is that of the Sunnah, not Science, so don’t take science as your answer.

In a recent study published in PLOS ONE, a group of researchers found that cracking a knuckle forms a temporary cavity in the body, disproving a long prevalent theory that the crack is due to the collapse of a bubble. The study focused on the fingers of Canadian chiropractor Jerome Fryer, who has the ability to crack the knuckles in every one of his fingers on demand (not everyone can). He also has a particular interest in the science behind knuckle cracking.

To observe what was happening when his knuckles cracked, Fryer inserted each of his fingers into a tube connected to a cable that was slowly pulled until his knuckle joint cracked. An MRI video captured each knuckle joint crack in real time.


MRI video of one of Fryer’s finger joints popping.

Pop goes the knuckle. The researchers observed the same phenomenon occurring in every one of Fryer’s fingers: when a joint separated and made the “cracking” sound, a gas-filled cavity formed within the synovial fluid, a slick substance that lubricates the joints.

“It’s a little bit like forming a vacuum,” said Kawchuk, who holds a doctorate in bio-engineering. “As the joint surfaces suddenly separate, there is no more fluid available to fill the increasing joint volume, so a cavity is created and that event is what’s associated with the sound.”


Images showed that before cracking, joints appeared normal and without any gaseous activity. But upon cracking, a dark void appeared.

Fryer’s finger demonstration may help scientists better study joint problems, including arthritis and injury. Kawchuck said in the statement that the findings have implications for new research into the therapeutic benefit — or harm — of cracking joints. At the moment, there is conflicting data in research: Scientists have found that the force at which knuckles are cracked has enough energy to damage hard surfaces, but also that frequent knuckle cracking doesn’t seem to have any long-term negative effects. Kawuck and his team plan to investigate further.

(habitual knuckle crackers were more likely to have hand swelling and lower grip strength. Habitual knuckle cracking was associated with manual labour, biting of the nails, smoking, and drinking alcohol. It is concluded that habitual knuckle cracking results in functional hand impairment.)

So what will you do, consider it as Makrooh – Disliked by Allah – or that it doesn’t really have an effect on you.

Who knows better? Its obvious. Will you chance it and later find out in older age that it was a cracking error? or try to refrain from it altogether.

There is wisdom into why some things are makrooh, its better left out! Crack the habit not the knuckle.

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