Category Archives: Naseer Ud Deen Albani

Refutation of Al-Albani’s View on Placing of Hands in Prayer

By Muhammad ibn Ahmad

With regard to the placing of the hands below the navel in Salaah  (see Sifah Salah an-Nabee, appendix 4, pg. 102-103, English ed’n), al-Albani has declared all the Hadith that reached him on this issue to be Daeef, due to the  presence of the narrator Abdar-Rahman ibn Ishaq al-Wasiti al-Kufi. This may be true due to what the scholars of Hadith have said, but he has either overlooked the fact that there are many other Ahadith which order the placing of the hands below the navel, or has deliberately not bothered to mention them to his readers who are usually unaware of this fact! 

Al-Albani claims on page 12 of the same book:

“To place them on the chest is what is proved in the Sunnah,  and all that is contrary to it is either Daeef or totally baseless.”  

But he contradicts himself on page 102-103 of the same book by saying:

“What further points to its  weakness (i.e. the Hadith of  Abdar-Rahman ibn Ishaq) is that contrary to it has been narrated on the authority of Ali (Allah be  pleased with him) with a better Isnad: the Hadith of Ibn Jareer al-Dabbi an (from) his father, who said, ‘I saw Ali holding his left arm with his right on the wrist, above the navel (I say: The statement above the navel, does not mean on the chest, but literally above the navel and below the chest, since this is the opinion of the Shafiyyah scholars like Bayhaqi, Nawawi, Muslim  and so on) – this Isnad is a candidate for the rank of HASAN; Baihaqi (1/301) firmly designated it to be Hasan, and Bukhari (1/301) designated it with certainty while giving it an abridged, ta’leeq form.” 

Is this not a clear contradiction from within the same book? And this is not all my dear reader… 

Al-Albani claimed that it was found in Bukhari (1/301), but when I examined the Sahih al-Bukhari (Vol.1, Chapter. 6, no. 707, pg. 396, English ed’n), I did  not find this narration of Ibn Jarir al-Dabbi (Allah be pleased with him), but instead a Hadith from Sahl ibn Sa’d (Allah be pleased with him) who said: “The people were ordered to place the right hand on the left forearm in the prayer.” Abu Hazim said, “I knew that the order was from the Prophet (Peace be upon him).”  [see also Muwatta of Imam Malik, section 9.15, no 50, pg 70, English trans’n by A. Abdarahman and Y. Johnson for a very similar narration]. 

Now you have just read above  that al-Albani classified the Hadith of Ibn Jarir al-Dabbi to be HASAN, but when I found this very Hadith in the Sunan of Abu Dawood (1/756, pg. 194, English ed’n) and cross referenced it to the list, “Daeef Ahadith of Abu Dawud’s Sunan.” I found that his followers listed it as being  DAEEF!! Imam Abu Dawood (Rahimahullah) said after relating  the Hadith from Ibn Jarir al-Dabbi: “Sa’id ibn Jubair narrated the words: ‘above the navel’. Abu Mijlaz reported the words: ‘below the navel’. This has also been  narrated by Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him). But that is not  strong.” The latter quote is one which al-Albani failed to mention in “Sifah Salah an-Nabee!” 

Note also that al-Albani said with regard to the placing of the  hands on the chest (see Sifah Salah an-Nabee, pg. 12, in the footnote):  

“In fact, Imam Ishaq ibn Rahwaih  acted on this Sunnah, as Marwazi  said in ‘Masaa’il (pg 222): ‘Ishaq used to pray witr with us….he would raise his hands in qunoot, and make the qunoot before bowing, and place his hands on his breast or just under his breast.'”  

But when I read the footnote to  Abu Dawood’s Sunan (vol. 1, pg. 194, fn. 345, English ed’n), I noticed that the author of Awn al-Mabood (1,275), Shams al-Haqq Azimabadi, claimed that  both Abu Ishaq al-Marwazi and al-Hafiz Ishaq ibn Rahwaih (one of Imam al-Bukhari’s teachers)  held the position that the hands should be folded below the navel! In his Sahih Muslim sharif-Mukhtasar Sharh Nawawi (vol. 2, pg. 28, fn. 23), Wahid az-Zaman (a late scholar of the ‘Salafiyya’  in Pakistan) also affirmed that the Imam’s Sufyan al-Thawri, Abu Hanifah, Ishaq ibn Rahwaih and  Abu Ishaq al-Marwazi (Allah’s mercy be upon them) all used to place their hands below the navel! So who do you think is quoting correctly, al-Albani or al-Azimabadi and az-Zaman? 

Here is the full quote from Abu Dawood’s Sunan: 

“The question of folding hands in prayer below the navel is disputed amongst the jurists. According to  Abu Hanifah, Sufyan al-Thawri,  Ishaq ibn Rahwaih, Abu Ishaq al-Marwazi (I say: others who held  the same view include the  Mujtahid’s like Ibrahim al-Nakhai, Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman, Abu  Yusuf, Muhammad al-Shaybani,  Zufar ibn Hudayl and many other scholars, Allah’s mercy be upon them), the hands should be folded below the navel. This tradition is followed by them (I say: it is not just this tradition which lends support to placing the hands below the navel, but others as well). According to al-Shafi’i, the hands should be placed below the chest (I say:  this is also the opinion of Imam  Muslim, according to the chapter  heading used by him: ‘The placing  of the right hand over the left  hand after the first takbir in prayer below the chest and above  the navel and then placing them  opposite the shoulders in prostration’ (see Sahih Muslim,  vol.1, pg. 220, English ed’n). Al-Nawawi says that this is the view of the majority of the jurists (this may have been in Imam Nawawi’s day, but it is well known that through out the centuries of Islam in aggregate, most of the  Ulama as well as the common folk have been placing their hands below the navel, by Allah’s decree and will). Two statements have been attributed to Ahmad ibn Hanbal (see al-Albani’s Sifah  Salah an-Nabee, footnote on pg. 51). According to the third view ascribed to him he does not give any preference to any of these  two views. One has the choice of placing the hands. Malik is also reported to have held two different views. According to the  second, he held that one should leave the hands in their natural  position without folding them. One should not fold them placing one on the other.”

NB- The most authoritative position of Imam Malik (Rahimahullah) has been  recorded in al-Mudawwana al-Kubra, by Qadi Sahnoon (d. 240  AH). This book contains the most authentic positions of al-Imam  Malik and his illustrious disciples, namely Imam ibn al-Qasim and Imam ibn Wahb. Qadi Sahnoon recorded the declarations of Imam Malik directly from Imam  ibn al-Qasim, hence there is no real doubt in my mind that  whatever has been recorded in  this book is the Madhhab of al-Imam Malik, and usually the amal  (practise) of the people of Madinah in his day. In al-Mudawwana (vol.1, pg.75-76), Imam Malik has been recorded to  have said, “Putting the right  hand on the left in salah, I have no knowledge of it in the compulsory (fard) prayer, it is thus disliked (makrooh). But in the supererogatory (nafl) prayer there is no harm (in folding the hands), it is left to the individual to decide.” This statement from  Imam Malik is a strong proof against those who claim that Imam Malik only prayed with his hands at his sides, after he received a severe beating (see. The Evolution of Fiqh, pg. 70, by A.A. Bilal Philips)!
Al-Albani has only ‘checked’ six Hadith which allow the placing of the hands below the navel (see his ‘Sifah’, pg.102, Appx. 4). But  there are more than 6 other  Hadith (which allow the placing of the hands below the navel) which  he has not bothered to mention/check; may be he has not come across them! One of such Hadith  is very  similar to what al-Albani  mentioned in “Sifah Salah an-Nabee,” pg.11: “We, the company  of Prophets, have been commanded to hasten the  breaking of the fast, to delay the meal before the fast, and to place our right arms on our left arms  during prayer [from Ibn Hibban and Diyaa’, with a Sahih Isnad according to al-Albani]. The version I have is related by  Sayyidina Ali (Allah be pleased  with him): “Three things are from the habits of Prophethood: To hasten the breaking of the fast,  to delay the Sehri (pre-fast meal) as late as possible, and to place one’s right hand on top of the  left hand below the navel  (transmitted by Hafiz Ibn Shaheen).” 

To finish, As-Sayyid Sabiq quoted Imam Tirmidhi (Rahimahullah) as saying in Fiqh-us-Sunnah (vol. 1, pg 132): “Knowledgeable  Companions (Allah be pleased with them all), their followers and those that came after them  believed that one should put his right hand over the left during prayer, while some say above the  navel and others say below the  navel.”  


Pray as you see me pray – Albani’s deceptive work

Naseer-ud-deen Albani wrote a book titled, “Sifaat Salatun Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)”. However, what Albani failed to answer, despite his attempt to discredit the research of the four Imaam’s of fiqh, is the following:

Does the Quran explain sequentially and in a detailed manner the method of performing Salaat (prayers)?

Does Sahih Bukhari explain sequentially and in a detailed manner the method of performing Salaat (prayers)?

Does Sahih Muslim explain sequentially and in a detailed manner the method of performing Salaat (prayers)?

Does Sunnan Nisa’i explain sequentially and in a detailed manner the method of performing Salaat (prayers)?

Does Jami At-Tirmizi explain sequentially and in a detailed manner the method of performing Salaat (prayers)?

Does Sunnan Abu Dawud explain sequentially and in a detailed manner the method of performing Salaat (prayers)?

Does Sunnan Ibn Majah explain sequentially and in a detailed manner the method of performing Salaat (prayers)?

Please name one single Muhaddith (Scholar of Hadith) amongst those listed above who has written a complete / comprehensive book on how to perform salaat?

Did the messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) order any of the 125,000 companions to record or write a book on “pray as you see me pray”?

Did any of the four Khulafaa Rashideen write a book on how to perform salaat in their lifetime? Especially Umar Ibn Khattab (known for establishing Fiqh) and Usmaan Ibn Affan (who compiled the Qur’an)?

Bilal Phillips, Albani, Madkhali, Salih al-Fawzan, Zakir Naik & Farhat Hashmi can not teach the ummah the complete way of salaat if they answered “No” to all the 10 Questions above. Then how on earth did they learn the right method of Salaat? The answer is that they (the Salafi’s) generated their method of Salaat by carefully studying and copying the candid research of Aimma-e- Mujtahideen; especially Imaam Shafi’i (rahmatullahi alayhi).

Allah Ta’ala has given the order in the Quran to “Establish Salaat” but the details have been left out. It is funny that Imaam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullahi alayhi) is accused of knowing only 6-Ahadeeth. Interestingly, with “6-Ahadeeth” he was able to teach people the full methodology of Salaat. So, shouldn’t one go to the person who out of 6-hadeeth can teach the ummah how to pray, rather than Imaam Bukhari who collected over 600,000 ahadeeth, yet he didn’t teach anyone the full method of salaat?

Albani’s book “Sifaat Salaatun Nabi” is nothing more than a deceptive attempt at confusing the Ummah. In his book he could not produce a single sahih hadith that gives one the complete method and details of salaat. Even Albani’s book is incomplete despite the cut-and-paste that he did to mislead people. But the Salafi’s are blind followers of Albani so there is not much I can say. Albani has also commited injustice by hiding the following facts from the Ummah:

He does not give from the Quran and Sahih Hadith only the Faraaid (Obligatory Acts of Salaat)

He does not give from the Quran and Sahih Hadith only the Waajib acts of Salaat

He does not give from the Quran and Sahih Hadith only the Sunnah’s of the Salaat

He does not give from the Quran and Sahih Hadith only the Makrooh acts in Salaat

Why didn’t Albani tell the Ummah that even the greatest Imaam of Hadith; Imam Bukhari (rahmatullahi alayhi) did not provide ALL the SAHIH hadeeth to substantiate each and every act of Salaat; unless Albani learnt a better way to pray than Imaam Bukhari – because not All hadith reached Imaam Bukhari??