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Praying posture of men and women

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

 

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Dear Sir,
I have two questions.

1. Is the method for praying different for women as compared to men. In the sub-continent women are usually taught to assume slightly different postures especially in "rako'o" and "Sajood". What about the Hadith "Pray as you have seen me praying".

2. As far as "Rafa' Yadain" (raising hands each time one says Allah Akbar) we are taught that this was a temporary practise to discourage people from carrying idols in their arm pits. I could not find any Hadith regarding this. What is the correct view.

Thank you.

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Answer:

 

Praying posture of men and women

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person,  no grave, no prophet,  no imam,  no dai,  nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

 

Q-1:  Is the method for praying different for women as compared to men. In the sub-continent women are usually taught to assume slightly different postures especially in "rako'o" and "Sajood". What about the Hadith "Pray as you have seen me praying".

To the best of our knowledge, there is no specific command or guidance from the Messenger of Allah (saws) stating the difference between the postures of the male or female believing slave while in the state of prayer.  Bukhari related that the Messenger of Allah (saws) gave a general command to the believers, men and women alike: ‘Pray as you have seen me pray.’


 

There is a mention of some companions like Hadrat Abdullah ibn Umar (r.a.) who asked his women to crouch close to their bodies when performing the ‘rukoo’ and ‘sujood’ while praying in public, so that they would be able to honor their ‘satr’ in a better manner and thus their curves while bending would not be very obvious to the non-mehram men, if they were around.  But that guidance from the scholar and companion of the stature of Hadrat Abdullah ibn Umar (r.a.) would not in any way effect or contradict the guidance of the Messenger of Allah (saws).

 

Q-2: As far as "Rafa' Yadain" (raising hands each time one says Allah Akbar) we are taught that this was a temporary practise to discourage people from carrying idols in their arm pits. I could not find any
Hadith regarding this. What is the correct view.

The truth is brother, there is absolute no link between the supposed baseless ‘theory’ of the noble companions of the Messenger of Allah (saws) carrying idols in their arm-pits while in prayer, and the commands of ‘rafa yadain’ of  prayer! ; for it is simply not conceivable that those who professed belief in Allah and His Messenger (saws) would ever carry idols with them after they accepted Islam!

 

All the scholars of Islam are absolutely unanimous in their opinion,  that one must practice Rafayadain or lift both his hands unto his shoulders or ears when one starts his prayers by saying ‘Allah-o-Akbar’.   This practice of Rafayadain signaling the start of prayer is an obligatory part of prayer; thus even simple logic defies this baseless theory that the believers would carry idols in their arm-pits!

 

But the practice of Rafayadain in the prayer when one goes into ‘ruku’,  or when one stands up from ‘ruku’,  or going from standing to sajdah, etc.  does not constitute an obligatory part of the prayer.   There  is a difference of opinion amongst the scholars in the practicing of Rafayadain between the prayers because there are authentic narrations to both arguments.   Most companions of the Prophet (saws) narrated that he (saws) used to practice Rafayadain in the beginning as well as in between his prayers,  while some other state that he did it only once at the beginning of prayers.  Thus,  both  are part of the Sunnah or Way of the Prophet (saws).   

 

Reported Ibn 'Umar, "When the Prophet (saws) stood to pray, he would raise his hands until they were the same height as his shoulders and then he would make the takbir.   When he wanted to bow,  he would again raise his hands in a similar fashion.   When he raised his head from the bowing, he did the same and said, 'Allah hears him who praises Him.'

Related by al-Bukhari, Muslim and al-Baihaqi.

 

Reported Ibn Mas'ud : "I prayed with the Prophet (saws) and he raised his hands only once (at the beginning of prayer)."

Related by Ibn Habban.

 

Thus if a believer today prays and practices Rafayadain in the beginning of prayer as well in his movements,   and his intention is to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (saws),  it is fine.    And if a believer prays by practicing Rafayadain only at the beginning of prayer, ,  and his intention is also to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (saws),  that too is fine.    What is important is that every believer does an act or a deed with the intention to follow the Sunnah or Way of the Prophet (saws).  

 

Holding one’s hands,  or keeping the hands straight in prayer,  or practicing Rafayadain in the movements other than the beginning of the prayer  are not  termed obligatory acts of prayer. Some peoples’ arguments and discussions are centered on these small matters of jurisprudence,  whereas the Messenger of Allah (saws) has been reported to have done either.   We must be mindful of not taking a small thing in Islam and giving it more importance than it deserves,  or go to extremes in the deen.    

 

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

 

Your Brother in Islam,

 

 

Burhan

 


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