The Prayer of the Blessed Messenger (saw).

“And when you are among them and lead them in prayer, let a group of them stand with you and let them carry their arms. And when they have prostrated, let them be behind you and have the other group come forward which has not prayed and let them pray with you, taking precaution and carrying their arms. Those who disbelieve wish that you would neglect your weapons and your baggage so they could come down upon you in one single attack. But there is no blame upon you, if you are troubled by rain or are ill, for putting down your arms, but take precaution. Indeed, Allah has prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment.” (Qur’an 4:102)

The truth of the matter is that the prayer was established by the Blessed Messenger (saw). It is a mass transmitted sunnah.  The hadith are written records for those who need to furnish proofs for things that were found to be objectionable. Things that stood out as different needed to have a proof or evidence, more so than a mass practiced sunnah, where the people picked up from those who preceded them and from those who preceded them. People were generally in the habit of asking for chains of narration / testimonies of proof for practices that were out of the ordinary. Ibn Sīrīn (d. 110 AH) explains, “In the early period, no one would ask about isnād. But when the strife occurred people would say, “Name for us your sources.” Source: (Muslim, Introduction to his Sahīh, p.11.)

An excellent example of this is in the Sunan of Abu Dawud. He has reported three hadith about where to place the hands in the prayer. This shows his awareness of the hadith. This does not indicate that he did all three. One would be hard pressed to provide evidence that Abu Dawud himself did all three acts in the prayer.

    – Keeping the hands on chest

It was reported from Sulaiman bin Musa, from Tawus who said: Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) used to place his right hand on his left hand, then grasp both of them on his chest while he was praying.

(Hadith No. 759, Book of Salat, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1).

  – Keeping the hands on abdomen above the navel

Jarir Ad-Dabbi narrated: I saw Ali praying while grasping his left hand with his right hand, over the wrist joint, above the navel.

(Hadith No. 757, Book of Salat, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1).

  – Keeping the hands below the navel

Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib:

AbuJuhayfah said: Ali said that it is a sunnah to place one hand on the other in prayer below the navel. (Hadith No. 756, Book of Salah, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1)

It is not reasonable to assume that Abu Dawud did all three acts in the prayer. Rather, it is sensible that he reported such hadith to show that he has an awareness concerning them.


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