Raising hands in duaa

Amongst the etiquette of duaa that is known by all Muslims, young or old, is that of raising ones hands while making duaa. In fact, the raising of ones hands during duaa has been narrated in so many different traditions. Of these ahadeeth is that of Abu Musa al-Ashaari (RA), who narrated: "The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) made a duaa, and I saw him raise his hands, until I could see the whiteness of his armpits" (Bukhari)

And Ibn Umar (RA) narrated: "The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) raised his hands and said:

"Oh Allaah! I ask your protection for what Khalid has done!" (Bukhari) 

Anas (RA) also narrated that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam)"...raised his hands until I saw the whiteness of his armpits."  (Bukhari)

The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Indeed, Allaah is Shy and Beneficent. He is Shy when His servant raises his hands up to Him (in a duaa) to return them empty, disappointed!" (Ahmad)

Palms Up, Please! It is important that ones palms face upwards, and not the back of ones hands. The Prophet (salallahu alavhi wa sallam) said:

"If you ask Allaah, then ask him with the palms of your hands outwards, and not with the outward portion of the hands (i.e. with the palms facing down)" (Abu Dawud)

It is not befitting for a person to ask with his palms facing down, for this is a sign of arrogance, and an indication that he is not really in need of his request.

Three Types

There are three different types of motions that are narrated from the Companions.

The first type is to point with ones forefinger, without necessarily lifting ones hands. This action is done when one asks for forgiveness, or makes a general duaa (remembrance of Allaah), or while making a duaa during the khutbah (sermon), or during the tashahhud (that part of the prayer said in the final sitting position of each cycle of two rakat).

The second type is to raise ones hands to the level of ones shoulders, with the palms facing up. This is done for regular duaa that one makes at any time.

The last type of action is only done in extremely severe circumstances, such as asking for rain after a drought, or seeking protection from an imminent enemy attack. In this case, the hands are stretched forth towards the sky, without joining the two palms together. When this is done, a persons armpits become exposed due to the severity of the stretching. This is affirmed by the narration of Ibn Abbas (RA), who said: "

The asking (of any duaa should be accompanied by) raising your hands to the level of your shoulder, or around that level. The seeking of forgiveness (istighfaar) (should be accompanied by) pointing with one finger (i.e. the forefinger).

Petitioning (is done by) stretching forth your hands totally (above the head, such that the armpits are exposed) (Abu Dawud). ...Except! The general rule is that when a person makes duaa, he should raise his hands. However, there is one case in which the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) did not raisehis hands, and that was during the Friday khutbah. So for the duaa during the khutbah, it is not Sunnah for the Imam or the people to raise the hands, except if the person giving the khutbah makes a special prayer for rain (istisqaa), for iris Sunnah to raise ones hands for this particular duaa. Also, it is not Sunnah to raise ones hands for the general duaa of the day, such as the duaa for entering a mosque and house, and for exiting them.


This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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