Moving the Index Finger During Tashahhud

Many move their fingers back and forth, in circles, etc. during the tashahhud in the prayer, presumably relying on the hadith in which the Companion Wa’il bin Hujr said: “…He would make a circle with his middle finger and thumb, and point with his index finger. Then, he would raise his finger, and I saw him moving it to make supplications.”

This hadith was reported by an-Nasa’i (1268), and it is authentic.

However, in Ahmad bin Sa’id al-Ashbahi’s in ‘al-Bisharah fi Shudhudh Tahrik al-Isba’ fi at-Tashahhud wa Thubut al-Isharah’ (p. 72), it is mentioned that the wording of “…and I saw him moving it…” of the chain containing Za’idah bin Qudamah contradicts the wording of the chains of Bishr bin al-Mufaddal, Sufyan bin ‘Uyaynah, Sufyan ath-Thawri, ‘Abd al-Wahid bin Ziyad, Shu’bah, Zuhayr bin Mu’awiyah, ‘Abdullah bin Idris, Khalid bin ‘Abdullah at-Tahhan, Muhammad bin Fudayl, Abu al-Ahwas Sallam bin Sulaym, Abu ‘Awanah, and Ghilan bin Jami’ – all of these narrators reported it from ‘Asim bin Kulayb from his father from the Companion Wa’il bin Hujr, and none of them described the Prophet as having moved his finger during the tashahhud.

In other words, since this same hadith was reported through thirteen other chains of narration, and none of the routes of narration mention the phrase “…I saw him moving it…” except for one, this specific phrase is considered a shadh addition that is to be disregarded, while the rest of the hadith is authentic and is to be acted upon, as was also opined by Muqbil al-Wadi’i.

In support of this position, an-Nawawi said in ‘al-Majmu” (3/398):

“And should one move his finger when lifting it to point with it? There are several opinions on this. The correct one – which is the clear opinion of the majority of scholars – is that one should not move his finger, and if he does happen to move it, this is makruh and does not nullify his prayer due to it being a minor movement. The second opinion is that it is haram to move his finger, and his prayer is nullified if he moves it…and this is a weak opinion. The third opinion is that it is mustahabb to move it, and their proof for this is the hadith of Wa’il bin Hujr in which he described the Messenger of Allah placing his hands in the tashahhud, saying: “Then, he would raise his finger, and I saw him moving it to make supplications.” This was reported by al-Bayhaqi with an authentic chain, and al-Bayhaqi said: “It is possible that what is meant by ‘moving it’ is that he lifted it up to point with it, not that he would move it repeatedly.””

Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi said in ‘al-Mughni’ (1/524):

“…One should point with his index finger upon mentioning Allah in the tashahhud due to what we have narrated, and he should not move it.”

‘Uthman bin Ahmad al-Hambali said in ‘Hidayat ar-Raghib li Sharh ‘Umdat at-Talib’ (p. 126):

“…So, he should raise his finger without moving it around in the tashahhud and while supplicating in his prayer…”

Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi said in ‘al-Muhalla’ (4/151):

“And we prefer that when the one in prayer sits for the tashahhud, he points with his finger and does not move it.”

This was also affirmed by Muqbil al-Wadi’i in ‘as-Sahih al-Musnad’ (2/265).

And Allah Knows best.

38 Responses to “Moving the Index Finger During Tashahhud”

  1. Assalam Alaikum,
    Sheikh Albani has a totally different take on the matter though. What do you think of his view?

  2. Abu Abdillah Says:

    As Salaam Alaikum,

    Abu Sabayaa, due to Shaykh Al-Albani’s view, My Shaykh asked me whether I be able to show him Ahmad bin Sa’id al-Ashbahi’s book that you have mentioned.

    So would you be able to give me a link for that book where i can download it.

    Jazaak Allahu khairan

    Wa Salaam Alaikum

  3. ‘Alaykum as-Salam;

    Blue: As for al-Albani’s view, it is known that he was sometimes quick to accept narrations that others declared shadh, considering them to be a form of ziyadat ath-thiqah. Such additions are to be dismissed if they contradict what is in the commonly available narrations of the hadith. In this particular case, Shaykh al-Albani did not consider that “he would move it” contradicted “he would point with it.” However, as Shaykh Muqbil et al opined, if such a wording and its implications are not in the asl of the hadith, then this addition is shadh and is to be disregarded.

    And Allah Knows best.

    Abu Abdillah: I have not been able to come across an online copy of the book. The information I took was from a hard copy.

  4. Abu Abdillah Says:

    As-Salaam ‘Alaikum

    Hope you will give a link as soon as you find a softcopy,

    by the way, where are you from, Abu Sabaayaa

    Wa-as-Salaam Alaikum

  5. ‘Alaykum as-Salam;

    >>by the way, where are you from, Abu Sabaayaa

    The URL of the blog give it away? :)

  6. السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

    انا من المالديف, بلدي قريب من هند, هل انت تعرف.؟
    (there may be mistakes in my arabic as i am a beginner)

    Send me an email from to my e-mail address. yet i am not having a blog, i am trying to make a site. the site is in the language of our country.

    جزاك الله خيرا

    والسلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

  7. Ibn Jafaar Says:

    What does iskandrani mean?

  8. … it refers to someone from Alexandria, Egypt.

  9. Assalaamu `alaykum,

    What can you tell me about pointing the index finger during the jalsah position between the prostrations?

    JazakAllahu khayran in advance.

  10. ‘Alaykum as-Salam wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh;

    In our times, Ibn al-‘Uthyamin was one of the few scholars who supported that this should be done. It was claimed that Ibn al-Qayyim also supported this view in ‘Zad al-Ma’ad,’ but that is not really the case.

    Anyway, the basis for this view is based on two points:

    1) They say that the generality of the ahadith that say that the Prophet would raise his finger while sitting is to be taken literally, so as to include even the time when he is not saying tashahhud. In other words, the asl is that the hadith refers to the entire sitting unless an authentic narration comes with further specification.

    2) They use as proof a narration of Wa’il bin Hujr reported in ‘Abd ar-Razzaq’s ‘Musannaf’ in which it says that the Prophet would sit down, point with his finger, then go into sujud. So, this would be a proof that he didn’t just point during the actual tashahhud, and would rather point whenever he was sitting.

    The reply to the first point is that there are narrations that restrict and specify this generality to only mean the actual tashahhud, and the scholars (Ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani, an-Nasa’i, al-Bayhaqi, etc.) would title their chapters and give their commentary based on this understand of it being restricted to the actual tashahhud.

    The reply to the second point is that the scholars (Bakr Abu Zayd mentioned Ibn Baz and al-Albani as examples) ruled that the part of this hadith that mentions the Prophet prostrating AFTER pointing with his finger is a shadh addition (i.e. weak) based on the principles of the scholars of Hadith.

    This is a very summarized version of the discussion, but this is the crux of it.

    And Allah Knows best.

  11. Minhaaj as-Sunnah Says:

    As Salaamu alaykum akhil kareem

    Jazaak Allaahu khayr for the above.

    I’m just wondering whether you’ve seen that athaar made by one of the student of shaykh al-albaanee [rahimahullaah] in regards to this issue? He said, that the beloved Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wassalam] used to raise his finger whilst moving it slightly. Is this the strongest opnion?

    Fee amanillaah

  12. Wa `alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

    Abu Sabaya: Thank you for taking the time to provide that information.

    JazakAllahu khayran

  13. السلام عليكم أخي أبو عبد الله من المالديف ، لوسمحت لو تخبرني عن بلادك أكثر فإني سمعت عنها الشيء الجميل وهذا بريدي الإلكتروني hadialjradi@gmail.com

  14. Moving index finger while at-Tashahhud is correct way.because the narrater of that hadith (wai’l) came to madina to see how prophet praying,is saying i saw him moving index finger while at-Tashahhud.in other hadiths mentioning he raise his index finger and pointed.english word pointed is wrong corrct word is gestured.because in hadith mentionong (ishara) is gestuerd.gestured means it is a body language.saw pointed is not correct word.gestured is may be moving or not moving but under gestuer there is meaning pointed.pointed is also body language,so in some hadith mentioning moving,some hadith the narater is mentioning gestuerd,so gestured is wide meaning of moving.in another haith is directly moving,so one is wide word ,one close word,so moving is corect word.if you wont debat with me .my e mail atheek1234@yahoo.com.

  15. salam

    i’m in alexandria, egypt..does the one who wrote this article is in alex? can we meet?

  16. ya!inshallah

  17. ebu musab et turkı Says:

    şükran ALLAH ekber

  18. Umm Musa Says:

    As salaamu ‘alaykum Abu Sabaya.

    I’d just like to ask, say someone is praying in congregation and they are in the jalsah position and they finish reciting, however the imam hasn’t, do we carry on pointing the finger or do we put it down?

    Jazakh Allahu khair

    • Assalaamualaiykum sister Umm Musa,

      If you finish reciting the supplication you normally recite in the final sitting of tasshahud, and the imaam has not finished yet, you may choose to add other supplications that are proven from the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, in the final sitting. Thus continue pointing (or pointing and moving) the finger, until imaam says tasleem.

      The same can be said about the silent fard prayers, you may continue to recite chapters or portions from qur’aan until the imaam says takbeer for bowing.

      Allaah knows best.

  19. ‘Alayki as-Salam wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh;

    The hadith describing the pointing says that the Prophet would point and make du’a’ with it. So, even after you and the imam finish the tashahhud, you should make du’a’ while pointing your finger.

    Once you are finished your du’a’, there’s nothing specific in the Sunnah to clearly indicate that it has to be kept up all the way until the taslim, although this is the view of the Malikis.

    And Allah Knows best.

  20. Abu Abdillah Says:

    as salamu alaykum

    “here’s nothing specific in the Sunnah to clearly indicate that it has to be kept up all the way until the taslim” – can’t this also be used to indicate that since there’s nothing specific saying it should be left up or down, the follower of the imam should keep it up until tasleem?

    this read was beneficial, but upon completing the du’a in tashahud, do these ahadith point to placing the finger back down upon completion of the dua?

  21. One more mistake people do is, they lay the finger flat when the imaam says tasleem, whereas tasleem is also a supplication, so you should continue pointing, until you tasleem out both sides.

    Allaah knows best.

  22. Yusra Khan Says:

    What does Sahih al-Musnad mean brother?

  23. Mohamed Razak Says:

    Please, since i am still having problem in moving finger in tasheed. please clarify me very soon

  24. RYAN AHMAD CAP-ATAN Says:

    Salam wa alaikum
    am a filipino muslim.. i woud like to ask regarding combining prayer if there is a rain wether it is heavy rain or not.Some our filipino brother they combine prayer even it is heavy rain or not what is the ruling of Islam on this issue..some of the ulama here do not allow the combination of prayer because rain is normal on our country..hoping for the reply inshaallah

    • As for (the question), “Is combining (the prayers) permissible when shortening is allowed?” Then we say, “Combining (the prayers) is not associated with shortening. Rather, combining is associated with a need.” So whenever the person needs to combine whether he is traveling or not, then let him combine. For this, the people combine because of rain, which due to it; it would be a hardship to return to the masaajid. Also, the people combine if there is harsh, cold wind during the days of winter, which due to it, it would be a hardship to go out to the masaajid. He combines if he fears losing his wealth or any harm in it, or whatever is similar to that – the person combines (his prayers). It is reported in Saheeh Muslim from ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Abbaas (Radhiallaahu ‘Anhum) that he said:

      “The Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) combined between Dhuhr and ‘Asr, and between Maghrib and Ishaa not due to any fear nor rain.” [2]

      They asked, “Why did he do this?” He said that he did so in order not to cause any hardship upon his Ummah. Meaning, he did not want to place any hardship that would make one leave the congregation.

      This is the condition – whenever the person finds a hardship which would lead him to leave off the congregation, then it is permissible for him to combine. If there is no hardship upon him, then he doesn’t combine.

      However, traveling is most likely to place a hardship which would lead to leaving the congregation. If this is so, then it is permissible for the traveler to combine whether he was in the middle of his journey or has stopped to reside (at his destination). If he is in the middle of his journey, then combining is preferable and if he has stopped traveling (reached his destination) then not combining is preferable.

      The exception to this is when a person is residing (reached a destination) in a land where the congregation is established, then it is obligatory to attend the congregation. In that case, he would not combine nor shorten (his prayers). However, if he missed the congregation, then he shortens and does not combine, unless he needs to combine (for some reason).

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  26. M S Hameed Says:

    I have used this site for the first time thanks anyway.

  27. muhammed Atiq Says:

    Assalamualaikum, I am from India.

    My question
    Is salat behind an Imam who does not follow the correct way of raising the hands and moving the finger in tahashud
    acceptable or not?

  28. As-salaamu ‘alaiykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh

    Your post quotes from Imaam Nawawi “The third opinion is that it is mustahabb to move it, and their proof for this is the hadith of Wa’il bin Hujr in which he described the Messenger of Allah placing his hands in the tashahhud, saying: “Then, he would raise his finger, and I saw him moving it to make supplications.” This was reported by al-Bayhaqi with an authentic chain…”

    What is Shaiykh Muqbil’s hukm on this hadeeth.

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  30. Anonymous Says:

    Salam..Can you please provide the Arabic text from ‘Hidayat ar-Raghib li Sharh ‘Umdat at-Talib’ for NOT moving the finger?

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