Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Musafahah with Both Hands

Musafahah literally means to join a hand with another hand. This can be done with both hands or with just one.
Those who claim that it is sunnah to do musafahah with one hand should themselves produce a hadith in which [doing musafahah with] one hand is clearly mentioned. In fact, this is not enough. They should additionally prove that there exists a prohibition of performing musafahah with both hands. Without these two things, their claim cannot be substantiated.
Moreover, if you are searching for an authentic hadith regarding performing musafahah with two hands, know that there is a narration of Sayyiduna ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) in Sahih al-Bukhari (pg. 926).[1]) He relates: “Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) taught me the tashahhud as he taught me a surah (chapter) of the Qur’an while my hand was between his hands.”
It is clearly stated here that the hand of Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) was between the two hands of the noble Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace). It is also extremely far-fetched [to assume] that the noble Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) would perform musafahah with two hands and Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) would do so with just one. It is therefore obvious that both of Ibn Mas’ud’s (may Allah be pleased with him) hands would have also been clasping [the blessed hands of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)].
Even if it is accepted that only one of Ibn Mas’ud’s (may Allah be pleased with him) hands was clasping [the blessed hands of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)], then it is also obvious that the preferred action would be that of the blessed Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace).
If the question is not of what is preponderant (rajih) and what is not preponderant (marjuh), then there seems to be permissibility for both actions. One, from the hadith fi’li (action or deed) of the blessed Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) and the other from the hadith taqriri (tacit approval of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace). However, it is obvious that even though both actions are permissible, the action performed by the noble Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) would still be preferred. And Allah knows best.
To assume that this was not musafahah is great ignorance. Imam Bukhari has proven [the act of] musafahah from this hadith, and has also narrated that “Hammad Ibn Zayd performed musafahah with Ibn al-Mubarak using both hands”[2]), from which it is known this was also the way of the salaf (pious predecessors).
And Allah knows best.
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1. This refers to the 2-volumed edition of Sahih al-Bukhari which is widely used in the Indian sub-continent. (translator [↩]

2. Ibid (translator [↩]