Sajdah of a woman

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

I have a question regarding the Sujood of a women, in some fiq books it says she should lower her hands to be more concealed but then we have the Hadith from Anas R.A. narrated in Bukhari that says ” do the prostration properly and do not put your elbows flat touching the ground like a dog”, so what is the correct method of Sujood for a women. And in cases like these how do we reconcile between the fiq and Hadith when apparently they contradicting each other

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

The hadīth in question is as follows:

عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: «اعْتَدِلُوا فِي السُّجُودِ، وَلاَ يَبْسُطْ أَحَدُكُمْ ذِرَاعَيْهِ انْبِسَاطَ الكَلْبِ» 

The Messenger of Allāh said, “Be straight in the prostrations and none of you should spread his forearms (on the ground) like a dog spreads (his front legs).”[1] 

 

 

As mentioned in your query, the meaning of “spreading one’s forearms like a dog” refers to placing one’s forearms on the ground while making sajdah. This definition has been mentioned by many commentators of hadīth as well.[2] However, this command only pertains to men and does not pertain to women as the prayer of a women (according to the Hanafī school of thought) is based on postures that would be the least revealing for her as substantiated by explicit texts [as will be discussed ahead].

Imam Sarakhsī states in his Mabsūt:

“As far as a woman’s posture, she will bring her body together and will join her stomach with her thighs [and join] her arms with her sides. This is how it is narrated from `Alī (radiyallāhu `anh) when narrating the sunnah method for a woman’s prostration. This is also because of the fact that the foundation of her posture is based on concealing herself; therefore, whatever conceals her more will be better for her because the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said: “A woman is one to be concealed[3]…”[4] 

Consider the following narrations:

1) It is narrated in Sunan Kubrā of Imam Bayhaqī (rahimahullāh) on the authority of Yazīd bin Abī Habīb (radiyallāhu `anh):

أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَرَّ عَلَى امْرَأَتَيْنِ تُصَلِّيَانِ فَقَالَ: إِذَا سَجَدْتُمَا فَضُمَّا بَعْضَ اللَّحْمِ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ فَإِنَّ الْمَرْأَةَ لَيْسَتْ فِي ذَلِكَ كَالرَّجُلِ 

The Messenger of Allāh once passed by two women who were praying and said to them: “When you make sajdah, you should bring your body together with the earth because a woman is not like a man in it (i.e. in her posture for sajdah).”[5]

2) It is narrated in the Musannaf of Imam Ibn Abī Shaybah (rahimahullāh) on the authority of `Alī (radiyallāhu `anh) that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said:

إِذَا سَجَدَتِ الْمَرْأَةُ فَلْتَحْتَفِرْ وَلْتَضُمَّ فَخِذَيْهَا 

When a woman performs sajdah, she should bring her body together and join her thighs together (with her stomach).[6]

In conclusion, the hadīth mentioned in your query is specifically in reference to a man’s prayer and not a woman’s prayer. This is also substantiated by the following narration in the Sahīh of Imam Muslim (rahimahullāh) where `Āishah (radiyallāhu `anhā) states:

وَيَنْهَى أَنْ يَفْتَرِشَ الرَّجُلُ ذِرَاعَيْهِ افْتِرَاشَ السَّبُعِ 

He forbade men to spread out their arms like a wild animal spreads them out.[7]

This hadīth specifically makes mention that the command to not spread out ones arms on the ground in sajdah is directed at men (as mentioned by Imam Kāsānī (rahimahullāh) as well in his Badāi` al-Sanāi`[8]).

The fuqahā’ were also well versed in hadīth and their fiqhī deductions were based on having comprehensive knowledge on hadīth. It is therefore incorrect to compare hadīth with fiqh and disregard fiqh. If one does so, he may think he is practicing on hadīth but in the cause, he will be disregarding another hadīth as is clear in this case.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Bilal Mohammad

Student Darul Iftaa
New Jersey, USA

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

www.daruliftaa.net

 


[1] Bukhārī, 822; Muslim, 493; Abū Dāwūd, 897; Tirmidhī, 276

[2] Tuhfat al-Alma`ī Commentary of Jāmi` al-Tirmidhī by Muftī Sa`īd Pālanpūrī, v. 2 p. 71, Zam Zam Publishers;

 

(افْتِرَاشَ الْكَلْبِ) بِالنَّصْبِ أَيْ كَافْتِرَاشِ الْكَلْبِ أَيْ لَا يَجْعَلُ ذِرَاعَيْهِ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ كَالْفِرَاشِ وَالْبِسَاطِ كَمَا يَجْعَلُهُمَا الْكَلْبُ

(عون المعبود شرح سنن أبي داود، ج ٢، ص ٢٧٤، دار الحديث)

 

ومعني تبتسط…أي يتخذهما بساطا…قوله انبساط الكلب الخ: بل يضع كفيه علي الأرض ويرفع المرفقين عن الأرض، وبطنه عن الفخذين.

(فتح الملهم، ج ٣، ص ٣١٥، دار القلم)

 

وَلَا يَفْتَرِشُ ذِرَاعَيْهِ أَيْ لَا يَجْعَلُ ذِرَاعَيْهِ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ كَالْفِرَاشِ افْتِرَاشَ الْكَلْبِ بِالنَّصْبِ أَيْ مِثْلَ افْتِرَاشِ الْكَلْبِ

قَالَ الْقُرْطُبِيُّ لَا شَكَّ فِي كَرَاهَةِ هَذِهِ الْهَيْئَةِ وَلَا فِي اسْتِحْبَابِ نَقِيضِهَا

(تحفة الأحوذي، ج ٢، ص ٥٣٧، مكتبة نزار مصطفي الباز)

 

[3] Jāmi` al-Tirmidhī, 1173, The Book of Suckling

Note: The hadīth mentioned by Imam Sarakhsī (rahimahullāḥ) also contains the word “mastūrah”. Imam Zayla`ī mentions in his Nasb al-Rāyah that he was unable to find a narration with that addition. (Nasb al-Rāyah, 1/299, Muassasat al-Rayyān)

[4] Al-Mabsūt of Imam Sarakhsī, v. 1 p. 23, Dār al-Nawādir

فَأَمَّا الْمَرْأَةُ فَتَحْتَفِزُ وَتَنْضَمُّ وَتُلْصِقُ بَطْنَهَا بِفَخِذَيْهَا وَعَضُدَيْهَا بِجَنْبَيْهَا هَكَذَا عَنْ عَلِيٍّ – رَضِيَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى عَنْهُ – فِي بَيَانِ السُّنَّةِ فِي سُجُودِ النِّسَاءِ وَلِأَنَّ مَبْنَى حَالِهَا عَلَى السِّتْرِ فَمَا يَكُونُ أَسْتَرَ لَهَا فَهُوَ أَوْلَى لِقَوْلِهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ -: «الْمَرْأَةُ عَوْرَةٌ مَسْتُورَةٌ» .

[5] Al-Sunan Al-Kubrā, 3201, Chapters Relating to the Method of Prayer

[6] Musannaf Ibn Abī Shaybah, 2777, Chapter on How Should a Woman Position Herself in Sajdah

[7] Muslim, 498, The Book of Prayers

[8] Badāi` al-Sanāi`, v. 1 p. 210, Dār al-Kutub al-`Ilmiyyah (old edition)

وَمِنْهَا أَنْ يَعْتَدِلَ فِي سُجُودِهِ وَلَا يَفْتَرِشَ ذِرَاعَيْهِ لِمَا رُوِيَ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – أَنَّهُ قَالَ: «اعْتَدِلُوا فِي السُّجُودِ وَلَا يَفْتَرِشْ أَحَدُكُمْ ذِرَاعَيْهِ افْتِرَاشَ الْكَلْبِ» ، وَقَالَ مَالِكٌ: يَفْتَرِشُ فِي النَّفْلِ دُونَ الْفَرْضِ وَهُوَ فَاسِدٌ لِمَا رَوَيْنَا مِنْ الْحَدِيثِ مِنْ غَيْرِ فَصْلٍ وَهَذَا فِي حَقِّ الرَّجُلِ فَأَمَّا الْمَرْأَةُ فَيَنْبَغِي أَنْ تَفْتَرِشَ ذِرَاعَيْهَا وَتَنْخَفِضُ وَلَا تَنْتَصِبَ كَانْتِصَابِ الرَّجُلِ وَتَلْزَقُ بَطْنَهَا بِفَخِذَيْهَا لِأَنَّ ذَلِكَ أَسْتَرُ لَهَا

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