I have noticed that many brothers of the “salaf” sect while praying, and after returning from the ruku position and before going into the sajdah position, they place their hands on their chest as if they are in salaah and then they would proceed to the sajdah position. I have never seen this before. Can you please explain this to me.
With respect to the mentioned practice of the brothers (as you have quoted), there is absolutely no evidence for it in the Sunnah. In fact, leaving the hands to remain hanging at the side after ruku is what has been established from the authentic teachings of the Sunnah.
The act of folding the hands and placing them on the chest by some (after ruku) has not been mentioned in any traditions and has not been established as the practice of any of the scholars from generations of the Sahabas, Tabieen and Tabi Tabe’een.
Based on our research there is absolutely no hadith that directly indicates to this practice. In general, there are many Ahadith which speak of the Prophet’s (S.A) ‘Standing Straight’ after coming from the ruku position. However, none of them speak about his practice of folding the hands on the chest as you have described. Additionally, the Sahabas who lived with him and learnt all his actions of salaah have not indicated to such a practice through their teachings or actions.
I think that some people have given an incorrect interpretation of the words used by Abu Humaid, which has been recorded by Imam Bukhari. Under the Chapter ‘Standing Straight with calmness upon raising one’s head from ruku’, Imam Bukhari has quoted the statement of Abu Humaid who says the ‘the Prophet (S.A) came up (from ruku) and stood straight until every vertebra (of his Spinal Column) came back to its (natural) place’. (Hadith No. 764 English translation and Pg. 110 Arabic Text)
A careful study of this statement shows that there is absolutely no mention of placing the hands on the chest. Instead this chapter was brought to show the emphasis which must be placed on standing straight in a calm manner when one comes up from the ruku position.
This point is further established from the traditions which Imam Bukhari has mentioned under this chapter. The first tradition narrated from Thabit from Anas (R.A) shows that he (the Prophet S.A) raised from the ruku position and stayed for a long duration, standing straight and upright. The second tradition from Ibn Ali Laila from Bara Bin Azib says that his time spent in the standing position after ruku and the time between his two sajdahs were equal to the time he spent in the ruku and sajdah positions. The third tradition narrates that he raised his head (from ruku) and stood straight for a while, as described by the companion Malik bin Huwairith from Abu Qilaba. (Bukhari)
In these three traditions, there is no mention or any direct or indirect indication to the act of placing one’s hands on the chest after rising from the ruku posture. Had it been done, the sahabas would have certainly narrated it and it would have become an established practice among the Sahabas, Tabieen and Tabi Tabieen but this has not been the case.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan