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Nabi’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) manner of du’a in Salatul Istisqa (Salah seeking rain)

In the following Hadith, what is the meaning of ‘أشار بظهر كفيه’?

عن أنس بن مالك أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم استسقى، فأشار بظهر كفيه إلى السماء


This narration regarding the method of du’a of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is recorded in Sahih Muslim on the authority of Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (radiyallahu ‘anhu).

(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 895)

The part in question is translated as follows:

“Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) pointed/indicated towards the sky with the back of his hand.” [i.e. contrary to the usual method of du’a]

The commentators explain that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) inverted his hand as a good omen, asking Allah to turn around the condition [of drought]. Other Hadiths explain that he also turned over his shawl. Other commentators have also offered other possible reasons as to why Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did this.

(Refer: Al Minhaj of ‘Allamah Nawawi, Hadith: 2072, Fathul Mulhim, Hadith: 2046, Fathul Bari, Hadith: 1031 and Mirqatul Mafatih, Hadith: 1499)

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.

Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar,

Based on this Hadith, the ‘Ulama have advised that this method be used when making du’a for the removal of difficulty. i.e, by turning the palms the other way around while raising the hands.

This answer was collected from HadithAnswers.com. The answers were either answered or checked by Moulana Haroon Abasoomar (rahimahullah) who was a Shaykhul Hadith in South Africa, or by his son, Moulana Muhammad Abasoomer (hafizahullah), who is a Hadith specialist. 

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