Al-jawab billahi at-taufeeq (the answer with Allah’s guidance)
Al-Kamal ibn al-Hamam is of the opinion, “There is no authentic Hadith stating that one must place the hands on or near (under) the chest or below the navel.
Tying the hands below the navel is according to Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) and tying the hands on the chest is according to Imam Shaf`i (RA). Imam Ahmad (RA) has two narrations corresponding to these two opinions.
The correct position is somewhere in the middle – to be equal, ‘khairul Umoori Ausatuha’ (the best way is the middle way) (Hadith).
Proofs for Tying hands on the chest:
There are 3 narrations narrated from Wail Ibn Hajar (RA) with regards to position the tying the hands,
1. Tying the hands near (under) the chest, (reported by Musnad Bazzar).
2. Tying the hands on the chest (Reported by ibn Khuzaimah).
3. Tying the hands below the navel (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaibah).
The first two procedure is the evidence and a Sunnah according to Imam Shafi, and The last procedure is the proof and a Sunnah according to Imam Abu Hanifah.
The first Hadith of Wa’il bin Hajr, he said, “I prayed with the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and he placed his right hand upon his left near his chest in the prayer.” (reported by Musnad Bazzar)
Note: This is a Da`eef (weak) Sanad due to `Muhammad Ibn Hajar’, who is weak. Hafiz Zahabi mentions him as amongst the Manakeer (denounced Ahadith). (mentioned in Zawaid Vol. 2 Pg. 135)
The second Hadith of Wa’il bin Hajr, he said, “I prayed with the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and he placed his right hand upon his left on his chest in the prayer.” (Reported by ibn Khuzaimah).
Note: This is a Da’eef (weak) Sanad (chain) due to Muammal ibn Isma’eel (RH), who is weak.
Imam Bukhari (RH) mentions that Muammal ibn Ismaeel (RH) is amongst the munkarul hadith (denounced hadith). (Aatharus Sunan Pg. 65, Chapter: Placing the hand on the chest).
Hafiz Ibn Hajar states that in another Sanad ‘Mu’ammal Bin isma’eel Aan Sufyan Thowri’ is Da’eef. Also, it should be worth mentioning that Sufyan Thowri who is the teacher of Mu’ammal Ibn Isma’eel, claims the tying of the hands beneath the navel. (Fathul Bari Vol. 9 Pg. 206)
A great fact should be noted is that Sahih Ibn Khuzaimah is not an authentic Hadith book. Allamah Suyuti states in Tadreebur Rawi that Ibn Khuzaimah contains Da’eef and Munkar Hadith.
Proofs for tying hands below the navel:
The Third Hadith of Wail Ibn Hajar, he says, “I saw Nabi (Sallallahu Aalaihi Wasallam) placing his right hand over his left hand, below the navel.”
(Ibn Abi Shaiba Vol. 1 Pg. 390 The chain of narrators is authentic, Atharus Sunan)
However, some (like the author of Darse Tirmidhi etc,) say these Hadiths are Mudhtarabul Matan (shakiness in the text) which makes the evidences incapable. therefore, all the 3 Hadiths of Wail Ibn hajar (RA) is weak and incapable.
Second proof of the Hanafis, Ali (RA) relates that the Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Aalaihi Wasallam) is to place one (right) hand over the other below the navel.
(Abu Daud, ch. on Yadul Yumna, Hadith 756, Musnad Ahmad Vol.1 Pg.11, Baihaqi Vol.2 Pg.31, Ibn Abi Shaiba Vol. 1 Pg. 391)
Note: This is a Da`eef (weak) Sanad due to `Abd ar-Rahmaan ibn Ishaaq (al-Waasiti al-Koofi), who is weak.
However, It should be noted that certain expressions used by a Companions generally render a Hadith to be considered as being effectively Marfu’ (elevated: A narration from the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi waalihi Wasallam)) although it is Mauquf (stopped: A narration from a Companion only) on the face of it, e.g. the following sentences render a Hadith Marfu’ (elevated):
1. “We were commanded to…”
2. “We were forbidden from…”
3. “We used to do…”
4. “We used to say…”
5. “It used to be said,…..”
6. “It is from the Sunnah to……”
Additionally, the Athar (actions) of the Sahaba and the Tabieen (successors) supports this Hadith. Like the Hadiths related by Hazrat Anas, Abu Mijlaz, Abu Hurairah etc (RA).
(See: Al Jauharun Naqi Vol.2 Pg.31,32, Musannaf ibn Abi Shaibah Vol.1 Pg.390,391)
Sheikh Ibn Humam mentions in Fathul Qadeer that when two narrations contradicts each other then one should refer to Qiyas (anology). According to Qiyas to tie the hands below the navel is more respectful and tying the hands on the chest is given preference to women due to more concealment in prayers. Therefore, the Qiyas supports the position of the Hanafis. (Darse Tirmidhi Vol. 2 Pg. 18-23)
And Only Allah Ta’ala Knows Best.
Moulana Qamruz Zaman