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Praying behind an imam who keeps their hands at their sides

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Sidi Qasim Muradabadi

I was reading replies and I ran across Shaykh Amjad Rasheed’s reply on where to place the hands during prayer. The reply was ,” While standing in prayer, the sunna is to place one’s hands under one’s chest and above the navel, grasping the left hand with the right, as has been mentioned in the Minhaj.”
Since accepting Islam a few years ago I’ve seen Imams pray both in the manner previously stated by the Shaykh as well as with the arms down at their sides. Those who do this practice say that it was the last form in which the Prophet prayed, therefore making it the true sunnah. Most of those whom pray this way are either Malikis or Shiites.
Which way is more commendable and is it a sunnah for one to pray behind an Imam who prays with his arms at his sides?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum al-salam,

It is valid to pray behind a Maliki imam—do not leave praying in congregation for such reasons.

They are both valid ways to pray. If you follow the Maliki school, you would pray as entailed in that school—as explained in texts such as Guiding Helper (www.GuidingHelper.com). If you follow the Shafii school, you would pray as entailed in your school—as explained in the texts in the Files section at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shafii and in the archives of this site.

For understanding the position of the schools of fiqh within Islam, the articles by Shaykh Nuh Keller and Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad at Sidi Mas’ud Khan’s excellent site www.masud.co.uk will be useful reading.


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