Moving Fingers in Prayer: Albani’s Mistake

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Nasir al-Albani is the arch-innovator of the Wahhabis and “Salafis” in our time. A watch repairman by trade, al-Albani is a self-taught claimant to hadith scholarship who has no known teacher in any of the Islamic sciences and has admitted not to have memorized the Book of Allah nor any book of hadith, fiqh, `aqîda, usûl, or grammar. He achieved fame by attacking the great scholars of Ahl al-Sunna and reviling the science of fiqh with especial malice towards the school of his father who was a Hanafi jurist. A rabid reviler of the Friends of Allah and the Sufis, he was expelled from Syria then Saudi Arabia and lived in Amman, Jordan under house arrest until his death in 1999. He remains the qibla of the people of Innovation, self-styled re-formers of Islam, and other “Salafi” and Wahhabi sympathizers, and the preferred author of book merchants and many uneducated Muslims.

Among the many classical hadith analayis by the self claimed muhaddith” Albani” was his analysis of the hadith dealing with the movement of fingers during Tashahhud in Salah.

The Wahabis keep on moving their fingers up and down in Salah and theu say that it is based on a hadith.

The Wahabi sheikh Albani analaysed this topic in this way. Please take a note how Albani attacks the scholars of Ahlus sunnah and tries to prove that he alone has understood this hadith in this ummah.

Here is the quote from ALBANI’S book

About “supplicating with it”, Imaam Tahaawi said, “This is evidence that it was at the end of the prayer.” Hence, there is evidence in this that the Sunnah is to continue pointing and moving the finger until the tasleem, for the supplication is until then. This is the view of Maalik and others. Imaam Ahmad was asked, “Should a man point with his finger during prayer?” He replied, “Yes, vigorously.” (Mentioned by Ibn Haani in his Masaa’il of Imaam Ahmad, 1/80). From this, it is clear that moving the finger in tashahhud is a proven sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam), and it was practised by Ahmad and other imaams of the Sunnah. Therefore, those who think that it is pointless and irrelevant and has nothing to do with the Prayer, should fear Allaah, since because of this, they do not move their fingers although they know it to be an established sunnah; and they take great pains to interpret it in a way which is inconsistent with the `Arabic way of expression and contrary to the understanding of the imaams with regard to it.

The amazing thing is that some of them will defend an imaam on other issues, even if his opinion conflicts with the Sunnah, with the argument that to point out the imaam’s mistakes inevitably means to taunt and disrespect him. They then forget this and reject this established sunnah, at the same time mocking at those who practise it. Whether or not they realise it, their mockery also includes those imaams whom they often defend wrongly, and who are correct about the Sunnah this time! In fact, they are deriding the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) himself, for he is the one who brought us this sunnah, and so jeering at it is equivalent to jeering at him.

As for putting the finger down after pointing, or limiting the movement to the affirmation (saying laa ilaaha: ‘there is no god …’) and negation (saying: illallaahu: ‘… except Allaah’), all of that has no basis in the Sunnah; in fact, it is contrary to the Sunnah, as this hadeeth proves.

Further, the hadeeth that he would not move his finger does not have an authentic isnaad, as I have explained in Da`eef Abi Daawood (175). Even if it were authentic, it is negatory, while the hadeeth above is affirmatory: the affirmatory takes precedence over the negatory, as is well-known among the scholars.



The fourth condition for a sahih hadith is that the text and transmission of the hadith must be free of shudhudh, or “variance from established standard narrations of it.” An example is when a hadith is related by five different narrators who are contemporaries of one another, all of whom relate the same hadith from the same sheikh through his chain of transmission back to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Here, if we find that four of the hadiths have the same wording but one of them has a variant wording, the hadith with the variant wording is called shadhdh or “deviant,” and it is not accepted, because the difference is naturally assumed to be the mistake of the one narrator, since all of the narrators heard the hadith from the same sheikh.

There is a hadith (to take an example researched by our hadith teacher, sheikh Shu‘ayb al-Arna’ut) related by Ahmad (4.318), Bayhaqi (2.132), Ibn Khuzayma (1.354), and Ibn Hibban, with a reliable chain of narrators (thiqat)—except for Kulayb ibn Hisham, who is a merely “acceptable” (saduq), not “reliable” (thiqa)—that the Companion Wa’il ibn Hujr al-Hadrami said that when he watched the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) kneeling in the Tashahhud or “Testification of Faith” of his prayer, the Prophet

lifted his [index] finger, and I saw him move it, supplicating with it. I came [some time] after that and saw people in [winter] over-cloaks, their hands moving under the cloaks (Ibn Hibban, 5.170–71).

Now, all of the versions of the hadith mentioning that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) moved his finger have been related to us by way of Za’ida ibn Qudama al-Thaqafi, a narrator who is considered reliable, and who transmitted it from the hadith sheikh ‘Asim ibn Kulayb, who related it from his father Kulayb ibn Shihab, from Wa’il ibn Hujr al-Hadrami. But we find that this version of “moving the finger” contradicts versions of the hadith transmitted from the same sheikh, ‘Asim ibn Kulayb, by no less than ten of ‘Asim’s other students, all of them reliable, who heard ‘Asim report that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) did not move but rather pointed (ashara) with his index finger (towards the qibla or “direction of prayer”).

These companions of ‘Asim (with their hadiths, which are well authenticated (hasan)) are: Sufyan al-Thawri: “then he pointed with his index finger, putting the thumb to the middle finger to make a ring with them” (al-Musannaf 2.68–69); Sufyan ibn ‘Uyayna: “he joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring, and pointed with his index finger” (Ahmad, 4.318); Shu‘ba ibn al-Hajjaj: “he pointed with his index finger, and formed a ring with the middle one” (Ahmad, 4.319); Qays ibn al-Rabi‘: “then he joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring, and pointed with his index finger” (Tabarani, 22.33–34); ‘Abd al-Wahid ibn Ziyad al-‘Abdi: “he made a ring with a finger, and pointed with his index finger” (Ahmad, 4.316); ‘Abdullah ibn Idris al-Awdi: “he had joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring, and raised the finger between them to make du‘a (supplication) in the Testification of Faith” (Ibn Majah, 1.295); Zuhayr ibn Mu‘awiya: “and I saw him [‘Asim] say, ‘Like this,’—and Zuhayr pointed with his first index finger, holding two fingers in, and made a ring with his thumb and second index [middle] finger” (Ahmad, 4.318–19); Abu al-Ahwas Sallam ibn Sulaym: “he began making du‘a like this—meaning with his index finger, pointing with it—” (Musnad al-Tayalisi, 137); Bishr ibn al-Mufaddal: “and I saw him [‘Asim] say, ‘Like this,’—and Bishr joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring, and pointed with his index finger” (Abi Dawud, 1.251); and Khalid ibn Abdullah al-Wasiti: “then he joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring, and pointed with his index finger” (Bayhaqi, 2.131).

All of these narrators are reliable (thiqat), and all heard ‘Asim ibn Kulayb relate that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) “pointed with (ashara bi) his index finger” during the Testimony of Faith in his prayer. There are many other narrations of “pointing with the index finger” transmitted through sheikhs other than ‘Asim, omitted here for brevity—four of them, for example, in Sahih Muslim, 1.408–9). The point is, for illustrating the meaning of a shadhdh or “deviant hadith,” that the version of moving the finger was conveyed only by Za’ida ibn Qudama from ‘Asim. Ibn Khuzayma says: “There is not a single hadith containing yuharrikuha (‘he moved it’) except this hadith mentioned by Za’ida” (Ibn Khuzayma, 1.354).

So we know that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to point with his index finger, and that the version of “moving his finger” is shadhdh or “deviant,” and represents a slip of the narrator, for the word ishara in the majority’s version means only “to point or gesture at,” or “to indicate with the hand,” and has no recorded lexical sense of wiggling or shaking the finger (Lisan al-‘Arab, 4.437 and al-Qamus al-muhit (540). This interpretation is explicitly borne out by well authenticated hadiths related from the Companion Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr that “the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to point with his index finger when making supplication [in the Testification of Faith], and did not move it” (Abi Dawud, 1.260) and that he “used to point with his index finger when making supplication, without moving it” (Bayhaqi, 2.131–32).

Finally, we may note that Imam Bayhaqi has joined between the Za’ida ibn Qudama hadith and the many hadiths that apparently contradict it by suggesting that moving the finger in the Za’ida hadith may mean simply lifting it (rafa‘a), a wording explicitly mentioned in one version recorded by Muslim that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) “raised the right finger that is next to the thumb, and supplicated with it” (Muslim, 1.408). So according to Bayhaqi, the contradiction is only apparent, and raising the finger is the “movement” that Wa’il saw from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the people’s hands under their cloaks, according to Za’ida’s version, which remains, however, shadhdh or “deviant” from a hadith point of view, unless understood in this limitary sense.


The self claimed muhaddith Albani followed a shadhdh or “deviant hadith” leaving behind many sahih ( authentic) hadith on the topic!! The question is WHY?

Answer is simple. He wanted to go against the muslims and wanted to do something” different”


Evidence: Ibn ‘Umar reported that when the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) sat for tashahhud he placed his left hand on his left knee. and his right hand on his right knee. and he raised his right finger, which is next to the thumb, making supplication in this way, and he stretched his left hand on his left knee. Another version on the authority of Ibn Umar says: When the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) sat for tashahhud, he placed his left hand on his left knee and placed his right hand on his right knee, and he formed a ring like (fifty-three) and pointed with his finger of attestation.[Muslim]

Maalik has informed that Muslim ibn Abi Maryam informed from Ali ibn Abdur Rahmaan al-Muawiy that he said, ‘Abdullah ibn Umar  saw me whilst I was playing with pebbles in Salaat. When I turned (after completing my Salaat), he prevented me saying ‘do as Nabi [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] did.’ I asked, ‘what was Nabi [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] ‘s practice?’ he said, ‘When Nabi [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] sat in Salaat, he placed his right hand on his right thigh and he clasped all his fingers and pointed with the finger next to the thumb, i.e. index finger and he placed his left hand on his left thigh.

Imaam Muhammad [ra] said, ‘We adopt the practice of Nabi [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] and this is the view of Imaam Abu Hanifa [ra]’


The Position of Ash-Shaikh Muqbil Al-Waadi’ee ( A WAHABI SCHOLAR)

(This was the position of Shaikh Muqbil bin Haadee Al-Waadi’ee (rahimahullaah) – i.e. that the finger is NOT moved during the tashahhud, rather one only points with it without moving it. The issue of difference revolves around a single hadeeth reported by Waa’il bin Hujr.

Shaikh Muqbil discusses it in As-Saheehul-Musnad mimmaa laysa fis-Saheehayn, vol.2, pg.265. The narration was recorded by Ibn Maajah, and Waa’il said, “I saw the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) making a circle with his thumb and middle finger and he lifted the one that was next to them (i.e. the index finger), supplicating with it in the Tashahhud.”

Shaikh Muqbil said, “This hadeeth is Hasan (good). This hadeeth proves pointing with the finger. However, in reference to moving it, then the only one who narrated that was Zaa’idah bin Qudaamah and he has contradicted 13 narrators (who all narrated this same hadeeth from Waa’il): Bishr bin Al-Mufadhdhal with Abee Daawood, Sufyaan bin ‘Uyainah with An-Nasaa’ee, Ath-Thawree with An-Nasaa’ee, ‘Abdul-Waahid bin Ziyaad with Ahmad, Shu’bah with Ahmad, Zuhayr bin Mu’aawiyah with Ahmad, ‘Abdullaah bin Idrees with Ibn Khuzaymah, Khaalid bin ‘Abdillaah At-Tahhaan with Al-Bayhaqee, Muhammad bin Fudhayl with Ibn Khuzaymah, Abul-Ahwas Sallaam bin Sulaym with At-Tayaalisee, Aboo ‘Awaanah and Gheelaan bin Jaami’ both were quoted by Al-Bayhaqee as mentioning it (i.e. this hadeeth without moving the finger), and all of them reported it from ‘Aasim bin Kulayb (who narrated it from his father, from Waa’il) and none of them mentioned moving (the finger) in it.

It was also reported from the companions ‘Abdullaah bin Az-Zubayr, ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Umar, Aboo Humayd As-Saa’idee, Aboo Hurayrah, Sa’d bin Abee Waqqaas, Ibn ‘Abbaas, Khaffaaf bin Eemaa’, and all of them did not mention moving (the finger). So it is known from this that the report of Zaa’idah is strange and contradicting (Shaathth). And Allaah knows best. The detailed explanation concerning those who reported the hadeeth of these narrators who have opposed Zaa’idah, and (the hadeeths of) these companions can be seen in the research of our noble brother, Ahmad bin Sa’eed, may Allaah preserve him.”

The difference is that Shaikh Al-Albaanee considered this a case of Ziyaadatuth-Thiqah (the additional information added in a narration of one of the narrators who is reliable that is not found in the other versions of the hadeeth). This is because Al-Albaanee did not consider the additional wording, “and he would move it” as contradictory because he says that pointing does not negate movement. Shaikh Muqbil went with the basic principle that a Ziyaadah (extra added wording) that contradicts what others who were more reliable or more numerous in their number reported is Shaathth, and thus unaccepted.