Questioner: How should we place our hands during Tashahhud?
Dr Sharof: The left hand should be placed upon the left thigh; the right hand should be placed upon the right thigh; while the pinkie, the ring finger and the middle finger (of the right hand) should be grasped with the thumb. The index finger should be placed straight such that we point with it, moving it slightly as we supplicate. That is how it was reported in the hadeeth of Waa’il bn Hujr. We should move it while supplicating; that is what the Prophet (sollaLloohu ‘alyhi wa sallam) used to do. He said, ‘I saw the Prophet (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam) moving his index finger using it for supplicating during his Tashahhud.’ According to the Maalikiyyah, the (right) hand should be emboxed while swinging the index finger during the supplication. One of our scholars interpreted it to mean that their aim is to make Shaytoon leave their hearts while they swing the index finger. However, what is evident in the Sunnah is what we earlier explained. That is the first description.
The second description is that the pinkie and the ring finger are affixed to the right palm; the middle finger and the thumb would be together in the form of a ring while we point and move the index finger. Both descriptions were reported from Prophet Muhammad (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam). It was reported that when the Prophet (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sat for tashahhud, he formed a ring like fifty-three with his hand.
What we see most people doing is different (from what was reported in these narrations). Some people place their hands on their thighs and oscillate the index finger. There are people who embox the two hands on their thighs oscillating the two index fingers in an orthogonal manner. These descriptions are just like engaging in activities expressly for the purpose of entertainment.
A brother from the congregation asked: What if the index finger is pointed without moving it?
Dr Sharof: A person asks, what about if we move it once in a while?
The brother: I mean if we do not move it at all.
Dr Sharof: Without moving it? That is not appropriate. The Companion said the Prophet used to move it; therefore, we will also move it. We have seen someone who challenged people who move it. He is one of the followers of Hanafiyyah; he saw a person moving his index finger while praying beside him. He clutched the person’s hand and smashed his index finger.
The Congregation: Laughing mode activated!
Dr Sharof: That is extremism. That is from overstepping the limits.
[SOURCE: EXTREMISM IN ISLAAM, VENUE: LAGOS ISLAND]
Translated by Aboo Aaishah Al Odeomeey