Hadith_Wiping the Face with the Hands


Wiping the Face with the Hands after the Supplication

(mash al-wajh bi ’l-yadayn fi ’l-dua’)

مسح الوجه باليدين في الدعاء

By S. Z. Chowdhury

Autumn 2003. 

1. Abu Dawud narrates in his Sunan the following part of the hadith on the authority of ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abbas (RA):

“So, when you are finished, wipe [your hands] on your faces – fa-idha faraghtum, fa ’l-msihu biha wujuhakum.

The hadith with that addition is considered weak (daif) by Abu Dawud who says: “This narration was conveyed by no one else except Muhammad b. Ka‘b, all of them flimsy (wahiyah) and this chain is like that, it too is weak.”[1]

2. Abu Dawud also relates another hadith that the Prophet (SAW): “When he supplicated, he used to raise his hands and wipe his face with his hands – idha daa fa-rafaa yadayhu, masaha wajhahu bi-yadayhi.”[2]

3. al-Tirmidhi relates a hadith from ‘Umar b. al-Khattab (RA) who said that the Prophet (SAW):

“When he raised his hands during the supplication, he did not lower them until he had wiped his face with them – idha rafaa yadayhi fi ’l-dua’, lam yuhattahuma hatta yamsaha bihima wajhahu.”[3]

And Allah knows best. 

[1] See Abu Dawud, Sunan, 2/278 (#1485). See also Al-‘Azim Abadi, ‘Awn al-Mabud, p.677. The narration without the additional wording cited above is graded hasan sahih (#1386 – fair and rigorously authenticated). Imam al-Bayhaqi also narrated it in his Sunan al-Kubra, 2/212 (#2969) & Daawat al-Kabir, 39/1. See also, al-Hakim, Mustadrak 1/719 (#1967); al-Tabarani, al-Dua’, p.87 & Hafiz al-‘Iraqi weakened it in his takhrij of Ghazali’s Ihya’ Ulum al-Din, 1/307. ibn Majah also cited it in his Sunan, (#1181 & 3866); ibn Nasr in Qiyam alLayl (#141); al-Muttaqi al-Hindi in Kanz al-Ummal (#3230 & 34844); ibn Hibban in alMajruhin, 1/268; al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak, 1/719 (#1967); ibn al-Jawzi, al-Wahiyat, 2/840 & al-Baghawi in his Sharh al-Sunnah, 5/204 with the chain: Salih b. Hasan from Muhammad b. Ka‘b al-Qarazi from ibn ‘Abbas in marfu‘ form. This chain, however, is deemed weak because of the narrator  Salih b. al-Hassan al-Nadari who is “discarded” (matruk) according to ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Taqrib al-Tahdhib, p.276; Abu Hatim al-Razi said he is “munkar al-hadith” (rejected in his narrations), al-Jarh wa ’l-Tadil, 4/397 & “he has no weight whatsoever” (laysa bi-shay’) according to Hafiz ibn Ma‘in, Tarikh al-Dawri, 2/262.

[2] See Abu Dawud, Sunan, (#1492) where the narration is also considered to be weak due to the narrator ‘Abd Allah b. Lahi‘ah regarding whom ibn al-Junayd said “he is nothing” (laysa bi-shay’), p.153; al-Juzajani said “his narrations are not depended upon neither is it necessary to rely upon them” (la yatawaqqafu ala hadithihi wa la yanbaghi an yahtaja bihi), Ahwal al-Rijal, p.274; Abu Zur‘ah said “he was not precise” (kana la yudabbitu) in his Tarikh al-Dimashqi, p.176 & and al-Hakim bluntly said “his narrations are no longer taken” (dhahib al-hadith) in Abi Hatim al-Razi’s al-Jarh wa ’l-Tadil, 5/145. See also al-‘Azim Abadi, ‘Awn al-Mabud, pp.678-682.

Ahmad also mentioned the narration in the Musnad, 4/56 (#16679) as well as al-Tabarani in the Mujam al-Kabir, (#6625) with a different chain but equally considered weak because of Hafs b. Hashim b. ‘Utbah regarding which ibn Hajar al-Haythami says: “In [the chain] is Hafs b. Hashim b. ‘Utbah b. Abi Waqqas who is unknown (majhul) and there is uncertainty and perplexity (idtaraba) committed by ibn Lahi‘ah…”, Majmaal-Zawa’id, 10/169. ibn Hibban, however, cites him in al-Thiqat, 1/563! See also ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani’s Amali al-Adhkar where he says: “in [the chain] is ibn Lahi‘ah and his Teachers are unknown…” and in his Taqrib al-Tahdhib, 1/417 he records him as “saduq” (truthful). In his Bulugh al-Maram, however, he appears to report a more lenient ruling saying that the narrations are considered to be ‘fair’ (hasan), p.541 (#1345).

[3] See al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, 5/463 (#3386) who considered it sahih. See also al-Mubarakfuri who weakened it, Tuhfah al-Ahwadhi, 2/2428. Another variant has “lam yuraddahuma” which can be found in the Muntakhab of ‘Abd b. Humayd, 1/44 (#39); al-Hindi, Kanz al-Ummal (#4888, 14627 & 18017); al-Jawhari in the hadith of Abu Fadl al-Zuhri, 5, 1/97; al-Tabarani in his Mujam al-Awsat, 7/124 (#7053) where he says that: “no other narration has come from ‘Umar except via this isnad and Hammad b. ‘Isa has only narrated it (tafarrada bihi)” & al-Hakim in his Mustadrak, 1/719 (#1967) regarding which al-‘Iraqi says: “al-Hakim was silent concerning him (sakata alayhi al-Hakim) but he is weak,” al-Mughni an Haml al-Asfar, 1/305 and al-Dhahabi comments: “al-Hakim cited it in his Mustadrak and was not precise as Hammad is weak,” Siyar al-Alam al-Nubala’, 16, 1/305. See also, Taqrib al-Tahdhib of al-‘Asqalani, p.164 for the same comment; ibn Hibban where he comments that “it is not permitted to rely upon his narration” (la yajuzu al-ihtijaj bihi), Kitab al-Majruhin, 1/253 & Abu Hatim who says he is “weak in narrations” (daif al-hadith), al-Jarh wa ’l-Tadil, 3/145.

                Furthermore, ibn Nasr reports the following in his Qiyam al-Layl: “I saw Ishaq [ibn Rahuyah] approve acting upon this narration [i.e. Abu Dawud (#1492)] and as for Ahmad b. Hanbal, well Abu Dawud related to me who said: I heard Ahmad while being asked about the man who wipes his face with his hands when he concludes the Witr Prayer and he replied: I’ve not heard anything about it and I’ve not seen Ahmad doing it [either]. Malik too was asked about the man who wipes his face with his hands at the time of supplicating and he denied that and said: I don’t know. And ‘Abd Allah – i.e. ibn al-Mubarak – was asked about the man who extends his arms out while supplicating (yabsutu yadayhu fi ’l-dua’) and then wipes his face with them and he said: Sufyan discouraged it i.e. al-Thawri.” However, a prohibition or even a dislike (kirahah) cannot be established from these statements as nothing explicit is inferable from them. Imam al-Bayhaqi also seems to consider it disliked as expounded in his Majmuah al-Rasa’il al-Muniriyyah, 2/286 written to Muhammad al-Juwayni.

The strongest Narration I have been able to find seems to be that found in Bukhari’s Adab al-Mufrad (#609) where he reports: Abu Nu‘aym – who is Wahb – saying, “I saw ibn ‘Umar and Ibn al-Zubayr making supplication, cupping their palms in front of their faces (yuridan bi ’l-rahatayn ala ’l-wajh)” which Imam ibn Hajar grades as hasan (fair) in Amali al-Adhkar. And Allah knows best.


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