بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والصلاة والسلام على رسوله الكريم
In the previous entry, we examined the issue of moving the index finger during the Tashahhud, a position popularized by Albani in recent times. While moving the finger in Tashahhud and pointing it in the sitting between the Sujud appear to be innovated practices that are spreading among a certain section of Muslims, there is the polar opposite practice of some other Muslims who refuse to point with the index finger in the Tashahhud at all. This is something prevalent among most of the non-Sunnis, like the Shi’a and the Ibadiya. However, there is also a trend among some of the Ahnaf who likewise oppose the Sunna of raising and pointing with the index finger in the Tashahhud. This is particularly true of the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi silsila attributed to the Mujaddid of the second millenium, Ahmad Sirhindi, known affectionately as “Imam Rabbani”. Likewise, many of the Hanafis in Afghanistan do not raise their index finger in the Tashahhud. But other Hanafis who have greater regard for the Hadith do raise their index finger during the Tashahhud. This is due to the fact that it is something firmly established in the authentic Hadith, such as the narration of Ibn UmarRA via Ali b. Abd ir-Rahman al-Mu’awi:
أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَانَ إِذَا جَلَسَ فِي الصَّلاَةِ وَضَعَ يَدَيْهِ عَلَى رُكْبَتَيْهِ وَرَفَعَ إِصْبَعَهُ الْيُمْنَى الَّتِي تَلِي الإِبْهَامَ فَدَعَا بِهَا وَيَدَهُ الْيُسْرَى عَلَى رُكْبَتِهِ الْيُسْرَى بَاسِطُهَا عَلَيْهَا
That the Prophet (upon whom be peace) would sit in the Salat and place his hands upon his knees and he raised his right finger that is next to the thumb, supplicating with it, and he stretched his left hand on his left knee. (Sahih Muslim) Imam Malik has likewise reported it in his Muwatta.
Yet in the Hanafi text al-Fatawa al-Sirajiya of Siraj al-Din Ali b. Uthman al-Hanafi (d. 569 H), it is written that it is disliked to point with the forefinger in the Salat at the saying of ashhadu an laa ilaaha illa Allah, and that is the chosen position of the madhhab (p.73):
In his discussion on the issue, Ahmad Sirhindi concluded that pointing the finger in Tashahhud is Haram and stated: “It is not appropriate for us muqallidun (blind-followers) to point with the finger in accordance with the Ahadith but against the fatawa of the Ulama Mujtahidin, thereby committing something forbidden and disliked.” (Maktubat: daftar 1, maktub 312)
These regrettable words of the Mujaddid Alf Thani illustrate the intellectual bankruptcy of taqlid. We ought to strive to implement the Sunna of the Prophet (upon whom be peace), which is to raise the index finger during the Tashahhud, but neither moving it, nor raising it in the sitting between the two prostrations, which are innovations.