The Bidah of “Wiggling” The Finger – By Wahabis/Salafis

As Salamu ‘Alaykum Warahmatullah

The prayer is an action which should be performed with dedication and humbleness, excessive movement in prayer is a sign of poor concentration and less devoutness.

It has been seen that some people wiggle the index finger up and down, that too rapidly. When they are asked not to do so, they are very harsh in retaliation and claim to be landlords over sunnah.

Insha Allah, in this thread It shall be proven that wiggling finger in Tashahudd is against the Sunnah and something which the Prophet (Peace be upon him) never did and the reasoning will be based upon correct understanding of hadith.

There is a hadith which tends to prove that Prophet (Peace be upon him) moved his finger extensively in prayer, so let us analyze this hadith:

It is narrated by Wa’il ibn Hujr al-Hadrami (ra) who said: When I watched the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in posture of kneeling while in “Tashahhud (testification of Faith)” of his prayer, I saw that he lifted his [index] finger, and I saw him wiggle it, while supplicating with it. After some time I came and saw (some) people wearing (winter) cloaks, I noticed their hands moving under the cloaks [Sahih Ibn Hibban, Volume No. 5, Page No. 170-171]

This is the primary proof of Salafis to justify their act of Bidah, some are very strict in this regard and consider overwhelming majority of Muslims to be praying wrongly in kneeling posture.

But as usual, Salafis practice deceit and they never show the wording of Imam Ibn Khuzayma (rah) who after the same hadith said:

ليس في شيء من الأخبار يحركها إلا في هذا الخبر زائد ذكره

Translation: “There is not a single hadith containing yuharrikuha (‘he moved it’) except this hadith mentioned by Za’ida” [Sahih Ibn Khuzayma, (1/354)]

So this hadith is a mistake and is amongst the “Shazooz (oddities)” of Za’ida ibn Qudama al-Thaqfi.

Sheikh Shua’yb al Ara’nut said after this hadith in his Takhrij and Tahqiq of Musnad Ahmed bin Hanbal:

حديث صحيح دون قوله : ” فرأيته يحركها يدعو بها ” فهو شاذ انفرد به زائدة

Translation: This hadith is Sahih “EXCEPT FOR THE SAYING” that I saw him move it, supplicating with it. This is “SHADH” and Zaidah is “ALONE IN NARRATING IT” [Musnad Ahmed bin Hanbal with Tahqiq of Shu’ayb al Ara’nut (4/318)]

So a “Shadh” narration cannot be taken into account when overwhelming other Shayukh of Asim bin Kulayb (narrator of this hadith) mention reports without the addition of “wiggling the finger” therefore it has to be counted as slip of the tongue.

You would be surprised to know that Salafis who shout Bukhari/Muslim all the time, but they suddenly forget the 2 primary sources in this case, remember the ahadith narrated in Sahih Muslim only mentioned “ISHARA (POINTING)”and none of them mentions “YUHARRIKUHA (WIGGLING)” so there is no need to show Salafis more proofs in regards to oddity of the hadith from Za’idah .[Refer to Sahih Muslim Hadith #1201-1205: Online version]

Not only are these ahadith sahih, which mention mere pointing with index finger, rather there is a Sahih hadith present which specifically does “NAFI” of moving the finger. The Salafis have desperately tried to deem it as weak but they only fail as usual.

The hadith states:

حدثنا إبْرَاهِيمُ بنُ الْحَسَنِ المصيِّصِيُّ أخبرنا حَجَّاجٌ عن ابنِ جُرَيْجٍ عن زِيَادٍ عن مُحَمَّدِ بنِ عَجْلاَنَ عن عَامِرِ بنِ عَبْدِ الله عن عَبْدِ الله بنِ الزُّبَيْرِ ،
: « أنَّهُ ذَكَرَ أنَّ النَّبيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلّم كَانَ يُشِيرُ بِإصْبَعَهِ إذَا دَعَا وَلاَ يُحَرِّكُهَا

Translation: Narrated by Abdullah Ibn Zubayr (ra) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to point with his index finger [at the time of Tashahhud] and he “WOULD NOT MOVE IT” (Sunnan Abu Dawud, Volume No. 1, Page No. 260)

It is also narrated from Imam Baihaqi (rah) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to point with his index finger when making supplication, without moving it” (Sunnan Bayhaqi al-Kubra, 2:131–132).

Although I can go in detail about narrators of this hadith and prove Isnad and matn to be absolutely sahih, but let us see what Imam Nawawi (rah) had to say about it.

قال النووي إسناده صحيح. فهذا الحديث يدل صراحة على عدم التحريك وهو قول أبي حنيفة.

Imam Nawawi said: The Isnad is “SAHIH”. This hadith is a clear proof on negation of moving (finger in tashaddud) and it also the saying of Imam Abu Hanifa [Al-Mubarakfuri in Tuhfa tul Ahwadhi, 2/165]

Imam al-Nawawi (rah) also said in his ‘al-Majmu” (3/398):

وهل يحركها عند الرفع بالاشارة فيه أوجه (الصحيح) الذى قطع به الجمهور أنه لا يحركها فلو حركها كان مكروها ولا تبطل صلاته لانه عمل قليل

Translation: “Whether one should move his finger when lifting it to point with it? The correct position on this which is also decisive opinion of the majority of scholars – is that one should not move his finger, and if he does happen to move it, this is “Makruh” but does not nullify his prayer due to it being a minor movement. [Al-Nawawi in al-Majmu” (3/398)]

Note: Imam Nawawi (rah) has said that prayer will not be nullified due to “MINOR MOVEMENT” however many Salafis today are seen moving the finger rapidly and extensively, therefore according to some scholars the prayer will be nullified due to “Amal al-Katheer” And Allah knows the best.

Regarding this hadith which says :Wa’il ibn Hajr reported that the Prophet would place his left palm on his left thigh and knee. He would place the end of his right elbow upon his right thigh and would then close his right hand, forming a circle. In another narration it states, “He would make a circle with his middle finger and thumb and point with his index finger. Then he would raise his finger, and (Wa’il) saw him moving it to make supplications.” (By Ahmad). This is related by Abu Dawud with a sahih chain. An-Nawawi also mentioned it.
The above hadith is Shadh [has extreme contradictory wording in chain] and not Sahih and marfu
Explaining Hadith,The Great classical scholar Imam Bayhaqi (Rahimahullah) says, “The implication of ‘he would move it’ is that he would point with it, not that he would continue to move it.” This would be in agreement with the narration of Ibn az-Zubair (Allah be pleased with him), who reported, “The Prophet (Peace be upon him) would point with his finger while supplicating, and he would not move it.”

[This is related by Abu Dawud with a Sahih chain. An-Nawawi also mentioned it ]
So this hadith meaning is explained by Imam Bayhaqi [rah], Now why he explained like this here is the simple reasonbecause hadith is shadh

, 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 [thiqa], 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”)

ALL OTHER VERSIONS having Same Chain have [THIQA =reliable] narrators

**Version Number 1 **

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)

**Version Number 2 **

Sufyan ibn ‘Uyayna: “he joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring, and pointed with his index finger”(Ahmad, 4.318);

Version number 3 having same chain

Shu’ba ibn al-Hajjaj: “he pointed with his index finger, and formed a ring with the middle one” (Ahmad, 4.319)

Version number 4[
having same chain]

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)

Version number 5 [ having same chain]

Abd al-Wahid ibn Ziyad al-‘Abdi: “he made a ring with a finger, and pointed with his index finger” (Ahmad, 4.316)

Version number 6[ having same chain]

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)

Version number 7[ having same chain]

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)

Version number 8[ having same chain]

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)

Version number 9[ having same chain]

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)

Version number 10 [ having same chain]

and Khalid ibn Abdullah al-Wasiti: “then he joined his thumb and middle finger to make a ring, and pointed with his index finger”[/n (Bayhaqi, 2.131)

So even if the hadith is sahih, when narrated by 10 other thiqa narrators with different wording than the wording becomes batil