A new Muslim in the time of the Prophet ﷺ once heard the Prophet supplicating in low tones after one of the prescribed prayers. When he found himself unable to retain all that the Prophet ﷺ had prayed, he went to the companion Mu’adh ibn Jabal hoping to hear an easier du’aa. To his dismay, he heard Mu’adh repeating a du’aa similar to that of the Prophet ﷺ. Somewhat frustrated, he went back to the Prophet ﷺ who asked him: “What do you say when you pray?” He said: “I recite the tashahhud, then I say:
(Allaahumma inni as’aluka al-jannah wa a’oodhu bika min an-naar) O Allah, I ask You for Paradise and seek refuge in You from the Fire. I cannot murmur like you and like Mu’aadh.” The Prophet ﷺ said: “It is about this, that we were murmuring.”
(Narrated by Abu Dawood, 792; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, taken from the book, “Lasting Prayers” by Ahmad Zaki Hammad)
Whether you know Arabic, or you don’t. Whether you have memorized some duas or none at all – when you ask of Allah that which is good, feel confident about your murmuring. You are asking The All Hearing, The All Seeing, and He hears you in whatever language you use and He sees the meanings emanating from within your heart. :)
It is preferable sunnah to point with the forefinger and move it during the tashahhud.
It is sunnah to point with the forefinger and move it during the tashahhud because of the reports:
In al-Nasaa’i (1270) and Abu Dawood (989) it says: “He used to point with his finger when making du’aa’ but he did not move it.”
This addition – “but he did not move it” – was classed as da’eef by Ibn al-Qayyim in Zaad al-Ma’aad, 1/238. It was also classed as da’eef by al-Albaani in Tamaam al-Minnah, p. 218.
[Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 889; classed as saheeh by Ibn Khuzaymah, 1/354; Ibn Maajah, 5/170; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 367].
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen quoted this hadeeth – “moving it, making du’aa’ with it” – as evidence that moving the forefinger during the tashahhud should be done with every phrase of the du’aa’. He said in al-Sharh al-Mumti’:
The Sunnah indicates that he should point with it when making du’aa’, because the wording of the hadeeth is “moving it, making du’aa’ with it”. So every time you make du’aa’, move your finger thus indicating the exalted nature of the One to Whom you are addressing your du’aa’s. So we say:
“As-salaamu ‘alayka ayyuha’l-Nabiyyu (peace be upon you, O Prophet)” – you should point your finger because this salaam is a kind of du’aa’. “Al-salaamu ‘alayna (peace be upon us)” – you should point your finger. “Allaahumma salli ‘ala Muhammad (O Allaah, send blessings upon Muhammad)” – you should point your finger. “Allaahumma baarik ‘ala Muhammad) O Allaah, send blessings upon Muhammad)” – you should point your finger. ‘A’oodhu Billaahi min ‘adhaab jahannam (I seek refuge with Allaah from the torment of Hell)” – you should point your finger. “Wa min ‘adhaab al-qabr (and from the torment of the grave)” – you should point your finger. “Wa min fitnat il-mahya wa’l-mamaat (and from the trials of life and death)” – you should point your finger. “Wa min fitnat il-maseeh il-dajjaal (and from the tribulation of the Dajjaal) – you should point your finger. Every time you make du’aa’ you should point your finger, indicating the greatness of the One to Whom you are making du’aa’. This is closer to the Sunnah.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: It is mustahabb to point with one finger during “the tashahhud and supplication (du‘aa’)”. [Al-Ikhtiyaaraat, 38.]
The ahaadeeth above indicate two things:
It is Sunnah when pointing to look at your finger.
Al-Nawawi said: The Sunnah is not to let your gaze go beyond the pointing finger. There is a saheeh hadeeth concerning this in Sunan Abi Dawood. You should point in the direction of the qiblah and intend when pointing to affirm the Oneness of Allaah and exclusive devotion to Him. [Sharh Muslim, 5/81].
The hadeeth to which al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) referred is the hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Zubayr quoted above. The version narrated by Abu Dawood is (989): “And he should not let his gaze go beyond his pointing finger.” [Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood].
It is Sunnah to point with it towards the qiblah.
It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar that he saw a man moving pebbles with his hand whilst he was praying. When he finished, ‘Abd-Allaah said to him: “Do not move pebbles whilst you are praying, for that comes from the Shaytaan. Rather do what the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to do. He put his right hand on his thigh and pointed with the finger that is next to the thumb towards the qiblah, and he fixed his gaze on it.” Then he said: “This is what I saw the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) doing.” Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 1160; Ibn Khuzaymah, 1/355; Ibn Hibbaan, 5/273. classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i.
It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah (7/56):
Pointing with the finger throughout the tashahhud and moving it when offering supplication (du‘aa’), and clenching the other fingers should continue until the salaam. End quote.
Whatever the case, the matter is subject to ijtihaad and is something concerning which the scholars differed. The different opinions concerning it may have to do with slight differences in the way the prayer is performed, so there is nothing wrong with differing from this ijtihaad and following what one thinks is more correct on the basis of evidence.
It also says in Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah (5/368):
Raising the forefinger in the tashahhud is Sunnah, and the reason behind it is to indicate the Oneness of Allah. Whoever wishes may move it and whoever wishes may not move it. This matter should not lead to division and discord between seekers of knowledge. If a person does not raise it at all, or he raises it but does not move it, this is a minor matter that should not lead to denunciation and resentment. However the Sunnah is to raise it throughout the shahaadatayn, until the worshippers says the salaam, as an affirmation of divine Oneness. With regard to moving it, that should be when reciting the supplication, as is narrated in the saheeh Sunnah.
End quote from Fataawa al-Lajnah, 5/368
And Allah Almighty knows best.
Click here to watch Shaikh Assim answer a question on this topic.
“Allah says that the purpose of the affliction is for you and I to reach a state of tadarra’u [ تَضَرُّعًا ]. Tadarr’u is humility before Allah – but it is not just humility. To understand the concept of tadarr’u, imagine yourself in the middle of an ocean. Imagine that you are all alone on a boat. Imagine that a huge storm comes and the waves become mountains surrounding you. Now imagine turning to Allah at that point and asking for His help. In what state of need, awe, dependency and utter humility would you be in? That is tadarr’u. Allah says that He creates conditions of hardship in order to grant us that gift. Allah does not need to make things hard for us. He creates those situations in order to allow us to reach a state of closeness to Him, which otherwise we’d be unlikely to reach.”
“Reclaim Your Heart”
It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alyhi wasallam) said:
“There is no Muslim who calls upon Allaah with words in which there is no sin or severing of family ties but Allaah will give him one of three things:
✔either He will answer his prayer soon, or
✔He will store it up for him in the Hereafter, or
✔He will remove something bad from him that is equivalent to what he is asking for.”
They said, “Then we should make a great amount of du’aa’.” He said, “Allaah is greater.”
(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3573; classed as saheeh by al-Tirmidhi and others)