Raising one’s hands is one of the manners of Du’aa and one of the means of attaining a response.
The evidence that raising hands when making Du’aa is the statement of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) who said, “Verily, Allaah is Modest and Generous, and shows shyness to His slave if he raises his hands to Him by returning them empty (i.e. without answering his invocation).” [Abu Dawoud]
Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) mentioned a man with shaggy hair and dusty clothes who takes a long journey. He raises his hands towards the sky supplicating: “O my Rabb (Lord), O my Rabb (Lord)”, while his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothing is unlawful and his nourishment is unlawful. How can his supplication be responded to? [Muslim]
Raising the hands is mentioned as one of the means of acceptance of one’s Du’aa, except when hindrances exist.
The Sunnah provided four aspects concerning raising hands in Du’aa:-
First: When raising the hands is prohibited.
An example in which raising the hands in the Du’aa is prohibited is during the Jumu’ah (Friday) Khutbah (sermon).
When Bishr bin Marwan was on the pulpit, the Companions (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhum) forbade him to raise his hands during the invocation. They said that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) never raised his hands during the invocation when delivering the Khutbah (sermon). Accordingly, it is not prescribed (legal) for the Imaam, nor the Ma’moomeen (those who are led in the prayer), to raise their hands while invoking (making Du’aa) during the Khutbah, except if the Imaam invokes Allaah seeking rain. In this case, he raises his hands following the action of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), who raised his hands, with his palms facing the sky. When he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) prayed for rain during the Friday sermon, he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) raised his hands asking for rain, but without excessiveness [as in Salat al-Istisqa’, i.e. the prayer of asking for rain in which he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) raised his hands till the whiteness of his armpits was seen].
Second: When raising the hands is affirmed.
Some examples of when raising the hands is affirmed during the invocation are: when asking for rain in al-Istisqaa’, after throwing the pebbles at the first and second Jamarah (while performing Hajj), on the day of ‘Arafah, at Muzdalifah, on Mount Safa, and on Marwah. There are thirty positions where the raising of the hands is confirmed while invoking Allaah.
Third: When it seems apparent that raising the hands in Du’aa is not required.
- An example of when it seems apparent (likely) that raising the hands is not required is when one invokes after the prayer, i.e. after the last Tashahhud, before saying the Tasleem. It seems that in these positions one should apparently not raise one’s hands.
- Also, when asking forgiveness after finishing the Salaat, one should not raise one’s hands.
- Similarly, when saying: “Rabbana Aatina Fid-Duniya Hasanatan, wa fil-Aakhirati Hasanatan…,” between the Yamani corner and the Black Stone during the Tawaaf (circumambulating around the Ka’bah), it is not required to raise one’s hands.
Fourth: When nothing is mentioned regarding raising the hands; in such case it is referred to the basis, which is to raise the hands.
An example of when nothing is quoted concerning the general Du’aa with which one invokes his Lord is the Du’aa after the Adhaan. Here the Sunnah is to raise the hands during the invocation.
It is a common practice that has spread among the public, to raise the hands when making Du’aa after every voluntary prayer believing that this is a Sunnah act that follows the Nafl prayer.
Shaikh ibn ‘Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said: “Adherence, i.e. regular observance to the invocation after the voluntary prayer makes it a Sunnah act, and if it is not the case that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did it, then it turns this act into a Bid’ah.
Therefore, Anas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Offer Salaat before Maghrib (prayer), offer Salaat before Maghrib (prayer), offer Salaat before Maghrib (prayer),” then he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “For whoever wishes to do so.” [Ahmad]
He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said that out of fear that the people would take it as a Sunnah (i.e. adhere to it continuously and perform it permanently).
We wonder at them when they maintain this act (of making Du’aa after every prayer), while they object to whoever makes Du’aa at the end of the obligatory prayer (before the Tasleem). This, though the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was asked: “At what time does the supplication find the greatest response?” He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied: “A supplication made during the middle of the last part of the night and after the conclusion of the obligatory prayers.” [At-Tirmidhi]
However, after finishing the voluntary or obligatory prayer, it is only recommended to seek forgiveness three times and Du’aa al-Istikharah (this is what has been quoted in authentic narrations1). It is not recommended to make Du’aa after finishing the Salaat. Whoever wills to invoke, let him do so before he says Tasleem (i.e. As-Salamu alaikum wa rahmatullaah), because the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) guided his Ummah to this. He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, when he mentioned the Tashahhud: “Let him pray with whatever invocation he wishes.” [Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi]
He (Salla-Allaahu’alayhi wa sallam) also said: “Select the invocation you like best to recite (after the Tashahhud).” [Al-Bukhaari]
This is an evidence that one should make the Du’aa after the Tashahhud and before the Tasleem. If it is Dhikr (remembrance), then it should be after the Tasleem according the statement of Allaah (Ta’ala) in Surat an-Nisaa’ (4:103):
“And when you have completed the prayer, remember Allaah.“
The Sunnah did not quote any specific Du’aa after the Tasleem.