Raising and moving index finger in Tashahud
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
There are numerous ahadith which indicate to raising the index finger in tashahud as an act of sunnah.
Saaiduna Abdullah Ibn Umar Radiallahu Anhu said “When the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam sat for tashahud, he placed his left hand on his left knee and placed his right hand on his right knee, and he formed a ring like, and pointed with his finger at ‘La Ilaha’ ”. (Sahih Muslim)
Saaiduna Waail Ibn Hujr Radiallahu Anhu narrates that he saw the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam when he sat in prayer spread out left foot and placed his hands on his thighs and pointed with his index finger making supplication in this way. (Sunan Nasai p.187v.1)
Hazrat Moulana Muhammed Zakariya (RA) has given an overview of the four Schools of Thought with regards to whether the index finger should be raised and moved continuousy or not. Imam Abu Hanifah (RA), Imam Shafi (RA) and Imam Ahmed Hanbal (RA) are of the view that the finger should not be moved continuously in tashahud.
The most common view in the Maliki Fiqh is of moving the finger, however Ibn Qasim and Ibn Arabi oppose this view. (Awjazul Masalik p.117 v.2)
Imam Nawawi (RA) has said that the movement of the finger in Salah is Makruh. (Al Majmu p.454 v.3)
Ibn Qudamah has also said that the index finger should not be moved in the tashahud. (Mughni p.99 v.2)
The view of Imam Abu Hanifah (RA), Imam Shafi (RA) and Imam Ahmaed Hanbal (RA) is established through the hadith narrated by Saaiduna Abdullah Ibn Zubair Radiallahu Anhu that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam would point with his finger when he prayed and he would not move it. (Sunan Nasai p.187 v.1)
Those who choose to continue moving the finger in tashahud use the hadith narrated by Saaiduna Waail Ibn Hujr that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam clenched two of his fingers and made a circle with them. He then lifted his finger and I saw him moving it and praying with it.” (Sunan Nasai p.187 v.1)
The extra wording of (Yuharikuha) “moving it” is “Shaadh.” (This is a hadith, which is reported by a trustworthy person but goes against a narration by an even more reliable authority). Only Zaidah bin Qudamah has reported the extra wording of (Yuharikuha) “moving it.”
With regards to whether the index finger should be dropped at the time of Illallah Imam Haskafi (RA) has said that the finger should be raised at the time of negation (La illalah) and then placed on affirmation. (Illalah) (Raddul Muhtar p.218 v.2)
However some scholars have said that the index finger should be kept raised till the end of Salah. (See Mirqat p.575 v.2 and Moulana Yusuf Binnori’s Maarifus Sunan p.107 v.3)
Similarly Hazrat Moulana Rasheed Ahmad Gongohi (RA) has said “It should be known regarding what some fuqaha have said about raising the finger at the time of negation and putting it down at the time of affirmation, that the established method in the hadith is to keep the finger raised till the end of Salah.” (Kawkabu Durri p.289 v.1)
The aforementioned view can be supported through the following hadith in which Saaiduna Numair Al Khuzai Radiallahu Anhu relates that he saw the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam seated in Salah. He had placed his right arm upon his right thigh and raised his forefinger, having bent it slightly whilst praying. (Sunan Nasai p.187 v.1)
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham.