Standing in salah

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Standing in salah at Kaohsiung Mosque in Taiwan.

Standing (Arabic: قيام) is an integral part of the Islamic salah. The prayer begins in the standing position and some prayers only require the standing position, such as Salat al-Janazah.

In the Quran[edit]

To "Stand before God" is sometimes used in the Quran in reference to the Islamic prayer.

Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers, especially the Middle Prayer; and stand before Allah in a devout (frame of mind).

— Quran, (2:238)


A general unit or cycle of salah called raka'ah is commenced while standing and saying the takbir, which is الله أَكْبَر (transliteration "Allahu-akbar", meaning God is Greater). The hands are raised level with shoulders or level with top of the ears, with fingers apart and not spaced out or together.[1][note 1] Both arms are placed over the chest, with the right arm over the left.[2] It is in this position that sections of the Quran are recited.

I'tidal is standing again after ruku'. The back is straightened with the hands raised as in takbir as mentioned before but saying سمع الله لمن حمده (transliteration “Sami' Allaahu liman hamidah”, meaning “Allah listens and responds to the one who praises him”).[3] Additionally, some of many praises to God for this situation is said such as ربنا لك الحمد (transliteration “Rabbanaa wa lakal-hamd”, meaning “O our Lord! And all praise is for You”).[4] The takbir is said again and the worshipper moves into prostration with hands on the ground before knees.[5]

Types of prayers[edit]

In the five daily prayers, sunnah salat (the voluntary, additional prayers) and most other prayers, standing is one part of the prayer.

In salat al-Janazah, the Islamic funeral prayer which is part of the Islamic funeral ritual, the entire prayer consists of standing.

Sayings during standing[edit]

Most of the reciting of the Quran that occurs during Islamic prayer is done while in standing position. The first chapter of the Quran, Surah Al-Fatiha, is recited while standing.[6] Sahih Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said, «مَنْ صَلَى صَلَاةً لَمْ يَقْرَأْ فِيهَا أُمَّ الْقُرْآنِ فَهِيَ خِدَاجٌ ثَلَاثًا غَيْرُ تَمَامٍ» (Whoever performs any prayer in which he did not read Umm Al-Qur'an, then his prayer is incomplete.)

Additionally, recitations from any other section from the Quran of choice is followed in the first or second raka’ah.[7]

Position of hands while standing[edit]

Where the hands are placed while standing varies among the different Islamic schools and branches.[8] These differences have manifested into the qabd-sadl dispute. Among Sunnis, several hadith indicate that qabd (praying with arms crossed) is desirable, if not obligatory; however, sadl (arms hanging by the sides) is still preferred among many Malikis.[9] The debate predominantly exists in Maliki-practicing areas, such as Northern Nigeria, due to the influence of other Sunni schools.[10][11]


According to Salafi scholar Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani, the right hand is to be placed over the left hand positioned on the chest. This ruling is derived using several hadith as evidence. Furthermore, hadith are quoted to prove the explicit forbiddance of placing the hands down on the waist.[12][13]


Unique among Sunnis, Malikis put their hands on the thighs or by their sides. However, this practice is not universal among Malikis, and scholars such as Qadi Ayyad, in his Qawa'id al-Islam, believed the practice was unsupported by any authentic hadith.[14][15]


Shafi'is put their hands above the navel and under the chest.


For Hanafis, men put their hands on the navel; women put their hands on their chest.

Twelver Shia[edit]

Twelvers put their hands on the thighs or on their side.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ For the able-bodied, leaning or not standing upright invalidates prayer. If one is incapable of standing, one may sit, lie on the right side, lie on the left side, lie on one's back or as one is able to do.


  1. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 10–11.
  2. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 11–12.
  3. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 47.
  4. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 48–50.
  5. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 51–52.
  6. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 20.
  7. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 25.
  8. ^ Roman Loimeier (2013). Muslim Societies in Africa: A Historical Anthropology. Indiana University Press. pp. 23–4. ISBN 9780253007971. 
  9. ^ Marloes Janson (2013). Islam, Youth and Modernity in the Gambia: The Tablighi Jama'at (illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 83. ISBN 9781107040571. 
  10. ^ Gomez-Perez, Muriel, ed. (2005). L'islam politique au sud du Sahara: identités, discours et enjeux. KARTHALA Editions. p. 344. ISBN 9782845866157. 
  11. ^ Roman Loimeier (2011). Islamic Reform and Political Change in Northern Nigeria (illustrated, reprint ed.). Northwestern University Press. pp. 79–83. ISBN 9780810128101. 
  12. ^ Shaikh Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albaani (1993). The Prophet's Prayer From The beginning To The End As Though You See It (PDF). p. 24. ISBN 9789533019154. 
  13. ^ Sahih Muslim. Book 4, Hadith 1113, The Book of Prayers (Kitab Al-Salat). Abu Huraira reported from the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) that he forbade keeping one's hand on one's waist while praying, and in the narration of Abu Bakr (the words are): The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) forbade to do so. 
  14. ^ Ibrahim Ado-Kurawa (2000). Shariʼah and the press in Nigeria: Islam versus Western Christian civilization. Kurawa Holdings Ltd. p. 219. ISBN 9789783091078. 
  15. ^ Zachary Valentine Wright (2015). Living Knowledge in West African Islam: The Sufi Community of Ibrāhīm Niasse. BRILL. p. 227. ISBN 9789004289468. 


  • Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albani, Muhammad (1993). The Prophet’s prayer described (1st ed.). Malaysia: Al-Haneef Publications. p. 15.