Standing in salah
In the Quran
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. It is in this position that sections of the Quran are recited.
I'tidal is standing again after ruku'. The back is straightened and the following is said سمع الله لمن حمده (transliteration “Sami' Allaahu liman hamidah”, meaning “Allah listens and responds to the one who praises him”). 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”). The takbir is said again and the worshipper moves into prostration.
Types of prayers
In the five daily prayers, sunnah salat (the voluntary, additional prayers) and most other prayers, standing is one part of the prayer.
Sayings during standing
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. 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.)
Position of hands while standing
Where the hands are placed while standing varies among the different Islamic schools and branches. 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. The debate predominantly exists in Maliki-practicing areas, such as Northern Nigeria, due to the influence of other Sunni schools.
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." However, the early three Sunni Imams were born far away from Madina, but Imam Malik bin Anas was born there, he grew up he saw the elders, the literary people and the scholars of Madina offering prayers with unfolded hands, and therefore he ordered that the prayers be offered likewise. "According to Imam Malik the prayers should be offered with unfolded hands, he considers the folding of hands as undesirable in obligatory prayers and permissible in Nafl prayers.”
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.
Like the Hanafis, men put their hands on the navel; women put their hands on their chest.
Twelvers put their hands on the thighs or on their side.
Zaydis place their hands on the thighs or at their sides.
Straightening Prayer Rows
A number of ahadith exist regarding the need to straighten the rows when standing during the prayer. For example, the companion Anas relates that Muhammad said: "Stand close together in your rows, keep them near each other and stand neck to neck. By Him in whose hand is my life, I see the devil entering between the gaps as do the small lambs."
Similarly, Abu Umamah relates Muhammad saying: "Straighten your rows, stand shoulder to shoulder, be soft upon your brother and fill the gaps, for the devil enters through the gaps like the small lambs."
Al-Shawkani explains the above which orders to "stand shoulder to shoulder" to mean: "Aligning the body parts with one another so that the shoulders of each person praying are arranged and in line with the shoulders of others. In this way, shoulders and necks will be aligned."
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- Abu Aaliyah, "Joining Feet to Straighten Prayer-Rows: Is it a Sunnah?" 15 March 2016
- Ahmad, Musnad, no.21760. It was confirmed as authentic (sahih) in al-Albani, Sahih al-Jami‘ al-Saghir (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1986), no.1840.
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