Answered by Ustadh Torab Torabi
Question: Please advise as to if the elbows should point out during bowing in Prayer or kept straight? Furthermore, please advise on if straightening the back after bowing includes keeping the neck straight. Should a person look forward as opposed to downwards in this position? (Hanafi positions appreciated please)
Answer: Salaam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh.
“When the Prophet of Allah, peace be upon him, would go into ruku'(bowing), he would neither raise his head, nor would he lower his head. Rather it was between the two (raising and lowering his head).” (Sahih Muslim)
In the state of bowing(ruku’) it is sunnah to straighten one’s back. As for the head, one neither raises it, nor does he lower it. (Maraqi al Falah). A basic way to ensure you follow the sunnah is to look at the place of prostration.
The sunnah of the placement of the elbows is to distance them from your sides. (Hashiyat Tahtawi). This entails neither straightening your elbows, nor bending them in an exaggerated fashion. However, if you are praying in congregation and you are in a confined space, it is better for you to tuck your elbows in, rather than cause your Muslim brother discomfort.
May Allah grant us understanding in Deen. Ameen.
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani