Can I Move My Arm During Prayer?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra

Question

At the start of each prayer cycle (rak‘a), we put our hands together; should we clasp our hands on our chest or stomach? And is it obligatory?

If it is, then if I open my arm to scratch myself or to put my pants above the ankles am I sinful, and do I need to repeat the prayer?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

In the Hanafi school of thought, one should ideally clasp one’s hand just below the navel. However, other schools position the hands above the navel. Women would ideally clasp their hands on their chest. These are ideal positions and Sunna to follow but do not affect the prayer if it was not done, or done differently. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

You won’t be sinful nor will it affect the prayer to briefly, slightly itch oneself. One should not be fiddling with their pants to put it above the ankles in prayer even if the movement is slight. Generally, one should be at attention, with the heart focused on Allah Most High.

However, do not let misgivings and fear of movement or mistakes bother you; disregard them and focus on the purpose of prayer: being with Allah Most High.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdullah Misra was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1983. His family hails from India, and he was raised in the Hindu tradition. He embraced Islam in 2001 while at the University of Toronto, from where he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then traveled overseas in 2005 to study the Arabic language and Islamic sciences in Tarim, Yemen, for some time, as well as Darul Uloom in Trinidad, West Indies. He spent 12 years in Amman, Jordan, where he focused on Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith Sciences, Prophetic Biography, and Islamic Spirituality while also working at the Qasid Arabic Institute as Director of Programs. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies (Alimiyya, Darul Uloom) and authorization in the six authentic books of Hadith and is currently pursuing specialized training in issuing Islamic legal verdicts (ifta’). He holds a certificate in Counselling and often works with new Muslims and those struggling with religious OCD. He is an instructor and researcher in Sacred Law and Theology with the SeekersGuidance The Global Islamic Seminary. Currently, He resides in the Greater Toronto Area with his wife and children. His personal interests include Indian history, comparative religion, English singing, and poetry.