Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalam alaykum,

Some scholars are stating that kissing the thumbs after hearing our Prophet’s name (peace be upon him) is an innovation. What is the good approach to this issue?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

It is far-fetched to say it is a bid`a (innovation).

Ibn Abidin first mentions the scholars who said that it is recommended to do, and then mentioned that none of the hadiths that mention this from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) are authentic.

Ibn Abidin’s actual text is as follows, from his Radd al-Muhtar (aka al-Hashiya or al-Shami)

“It is recommended to say, after hearing the first Shahada [in the adhan],SallaAllahu`Alayka Ya Rasul Allah (‘May Allah send blessings on you, O Messenger of Allah’), and after the second of them, Qarrat`Ayni Bika Ya RasulAllah (‘May my eyes rejoice with you, O Messenger of Allah’) .

“Then one should say, Allahummamatti`nibi’sSam`iwa’lBasar (‘O Allah, keep blessing me with hearing and sight’), after placing the nails of both thumbs on one’s eyes, for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) will be his guide into Janna [if he does] – as mentioned in Kanzal-`Ibad, via al-Quhustani [in his Jami` al-Rumuz] .

“This has also been mentioned in al-Fatawa al-Sufiyya. It has been reported in Kitabal-Firdaws that, “whoever kisses the nails of both thumbs upon hearing AshhaduannaMuhammda-r RasulAllah, I shall be his guide and shall enter him in the ranks of Janna. ”

“The details are in the Hawashial-Bahr of al-Ramli, from al-Maqasidal-Hasana of al-Sakhawi .

“Al-Jirahi mentioned this, too, and gave a lengthy exposition, then said, “None of these narrations has been authentically established (lam yasihh) from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) . ” [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar, 1: 397-8]

The exact Arabic text may be found at the end of this answer .

The scholars differed, though, whether it is of the weak hadiths that may be used to establish recommended actions. Many Hanafis (and scholars of other schools) held that they are. Others differed; it is a Question of scholarly difference in ijtihad.

The condition for recommended actions established by weak hadiths or the ijtihad of scholars is that one not have the firm conviction that this is established from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself. However, if one does it because some scholars have mentioned it to be a virtuous or beneficial action, then there is nothing wrong with it. If one is firmly convinced that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself did this or encouraged it, which is not authentically established, then it would be an innovation.

In short, it is neither something that is a strongly recommended action according to the Shariah nor a baseless innovation. The scholars mention that any time an issue is differed upon among the scholars of the four schools of Sunni Islam, there is no place to condemn someone who does something one differs with.

May Allah guide us to that which is best.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

قال خاتمة المحققين سيدي ابن عابدين في ردّ المحتار: (1: 387-398) تَتِمَّةٌ ] يُسْتَحَبُّ أَنْ يُقَالَ عِنْدَ سَمَاعِ الْأُولَى مِنْ الشَّهَادَةِ : صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْك يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ , وَعِنْدَ الثَّانِيَةِ مِنْهَا : قَرَّتْ عَيْنِي بِك يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ , ثُمَّ يَقُولُ : اللَّهُمَّ مَتِّعْنِي بِالسَّمْعِ وَالْبَصَرِ بَعْدَ وَضْعِ ظُفْرَيْ الْإِبْهَامَيْنِ عَلَى الْعَيْنَيْنِ فَإِنَّهُ عليه السلام يَكُونُ قَائِدًا لَهُ إلَى الْجَنَّةِ , كَذَا فِي كَنْزِ الْعِبَادِ . ا هـ . قُهُسْتَانِيٌّ , وَنَحْوُهُ فِي الْفَتَاوَى الصُّوفِيَّةِ . وَفِي كِتَابِ الْفِرْدَوْسِ ” { مَنْ قَبَّلَ ظُفْرَيْ إبْهَامِهِ عِنْدَ سَمَاعِ أَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ فِي الْأَذَانِ أَنَا قَائِدُهُ وَمُدْخِلُهُ فِي صُفُوفِ الْجَنَّةِ } ” وَتَمَامُهُ فِي حَوَاشِي الْبَحْرِ لِلرَّمْلِيِّ عَنْ الْمَقَاصِدِ الْحَسَنَةِ لِلسَّخَاوِيِّ , وَذَكَرَ ذَلِكَ الْجِرَاحِيُّ وَأَطَالَ , ثُمَّ قَالَ : وَلَمْ يَصِحَّ فِي الْمَرْفُوعِ مِنْ كُلِّ هَذَا شَيْءٌ … .

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"Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward"-- The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)