|Egyptian Mohammed Morsi praying with open hands in Masjid-un-Nabawi|
Think about this matter from an outside perspective. Non muslims will no doubt mock the fact that muslims are still not able to ascertain how the Prophet(s.a.w.w) prayed. Consider this. After the declaration of Prophethood, the Prophet(s.a.w.w) was Alive for 23 years, which means that he(s.a.w.w) must have offered Salat in front of the sahaba at least 7,00,000 times, and yet Muslims are still unable to agree on whether the Prophet(s.a.w.w) would pray with his arms open or folded! The confusion is not a new phenomena; rather it dates back to the sahaba themselves!
Sahih muslim…part 7…kitab fada’il alsahabah…chapter 4 [fazail-e-Ali(a.s) ibn abi tAlib(a.s)]…published cairo…page 122-123
Sharh sahih muslim…vol. 1…page 590…by allama ghulam rasool sa’eedi…published lahore
The writing of a sunni religious scholar from saudi arabia, regarding the folding of hands:
The above mentioned statement proves that the sunnis do not have any conclusive proof for offering prayers with folded hands and the traditions on both the sides are weak, and as far as sheikh ilyas’s claim that the traditions about the placement of hands below the navel seem to be more authentic is concerned, the salafis state hadeeth purporting the placement of hands on the chest being more authentic and those about placing the hands below the navel are weak.
Many scholars amongst the ahl-e-sunnah deem both methods dropping and folding the arms to be acceptable, which is why mufti al baseer in column ‘baseer’ that formed part of the karachi based magazine noor al hidayath…vol. 2…october 1972…page 145 responsded to a query by fayz Allah khan as follws:
This proves that the ahl-e-sunnah are not in absolute agreement on the folding of the arms.
Imam Malik’s comment further adds to the confusion that the obligatory prayers shall be offered with unfolded hands and the nafl prayers shall be offered with folded hands. Were all these traditions prevailing in the same way during the days of Prophet(s.a.w.w) ? When the holy Prophet(s.a.w.w) led the congregational prayers did some of the companions fold their hands while offering the prayers and place them on their chests whilst others folded them, placing them under their navels ? Did some sahaba place them on their bellies and another group prayed with unfolded hands ? This would have never been the case, the holy Prophet(s.a.w.w) would never offer the morning prayers with his hands placed on the chest, noon prayers with his hands placed on the stomach, afternoon prayers with hands placed under the navel and maghrib and isha prayers with open hands, since we have mentioned that rasoolAllah(s.a.w.w) told the sahaba to pray as he prayed.