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Is it sunnah to raise one’s hands while reciting qunut in Subh prayer?


Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Reciting qunut in Subh prayer is included among the matters that are sunnah in prayer according to madhab al-Syafie. It is recited during I’tidal (after getting up from ruku’ (bowing)) in the second rakaat of Subh prayer and also the second rakaat in Witir prayer in the second half of Ramadhan. It is also recited in the last rakaat of any prayer for qunut Nazilah. (See al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, 89)

This is in accordance with a hadith from Anas bin Malik RA:

مَا زَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقْنُتُ فِي الْفَجْرِ حَتَّى فَارَقَ الدُّنْيَا

“The Prophet PBUH continues in qunut in Subuh prayer until the Prophet PBUH is separated from this world (died)”

Musnad Ahmad (12657) [Syeikh Syu’aib al-Arna’outh states the hadith is dhaif (weak) because one of the narrators named Abu Ja’far al-Razi is bad at memorization and his memorization contradicts with the narration of other thiqah (trustworthy) narrators] [Imam al-Haithami in Majma’ al-Zawaid states that the narrators for this narration is thiqah]

Furthermore, there is another hadith that states the Prophet PBUH recited qunut in his Subh prayer:

  • From al-Barra’ bin Azib, he said:

أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَ يَقْنُتُ فِي صَلَاةِ الصُّبْحِ وَالمَغْرِبِ

"The Prophet (PBUH) would perform the Qunut in the Subh and Maghrib prayers."

Sunan al-Tirmizi (401) [Imam al-Tirmizi state the hadith is hasan sahih]

According to the above question, raising one’s hands when reciting qunut is sunnah as stated by scholars of madhab Syafie supported by several evidences. Among them is written by Imam al-Nawawi when he discussed this issue:

Imam al-Nawawi said, in this issue, there are two famous opinions:

  • First: It is not sunnah and this is the chosen opinion of al-Qaffal, al-Baghawi and Imam al-Syirazi who argued that it is unnecessary to raise one’s hands when supplicating in prayer, the same when one is supplicating during prostration (sujud) and tasyahhud.
  • Second: It is sunnah to raise one’s hands and this is the accepted opinion among scholars of madhab Syafie supported by sahih evidences. Imam al-Baihaqi states that the chain of narration from Anas bin Malik RA is sahih (authentic) or hasan (good), where it details the story of Qurra’ (the people of the Quran) who are killed:

لَقَدْ رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كُلَّمَا صَلَّى الْغَدَاةَ يَرْفَعُ يَدَيْهِ يَدْعُو عَلَيْهِمْ يَعْنِي عَلَى الَّذِينَ قَتَلُوهُمْ

For every Subh prayer I saw the Prophet PBUH would raise his hands and supplicate for them who killed the companions who memorized the Quran.

Narrated by al-Baihaqi (3145)

Imam al-Baihaqi further states that several companions of the Prophet PBUH also raised their hands when they recite the qunut as narrated by Abi Rafi’:

صَلَّيْتُ خَلْفَ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ فَقَنَتَ بَعْدَ الرُّكُوعِ وَرَفَعَ يَدَيْهِ وَجَهَرَ بِالدُّعَاءِ

“I prayed behind Umar bin al-Khattab RA then he would recite qunut after ruku’ and he would raise both his hands and voice when supplicating.”

Narrated by al-Baihaqi (3150) [Imam al-Baihaqi state that the narration from Umar bin al-Khattab is sahih (auhtentic)]

Other than that, it is also narrated from Ali bin Abi Talib but the sanad (chain of narrators) is weak and it is also narrated from Abdullah bin Mas’ud and Abu Hurairah R.Anhum for qunut in witir. (See al-Majmu’ Syarah al-Muhazzab, 499-500/3)


To conclude, this is a khilaf (scholars have differing opinions regarding it) issue among scholars. Hence, it is impermissible for us to refute others who hold the opposite opinion from us, for it is included in the accredited disagreement (khilaf mu’tabar). However, we are inclined towards the second opinion which states that it is sunnah to raise one’s hands when reciting qunut as stated by Imam al-Nawawi. The reason is, there is a hadith that mentioned the benefit of raising one’s hands when supplicating, from Salman al-Farisi RA the Prophet PBUH said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ حَيِيٌّ كَرِيمٌ يَسْتَحْيِي إِذَا رَفَعَ الرَّجُلُ إِلَيْهِ يَدَيْهِ أَنْ يَرُدَّهُمَا صِفْرًا خَائِبَتَيْنِ

“Indeed, Allah, is Hayy, Generous, when a man raises his hands to Him, He feels too shy to return them to him empty and rejected.”

Sunan al-Tirmizi (3556) [Imam al-Tirmizi states the hadith is hasan gharib]

Lastly, may Allah SWT give us understanding in this religion and make us be among His slaves who are believers. Amin.