Fiqh & Sunnah

The Weakness of Ahadith Mentioning Wiping the Face with the Hands After Du'a (Supplication)

1) The Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, when he raised his hands in du'a, he would not put them down until he had wiped his face with them.

Da'if (Weak). Transmitted by at-Tirmidhi (2/244) & Ibn 'Asakir (7/12/2) via Hammad ibn 'Isa al-Juhani from Hanzalah ibn Abi Sufyan al-Jamhi from Salim ibn 'Abdullah from his father from 'Umar ibn al-Khattab.

At-Tirmidhi said after it, "This is a sahih gharib hadith. We only know it as a hadith of Hammad ibn 'Isa, for he is alone in reporting it; he has few ahadith, but the people have reported from him."

However, this reporter is weak, as in Taqrib of Ibn Hajr, who says about him in Tahdhib:

  • Ibn Ma'in said, "A good shaykh";
  • Abu Hatim said, "Weak in hadith";
  • Abu Dawud said, "Weak, he reports munkar ahadith";
  • Hakim and Naqqash said, "He reports fabricated ahadith from Ibn Jurayj and Ja'far as-Sadiq";
  • He is declared to be weak by Daraqutni.
  • Ibn Hibbaan said, "He reports things which are the wrong way round on the authority of Ibn Jurayj and 'Abdul-'Aziz ibn 'Umar ibn 'Abdul-'Aziz, such that it seems to those whose field this is that it is deliberate; it is not permissible to use him as proof"; and
  • Ibn Makola said, "They declare his ahadith to be weak."

Hence, the like of this reporter is very weak, so his ahadith cannot be raised to the level of hasan, let alone sahih!

A similar hadith is, "When the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, did du'a and raised his hands, he would wipe his face with his hands."

Da'if (Weak). Abu Dawud (1492) from Ibn Lahi'ah from Hafs ibn Hisham ibn 'Utbah ibn Abi Waqqas from Sa'ib ibn Yazid from his father.

This is a weak sanad due to Hafs ibn Hisham being unknown and the weakness of Ibn Lahi'ah (cf. Taqrib at-Tahdhib).

This hadith cannot be strengthened by the two routes of narration together due to the severity in weakness of the first one, which you have seen.

2) "When you call upon Allah, then supplicate with the palms of your hands, and do not supplicate with their backs, and when you finish, wipe your face with them."

Da'if (Weak). Related by Ibn Majah (1181, 3866), Ibn Nasr in Qiyam al-Layl (p. 137), Tabarani in Al-Mu'jam al-Kabir (3/98/1) & Hakim (1/536), from Salih ibn Hassan from Muhammad ibn Ka'b from Ibn 'Abbas, radiallahu 'anhu, as marfu'.

  • This is a weak sanad due to Ibn Hassan, who is munkar in hadith, as al-Bukhari said;
  • Nasa'i said, "He is abandoned in hadith";
  • Ibn Hibban said, "He used to have female singers and listen to music, and he used to narrate fabricated reports on the authority of trustworthy narrators";
  • Ibn Abi Hatim said in Kitab al-'Ilal (2/351), "I asked my father (i.e. Abu Hatim al-Razi) about this hadith, to which he said: 'munkar'."

Ibn Hasan has been backed up by 'Isa ibn Maymun, who also reported it from Muhammad ibn Ka'b, as related by Ibn Nasr. However, this does not alter anything, since Ibn Maymun is similarly weak. Ibn Hibban said, "He reports ahadith, all of which are fabricated." An-Nasa'i said, "Not reliable."

This hadith of Ibn 'Abbas is also related by Abu Dawud (1485), and from him Bayhaqi (2/212), via 'Abdul-Malik ibn Muhammad ibn Ayman from 'Abdullah ibn Ya'qub ibn Ishaq from someone who narrated to him from Muhammad ibn Ka'b, the wording being, "Do not cover the walls. He who looks into the letter of his brother without his permission, verily he looks into the Fire. Ask Allah with the palms of your hands, and do not ask him with their backs, and when you finish, wipe your faces with them."

This is a weak sanad. 'Abdul-Malik is declared weak by Abu Dawud; it also contains the shaykh of 'Abdullah ibn Ya'qub who is unnamed, and therefore unknown - it is possible that he may be Ibn Hasan or Ibn Maymun, both of whom are mentioned above.

The hadith is also transmitted by al-Hakim (4/270) via Muhammad ibn Mu'awiyah, who said that Masadif ibn Ziyad al-Madini narrated to him that he heard it from Muhammad ibn Ka'b al-Qurazi. Adh-Dhahabi followed this up by pointing out that Ibn Mu'awiyah was declared to be a liar by ad-Daraqutni, so the hadith is falsified.

Abu Dawud said about this hadith, "This hadith has been narrated via more than one route on the authority of Muhammad ibn Ka'b; all of them are feeble."

Raising the hands on doing qunut for a calamity is established from the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, in his supplication against the polytheists who killed seventy reciters - transmitted by Imam Ahmad (3/137) & at-Tabarani in al-Mu'jam as-Saghir (p. 111) as the hadith of 'Anas with a sahih sanad. Similar is proved from 'Umar and others in the qunut of witr. However, since wiping the face after du'a al-qunut is not quoted at all from the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, nor from any of his Companions, it is an innovation without doubt.

As for wiping the face after du'a outside of prayer, there are only these two ahadith; it is not correct to say that they mutually strengthen each other to the rank of hasan, as an-Nawawi did, due to the severity of the weakness found in their routes of narration. This is why Imam an-Nawawi said in Majmu', "It is not recommended," endorsing Ibn 'Abdus-Salam, who said, "Only an ignorant person does it."

The view that wiping the face after du'a is not prescribed is strengthened by the fact that there are many authentic ahadith about raising the hands in supplication, and in none of them is there a mention of wiping the face; this shows, Allah willing, that it is unacceptable and not prescribed.

If Ibn Ma'in speaks favourably about a narrator, whereas the rest of the scholars declare him to be weak, then the statement of Ibn Ma'in is disregarded, the reason being that he was known for his strictness and severity in criticism: weak narrators would be very careful not to reveal their weakness before him; he would therefore pass judgment accordingly. This explains why he is alone in authenticating the narrator.

 From Irwa' ul-Ghalil (2/178-182)

Be Mindful O Mankind!

No man can have anything better after faith (iman) than a woman of righteous character, loving and child-bearing. And no man can have anything worse after unbelief (kufr) than a sharp-tongued woman of bad character.
'Umar ibn Al-Khattab (d. 23H), Commander of the Faithful, may Allah be pleased with him