Bismillaah Al-Hamdulillaah wa salatu wa salaamu ‘ala rasulullaah
Amma ba’d

How one in Salat replies to Salaam, in accordance with Sunnah

Recently, someone asked Shaykh Saalih as-Suhaymee (hafidhahullaah) :
How did the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) respond to someone giving (him) salams while he was praying?

The Shaikh said the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to respond to the salaam – while engaged in prayer - by indicating with his hand without speaking.

Here are ahadeeth on this matter, and the sharh (explanation) from Umm ‘Abdillah al-Waadi’iyyah [hadeeth #177 [hadeeth #177]:

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar (radiallaahu ‘anhumma): I asked Bilaal (radiallaahu ‘anhu), “How did you observe the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) replying to their (the Companions’) salutation while he was engaged in prayer?” He (Bilaal) said: “He used to do this way,” and he (Bilaal) demonstrated by spreading his palm. [Reported by Abu Daa`ud and At-Tirmidhi. The latter graded it 'Sahih.']

This hadeeth is from the way of Hisham ibn Sa’d Al Madani who is disagreed upon, what is most correct is that he is dha’eef. However, the hadeeth has other narrations that make it authentic, as is the hadeeth of Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah in Saheeh Muslim Vol.4 P.195, Ma’ Sharh Nawawee.

Jabir reported: The Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) sent me on an errand. I (having done the business assigned to me came back and) joined him as he was going (on a ride). Qutaiba said that he was saying prayer while he rode. I greeted him. He gestured to me. When he completed the prayer, he called me and said: You greeted me just now while I was engaged in prayer. (Qutaiba said): His (Prophet’s face) was towards the east, as he was praying. [Saheeh Muslim, The Book of Prayer, N0.1100]

Its origin is in Bukharee without the wording, “fa ashara eelaih”. (Saheeh Al Bukharee #1217)

Benefits from this hadeeth:

1. The impermissibility of talking in the salaah.

2. The permissibility of greeting the one who is praying with karaha; this is the saying of Ahmad (rahimahullaah). And the Majority of the People of Knowledge said it is not Makrooh, as in Fathul Baree #1217. The saying of those who say it is Makrooh to greet the one who is praying is refuted because the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) did not prevent them (the sahaaba) from doing so, but rather, he taught the one who is praying how to respond by gesturing with the hands and the reply is not verbalized.

Source: http://www.salafitalk.net/st/viewmessages.cfm?Forum=10&Topic=12192

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