Wiping The Face After Prayers
Bismillah wal hamdulillah washShalatu wasSalamu ‘Ala Rasulillah
Some people, when they finish making du’a or after the prayers wipe their face. Is wiping one’s face after supplications (du’a) or after finishing the prayer (taslim) acceptable? Some Muslims who care about the Sunnah will ask about this issue. This is not an issue of the five pillars, fardhu or that which is obligatory in Islam. As a result, this issue includes furu ‘(branches) which often become a matter of disagreement among Muslim scholars.
Wiping the face after making du’a/prayers has been disputed among Muslim since the time of the companions of the Prophet, Shalallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Some have said that it is Sunnah (allowed) and some others forbid it, even calling it heretical (bid’ah) and stupidity, because it does not have a solid foundation in the hadith of the Prophet, Shallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam.
The best of guidance is the guidance of our Prophet Muhammad, Shallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam.
It was narrated that Thawbaan, Radhiallahu ‘anhu, said: When the Messenger of Allah, Shallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam, had finished his prayer, he would pray for forgiveness three times, and say: “Allaahumma anta al-salaam wa minka al-salaam, tabaarakta yaa dhaa’l-jalaali wa’l-ikraam (O Allaah, You are al-Salaam (the One Who is free from all defects and deficiencies) and from You is all peace, blessed are You, Possessor of majesty and honour)”. Narrated by Muslim (591).
A narration of Umar Bin Khattab, Radhiallahu ‘anhu, in Tirmidhi states:
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو مُوسَى مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى وَإِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ يَعْقُوبَ وَغَيْرُ وَاحِدٍ قَالُوا حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادُ بْنُ عِيسَى الْجُهَنِيُّ عَنْ حَنْظَلَةَ بْنِ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ الْجُمَحِيِّ عَنْ سَالِمِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنْ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا رَفَعَ يَدَيْهِ فِي الدُّعَاءِ لَمْ يَحُطَّهُمَا حَتَّى يَمْسَحَ بِهِمَا وَجْهَهُ
Musaa Muhammad ibn Al-Muthannaa and Ibraahim ibn Ya’qub and more than one state that Hammaad ibn ‘Eesaa Al-Juhani narrated to us from Hanthalah ibn Abi Sufyaan Al-Jumahiy from Saalim ibn Abdullah from his father (Abdullah ibn Umar) from Umar ibn Al-Khattab Radhiya Allahu ‘Anhu who said that Rasulullah Shallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) when raising his hands in du’a, would not put them down until he had wiped his face with them.
Imam al-Tirmidhi commented on this tradition and wrote in his book: “It is strange” (meaning only one person narrated it).
قَالَ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى فِي حَدِيثِهِ لَمْ يَرُدَّهُمَا حَتَّى يَمْسَحَ بِهِمَا وَجْهَهُ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ صَحِيحٌ غَرِيبٌ لَا نَعْرِفُهُ إِلَّا مِنْ حَدِيثِ حَمَّادِ بْنِ عِيسَى وَقَدْ تَفَرَّدَ بِهِ وَهُوَ قَلِيلُ الْحَدِيثِ وَقَدْ حَدَّثَ عَنْهُ النَّاسُ وَحَنْظَلَةُ بْنُ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ الْجُمَحِيُّ ثِقَةٌ وَثَّقَهُ يَحْيَى بْنُ سَعِيدٍ الْقَطَّانُ
At-Tirmidhi continues, “This hadith is Sahih ghareeb(strange), we do not know it save from the hadith of Hammad ibn ‘Eesaa, and he alone narrates this [from Hanthala]. He has few hadith that the people reported from him. And Hanthalah ibn Abi Sufyaan al-Jumahiy is thiqah (highly trustworthy), and he was declared thiqah by Yahyaa ibn Sa’id Al-Qattaan.”
There is another prophetic tradition related by Imam Abu Dawod from the son of ‘Abbas that alludes to the same meaning. However, Imam al-Nawwawi states “Every one of these hadith have weakness in their chains.” al-Adhkar pg. 399.
However, Al-Hafidh Imam Ibn Hajar Asqalani, Radhiallahu ‘anhu, author of one of the most trusted commentaries of Saheeh Bukhari, narrates this Hadeeth in Bulughul Maram after mentioning the narration of ‘Umar above: “It was related by al-Tirmidhi and it has support from the narration of Abi Dawud on behalf of Ibn ‘Abbas and others.
There are more traditions which support this narration, of which are:
حَدِيثُ اِبْنِ عَبَّاسٍ: عَنْ أَبِي دَاوُدَ . وَمَجْمُوعُهَا يَقْتَضِي أَنَّهُ حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ .
The Hadeeth narrated by Ibn Abbas, Radhiallahu ‘anhu, related by Abi Dawud and others. Put together, they confirm that it (this Hadeeth) is Hasan (good). [subul al-Salam vol. 4 pg. 219]
Muhammad bin Ismail Al-Sanani (RA) wrote a commentary of Bulughul Maram (printed by Darus-Salam publications, Riyadh KSA) in which he writes:
وفيه دليل على مشروعية مسح الوجه باليدين بعد الفراغ من الدعاء
And this Hadeeth contains a proof for the legitimacy of wiping one’s face with the hands after making du`a.
Shaykh Bin-Baaz, Radhiallahu ‘anhu, in his Ta’leeqat of Bulughul Maram comments that in the chain of this Hadeeth is Hammaad ibn ‘Eesaa Al-Juhani and scholars have declared it weak. Shaykh Ibnul Hajr Asqalani, Radhiallahu ‘anhu, has also followed them and declared it weak in “Tahdhib al-Tahdhib” to the 9th degree; yet he has declared this Hadeeth Hasan and this must be due to Shawahid (supporting Narrations).
Imam Muhammad ibn Nasr Al-Marwazi narrates from Mu’tamar that he saw Abu Ka’b Abd Rabihi ibn Ubayd Al-Azdi, the author of Tahrir invoking the raising of his hands and then he was wiping them on his face after finishing. “I asked him why he was doing this and he answered that Hassan Al-Basri was doing this.” (Qyam Al-Layl p 236)
Imam Ahmad was asked about wiping the hands on the face in Witr and he answered : “It is narrated from Al-Hassan that he was wiping them on his face in his invocation.” (Masail Imam Ahmad from narration of ibn Abdillah v 2 p 300)
So, the issue of wiping the face after praying is a disputed issue between Muslim scholars. Each Muslim is performing this practice in accordance with the argument of the hadith which they believe.
May this difference not be the cause of Muslims disunity because this dispute has been going on since a long time ago.