What is the ruling on wiping one’s face with his hand after supplication?
What is the ruling for saying supplication in one's hand after prayer and wipe one's face and head with it after finishing? Some people deny this claiming that the Prophet (pbuh) did not do that. Please clarify?
Imams and Jurists stated that it is recommended (mustahab) to wipe the face with the hands after supplications (du'a`) at all times. In his book Subul As-Salam, the erudite scholar al-San'ani said, "Allah the Almighty never returns His servants empty-handed after supplication. So, hands raised in supplication are engulfed with Allah's mercy and thus it is appropriate to extend this mercy to the face (by wiping over it) which is the noblest part [of the human body] that deserves to be honored."
In his commentary on Durar Al-Hukkam, Imam al-Shurunbulali dedicated a chapter to "Characteristics of Prayers", he mentioned the recommended supplications and daily portion of dhikr or Qur`an (wird) that are mentioned in the Sunnah that are made after making supplications at the end of prayers. He said, "A Muslim is to end his supplication by reciting the Qur'anic verse (Exalted is your Lord, the Lord of might, above what they describe (Qur'an 37:180). This is based on the words of Imam Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) who said, "He who wants to have the fullest reward on the Day of Resurrection, let his last words before rising after prayers be "Exalted is your Lord, the Lord of might, above what they describe". Then, he is to wipe his face with the palms of his hands. Imam Ali based his opinion on the hadith narrated by Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) in which the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "When supplicating Allah, raise the palms and not the back of your hands, and wipe your face with your palms after ending your supplications" [Recorded by IbnMajah in Al-Burhan)."
In his book al-Fawakih al-Dawani, the Maliki scholar al-Nafarawi said, "It is desirable to wipe the face with the hands after ending supplications following the actions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)."
In his book al-Majmou', Imam An-Nawawi dedicated a chapter to the recommended forms of making remembrance of Allah (Dhikr). In this chapter, he mentioned that wiping the face with the palms of the hands after ending supplication is from among the etiquettes of supplicating Allah, "From among the etiquettes of supplication is to seek the blessed conditions, places and times, face the Qibla, raise the hands, wipe the face with the hands after ending supplications and to keep the voice low but audible."
In his book al-Tahqiq, Imam An-Nawawi confirmed that it is recommended to wipe the face with the palms of the hands after ending supplications. The Sheikh of Islam, Zakariyya al-Ansari, mentioned An-Nawawi's opinion in his book Asna Al-Matalib as did al-Khatib al-Shirbini in his Mughni Al-Muhtaj.
In Sharh Muntaha al-Iradat, the erudite scholar al-Bahuti said, "A Muslim is to wipe the face with his hands after qunut (and outside prayers) if he supplicates."
Evidence from the Sunnah
It was reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to wipe his noble face with his hands after ending his supplications. 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated, “When the Prophet (pbuh) raised his hands in supplication, he would not put them down until he wiped his face” [Recorded by al-Tirmidhi in his book Al-Da'awat and by al-Hakim in his Mustadrak).
Scholarly comments on the above hadith
The hadith scholar, Ibn Hajar stated in Bulugh al-Maram, "This hadith was recorded by al-Tirmidhi and it is supported by other ahadith which include the narration recorded by Abu Dawud and others through Ibn ‘Abbas. All of these narrations, when brought together, deem the status of this hadith to be fair [hasan)."
In Subul As-Salam, Al-San'ani said, "The hadith evidences the permissibility of wiping the face with the palms of the hands after ending supplications."
Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Do not cover walls; whoever looks into a fellow brother's letter without his permission is as if he is looking at Hell-fire; supplicate Allah by raising the palms of your hands not their backs and wipe your face with your palms when you finish." This hadith was recorded by Abu Dawud in his book Sujud al-Qur'an under the chapter titled "Supplication" and is in his wording.
The hadith was likewise recorded by Ibn Majah in his book "Al-Du'a`", by al-Hakim in his Mustadrak, and by al-Baihaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra. Abu Dawud said, "Muhammad Ibn Ka'ab narrated this hadith through different chains of transmissions all of which are weak. This chain of transmission is also weak."
In his thesis Fad al-Wu'aa fi Ahadith Rafi' al-Yadayn fi al-Du'a`, al-Suyuti reported that the Sheikh of Islam Abu al-Fadl Ibn Hajar commented on this hadith in his al-Amal (Dictations) and maintained that the hadith is fair.
Yazid Ibn Sa'eed Ibn Thamama narrated, "The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him and upon his family) used to raise his hands when supplicating Allah and wipe his face with them afterwards."
Reports from the Companions
The Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and upon his family) used to wipe their faces with their hands after making supplications. In the chapter entitled "Raising hands in supplication" in al-Adab al-Mufrid, Imam Bukhari recorded through Abu Nu'aim (Wahab) that Ibn 'Umar and Ibn al-Zubair used to wipe their faces with their hands after supplicating Allah. Abu Nu'aim said, "I saw Ibn 'Umar and Ibn al-Zubair wipe their faces with their palms after ending supplications."
In Fad Al-Wu'aa, al-Suyuti reported that Imam al-Hassan al-Bassri used to wipe his face with his hands after making supplications. He said, "Al-Firyabi said, "Is-haq Ibn Rahawiyyah informed us that al-Mu'tamir Ibn Sulaiman told him, 'I saw Abu Ka'ab, the author of al-Harir, raise his hands in supplication and wiped his face with them afterwards. So I told him, 'Who did you see do this?' He replied, 'al-Hassan Ibn Abu al-Hassan.' This hadith is narrated with a fair chain of transmission."
Imam al-'Ezz Ibn Abd As-Salam stated, "It is only the ignorant who wipes his face after supplications". In his book al-Azhiyyah fi al-Ad'iyyah, al-Zarkashi commented on this opinion saying, "al-'Ezz Ibn Abd As-Salam's opinion which he stated in his collection of fatwas (al-Masuliyyah), maintaining that wiping the face after supplications is an innovation that is practiced only by the innocent, suggests that he did not read the ahadith mentioned in this regard. Despite the weakness in their chains of transmissions, they are strengthened by the different paths of their transmission."
Based on the above, the opinion of those who repudiate the issue of wiping the face after supplication without due consideration and study is invalid. Consequently, we should let people behave naturally according to what they find in their hearts. Everyone is free whether or not to wipe their face after making supplications. Likewise, a Muslim is free whether or not to wipe his face with his hands after ending prayer and before supplicating Allah since prayers include supplications, especially after the second tashahud and right before the closing of prayer (salams). This was mentioned in the hadith, "…then he is to supplicate Allah with whatever he wishes."
The premise for the issue in consideration is making supplications before closing prayers. Both actions (prayer and supplications) are from among the good deeds through which a Muslim seeks blessings from Allah the Almighty.
Allah Almighty knows best