the Fatwa Department Research Committee - chaired by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî
Al-Qâsim b. Qutlûbughâ, in Takhrîj Ahâdîth al-Ikhtiyâr Sharh al-Mukhtâr, rightly declares the chain of transmission for the hadîth of Wâ’il b. Hujr to be a good one. `Abid al-Sindî says: “Its narrators are all reliable.”
It is also authenticated by Abû Tayyib al-Madanî in Sharh al-Tirmidhî and al-Mubârakfûrî in Tuhfah al-Ahwadhî. [Refer to Tuhfah al-Ahwadhî (2/75)]
Shu`ayb al-Arna’ût authenticates this hadîth in his critical notes on Musnad Ahmad (31/140).
Its narrators are all reliable, though Ibn Ma`în claimed that `Alqamah never heard any hadîth from his father, Wâ’il b. Hujr. [Refer to: Tahdhîb al-Tahdhîb (3/143)] However, what Ibn Ma`în asserts is incorrect. Al-Turkî writes [Musnad al-Tayâlisî, critical notes (2/356)]:
Contrary to what Ibn Ma`în claims, his hearing hadîth from his father is established by his own explicit statement in various hadîth that he heard them from his father. It is also established by al-Bukhârî, al-Tirmidhî, and others who confirm that he heard hadîth from his father. Moreover, Muslim (in his Sahîh) relates hadîth from `Alqamah from his father.
The hadîth of Wa’il b. Hujr is clearly a sound hadîth. However, it does not make any reference to placing the hands below the navel in prayer.
Musannaf Ibn Abî Shaybah (1/342) #3938 reads:
Wakî` relates from Mûsâ b. `Umayr from `Alqamah b. Wâ’il b. Hujr from his father that he said: “I saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) place his right hand upon his left hand in prayer.”
This hadîth is immediately followed by a statement of Ibrâhîm al-Nakha`î.
Musannaf Ibn Abî Shaybah (1/342) #3939 reads:
Wakî` relates from Rabî` from Abû Ma`shar from Ibrâhîm (al-Nakha`î) that he said: “He places his right hand upon his left hand in prayer beneath the navel.”
What is likely to have occurred is that in some copies of the Musannaf, a line of text was left out and the chain of transmission for the hadîth of Wâ’il b. Hujr became grafted upon the text of Ibrâhîm al-Nakha`î’s statement.
This has been confirmed by a number of scholars.
Muhammad Hayât al-Sindî writes in Fath al-Gharûr:
The additional text “beneath the navel” is questionable. In fact, it is an error stemming from inattentiveness. I have reviewed an authentic copy of the Musannaf and found within it this hadîth with this chain of transmission and with this wording, except that it does not contain the words “beneath the navel”. Immediately after this hadîth, a statement of Ibrâhîm al-Nakha`î is cited and its wording is quite similar to the wording of the hadîth. At the end of the statement it reads “…in prayer beneath the navel.”
Perhaps the eyes of the reader had slipped from one place to the other and thereby grafted the words of the statement to that of the Prophetic hadîth.
[Quoted from: Tuhfah al-Ahwadhî (2/75) and `Awn al-Ma`bûd (2/327)]
The author of al-Durrah fî Izhâr Ghishsh Naqd al-Surrah writes:
As for what is advanced as evidence in the hadîth of Wâ’il b. Hujr, this hadîth warrants considerable discussion. Ibn Abî Shaybah relates this hadîth and afterwards relates a statement of Ibrâhîm al-Nakha`î with a similar wording. At the end of that statement, it reads “…beneath the navel”.
The copies of (the Musannaf) differ from one another. In some copies, the hadîth is mentioned without stipulating the placement of the hands and is then followed by (al-Nakha`î’s) statement, In other copies, the Prophetic hadîth appears with the extra phrase “beneath the navel” without al-Nakha`î’s statement appearing at all.
Therefore, it can be assumed that the cause of the extra phrase is on account of the scribe mistakenly leaving out roughly a line of text from the middle and thereby grafting the wording of the statement to the Prophetic hadîth.
Though it is possible that the words “beneath the navel” could have been left out of the other copy, the differences between the two copies being the way they are shows clearly that the words of the statement have been grafted upon the hadîth.
[Quoted from: Tuhfah al-Ahwadhî (2/75)]
Moreover, the hadîth of Wâ’il b. Hujr appears with the same chain of transmission in other books of hadîth without mention being made of placing the hands below the navel.
Al-Mubârakfûri says [Tuhfah al-Ahwadhî (2/76)]:
What these scholars have said is further supported by the fact that Ahmad relates the hadîth in his Musnad with exactly the same chain of transmission cited by Ibn Abî Shaybah without mentioning the extra phrase…And al-Dâraqutnî also relates it with the exact same chain of transmission as Ibn Abî Shaybah without the extra phrase.
Refer to: Musnad Ahmad (18846) and Sunan al-Dâraqutnî (Maktabah al-Mutanabbî – 1/286).
The hadîth of Wâ’il b. Hujr is also related by al-Tabarânî [al-Mu`jam al-Kabîr (22/1)] and al-Bayhaqî [al-Sunan al-Kubrâ (2/28)] by way of Abû Nu`aym – instead of Wakî` – with the same chain of transmission from Mûsâ b. `Umayr from `Alqamah b. Wâ’il b. Hujr from his father, without mention being made of placing the hands below the navel.
This should leave us certain that the hadîth of Wâ’il b. Hujr contains no reference to placing the hands below the navel.
And Allah knows best.
Note: There are many editions of Musnad Ahmad in print. The reference number given above is for the critical edition of Shu`ayb al-Arna’ût published by Mu`assasah al-Risâlah. The references for other editions are as follows: al-Maymaniyyah – 4/316; al-Alamiyyah –18091; Ihyâ al-Turâth – 18367.
Source: Islam Today