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Raising the hands (נשיאת ידים) Hebrew Nisiyat Kapayim, Arabic Niyyat

From English Alsadiqin

The spreading of the hands at prayer
The spreading of the hands at prayer is frequently mentioned in Scripture (Isaiah 1:15, Exodus 9:29). During the Second Temple period, the practice of spreading the hands forward in a wide fashion, as if to request a blessing, was modified such that the hands were raised in the direction of heaven in praise (I Kings 8:22, 54; Lamentations 3:41). When blessing the people in the Temple the priests raised their hands toward heaven; this practice the later, Second Temple, fashion of spreading the hands. But when the priestly benediction was pronounced in the synagogue, where it very early became an essential portion of the public service, the older fashion of spreading the hands horizontally was employed (Mishnah Soṭah, vii. 6).

During the Second Temple period, the hands were raising the hands slightly during the Pesukei Dezimra. Today this custom remains only in the Ashrei Prayer during the verse Poteach et Yadekha, where Sefardim raise their hands in much the same fashion as is Muslim custom during the recital of Allahu Akhbar.

The raising of hand to place them over the eyes while saying the Shema' (Berakhot 13b) may be related, but this would require further investigation. The custom of the Jews of Arabia was to raise their hands in prayer, similar to the Temple custom. The Haddith says: Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 10, Number 1865: Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: was asked about a man who looks at the House (the Ka'bah) and raises his hands (for prayer). He replied: I did not find anyone doing this except the Jews. We performed hajj along with the Apostle of Allah (pbuh), but he did not do so. However modern Islamic custom agrees with Babylonian custom, where the hands are raised partially and briefly during Ashrei / Allahu Akhbar.

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