Fiqh-us-Sunnah Volume 001, Purification and Prayer, Fiqh 1.151.

Section : Sunnah acts of prayer, How To Prostrate.

Most scholars prefer that one place his knees on the floor before his hands. Ibn al-Munzhir related this from 'Umar an-Nakha'i, Muslim ibn Yasar, Sufyan al-Thauri, Ahmad, Ishaq and other jurists including Ibn al-Munzhir himself. Abu at-Tayyeb said that most jurists agree with this. Ibn al-Qayyim said, "When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, prayed, he would place his knees (on the floor) before his hands, then his hands, his forehead and nose. This is what is authentic and has been related by Shuraik from 'Asim ibn Kaleeb on the authority of his father from Wa'il ibn Hajr who said, 'I saw the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, while prostrating, placing his knees (on the floor) before his hands. Upon getting up, he would raise his hands before his knees. I never saw him do otherwise." Malik, al-Auza'i, Ibn Hazm and Ahmad maintain that it is preferred to place the hands down first and then the knees. Says al-Auza'i, "I saw the people placing their hands on the floor before their knees." Ibn Abu Dawud comments, "That is the statement of the people of hadith." There is also a difference of opinion concerning how one should stand up from the prostration after the first (or third) rak'ah. Some say one should raise the hands from the floor first while others say that one should raise the knees first.

It is preferred for the one who is prostrating to follow the following points:

One should place one's nose, forehead and hands upon the floor

They should be separated from the sides of the body. Wa'il ibn Hajr reported that when the Messenger of Allah prostrated, he would place his forehead between his palms and separate his arms from the sides of his body. (Related by Abu Dawud.) Abu Humaid reported that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, prostrated, he would place his nose and forehead upon the floor, keep his arms away from his sides, and place his hands parallel to his shoulders. This is related by Ibn Khuzaimah and at-Tirmizhi, who called it hassan sahih.

One should place one's hands parallel to one's ears or shoulders

As both of these acts have been related. Some scholars combine these two acts by placing the ends of the thumbs parallel to the ears and the palms parallel to the shoulders.

One should have one's fingers together and stretched out

AlHakim and Ibn Hibban record that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, bowed he would have his fingers separated and when he prostrated he would keep his fingers together.

One should have one's fingers facing the qiblah

Al-Bukhari recorded from Abu Humaid that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, prostrated, his fingers would be neither spread out nor clasped together, and his toes would be directed toward the qiblah.

Related Hadith(s)