I am not Muslim, but I have noticed in the media that the index finger is often raised by some Muslims when speaking and this seems to have more significance than just emphasising the point, as perhaps would be the case in non-Muslims using this as an emphatic gesture. What is the significance in general of Muslims raising the index finger, other than during prayer, please?

  • Nothing to do with Islam as far as i know, mostly culture, people in my country tend to do it a lot in all sort of conversations or arguments!
    – Aboudi
    Sep 21, 2014 at 13:35
  • I certainly agree that it can be used to emphasize a point in a conversation or argument. But it's use has just seemed to me to be more prevalent in people with an Islamic background; hence my question, though of course I may well be mistaken altogether.
    – John
    Sep 22, 2014 at 12:57
  • One explanation might be is sometimes when people are making a promise or such as Wallahi something something... they happen to point to the sky as referring to god as a witness this is still a behavior that may not be part of islam but something people picked up on!! god knows best!!
    – Aboudi
    Sep 24, 2014 at 10:34

5 Answers 5


One finger raised means 'One God'. It is Islamic tradition to do so while there is mention of One God, which is first part of the creed of Islam I.e. There is No God But God. It makes me so sad to see that media is blatantly using it to indicate ISIS salute and some even allege it is indication of rejection of any state that is not run on sharia. That's such a dangerous thing to suggest because your are making ordinary Muslims potential victim of Islamophobea. I raise my finger when I thank God or express my trust in God. Next time I have to be conscious who is looking at me and what he thinks of me. It is like saying all terrorists have beards so all bearded is a symbol of jehad.

You can read detailed discussion on pointing finger during prayers and its relevance on the following link.



It means that there is no god but Allah. We rise our index finger in salat because the Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) use to do it (so regarded as sunnah); other then that it is more of a habit of saying "La Illah illa Allah"


assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh(May the peace and mercy of Allah(God) be with you) my dear brother or sister while praying Namaz we rise our index finger when we say Ashhadu la ilaha illallah (i declare that there is no deity other than Allah(god)). and also Respect is a gesture made by extending the index finger, and when some Muslim people talk and raise their index finger while talking about Allah Azza wa Jall(the Owner of Greatness and Reverence ) the meaning of it is also the same It is used as a sign of respect and approval. Thank you!


"The gesture has been used by jihadis for years, including high profile ones like Osama bin Laden. Within the jihadi context, the raised index finger takes on political meaning as well, widely rejecting any form of government not under Shariah law"


  • 2
    International Business Times is hardly an Islamic source. I find their logic highly fallacious (hasty generalization). This is common among Muslims, even after scoring a goal in football.
    – III-AK-III
    Mar 12, 2018 at 2:57

Its a bid'ah and holds no weight in the deen of islam...the prophet peace be upon him point his index finger in prayer only and in that one instant in a sound hadith i read but he pointed both his index and middle finger...these are the small things in innovation that we must watch out for because we are bringing something in the religion and making it a habit within our nafs...and it is unacceptable in the sight of Allah swt because its not a sunnah...i pray that the ummah does there research before conducting themselves in society by introducing un-established practices in the religion...a oothu billahi minash shaytanir rajeem...


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