Sitting mutawarrikan in prayer is a proven Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Al-Bukhaari narrated from Abu Humayd al-Saa’idi (may Allaah be pleased with him), a description of the prayer of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), in which he said: “And when he sat in the final rak’ah, he put his left foot forward and held the other foot upright, and sat on his behind.”
Tawarruk or sitting mutawarrikan may be done in different ways:
1 – The left foot is laid down and the right foot is held upright, and both are held out to the right, with the buttocks on the ground.
2 – Both feet are laid down and held out to the right side, and the buttocks are on the ground.
The scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) differed as to when one should sit mutawarrikan in prayer. The Hanbalis are of the view that tawarruk should be done in the final tashahhud if there are two tashahhuds in the prayer. But if the prayer has only one tashahhud, such as Fajr prayer or Sunnah prayers that are offered two by two, then one should sit muftarishan (in which both feet are laid down and held out to the right side, and the buttocks are on the ground).
Al-Bahooti (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Kashshaaf al-Qinaa’ (1/364): Then he should sit in the second tashahhud of a prayer that consists of three rak’ahs or more mutawarrikan, because of the hadeeth of Abu Humayd, who described him as sitting muftarishan in the first tashahhud and mutawarrikan in the second, This explains the difference between them and this is a description of something additional that should be adopted. In that case it is not Sunnah to sit mutawarrikan, except in a prayer in which there are two tashahhuds, in the last of them. End quote.
The Shaafa’is are of the view that sitting mutawarrikan is mustahabb in the last tashahhud of all prayers, whether they have two tashahhuds or just one. That is because of the general meaning of the hadeeth of Abu Humayd quoted above, in which it says “when he sat in the last rak’ah.”
Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Fath al-Baari:
Al-Shaafa’i also quoted it as evidence that the tashahhud in Fajr prayer is like the final tashahhud in any other prayer, because of the general meaning of his words: “in the final tashahhud.” End quote.
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Majmoo’ (3/431): Our view is that it is mustahabb to sit muftarishan in the first tashahhud and mutawarrikan in the second. If the prayer is of two rak’ahs then he should sit mutawarrikan. End quote.
The most correct view is that of the Hanbalis, which was favoured by the scholars of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas. (Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz and Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Qa’ood).
See: Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (7/15).
Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Mughni (1/318): One should not sit mutawarrikan in any of the sittings in prayer except in the second tashahhud, because of the hadeeth of Waa’il ibn Hujr, which says that when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sat for the tashahhud “he lay his left foot down and held his right foot upright” and he did not differentiate between the (tashahhud) in which he said the salaam and that in which he did not say the salaam. ‘Aa’ishah said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite al-tahiyyah following each two rak’ahs, and he lay his left foot down and held the right foot upright.” Narrated by Muslim. These two (reports) imply that one should sit in the manner described here in every tashahhud. End quote.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked in Liqa’ al-Baab il-Maftooh: When should a worshipper sit mutawarrikan in prayer, and in which prayers?
He replied: Tawarruk is done in the final tashahhud of every prayer that has two tashahhuds, i.e., the last tashahhud in Maghrib, and in ‘Isha’, and in ‘Asr, and in Zuhr. As for the two-rak’ah prayers, such as Fajr, and the regular Sunnah prayers, there is no tawarruk in them. So tawarruk is only in the last tashahhud of every prayer that has two tashahhuds. End quote.
For more information please see the answer to question no. 13340.
And Allaah knows best.