Assalamualaikum ustaz. How should one sit with the correct way when we sit in the final tasyahhud?
Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those who follow his footsteps until the Last Day.
In this issue, the jurists state that there are two types of sitting a person can do for his final tahiyat. The first is in the tawarruk position and the second is the iftirasy position.
Both these methods of sitting can be explained as the following:
- Tawarruk position: A person sits in a position where his right sole is in an upright position and the toes of his right foot face the qibla (bent to the front direction when praying). While his left leg is folded to the right and he places his bottom on the floor or soil.
- Iftirasy position: A person sits by placing his bottom on his left leg. While the right sole is in an upright position and the toes facing the qibla.
Sitting in tawarruk is sunnah during the final tasyahhud for four rakaat prayers such as Zohor and Asar, the same is also sunnah for three rakaat prayers such as Maghrib. While sitting in iftirash, it is sunnah when sitting in between the two prostrations, during the first tasyahhud for three and four rakaat prayers as well as during the final tasyahhud for two rakaat prayers such as Subuh, tahiyyatul masjid and other sunnah prayers.
In madhhab al-Syafie, the great scholars of this madhhab hold the opinion that sitting in tawarruk is also applicable for two rakaat prayers.
In al-Mausu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah (16/270), several opinions of madhhab jurists’ opinions stated the methodology of sitting during tasyahhud, we cite them as follows:
First, Madhhab Hanafi: The position of a man during tasyahhud is through iftirasy. While for a woman it is the tawarruk position. This applies to both the first and final tasyahhud.
Second, Madhhab Malik: The position of sitting during final tasyahhud is in the tawarruk position. This madhhab’s opinion states that tawarruk is prioritized over iftirasy.
Third, Madhhab al-Syafi’i: Syafi’iyyah jurists explained that it isn’t specified as to the way a person should sit which will determine the validity of his prayer. However, it is sunnah to sit in tawarruk for the final tasyahhud and the other in iftirasy. This is as stated by Imam al-Nawawi: “Moreover, any way of sitting is valid, regardless of tawarruk or iftirasy. However, the sunnah is to sit in tawarruk at the end of prayer and iftirasy in others.” 
In madhhab Syafie there are specifications for both tawarruk and iftirasy. For two rakaat prayers, sit in iftirasy position. The same for the first tasyahhud for three and four rakaat prayers. While for three and four rakaat prayers, one should sit in tawarruk position for the final rakaat.
Fourth, Madhhab Hanbali: Hanabilah scholars are of the opinion, for men, it is the iftirasy position in the first tasyahhud and tawarruk in the final tasyahhud.
After we state the above opinions of scholars, we state that we are inclined towards the sitting position of tawarruk during the final tasyahhud for three and four rakaat prayers. While for two rakaat prayers as well as the first tasyahhud, it is in the iftirasy position.
We would also like to state that the surroundings should also be considered. If the saf is cramped, and that sitting in tawarruk in the final tasyahhud will only make it more cramped and disturb the congregant beside him, then at this time, sit in the iftirasy position in the final tasyahhud.