Despite commonly practiced and performed at masjids, the wiping of face after Qunoot in Salah is NOT sunnah.
There are a few hadiths that seem to promote wiping of face after Du’a. The most famous of them is the following, found in Usool Al-Kafi:
“Any servant (of Allah) who raises his hands toward Allah, the Most Majestic, the Compelling, Allah, the Most Majestic, the Most Holy, will be shy to turn him down empty-handed, and without placing in it from His favors as He wills. After praying you (every one of you) should not return his hands to normal position before wiping them over his face and head.”
يردها صفرا حتى يجعل فيها من فضل رحمته ما يشاء. فإذا دعا أحدكم فلا يرد يده حتى يمسح على وجهه ورأسه
Source: Usool Al-Kafi, Volume 2, Hadith #3073 (See Image)
There are a couple more hadiths similar to this also, with either similar chain or no chain. All of them speak about wiping the face after du’a.
However, is this something recommended to do in our prayers in the qunoot portion of it? We find one hadith attributed to imam Al-Hujjah (aj) which seems to warn against wiping the face after qunoot in wajib (obligatory) salah:
The Imam (aj) was asked “After a person completes reciting the Qunoot is it allowed for him to pass his hands over his face and chest On the basis of a tradition quoted in this regard, “In fact the Almighty Allah is much higher than it that He keeps the hands of his servants empty. Rather He fills them with bounties.” While some of our scholars have mentioned that it is one of the rituals in prayers. Imam (aj) said: “To pass the hands over the head and face after Qunoot is not permitted in obligatory prayers.”“
وسأله عن القنوت في الفريضة إذا فرغ من دعائه أن يرد يديه على وجهه و صدره للحديث الذي روي أن الله عز وجل أجل من أن يرد يدي عبده صفرا بل يملاها من رحمته أم لا يجوز؟ فان بعض أصحابنا ذكر أنه عمل في الصلاة. فأجاب عليه السلام رد اليدين من القنوت على الرأس والوجه غير جائز في الفرائض
We find this hadith in:
– Al-Ihtijaj , Tabrasi, Volume 2, page 486
– Bihar Al-Anwar, Volume 53, Page 159-160
– The Life of Imam Al-Mahdi, Baqir Sharif Quraishi [(Arabic حیاه الامام المنتظر المصلح الاعظم, Page 107 – first image, (English, Page 159 – second image)]
Although the narration is explicit, it is weak in chain, and most scholars would state it is not permissible to act upon.
alseraj.net have published an answer to this question from Sayed Ali Al-Sistani (hf):
هناك مجموعة من الممارسات نلحظها في صلاة البعض ، ولا نعلم هل هي مستحبة ، أم لا ؟.. وهل ينبغي فعلها أم لا ؟ منها :
أولاً : ادارة الخاتم في القنوت بحيث يكون الفص باتجاه الوجه .
ثانياً : قلب الكفين حال التشهد بحيث يكون باطنهما باتجاه السماء عند الوصول الى فقرة : وتقبل شفاعته وارفع درجته.
ثالثاً : مسح الوجه بعد الانتهاء من القنوت بالكفين .
رابعاً : ضرب الفخذين بالكفين ضربة خفيفة عند قولنا : اشهد لا إله إلا الله في التشهد ؟
الفتوى : أما الاول فلم نجد له مستنداً ، وأما الثاني فلا بأس به وإن لم يرد بخصوصه ، وأما الثالث فقد ورد النهي عنه وحمله الفقهاء على الكراهة ، ولم نجد مستنداً للرابع .
Four separate questions, with Question three being the relevant and bolded part. Translation is as follows:
Q3: (What is the ruling on) wiping the face with hands on the completion of Qunoot (in Salah)?
A3: There have been reports of it being forbidden, and a group of the fuqaha have declared it a disliked thing to do.
Sayed Sadiq al-Rohani says:
It has been reported in some of the hadiths, such as in the stamped reponse (of al-Mahdi(as)) where he answered: “The wiping of the head and face after al-Qunoot is not permissible in the obligatory (prayers).
Link: click here
According to Shaykh Adil al-Jawhar, most fuqaha’ have similar fatwas. See here (in arabic)
Shaykh Asad Mohammed Qusayr also states in this video that there is no evidence for it being recommended.
Most scholars of today do not declare the action as disliked due to the narrations being weak, and only mention the existence of the narration and some opinions of scholars; however we have not found any scholar who declares the act to be recommended.
For the obligatory prayers (five daily prayers and other occasional obligatory prayers) it is clear there is no evidence to support performing it.k
As for recommended prayers and du’as – there are no problems in doing them, and God willing you will be rewarded with your du’as with the intention of acting on the first hadith mentioned.