Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2: The Prostration During the Qur'anic Recitation
Whoever recites an "'ayyah of prostration (sajdah)" or hears an"'ayyah of prostration" should preferably pronounce the takbir andprostrate and then make the takbir again and rise from the prostration. This iscalled "the prostration of recital." There is no tashahud or taslimwith the sajdah. Naf'i relates that Ibn 'Umar said: "The Prophet wouldrecite the Qur'an to us and when he came to an ''ayyah of sajdah,' he wouldmake the takbir and go into sajdah and we would make the sajdah." This isrelated by Abu Dawud, al-Baihaqi, and al-Hakim. The later holds it to be sahihaccording to al-Bukhari's and Muslim's criteria. Abu Dawud says:"Abdurrazzaq said: 'At-Thauri was amazed by that hadith.' He was amazed byit because it mentions the takbir." 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said: "Ifyou read an 'ayyah of sajdah', then make the takbir and prostrate. And when youraise your head, make the takbir."
Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said:"If a son of Adam recites an 'ayyah of prostration and prostrates, theSatan departs from him and cries: 'O woe, he was ordered to prostrate and hedid, so for him is paradise. I was ordered to prostrate and I disobeyed, so forme is the Hell.'"
The majority of the scholars say that prostrations for the "'ayyat ofsajdah" are sunnah for the one who recites the 'ayyah and for the one whohears it. This is based on what al-Bukhari recorded from 'Umar who recitedan-Nahl upon the minbar one Friday, until he came to the "'ayyah ofsajdah," and he descended from the pulpit and prostrated along with thepeople. On the next Friday, he recited the same and when he came to the 'ayyahof sajdah, he said: "O people, we have not been ordered to prostrate.Whoever does so has acted correctly, while, there is no sin upon one who doesnot do so." In another narration it is stated: "Allah has not forcedupon us the sajdah but if one wishes to do so (he may make aprostration.)"
In addition, the group, except for Ibn Majah, records that Zaid ibn Thabitsaid: "I recited an-Najm to the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam and hedid not prostrate during it." Ad-Daraqutni records it and observes:"None of us prostrated during it."
Ibn Hajar al-Asqallani says that the strongest opinion is that he left it toshow that it is permissible not to do it. Shaf'i holds a similar view. Thisopinion is supported by what is recorded by al-Bazzar and adDaraqutni from AbuHurairah who says: "The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam recited an-Najmand prostrated and we prostrated with him." (In Fath al-Bari, Ibn Hajarholds that its narrators are trustworthy.) Ibn Mas'ud moreover reported thatthe Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam recited anNajm and prostrated, and all ofthe people with him prostrated, save one old man from the Quraish who simplylifted some pebbles or dirt to his forehead and said: "That is sufficientfor me." Ibn Mas'ud said: "After [some time] I found that he waskilled while still an unbeliever." This is recorded by al-Bukhari andMuslim.
There are fifteen places in the Qur'an at which one is to prostrate. 'Amribn al-'Aas relates that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam recited fifteen'ayyat of prostration in the Qur'an, three coming from the Mufassal and twofrom surah al-Hajj. This is related by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim, andad-Daraqutni. Al-Munzhiri and an-Nawawi say it is hasan. The fifteen 'ayyatare:
-1- "Lo! Those who are with thy Lord are not too proud to do Himservice, but they praise Him and prostrate to Him" (al-A'raf 206).
-2- "And unto Allah falls prostrate whoever is in the heavens and theearth, willingly or unwillingly, as do their shadows in the morning and theevening hours" (ar-Ra'd 15).
-3- "And unto Allah does whatever is in the heavens and whatever is inthe earth of living creatures make prostration, and the angels (also) and theyare not proud" (an-Nahl 49).
-4- "Say: Believe therein or believe not, lo! Those who were givenknowledge before it, when it is read unto them, they fall down prostrate ontheir faces, adoring" (al-lsra' 107).
-5- "When the revelations of the Beneficent were recited unto them,they prostrated, adoring and weeping" (Maryam 58).
-6- "Haven't you seen that unto Allah prostrates whoever is in theheavens and whoever is in the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars,and the hills, and the trees, and the beasts, and many of mankind, while thereare many unto whom the doom is justly due. He whom Allah scorns, there is noneto give him honor. Lo! Allah does what he wills" (al-Hajj 18).
-7- "O you who believe, bow down and prostrate yourselves, and worshipyour Lord and do good, that you may prosper" (al-Hajj 77).
-8- "And when it is said unto them: 'Prostrate unto the Beneficent,'they say: 'And what is the Beneficent'? Are we to prostrate to whatever you bidus?' And it increases aversion in them" (al-Furqan 60).
-9- "So they prostrate not to Allah! [He] who brings forth the hiddenin the heavens and the earth. And He knows what you hide and what youproclaim" (an-Naml 25).
-10- "Only those who believe in Our revelations who, when they arereminded of them, fall down prostrate and hymn the praise of their Lord and whoare not scornful" (as-Sajdah 15).
-11- "And David guessed that we had tried him, and he soughtforgiveness of his Lord, and he bowed himself and fell down prostrate andrepented" (Sad 24).
-12- "And of His portents are the night and the day and the sun and themoon. Prostrate not to the sun or the moon, but prostrate unto Allah whocreated them, if it is Him you worship" (Ha-Mim 37).
-13- "Rather prostrate before Allah and serve Him" (an-Najm 62).
-14- "And, when the Qur'an is recited unto them, they do not prostrate(unto Allah)" (al-Inshiqaq 21).
-15- "But prostrate yourself and draw near (unto Allah)" (al-'Alaq19).
The majority of the scholars lay down the same conditions and prerequisitesfor the prostration of recital as they do for the salah, with respect topurity, facing the qiblah, and covering the 'aurah. Ash-Shaukani says:"There is no hadith concerning prostrations of recital which proves thatto prostrate one must be in a state of purity [free from major or minor defilements].The people who were with him [the Prophet] prostrated with him and he did notorder any of them to perform ablution, and it is hard to believe that they allwere in a state of purity. Furthermore, the polytheists prostrated with him andthey are impure, and their ablution would not be acceptable. Al-Bukhari relatesfrom Ibn 'Umar that he would prostrate even when not free of minor impurities.Ibn Abi Shaibah recorded the same from him. As for the report from al-Baihaqi,(with a chain that Ibn Hajar calls sahih), which says: 'A man is not toprostrate unless he is in a state of purity.' These reports can bereconciliated by Ibn Hajar's statement that this (either) refers to a majordefilement or when an option is available, whereas in the first case it dependson (presence of defilement and) the need to wash. Similarly, there is no hadithwhich states that the clothes or place need to be pure. Concerning covering the'aurah and facing the qiblah if possible, there is no disagreement.
Ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Bari: "No one agrees with Ibn 'Umar that onemay make the sajdah without being clean of minor impurities, save ashSha'biy.Ibn Abi Shaibah related it from him with a sahih chain. He also recorded fromAbu 'Abdurrahman as-Salmi that he would recite an 'ayyah of sajdah and then hewould prostrate without ablution or facing the qiblah and while walking andjust motioning only. Some among the Prophet's household agree with Ibn 'Umar.
Whoever makes this prostration may supplicate whatever he wishes. There isnothing authentic from the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam on this pointexcept for the hadith from 'Aishah who said: "When the Prophet made thesajdah of the Qur'anic recital, he would say: 'I have prostrated my face to theOne Who created it and brought forth its hearing and seeing by His might andpower. Blessed be Allah, the best of Creators.'" This is related by thefive, except Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim. At-Tirmizhi and Ibn as-Sakan grade itsahih. The later however adds that at the end the Prophet would say, threetimes, what he always said in his sujjud: "Glory be to my Lord, the MostHigh," that is, if he was making the sujjud of recital during a prayer.
It is allowed for the imam or the one praying individually to recite"'ayyah of sajdah" during the salah, even if the recital is audible(jahriyyah) or inaudible (siriyyah), and he should prostrate, during the salah,after reading such 'ayat. Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from Abu Raf'i who said:"I prayed salatul 'isha with Abu Hurairah and he recited Izhas-sama'uun-shaqqat [al-Inshiqaq] and he prostrated during the prayer. I asked: 'O AbuHurairah, what prostration is this?' he said: 'I made a prostration whenreciting (this surah) behind Abu al-Qasim (Prophet), and since then I neverstopped making a sajdah whenever I recite it."' Al-Hakim relates, from Ibn'Umar, with a sound chain that meets the criteria of al-Bukhari and Muslim,saying that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wassalam made a sajdah during thefirst rak'ah of the noon prayer and his companions were of the opinion that hehad recited surah as-Sajdah.
An-Nawawi says: "It is not disliked for the imam to recite 'ayat ofsajdah, according to our school, or for the one who prays individually. And itdoes not matter if the recital is audible or inaudible. And he should makesajdah after he recites them."
Malik holds: "In general it is disliked." Abu Hanifah's opinion isthat: "It is disliked during the silent recitals but not during theaudible recitals." The author of al-Bahr maintains: "According to ourschool, it is preferred to delay the sajdah until after he [the imam] makes thetaslim in order not to confuse the people praying behind him."
One may combine a number of sujjud and make only one sajdah if one recitesan "'ayyah of sajdah" over and over, or one hears it being recitedover and over, provided one delays the sajdah until all the recitals arefinished. Some say that if one prostrates after the first recital, it will besufficient. Others hold that one should prostrate again since the cause for theprostration is reintroduced.
The majority of the scholars are of the opinion that the sajdah is to beperformed right after the recital or hearing of the 'ayyah. Delaying such asajdah does not rescind it. If an extended period of time lapses betweenrecitation of an 'ayah and the actual sajdah, one need not do it, for it doesnot have to be made up for.