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The Prophet's Prayer (SAWS)

The Sujood (Prostration)


The Sujood (Prostration)

Next, "he (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would say takbeer and go down into sajdah"78, and he ordered "the one who prayed badly" to do so, saying to him, No one's prayer is complete unless ... he says: Allaah listens to the one who praises Him and stands up straight, then says: Allaah is the Greatest and prostrates such that his joints are at rest.79

Also, "when he wanted to perform sajdah, he would say takbeer, [separate his hands from his sides,] and then perform sajdah."80

Sometimes, "he would raise his hands when performing sajdah."81

Going Down into the Sajdah on the Hands

"He used to place his hands on the ground before his knees."82

He used to instruct likewise, saying, When one of you performs sajdah, he should not kneel like a camel, but should place his hands before his knees.83

He also used to say, Verily, the hands prostrate as the face prostrates, so when one of you places his face (on the ground), he should place his hands, and when he raises it, he should raise them.84

The Sajdah Described

"He would support himself on his palms [and spread them]"85, "put his fingers together"86, and "point them towards the qiblah."87

Also, "he would put them (his palms) level with his shoulders"88, and sometimes "level with his ears"89. "He would put his nose and forehead firmly on the ground."90

He said to "the one who prayed badly", When you prostrate, then be firm in your prostration91; in one narration: When you prostrate, put your face and hands down firmly, until all of your bones are relaxed in their proper places.92

He also used to say, "There is no prayer for the one whose nose does not feel as much of the ground as the forehead."93

"He used to put his knees and toes down firmly"94, "point with the front of the toes towards the qiblah"95, "put his heels together"96, "keep his feet upright"97, and "ordered likewise."98

Hence, these are the seven limbs on which he (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would prostrate: the palms, the knees, the feet, and the forehead and nose - counting the last two as one limb in prostration, as he (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: I have been ordered to prostrate (in one narration: we have been ordered to prostrate) on seven bones: on the forehead ..., and he indicated by moving his hand99 around his nose, the hands (in one version: the palms), the knees and the toes, and not to tuck up100 the garments and hair.101

He also used to say, When a slave prostrates, seven limbs prostrate with him: his face, his palms, his knees and his feet.102

He said about a man who was praying with his hair tied103 behind him, His example is surely like that of someone who prays with his hands bound (behind his back).104 He also said, That is the saddle of the devil, i.e. where the devil sits, referring to the knots in the hair.105

"He would not rest his fore-arms on the ground"106, but "would raise them above the ground, and keep them away from his sides such that the whiteness of his armpits could be seen from behind"107, and also "such that if a small lamb or kid wanted to pass under his arms, it would have been able to do so."108

He would do this to such an extent that one of his Companions said, "We used to feel sorry for the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) because of the way he kept his hands away from his sides."109

He used to order likewise, saying, When you perform sajdah, place your palms (on the ground) and raise your elbows110, and Be level in sujood, and none of you should spread his fore- arms like the spreading of a dog (in one narration: like a dog spreads them)111. In a separate hadeeth, None of you should rest arms on the ground the way a dog rests them.112

He also used to say, Do not spread your arms [the way a beast of prey does], rest on your palms and keep your upper arms apart, for when you do all that, every one of your limbs prostrates with you.113

The Obligation to be at Ease in Sujood

He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to command the completion of rukoo' and sujood, comparing someone not doing so to the hungry man who eats one or two dates, which are of no use to him, and also saying about him, he is indeed one of the worst thieves among the people.

He also ruled that the prayer of one who does not straighten his spine fully in rukoo' and sujood is invalid, as has been mentioned under "Rukoo'", and ordered "the one who prayed badly" to be at ease in his sujood, as mentioned before.

The Adhkaar of Sujood

He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would say any one of the following remembrances of Allaah and supplications in this posture:

  1. How Perfect is my Lord, the Most High, three times.114
    Sometimes, "he would repeat it more times than that."115
    Once, he repeated it so much that his sujood were nearly as long as his standing, in which he had recited three of the Long Soorahs: al-Baqarah, an-Nisaa' and aal-'Imraan. That prayer was full of supplication and seeking of forgiveness, as mentioned before under "Night Prayer".

  2. How Perfect is my Lord, the Most High, and Praised be He, three times.116

  3. Perfect, Blessed, Lord of the Angels and the Spirit.117

  4. How perfect You are O Allaah, our Lord, and Praised. O Allaah! Forgive me, which he would say often in his rukoo' and sujood, implementing the order of the Qur'aan.118

  5. O Allaah! For you I have prostrated; in You I have believed; to You I have submitted; [You are my Lord;] my face has prostrated for the One Who created it and shaped it , [shaped it excellently,] then brought forth its hearing and vision: [so] blessed be Allaah, the Best to Create!119

  6. O Allaah! Forgive me all my sins: the minor and the major, the first and the last, the open and the hidden.120

  7. My person and my shadow have prostrated to You; my heart has believed in You; I acknowledge Your favours towards me: here are my hands and whatever I have earned against myself.121

  8. How Perfect is He Who has all Power, Kingdom, Magnificence and Supremity122, which he would say in night prayer, as with the following ones:

  9. How perfect You are [O Allaah] and Praised. None has the right to be worshipped except you.123

  10. O Allaah! Forgive me what (sins) I have concealed and what (sins) I have done openly.124

  11. O Allaah! Place light in my heart; [and light in my tongue;] and place light in my hearing; and place light in my seeing; and place light from below me; and place light from above me, and light on my right, and light on my left; and place light ahead of me; and place light behind me; [and place light in my self;] and make the light greater for me.125

  12. [O Allaah!] [Indeed] I seek refuge with Your Pleasure from Your Anger; [I seek refuge] with Your Pardons from Your Punishment; I seek refuge with You from You. I cannot count all exultations upon You; You are as You have extolled Yourself.126

Forbiddance of Reciting the Qur'aan in Sujood

He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to forbid recitation of the Qur'aan in rukoo' and sujood, and commanded striving in, and a lot of, supplication in this posture, as explained previously under "Rukoo'". He also used to say, The slave is closest to his Lord when he is prostrating, so increase supplication [in it].127

Lengthening the Sajdah

He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would make his sujood about as long as his rukoo', and sometimes he would make it extremely long due to the circumstances, as one of his Companions said:

"The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) came out to us for one of the two later prayers, [Zuhr or 'Asr,] carrying Hasan or Husain. The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) then came to the front and put him down [next to his right foot], said takbeer for the prayer and commenced praying. During the prayer, he performed a very long prostration, so I raised my head [from among the people], and there was the child, on the back of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam), who was in prostration. I then returned to my prostration. When the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) had offered the prayer, the people said, 'O Messenger of Allaah! In the middle of [this] your prayer, you performed a prostration and lengthened it so much that we thought either something had happened, or that you were receiving revelation!' He said, Neither of those was the case: actually, my son made me his mount, so I did not want to hurry him until he had satisfied his wish "128

In another hadeeth, "He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was praying. When he performed sajdah, al-Hasan and al-Husain jumped onto his back. When the people tried to stop them, he gestured to them to leave the two alone. After offering his prayer, he placed them in his lap and said, Whoever loves me should love these two."129

The Excellence of the Sajdah

He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to say, There is no one among my ummah whom I will not recognise on the Day of Resurrection. They said, "How will you recognise them, O Messenger of Allaah, among the multitude of created beings?" He said, Do you not see that were one of you to enter an enclosure in which there was a jet black130 steed and a horse with a white forehead and legs131, would you not recognise the latter from the former? They said, "Of course." He said, Thus, my ummah on that day will surely have white faces132 because of sujood, and white arms and feet133 because of ablution.134

He would also say, When Allaah intends to have mercy on whomsoever he wishes of the people of the Fire, He will order the angels to bring out whoever used to worship Allaah; so they will bring them out, recognising them from the marks of sujood, for Allaah has prohibited the Fire from devouring the marks of sujood. Thus, they will be brought out from the Fire, for the Fire devours all of a son of Aadam except the marks of sujood.135

Sajdah on the Ground, and on Mats136

He would often prostrate on the (bare) ground.137

"His Companions would pray with him in the intense heat, so when one of them could not press his forehead against the ground, he would spread his robe and prostrate on that."138

He also used to say, the whole earth has been made a place of worship (masjid) and a purification for me and my ummah; so wherever prayer becomes due on someone of my ummah, he has his place of worship (masjid) and his purification next to him. Those before me used to think that this was too much: indeed, they would only pray in their churches and synagogues.139

Sometimes, he would prostrate in mud and water, and that happened to him once at dawn on the twenty-first night of Ramadaan, when it rained and the roof of the mosque, which was made of palm-branches, was washed away. So he (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) prostrated in mud and water; Abu Sa'eed al- Khudri said, "So I saw, with my own eyes, the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam), with traces of mud and water on his forehead and nose."140

Also, "he would pray on a khumrah"141 sometimes, or "on a mat"142 sometimes, and "he prayed on it once when it had become blackened due to prolonged use."143

Rising from Sajdah

Next, "he (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would raise his head from prostration while saying takbeer"144, and he ordered "the one who prayed badly" to do that, saying, The prayer of any person is not complete until ... he prostrates until his limbs are at rest, then he says, 'Allah is the Greatest' and raises his head until he is sitting straight.145 Also, "he would raise his hands with this takbeer" sometimes.146

To sit muftarishan between the Two Sajdahs

Next, "he would lay his left foot along the ground and sit on it [relaxed]"147, and he ordered "the one who prayed badly" thus, saying to him, When you prostrate, prostrate firmly, then when you rise, sit on your left thigh.148

"He would have his right foot upright"149, and "point its toes towards the qiblah."150 [See diagram - qss]

Iq'aa' Between the Two Sajdahs

"He would sometimes practise iq'aa' [resting on both his heels and (all) his toes]."151

The Obligation of Being at Ease between the Two Sajdahs

"He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would be relaxed until every bone returned to its (proper) position"152, and he ordered "the one who prayed badly" likewise, and said to him, The prayer of any of you is not complete until he does this.153

Lengthening the Sitting between the Two Sajdahs

Also, "he would lengthen it until it was about almost as long as his sajdah"154, and sometimes, "he would remain (in this position) until one would say: He has forgotten."155

The Adhkaar between the Two Sajdahs

In this sitting, he (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would say:

  1. O Allaah! (in one version: O my Lord!) Forgive me; have mercy on me; [strengthen me;] [raise my rank;] guide me; [pardon me;] sustain me.156
    Or sometimes, he would say:

  2. O my Lord! Forgive me, forgive me.157
He would say the above two in night prayer also.158

The Second Sajdah

Next, "he would say takbeer and prostrate for the second time."159 He also ordered "the one who prayed badly" to do so, saying to him after he had ordered him to be at ease between sajdahs, then say 'Allaah is the Greatest' and prostrate until your joints are relaxed [and do that in all your prayer].160 He would perform this sajdah exactly as he performed the first one. Also, "he would raise his hands with this takbeer" sometimes.161

Next, "he would raise his head while saying takbeer"162, and he ordered "the one who prayed badly" to do likewise, saying to him after ordering him to prostrate for the second time, "then raise your head and say takbeer"163. He also said to him, "[then do that in all your bowings and prostrations,] for if you do that, your prayer will be complete, and if you fall short in any of this, you will be deficient in your prayer."164 Also, "he would raise his hands"165 sometimes with this takbeer.

The Sitting of Rest

Next, "he would sit straight [on his left foot, upright, until every bone returned to its position]."166

Supporting Oneself with the Hands on Rising for the Next Rak'ah

Next, "he (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would get up for the second rak'ah, supporting himself on the ground."167 Also, "he would clench his fists168 during prayer: supporting himself with his hands when getting up."169

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