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Obligatory acts relating to Namaz » Bowing (rukūʿ)

Ruling 1008. In every rakʿah after qirāʾah, one must bend forward to the extent that he can place all his fingertips, including his thumb, on his knees. This action is called ‘rukūʿ’.

Ruling 1009. If a person bends forward to the extent of rukūʿ but does not place his fingertips on his knees, there is no problem.

Ruling 1010. If a person performs rukūʿ in an unusual manner – for example, he bends towards the left or right side, or he bends his knees forward – then even if his hands reach his knees, it is invalid.

Ruling 1011. The bending forward must be done with the intention of performing rukūʿ; therefore, if it is done with some other intention – for example, in order to kill an animal – then one cannot consider it as rukūʿ. Instead, he must stand up straight and then bend forward again for rukūʿ; and by doing this, a rukn is not added and the prayer does not become invalid.

Ruling 1012. If a person’s arms or knees are different to those of others – for example, his arms are very long such that if he bends a little his hands reach his knees, or his knees are lower than those of others such that he must bend a lot for his hands to reach his knees – then in these cases, he must bend forward to the usual extent [as other people do].

Ruling 1013. One who performs rukūʿ while sitting must bend forward to the extent that his face is positioned directly opposite his knees; and it is better that he bends forward to the extent that his face is positioned directly opposite the place of sajdah.

Ruling 1014. It is better that when one has the option to, he says in rukūʿ:

subḥānal lāh


سُبْحَانَ اللهِ


×3

…or:

subḥāna rabbiyal ʿaẓīmi wa biḥamdih


سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الْعَظِیمِ وَ بِحَمْدِهِ


×1

…although saying any dhikr suffices; and based on obligatory precaution [the other dhikr] must be of this length. However, if time is short or if one is compelled, then saying subḥānal lāh once suffices. And someone who cannot say subḥāna rabbiyal ʿaẓīmi wa biḥamdih properly must say another dhikr, such as subḥānal lāh, three times.

Ruling 1015. The dhikr of rukūʿ must be said consecutively and in correct Arabic; and it is recommended that one says it three, five, seven, or even more times.

Ruling 1016. While performing rukūʿ, one’s body must be still and he must not intentionally move his body in a manner that it is no longer still, even when – based on obligatory precaution – he is not saying an obligatory dhikr. If a person intentionally does not observe this requirement to be still, then based on obligatory precaution his prayer is invalid even if he says dhikr while his body is still.

Ruling 1017. If at the time of saying the obligatory dhikr of rukūʿ one’s body moves inadvertently or unintentionally to the extent that it is no longer still, it is better that after his body has become still once more, he should say the dhikr again. However, if his body moves a little such that it does not stop becoming still, or, if he moves his fingers, there is no problem.

Ruling 1018. If a person, before bending all the way forward to the position of rukūʿ and before his body becomes still, intentionally says the dhikr of rukūʿ, his prayer is invalid unless he says the dhikr of rukūʿ again while his body is still. And if he does this inadvertently, it is not necessary to say it again.

Ruling 1019. If a person intentionally raises his head from rukūʿ before completing the obligatory dhikr, his prayer is invalid. However, if he raises his head inadvertently, then repeating the dhikr is not necessary.

Ruling 1020. If a person cannot remain in the position of rukūʿ for the length of the dhikr – not even for saying one subḥānal lāh, even without being still – it is not obligatory for him to say it. However, the recommended precaution is that he says the dhikr even if he says the rest of it while rising from rukūʿ with a general intention of attaining proximity to Allah (qaṣd al-qurbah al-muṭlaqah) [i.e. with the intention of attaining proximity to Allah without specifying that it is an obligatory dhikr of the prayer]; or he should start before that [i.e. he should start saying the dhikr before he has reached the position of rukūʿ with a general intention of attaining proximity to Allah].

Ruling 1021. If due to some illness or suchlike one cannot become still in rukūʿ, his prayer is valid. However, before coming out of the rukūʿ position, he must say the obligatory dhikr in the manner mentioned in the previous ruling.

Ruling 1022. If a person cannot bend forward to the extent of rukūʿ, he must lean on something and perform rukūʿ. If when he leans on something he still cannot perform rukūʿ in a normal manner, he must bend forward to the extent that it can be commonly considered to be rukūʿ. And if he cannot bend forward to even this extent, he must perform rukūʿ by indicating with his head.

Ruling 1023. If someone whose duty is to make an indication with his head for rukūʿ cannot do so, he must close his eyes with the intention of performing rukūʿ and say the dhikr and then open his eyes with the intention of rising from rukūʿ. If he is unable to do this, he must make an intention in his heart of performing rukūʿ; and based on obligatory precaution, he must make an indication with his hand for rukūʿ and say the dhikr. In this case, if it is possible, he must – based on obligatory precaution – combine this act with indicating for rukūʿ while sitting [i.e. he must perform prayers while standing and perform the rukūʿs by making an intention in his heart of performing rukūʿ, indicate with his hand, and say the dhikr; and he must also perform prayers again and perform the rukūʿs while sitting and indicate with his head].

Ruling 1024. Someone who cannot perform rukūʿ in a standing position but can bend forward for rukūʿ while sitting must perform prayers in a standing position, and for rukūʿ he must indicate with his head. And the recommended precaution is that he should perform another prayer, and for the rukūʿs he should sit down and bend forward.

Ruling 1025. If a person intentionally raises his head after reaching the position of rukūʿ, and again bends forward to the extent of rukūʿ, his prayer is invalid.

Ruling 1026. After completing the dhikr of rukūʿ one must stand straight; and based on obligatory precaution, after his body has become still he must go into sajdah. If he intentionally goes into sajdah before standing, his prayer is invalid; and the same applies, based on obligatory precaution, if he intentionally goes into sajdah before his body has become still.

Ruling 1027. If a person forgets to perform rukūʿ and remembers this before he performs sajdah, he must stand upright and then perform rukūʿ; and it will not suffice if he performs rukūʿ while in the state of bending forward [not having stood upright].

Ruling 1028. If after one’s forehead touches the ground he remembers that he did not perform rukūʿ, it is necessary that he stands up and performs rukūʿ; and in case he remembers in the second sajdah, then based on obligatory precaution his prayer is invalid.

Ruling 1029. It is recommended that a person says takbīr before going into rukūʿ and while standing straight. It is also recommended that when a man performs rukūʿ, he should push back his knees, keep his back flat, stretch his neck forward and keep it in line with his back, look between his feet, invoke blessings upon Prophet Muḥammad (Ṣ) and his progeny (ṣalawāt) before or after the dhikr; and after rising from rukūʿ and standing straight, and while his body is still, he should say:

سَمِعَ اللهُ لِمَنْ حَمِدَهُ

samiʿal lāhu liman ḥamidah

Ruling 1030. It is recommended that when a woman performs rukūʿ, she should place her hands above her knees and not push back her knees.
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