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Obligatory acts relating to Namaz » Things on which sajdah is permitted (jāʾiz) → ← Obligatory acts relating to Namaz » Bowing (rukūʿ)

Obligatory acts relating to Namaz » Prostrating (sujūd)

Ruling 1031. In every rakʿah of the obligatory and recommended prayers, one must perform two sajdahs after rukūʿ. A sajdah is performed when one places his forehead on the ground in a particular manner with the intention of humility [before Allah]. While performing a sajdah in prayers, it is obligatory that the palms of both hands, both knees, and both big toes are placed on the ground. Based on obligatory precaution, [for the purposes of sajdah] the ‘forehead’ refers to its middle area, i.e. the rectangular area when two imaginary lines are drawn between the place where the eyebrows begin(1) in the middle of the forehead up to the point where the hair grows.

Ruling 1032. Two sajdahs together comprise one rukn, and if someone does not perform both of them in obligatory prayers in one rakʿah – even if this is due to forgetfulness or not knowing the ruling – his prayer is invalid. The same applies, based on obligatory precaution, if one adds two sajdahs in one rakʿah forgetfully or due to ‘inculpable ignorance’ (al-jahl al-quṣūrī). (Inculpable ignorance is when someone has a valid excuse for not knowing).

Ruling 1033. If a person intentionally does not perform a sajdah or adds a sajdah, his prayer becomes invalid; but if he inadvertently does not perform a sajdah or adds one, his prayer does not become invalid. The rule relating to when a sajdah is not performed will be mentioned later.

Ruling 1034. If someone who can place his forehead on the ground, intentionally or inadvertently does not place it on the ground, he has not performed sajdah even if the other parts of his body touch the ground. However, if he places his forehead on the ground and inadvertently does not place the other parts of his body on the ground or inadvertently does not say dhikr, his sajdah is valid.

Ruling 1035. When one has the option to, it is better that in sajdah he says:

subḥānal lāh


سُبْحَانَ اللهِ


×3

…or:

subḥāna rabbiyal aʿlā wa biḥamdih


سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الْأَعْلَىٰ وَ بِحَمْدِهِ


×1

…and these words must be said consecutively and in correct Arabic. Saying any dhikr suffices, but based on obligatory precaution it must be of this length. And it is recommended that one says subḥāna rabbiyal aʿlā wa biḥamdih three, five, seven, or even more times.

Ruling 1036. While performing sujūd, 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.

Ruling 1037. If a person intentionally says the dhikr of sajdah before his forehead touches the ground and before his body becomes still, his prayer is invalid unless he says the dhikr again when his body is still. And if he intentionally raises his head from sajdah before completing the dhikr, his prayer is invalid.

Ruling 1038. If a person inadvertently says the dhikr of sajdah before his forehead touches the ground, and if before he lifts his head from sajdah he realises that he has made a mistake, he must remain still and say the dhikr again. However, if his forehead touches the ground and he inadvertently says the dhikr before his body is still, it is not necessary to repeat the dhikr.

Ruling 1039. If after one raises his head from sajdah he realises that he raised his head before he completed the dhikr of sajdah, his prayer is valid.

Ruling 1040. If while saying the dhikr of sajdah one intentionally raises one of the seven parts of the body from the ground, and if this is inconsistent with the requirement for the body to be still in sujūd, the prayer is invalid. The same applies, based on obligatory precaution, when he is not saying the dhikr.

Ruling 1041. If before completing the dhikr of sajdah one inadvertently raises his forehead from the ground, he must not place it on the ground again, and he must count it as one sajdah. However, if he inadvertently raises another part of his body from the ground, he must place it back on the ground and say the dhikr.

Ruling 1042. After completing the dhikr of the first sajdah, one must sit until his body becomes still and then go into sajdah again.

Ruling 1043. In sajdah, the difference in height between the place where one places his forehead and where he places his knees and toes must not be more than the height of four closed fingers. In fact, the obligatory precaution is that the difference in height between the place where he places his forehead and the place where he stands must also not be more than four closed fingers.

Ruling 1044. On sloping ground, even if the incline is not very evident, if the difference in height between the place of one’s forehead and the place of his knees and toes is more than four closed fingers, his prayer is problematic [i.e. based on obligatory precaution, it is not valid].

Ruling 1045. If a person mistakenly places his forehead on something that is higher than the place of his knees and toes by more than the height of four closed fingers, in the event that the height of the object is such that it cannot be said he is performing sajdah, he must raise his head and place it on something that is not higher than the height of four closed fingers. And if the height of the object is such that it can be said he is performing sajdah, in the event that he becomes aware of this after saying the obligatory dhikr, he can raise his head from sajdah and complete the prayer. However, if he becomes aware of this before saying the obligatory dhikr, he must slide his head from it and place it on something that is equal to or lower than the height of four closed fingers and then say the obligatory dhikr. And if it is not possible for him to slide his forehead in this manner, he can say the obligatory dhikr in the position that he is in and complete the prayer, and it is not necessary for him to perform the prayer again.

Ruling 1046. There must not be a barrier between one’s forehead and the thing that it is permitted to perform sajdah on. Therefore, if the turbah(2) is so dirty that his forehead does not make contact with the turbah itself, the sajdah is invalid. However, if, for example, only the colour of the turbah has changed, there is no problem.

Ruling 1047. In sajdah, one must place his two palms on the ground; and based on obligatory precaution, one must place the whole of his palms on the ground if possible. However, if it is not possible, there is no problem in him placing the back of his hand on the ground; and if placing the back of the hand is not possible either, then based on obligatory precaution he must place his wrists on the ground; and in the event that this is not possible, he must place any part of his forearm up to his elbows on the ground; and if even this is not possible, then placing the upper arm on the ground is sufficient.

Ruling 1048. In sajdah, one must place his two big toes on the ground. However, it is not necessary to place the tips of the toes on the ground; rather, placing the back or front of them also suffices. If a person does not place his big toe on the ground but instead places his other toes or the top of his foot on the ground, or, if on account of having long nails his big toe does not make contact with the ground, his prayer is invalid. And if one has performed prayers in this manner while not knowing the ruling due to his own fault, he must perform them again.

Ruling 1049. If part of one’s big toe has been cut off, he must place the rest of it on the ground; and if nothing of it remains or the remaining part is very short and cannot in any way be placed on the ground or on something else, then based on obligatory precaution he must place his other toes on the ground. If he does not have any toes, he must place whatever is remaining of his foot on the ground.

Ruling 1050. If a person performs sajdah in an unusual manner – for example, he places his chest and stomach on the ground, or he stretches his legs a little – in the event that it can be said that he has performed sajdah, his prayer is valid. However, if it is said that he lay down and it cannot be called a sajdah, his prayer is invalid.

Ruling 1051. The part of the turbah or the thing on which it is permitted to perform sajdah must be pure. However, if, for example, one places a turbah on an impure carpet, or, if one side of the turbah is impure and he places his forehead on its pure side, or, if one part of the turbah is pure and another impure, then as long as it does not make the forehead impure, there is no problem.

Ruling 1052. If there is a boil, wound, or suchlike on one’s forehead that cannot be placed on the ground even without him exerting any pressure on it, in the event that the boil, for example, does not cover his entire forehead, he must perform sajdah with the unaffected part of his forehead. And if performing sajdah with the unaffected part is dependent on him digging a hole in the ground and placing his boil in the hole and placing the unaffected part on the ground to the extent that is sufficient for sajdah, then he must do this. (The explanation of what is meant by ‘forehead’ was mentioned at the beginning of this section).

Ruling 1053. If a boil or wound covers one’s entire forehead as previously defined, then based on obligatory precaution he must place either side of it – i.e. the rest of his forehead – or one side of it, on the ground in whatever way he can. If he cannot do this, he must perform sajdah with a part of his face; and the obligatory precaution is that if he can, he must perform sajdah with his chin. If he cannot perform sajdah with one of the two sides of his forehead, and if performing sajdah with his face is not possible at all, he must perform sajdah by indication.

Ruling 1054. With regard to someone who can sit but cannot make his forehead touch the ground, if he can bend forward to the extent that it can be commonly called sajdah, he must bend forward to that extent and place the turbah or something else on which it is permitted to perform sajdah on something elevated, and then he must place his forehead on it. However, he must place his palms, knees, and toes on the ground in the usual manner if possible.

Ruling 1055. In the situation mentioned in the previous ruling, if there is no elevated object upon which to place the turbah or something else on which it is permitted to perform sajdah, and there is no one who can, for example, raise the turbah and hold it so that he can perform sajdah on it, then in such a case, he must raise the turbah or the other thing with his hand and perform sajdah on it.

Ruling 1056. If a person cannot perform sajdah at all and the extent to which he can bend forward is not sufficient for it to be called sajdah, he must perform sajdah by indicating with his head. If he cannot do this, he must indicate with his eyes. If he cannot even indicate with his eyes, he must make the intention of performing sajdah in his heart; and based on obligatory precaution, he must indicate with his hands and suchlike and say the obligatory dhikr.

Ruling 1057. If a person’s forehead is raised involuntarily from the place of sajdah, in the event that it is possible to do so, he must not let it touch the place of sajdah again; this is considered to be one sajdah, whether he has said the dhikr of sajdah or not. If he cannot keep check of his head’s movements and his forehead involuntarily touches the place of sajdah again, then this is still considered to be one sajdah. However, if he has not said the dhikr, the obligatory precaution is that he must say it but he must do so with a general intention of attaining proximity to Allah and not with a specific intention [i.e. not with the intention of it being an obligatory dhikr of the prayer].

Ruling 1058. In a situation where one must observe taqiyyah,(3) he can perform sajdah on a rug or something similar, and it is not necessary that he goes to another place to perform prayers, or that he delays prayers in order to perform them in that place once the reason for observing taqiyyah is no longer valid. However, if in the same place he can perform sajdah on haṣīr or something else that is valid to perform sajdah on in a manner that does not contravene taqiyyah, then he must not perform sajdah on a rug or something similar.

Ruling 1059. If a person performs sajdah on a feather mattress or a similar thing and his body does not stay still, it is invalid.

Ruling 1060. If a person is compelled to perform prayers on muddy ground, in the event that it does not cause him excessive difficulty (mashaqqah) for his body and dress to become soiled with mud, he must perform sajdah and say tashahhud in the normal manner. However, if it does cause him excessive difficulty, he must indicate with his head for sajdah while he is standing and also say tashahhud standing. In such a situation, his prayer is valid.

Ruling 1061. In the first and third rakʿahs, which do not have tashahhud – as is the case in the third rakʿah of ẓuhr, ʿaṣr, and ʿishāʾ prayers – the obligatory precaution is that after the second sajdah, one must sit still for a moment and then stand up.

(1) This refers to the ends of the eyebrows that are nearest to the nose, not the ends that are nearest to the temples. (See Tawḍīḥ al-Masāʾil-i Jāmiʿ, vol. 1, p. 361, Ruling 1235).
(2) A turbah is a piece of earth or clay on which one places his forehead in sajdah.
(3) Taqiyyah refers to the discretionary concealment of one’s beliefs under duress.

Obligatory acts relating to Namaz » Things on which sajdah is permitted (jāʾiz) → ← Obligatory acts relating to Namaz » Bowing (rukūʿ)
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