Prostration of Quran Recitation
Answered by Sidi Abdul Wahid
How does one perform Sujud at-Tilawah (the Prostration of Quran Recitation) according to the madhab of Imam as-Shafi`i?
Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim
Prior to going in to a discussion on how to do a proper Sujud at- Tilawah
(Prostration of Quran Recitation), it may be useful to review a proper
Sujud (prostration) first.
Although it is the most relied upon opinion (mu`tamid) that the standing
position (qiyam) is the most excellent of all the integrals (arkan)
of prayer because that is the position in which the Quran (the most excellent
of all words) is recited...there is another opinion that the prostration
(sujud) is the most excellent of all the integrals of prayer because of
the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) that
is relayed by Imam Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (r): "The closest
a servant is to his Lord is while he is in prostration (sajid), so make
plenty of du'a."
Not only is prostration (sujud) an integral of prayer...but the prostration
itself has its own conditions.
Conditions (shurut) of Prostration:
- That you do not drop down for any other purpose. That is, you must
not intend some other action like dropping down to the ground out of
exhaustion, or going down in order to pick up something from the floor,
- That all the seven "limbs" of prostration touch the ground. These
seven are: the forehead, the inside of the two hands (palms/fingers),
the two knees, and the bottom of the toes of the two feet. To fulfill
this condition, at least some portion of each of these seven "limbs"
should touch the ground--that is the most relied upon opinion. There
is a weaker opinion (qawl) that the minimum part of the body that
must touch the ground during prostration is some portion of the forehead
- That you remain in prostration for the duration of a moment of
serenity (tama'ninah). That is, all your limbs should come to a rest
and pause for at least a moment, as long as it takes to say "subhanallah".
- That the forehead is exposed. In other words, there can be nothing
covering up your entire forehead… some portion must remain uncovered/exposed
so that at least a part of your forehead is able to touch the ground.
- That you bear some weight on your forehead. In other words, you
must shift your weight such that your forehead bears some of the pressure...
it is not sufficient to simply have your forehead make contact with
- That your waist is higher than your head during prostration.
- That you do not prostrate on something that is moving with your
movements. (meaning: do not place your forehead on something that is
attached to you). For example, say you have a hood over your head or
you are wearing a shawl on your shoulder: if, as you are going down,
that material some how comes in between your forehead and the ground,
the prostration is not valid, because the material is from something
you are wearing/it is moving with you.
Prostration of Quran Recitation (Sujud at-Tilawah)
It is sunnah to make a prostration of Quran recitation at the appropriate
verses in the Quran for: - the one who recites, - the one who is actively listening,
and - the one who just happens to hear the recitation.
There are 14 places in the Quran when it is sunnah to prostrate:
- Surat al-A`raaf (surah 7, verse 206)
- Surat ar-Ra`d (surah 13, verse 15)
- Surat an-Nahl (surah 16, verse 49-50)
- Surat al-Israa' (surah 17, verse 107-9)
- Surat Maryam (surah 19, verse 58)
- Surat al-Hajj (surah 22, verse 18)
- Surat al-Hajj (surah 22, verse 77)
- Surat al-Furqan (surah 25, verse 60)
- Surat an-Naml (surah 27, verse 25-6)
- Surat as-Sajda (surah 32, verse 15)
- Surat Fussilat (surah 41, verse 37-8)
- Surat an-Najm (surah 53, verse 62)
- Surat al-Inshiqaaq (surah 84, verse 21)
- Surat al-`Alaq (surah 96, verse 19)
Conditions for the prostration at these verses to be considered a sunnah:
- That the recitation is allowed in the Shari`ah. For example, the
one reciting the Quran cannot be a person who is in major ritual impurity
(janabah), because it is haram for such a person to recite Quran.
- That the recitation is done on purpose. That is, you would not
prostrate if these verses were recited by someone who is talking in
his or her sleep, or an intoxicated person, or someone who is not
even aware of what he or she is saying.
- That the recitation is of the entire verse (the entire ayah of
- That the recitation comes from a single reciter.
- That the prostration does not take place during a funeral prayer
- That the recitation and the prostration occur at the same time.
(there is no long pause between the recitation and the prostration;
if there is a long pause in between, then it is no longer sunnah to
- If you are in the middle of prayer, then the following 2 conditions
- That you are not being lead in prayer. That is, if you recite
one of the verses of prostration while you are following an
Imam in prayer, you cannot make the prostration for your own
recitation. (However, if your Imam recites a verse of prostration
and then prostrates, you must also follow in prostration in
order to avoid invalidating your congregational prayer)
- That the verse was not recited solely for the purpose of wanting
to make the prostration.
The Integrals (arkan) of the Prostration for Quran Recitation are:
- Make the Intention (niyyah)
- Saying "Allahu Akbar" (Takbirat al-Ihraam)
- Prostrating (sujud)
- A moment of serenity (tama'ninah)
- Sitting up after the prostration (juluus)
- Saying "as-salamu alaykum" (as-salaam)
- Doing this all in the above order (tartib)
Note: The Prostration of Quran Recitation is considered to be like
prayer...in that you must be in a state of ritual purity (have wudu) and
facing the qiblah in order to perform it.
Note: Standing (qiyam) is not an integral of the prostration...you
could do the prostration for Quran Recitation while starting from a sitting
In summary, how do you go about doing the Prostration of Quran recitation?
- you start by either reciting Quran or listening to someone's recitation,
and then one of the verses of prostration is recited.
- then make sure you have wudu, locate the direction of the qiblah and
- either starting from a standing position, or from a sitting position,
raise your hands and do a takibirat al-ihram (say "Allahu Akbar") as you
would when starting prayer.
- make sujud…and be sure that your prostration fulfills all the aforementioned
conditions of a valid sujud
- sit up after making your (single) sujud, and then do a taslimah (say
"as salamu alaykum") as you would when ending a prayer
And Allah knows best.
Fath al-`Allaam, v2. (217-223)
at-Taqriraat as-Sadidah (168-169)
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