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Sujūd (Arabic: سُجود, [sʊˈdʒuːd]), or sajdah (سجدة, pronounced [ˈsadʒda(tu)]), is the act of low bowing or prostration to Allah facing the qiblah (direction of the Kaaba at Mecca). It is usually done in standardized prayers (salah). The position involves kneeling and bowing till one touches the ground with 7 bones (points): the forehead & nose, two hands, two knees and two sets of toes.[1] In accordance with the Sunnah (the Way) of Muhammed (peace be upon him), one's elbows should be far from one's body,[2] unless it causes discomfort to other worshippers. Some scholars hold the position that this applies only to men, and that women are encouraged to tuck their elbows in out of modesty,[3] One then remains in that position until one attains a relaxed state while glorifying God (سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الْأعْلَى subḥāna rabbiya l-ʾaʿlā, "Glory be to my Lord, the Most High!") thrice or more in odd number of times.

Man in prostration.svg
Worshipper performing Sujood
Official nameSujud/Sujood
Also calledSajdah, Prostration in Islam
Observed byMuslim
SignificanceA way that Muslim worshippers prostrate and humble themselves before Allah (God), while glorifying Him
Related toSalah, Tilawa, Allah, Alhamdulillah, Prostration, Islam, Sunnah, Fardh, Muhammad, Muhammad in Islam


Sujud (prostration) is one of the main pillars of daily prayer in Islam. A single act of sujud is called a sajdah (plural sajdāt). Muslims do sujud several times in each prayer, depending on the number of raka'at of prayer: two sajadat are performed every raka'ah, and prayers vary in obligatory length between two and four raka'at (additional supererogatory raka'at are often performed as sunnah muakkadah, or emulation of the example of Muhammad as represented in the sahih hadith). A raka'ah is a unit of set actions that have to be performed in a prayer. The shortest fard (obligatory) Muslim prayer is that of fajr, performed immediately before sunrise (2 raka'ahs) and the shortest ever possible number of raka'ahs is in the Witr prayer, which is considered Sunnah in the Maaliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali Madhabs (Schools of Fiqh) and Wajib (Compulsory) in the Hanafi madhab, with one needing an odd number of Rakats to complete the prayer, with 1 being valid in all madhabs but the Hanafi Madhab. The raka'ah can be described as follows:[4]

  1. Standing and saying Allahu akbar, reciting surah al-Fatiha, and reciting a short passage of the Quran such as sura al-Ikhlas.
  2. Performing ruku' (bowing down) without bending the knees and with hands resting on the knees, while reciting additional phrases to glorify Allah.
  3. Standing up from bowing, and reciting further.
  4. Going in prostration (sajdah) once, while reciting additional specific phrases to glorify Allah.
  5. Lifting the face up from prostration but kneeling or sitting on the ground.
  6. Performing a second prostration (sajdah).
  7. Rising for the second, third, or fourth raka'ah. In the last raka'ah, one remains sitting and recites the tashahhud, and then performs the taslim by turning the head to the right and saying, as-salamu alaikum wa rahmatu Allah wa barakatuh ("may the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you"), and then turning the head to the left and repeating the blessing to conclude the prayer.[4]

Points 1-7 define one raka'ah. Thus, the shortest prayer, that of fajr, contains four sajadat. For Hanafis, witr prayer is three raka'ahs, which is for them considered wajib, a level of necessity below that of fard but above all else: in practice, this makes witr obligatory.[4]

While in sujud, the use of a turbah (a small piece of soil or clay, often a clay tablet), on which a person places their forehead, is compulsory in most Shi'a schools of Islam.

Other types of sujudEdit

In Islam, Sujud (prostrations) occupy a quintessential position in the five obligatory daily formal prayers.

Sajdah of thankfulnessEdit

This is from the sunnah of the Islamic prophet Muhammad that whenever he used to hear news which would make him happy, he would make sujud to thank God.

Sajdah of recitation / TilawahEdit

During recitation (tilawa) of the Qur'an, including individual and congregation prayers, there are fifteen places where Muslims believe, when Muhammad recited a certain verse (ayah), he prostrated to God.[citation needed] This act (sujud) is the sign and symbol of the great respect that Muslims attach to God/Allah because He is giver and that He is Merciful too he who ask for His mercy and Grace. The verses are:

۩ Q7:206, al Aʿrāf
۩ Q13:15, ar-Raʻd [5]
۩ Q16:49, an-Nahl
۩ Q17:107, al-Isra
۩ Q19:58, Maryam
۩ Q22:18, al-Hajj [6]
۩ Q22:77, al-Hajj
۩ Q25:60, al-Furqan
۩ Q27:25, an-Naml
۩ Q32:15, as-Sajda
۩ Q38:24, Ṣād
۩ Q41:37, Fussilat
۩ Q53:62, an-Najm
۩ Q84:21, al-Inshiqaq
۩ Q96:19, al-Alaq

In most copies of the Qur'an these are indicated by the symbol ۩ , with an over-line on the word/s that invoked the prostration. Muslims must prostrate once in order to follow the Sunnah (example) of Muhammad and recite any one or more of the following along with Takbeer before and after the sujud,

Sajdah of forgetfulnessEdit

A Muslim prayer in Sujud, Grand Mosque of Nishapur, Khorasan, Iran.

Sujud Sahwi or Sajdah of forgetfulness occurs during the ritual salat prayer. Out of forgetfulness a person can either omit obligatory parts of salat (Qabli) or add to the salat (Ba'adi). In either cases the person corrects their salat by doing the Sujud Sahwi.

Rule of direction of the prostrationEdit

Sujud is made only to God. In prayer, Muslims face the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, with the Kaaba being the united direction that Muslims face.

Sayings during sujudEdit

There are numerous things that a Muslim can say during sujud as is evident from the example of Muhammad (peace be upon him). Among them are duas (prayers for God's help), hamd (praising of God), tasbih (glorifying God) and statements of Muhammad which make a person humble. Muslims are not allowed to recite the Qur'an during sujud. During the obligatory sujud during prayer one recites "سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الْأَعْلَى", preferably an odd number of times.

Other usesEdit

Many Muslim footballers perform the sujud as a goal celebration, as well as cricketers when they score a century.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Sahih Bukhari, Hadith No. 812".
  2. ^ "Sahih Muslim, Hadith No. 497a".
  3. ^ "The Way In Which Women Pray (Salafi)".
  4. ^ a b c Mohammad, Mamdouh N. (2003). "Overview of Salat". Salat: The Islamic Prayer from A to Z. Dr Mahmdouh N Mohammad. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0-9652877-4-6.
  5. ^ "Surah Ar-Ra'd - 15-25".
  6. ^ "Surah Al-Hajj - 18-28".

External linksEdit