Sujud (Arabic: سُجود) or Sajdah (Arabic: سجدة) is an Arabic word meaning prostration to Allah swt in the direction of the Kaaba at Mecca which is usually done during the daily prayers (salah). The position involves having the forehead, nose, both hands, knees and all toes touching the ground together. The Arabic word ‘sujud’ (root: Siin-Jiim-Dal) is commonly taken to mean ‘prostration’, however there are differences between translators and also amongst occurrences within translations.
They are not [all] the same; among the People of the Scripture is a community standing [in obedience], reciting the verses of Allah during periods of the night and prostrating [in prayer].
-Surah Al-Imran 03:113
Sajdah is an action that exhibits the highest degree of humility of a creature before his Creator. When a person performs Sajdah he is basically acknowledging the fact that he is completely inferior to Allah (SWT). During the sujud, we recite the following:-
SUB-HAANA RABBIYAL A’ALAA
How Perfect is my Lord, the Highest
Reading the word sujud means to consent or to agree to something. The religionists have consistently said that in many verses of the Reading this word does not mean a physical act of prostration, but they try to make it an exception when the word is used to refer to human beings. They realise it is ridiculous to say the sun, the moon, the stars, and the trees prostrate themselves to God when the Reading uses the same word sujud.
He created the human. He teaches him clearly. The sun and the moon with calculated movements, and the stars and the trees are all consenting (yasjudan) and the skies, which He raised with a just balance.
Allah swt created human beings and He teaches them clearly that the movements of the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky are on their own consent (yasjudan). This word is derived from the root word sajada, which means to give consent or to agree to something or to admit something is true. Perhaps the religionists and their Arabic scholars may want to describe how the sun and the moon prostrate to God before they insist that everyone should prostrate physically to the Lord of the Universe.
The billions of stars in the sky, the grass on earth, the vegetables that we eat, the Bougainvillaea we plant around our houses, the trees in the forest all sujud to the One God. We do not witness any of them prostrating physically. Everything we see obeys its God-given command; and God says it performs its sujud to Him.
Types of Sajdah
Sujud is one of the main pillars of daily prayer in Islam. A single act of sujud is called a sajdah (plural sajadāt). Muslims do sujud in each prayer many times depending upon the Raka’ah of prayer. Apart from the Farz Sajdah commonly performed in salat, there are many types of Sajdah, including the
- Sajdah of Thankfulness: this is from the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم that whenever he used to hear news which would make him happy, he would make sujud to thank Allah Most High.
- Sajdah of Recitation. During the recitation of the Qur’an there are certain places where, when Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم recited a certain ayah (verse), he prostrated to God. Whenever Muslims recite any of these verses (indicated with ۩ in most copies of the Qur’an), they may also prostrate in order to follow the Sunnah (example) of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم. Whoever recites an Ayah of prostration or hears an Ayah of prostration should preferably pronounce the takbir (bringing his hands up to his ears and declaring “Allahu Akbar”, meaning ‘God is the Greatest’) and prostrate and then make the takbir again and rise from the prostration.
Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar, “When the Prophet recited a Sura that contained the prostration he would prostrate and we would do the same and some of us (because of the heavy rush) could not find a place for prostration.”
[Sahih Bukhari, 2:19:181]
- Sajdah of Forgetfulness, which is made when there is any delay of an obligatory act (fardh) or an omission or delay of a required act (Wajib) in performance of a prayer, such as forgetting to recite Fatiha in any prayer, reciting the surah before the Fatiha, forgetting to recite the supplication of Witnessing (at-Tahiyyatu) in the first and second sitting etc.
The Qur’an describes those who prostrate as close to God and as an identification of the believers. In hadith we find,
Abu Huraira (R.A.) reported that the messenger of Allah said: “The nearest a servant comes to his Lord is when he is prostrating himself, so make supplication (in this state)”
It also has been proven through the previous scriptures that all the prophets prior to Allah’s Beloved Apostle sws also prayed in the same manner. We must remember, that after thousands of years (and Allah knows best the true count of things) of worshipping Allah, it was only one single prostration that He commanded him to do that Iblis rejected in his arrogance, and that was enough to get him thrown out of heaven and be cursed till the Day of Reckoning.
This is the most favored position any servant of the All-Praiseworthy can attain by his body. Therefore, Muslims should continuously try to please Allah by prostrating in front of Him, praise Him, declare His Greatness and ask Him whatever we wish to ask in this position, for we are the closest to Allah in this position. The obligatory 34 prostrations (of the 5 obligatory prayers) should be performed perfectly. May Allah Subhan Huwa Ta’lah grant us the capacity and ability to prostrate to Him and attain His favor. Ameen.