Prayer #13: Sujud/Prostration
The Prophet, Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam, said takbir (Allahu Akbar) when it came time to bow down in prayer, put both of his hands on the ground before putting them upon his knees. He leaned upon his hands (and open) and pressed his fingers, and exposed them to the direction of Qibla while keeping them parallel to his shoulders; sometimes parallel to the two ears. The Prophet, Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam, then pressed his nose and forehead to the ground while leaning upon both knees with the front of both feet to the ground and exposed (both legs and backs) tip-toe to the Qibla. Both of his heels would be pressed together. These are the 7 limbs used by the Prophet, Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam, to prostrate, i.e two hands, two knees, two feet, forehead and nose; his forehead and nose are considered one in prostration.
Abu Hurairah, Radhiyallahu Anhu, reported Allah’s Messenger, Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam, as saying: When anyone of you observes prostration he should not kneel down as the camel kneels down. But should put down his hands before his knees. (Abu Dawud: 840, Nasai, Tirmidhi)
Narrated Al Bara’ bin Azib, Radhiyallahu Anhu, Allah’s Messenger, Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam, said: When you prostrate, place the palms of your hands on the ground and raise your elbows. (Muslim: 494).
Narrated Wail bin Hujr, Radhiyallahu Anhu: Whenever the Prophet, Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam, bowed for ruku he would spread out his fingers and when he prostrated he would bring his fingers together. (Hakim: 227/1).
Abdullah bin Malik bin Buhaina, Radhiyallahu Anhu, reported that when Allah’s Messenger, Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam. observed prostration he stretched his arms so much that the whiteness of his armpits became visible. (Bukhari: 390, Muslim 495)
Ibnu Abbas, Radhiyallahu Anhu, reported that Allah’s Messenger, Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam, said: I have been commanded to prostrate myself on seven bones; The forehead and he pointed at his nose, the hands, the knees, and the extremities of the feet and not to fold back the clothing and hair (while engaged in prayer). (Bukhari: 812, Muslim: 490).
Prostration between men and women are the same. Women also have to lift both arms off the ground and away from the stomach.
Narrated Anas, Radiyallahu Anhu: The Prophet, Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam said: Do the prostration properly and do not put your forearms flat with elbows touching the ground like a dog. And if you want to spit, do not spit in front nor on the right for the person in prayer is speaking in private to his Lord. (Bukhari: 532, Muslim: 493).
When Allah’s Apostle, Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam, observed prostration, he kept so much space beneath his arms that if a small lamb were to pass between them it would have easily passed. (Muslim: 494)
Then he prayed several du’a in prostration, as illustrated in the following hadiths, which we may choose from.
1. Reported Hudhafa, Radhiyallahu Anhu, that Allah’s Messenger, Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam, said in his bowing (Subhaana robbiyal ‘adhiim) Glory be to my Lord, the Great. And when he prostrated he said,
سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الْأَعْلَى
Subhaana robbiyal a’laa
Glory be to my Lord, the Highest (Muslim: 772). (Recite 3 times.)
2. Abu Hurairah, Radhiyallahu Anhu, reported that Allah’s Apostle, Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam, used to recite in his prostration:
اللهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي ذَنْبِي كُلَّهُ دِقَّهُ، وَجُلَّهُ، وَأَوَّلَهُ وَآخِرَهُ وَعَلَانِيَتَهُ وَسِرَّه
Allaahummaghfirlii dhanbii kullahuu diqqohuu wa jillahuu wa awwalahuu wa aakhirohuu wa ‘alaa niyatahuu wa sirrohuu
O Allah, forgive me all my sins, minute and significant, the first and the last, open and secret. (Muslim: 483)
3. Aishha, Radiyallahu Anha, reported: I found one night Allah’s Messenger, Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam, missing from the bed. I searched for him and my hands touched the soles of his feet while he was observing prostration and these feet were erect (on the ground) and he was saying:
اللهُمَّ أَعُوذُ بِرِضَاكَ مِنْ سَخَطِكَ، وَبِمُعَافَاتِكَ مِنْ عُقُوبَتِكَ، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْكَ لَا أُحْصِي ثَنَاءً عَلَيْكَ أَنْتَ كَمَا أَثْنَيْتَ عَلَى نَفْسِكَ
Allaahumma a’uudhubiridhooka min sakhotika wa bi mu’aa fatika min ‘uquubatik wa a’uudhubika minka laa uhsii thanaa an ‘alaika anta kamaa athnaita ‘alaa nafsik
O Allah! I seek protection against Your Wrath in Your Pleasure. I seek protection in Your Pardon against Your chastisement. I am not capable of enumerating of You. You are as You have lauded Yourself. (Muslim: 486)
4. Ali, Radhiyallahu Anhu, narrated that when the Holy Prophet, Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam, observed prostration he said:
اللهُمَّ لَكَ سَجَدْتُ، وَبِكَ آمَنْتُ، وَلَكَ أَسْلَمْتُ، سَجَدَ وَجْهِي لِلَّذِي خَلَقَهُ، وَصَوَّرَهُ، وَشَقَّ سَمْعَهُ وَبَصَرَهُ، تَبَارَكَ اللهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ
Allaahumma laka sajadtu wa bika aamantu wa laka aslamtu sajada wajhiya lilladhii kholaqohuu wa sowwarohuu wa shaqqo sam’ahuu wa basorohuu tabaarokallaahu ahsanul khooliqiin
O Allah, it is to You that I observe prostration, and it is in You that I affirm my faith and it is before You that I surrender myself, and my face falls down in prostration before Him who created and shaped it, and brought forth sense of hearing and sighth and (he also said): Blessed is Allah, the Best of creators. (Muslim: 771).
سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الْأَعْلَى وَبِحَمْدِهِ
Subhaana robbiyal a’laa wa bihamdih
Most holy my God Most High and all praise is for Him (Abu Dawud, Daraquthni, Ahmad, Thabarani, and Baihaqi).
(Recite 3 times.)
Reference: The Prayer of Muhammad, Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam, by Syed Shafiq Ur-Rahman
Shifatu Shalaati An-Nabiyyi Shallallaahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam min At-Takbirii ilaa At-Tasliimi Ka-annaka Taraahaa, by Muhammad Nashiruddin Al-Albani