Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2: The Prostration During the Qur'anic Recitation
Whoever recites an "'ayyah of prostration (sajdah)" or hears an "'ayyah of prostration" should preferably pronounce the takbir and prostrate and then make the takbir again and rise from the prostration. This is called "the prostration of recital." There is no tashahud or taslim with the sajdah. Naf'i relates that Ibn 'Umar said: "The Prophet would recite the Qur'an to us and when he came to an ''ayyah of sajdah,' he would make the takbir and go into sajdah and we would make the sajdah." This is related by Abu Dawud, al-Baihaqi, and al-Hakim. The later holds it to be sahih according to al-Bukhari's and Muslim's criteria. Abu Dawud says: "Abdurrazzaq said: 'At-Thauri was amazed by that hadith.' He was amazed by it because it mentions the takbir." 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said: "If you read an 'ayyah of sajdah', then make the takbir and prostrate. And when you raise your head, make the takbir."
Volume 2, Page 41: Excellence of prostration during the Quranic recitation
Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "If a son of Adam recites an 'ayyah of prostration and prostrates, the Satan departs from him and cries: 'O woe, he was ordered to prostrate and he did, so for him is paradise. I was ordered to prostrate and I disobeyed, so for me is the Hell.'"
Volume 2, Page 41a: Ruling concerning prostration during the Quranic recitation
The majority of the scholars say that prostrations for the "'ayyat of sajdah" are sunnah for the one who recites the 'ayyah and for the one who hears it. This is based on what al-Bukhari recorded from 'Umar who recited an-Nahl upon the minbar one Friday, until he came to the "'ayyah of sajdah," and he descended from the pulpit and prostrated along with the people. On the next Friday, he recited the same and when he came to the 'ayyah of sajdah, he said: "O people, we have not been ordered to prostrate. Whoever does so has acted correctly, while, there is no sin upon one who does not do so." In another narration it is stated: "Allah has not forced upon us the sajdah but if one wishes to do so (he may make a prostration.)"
In addition, the group, except for Ibn Majah, records that Zaid ibn Thabit said: "I recited an-Najm to the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam and he did not prostrate during it." Ad-Daraqutni records it and observes: "None of us prostrated during it."
Ibn Hajar al-Asqallani says that the strongest opinion is that he left it to show that it is permissible not to do it. Shaf'i holds a similar view. This opinion is supported by what is recorded by al-Bazzar and adDaraqutni from Abu Hurairah who says: "The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam recited an-Najm and prostrated and we prostrated with him." (In Fath al-Bari, Ibn Hajar holds that its narrators are trustworthy.) Ibn Mas'ud moreover reported that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam recited anNajm and prostrated, and all of the people with him prostrated, save one old man from the Quraish who simply lifted some pebbles or dirt to his forehead and said: "That is sufficient for me." Ibn Mas'ud said: "After [some time] I found that he was killed while still an unbeliever." This is recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Volume 2, Page 42: The "ayyah of prostration"
There are fifteen places in the Qur'an at which one is to prostrate. 'Amr ibn al-'Aas relates that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam recited fifteen 'ayyat of prostration in the Qur'an, three coming from the Mufassal and two from surah al-Hajj. This is related by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim, and ad-Daraqutni. Al-Munzhiri and an-Nawawi say it is hasan. The fifteen 'ayyat are:
-1- "Lo! Those who are with thy Lord are not too proud to do Him service, but they praise Him and prostrate to Him" (al-A'raf 206).
-2- "And unto Allah falls prostrate whoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, as do their shadows in the morning and the evening hours" (ar-Ra'd 15).
-3- "And unto Allah does whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth of living creatures make prostration, and the angels (also) and they are not proud" (an-Nahl 49).
-4- "Say: Believe therein or believe not, lo! Those who were given knowledge before it, when it is read unto them, they fall down prostrate on their faces, adoring" (al-lsra' 107).
-5- "When the revelations of the Beneficent were recited unto them, they prostrated, adoring and weeping" (Maryam 58).
-6- "Haven't you seen that unto Allah prostrates whoever is in the heavens and whoever is in the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the hills, and the trees, and the beasts, and many of mankind, while there are many unto whom the doom is justly due. He whom Allah scorns, there is none to give him honor. Lo! Allah does what he wills" (al-Hajj 18).
-7- "O you who believe, bow down and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord and do good, that you may prosper" (al-Hajj 77).
-8- "And when it is said unto them: 'Prostrate unto the Beneficent,' they say: 'And what is the Beneficent'? Are we to prostrate to whatever you bid us?' And it increases aversion in them" (al-Furqan 60).
-9- "So they prostrate not to Allah! [He] who brings forth the hidden in the heavens and the earth. And He knows what you hide and what you proclaim" (an-Naml 25).
-10- "Only those who believe in Our revelations who, when they are reminded of them, fall down prostrate and hymn the praise of their Lord and who are not scornful" (as-Sajdah 15).
-11- "And David guessed that we had tried him, and he sought forgiveness of his Lord, and he bowed himself and fell down prostrate and repented" (Sad 24).
-12- "And of His portents are the night and the day and the sun and the moon. Prostrate not to the sun or the moon, but prostrate unto Allah who created them, if it is Him you worship" (Ha-Mim 37).
-13- "Rather prostrate before Allah and serve Him" (an-Najm 62).
-14- "And, when the Qur'an is recited unto them, they do not prostrate (unto Allah)" (al-Inshiqaq 21).
-15- "But prostrate yourself and draw near (unto Allah)" (al-'Alaq 19).
Volume 2, Page 43: The conditions for Prostration of Recital
The majority of the scholars lay down the same conditions and prerequisites for the prostration of recital as they do for the salah, with respect to purity, facing the qiblah, and covering the 'aurah. Ash-Shaukani says: "There is no hadith concerning prostrations of recital which proves that to prostrate one must be in a state of purity [free from major or minor defilements]. The people who were with him [the Prophet] prostrated with him and he did not order any of them to perform ablution, and it is hard to believe that they all were in a state of purity. Furthermore, the polytheists prostrated with him and they are impure, and their ablution would not be acceptable. Al-Bukhari relates from Ibn 'Umar that he would prostrate even when not free of minor impurities. Ibn Abi Shaibah recorded the same from him. As for the report from al-Baihaqi, (with a chain that Ibn Hajar calls sahih), which says: 'A man is not to prostrate unless he is in a state of purity.' These reports can be reconciliated by Ibn Hajar's statement that this (either) refers to a major defilement or when an option is available, whereas in the first case it depends on (presence of defilement and) the need to wash. Similarly, there is no hadith which states that the clothes or place need to be pure. Concerning covering the 'aurah and facing the qiblah if possible, there is no disagreement.
Ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Bari: "No one agrees with Ibn 'Umar that one may make the sajdah without being clean of minor impurities, save ashSha'biy. Ibn Abi Shaibah related it from him with a sahih chain. He also recorded from Abu 'Abdurrahman as-Salmi that he would recite an 'ayyah of sajdah and then he would prostrate without ablution or facing the qiblah and while walking and just motioning only. Some among the Prophet's household agree with Ibn 'Umar.
Volume 2, Page 44: Supplications during the prostration
Whoever makes this prostration may supplicate whatever he wishes. There is nothing authentic from the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam on this point except for the hadith from 'Aishah who said: "When the Prophet made the sajdah of the Qur'anic recital, he would say: 'I have prostrated my face to the One Who created it and brought forth its hearing and seeing by His might and power. Blessed be Allah, the best of Creators.'" This is related by the five, except Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim. At-Tirmizhi and Ibn as-Sakan grade it sahih. The later however adds that at the end the Prophet would say, three times, what he always said in his sujjud: "Glory be to my Lord, the Most High," that is, if he was making the sujjud of recital during a prayer.
Volume 2, Page 44a: Prostration of recital during the prayers
It is allowed for the imam or the one praying individually to recite "'ayyah of sajdah" during the salah, even if the recital is audible (jahriyyah) or inaudible (siriyyah), and he should prostrate, during the salah, after reading such 'ayat. Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from Abu Raf'i who said: "I prayed salatul 'isha with Abu Hurairah and he recited Izhas-sama'u un-shaqqat [al-Inshiqaq] and he prostrated during the prayer. I asked: 'O Abu Hurairah, what prostration is this?' he said: 'I made a prostration when reciting (this surah) behind Abu al-Qasim (Prophet), and since then I never stopped making a sajdah whenever I recite it."' Al-Hakim relates, from Ibn 'Umar, with a sound chain that meets the criteria of al-Bukhari and Muslim, saying that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wassalam made a sajdah during the first rak'ah of the noon prayer and his companions were of the opinion that he had recited surah as-Sajdah.
An-Nawawi says: "It is not disliked for the imam to recite 'ayat of sajdah, according to our school, or for the one who prays individually. And it does not matter if the recital is audible or inaudible. And he should make sajdah after he recites them."
Malik holds: "In general it is disliked." Abu Hanifah's opinion is that: "It is disliked during the silent recitals but not during the audible recitals." The author of al-Bahr maintains: "According to our school, it is preferred to delay the sajdah until after he [the imam] makes the taslim in order not to confuse the people praying behind him."
Volume 2, Page 45: Combining a number of sujjud
One may combine a number of sujjud and make only one sajdah if one recites an "'ayyah of sajdah" over and over, or one hears it being recited over and over, provided one delays the sajdah until all the recitals are finished. Some say that if one prostrates after the first recital, it will be sufficient. Others hold that one should prostrate again since the cause for the prostration is reintroduced.
Volume 2, Page 45a: Performing sajdah after recital
The majority of the scholars are of the opinion that the sajdah is to be performed right after the recital or hearing of the 'ayyah. Delaying such a sajdah does not rescind it. If an extended period of time lapses between recitation of an 'ayah and the actual sajdah, one need not do it, for it does not have to be made up for.