Aryats (Verses) from the Quran on Prostrate Prayer

Saidat al-Tilaawha: the Muslim Act of Prostration During Prayer

Muslims praying towards Mecca; Umayyad Mosque, Damascus.
Antonio Melina/Agência Brasil/Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons 3.0

For Muslims, bowing down and prostrating to Allah several times a day during daily prayer is a key element of their faith. There are fifteen verses in the Quran that praise those who "prostrate to Allah." For Muslims, showing humility to Allah in this way is what separates believers from unbelievers. When reading the verses listed below, Muslims should perform an extra prostration to show a willingness to humble themselves before Allah.

This act is known as "sajdat al-tilaawah" (prostration of recitation).

The Prophet Muhammad once said that "When the son of Adam (i.e. human beings) recites a verse of prostration and prostrates himself, Satan withdraws, weeping and saying: 'Woe to me… the son of Adam was commanded to prostrate and he prostrated, so Paradise will be his; I was commanded to prostrate and I refused, so Hell is mine.'"

Proper Practice for Muslims Reading the Verses

  • When reading the verses or listening to a recitation, it is recommended to prostrate (make sujood) one time after reading one of these verses. However,  it is not an obligation to do so, and it is not a sin to omit this practice.
  • When praying at the recitation of such a verse, the worshipper should say "Allahu Akbar" and go directly from standing to prostrating, without bowing in between. After one sujood, the worshipper says, "Allahu Akbar," stands up and continues the prayer. If praying behind an imam, you should only make sujood al-tilaawah if the imam does so.
  • When listening to or reading the Quran outside of prayer,  one should say "Allahu Akbar" and simply kneel down on the floor and make sujood when reaching one of these verses. According to most scholarly opinions, it is not necessary to be in a state of wudu, facing the qiblah, or fully/modestly dressed for this prostration, as is required for prayer. However, it is advisable to treat this prostration with the same level of respect and humility.

    For Which Verses Should We Make Sajdah al- Tilaawah?

    The locations of these verses are marked in the Arabic text of the Quran (mus-haf) with a symbol in the shape of a mihrab. The fifteen verses are:

    • Surely those who are with your Lord (the angels) are never too proud to perform acts of worship to Him, but they glorify His Praise and prostrate before Him. (Quran 7:206)
       
    • And unto Allah (Alone) falls in prostration whoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and so do their shadows in the mornings and in the afternoons. (Quran 13:15)
       
    • And to Allah prostrate all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, of the live moving creatures and the angels, and they are not proud. (Quran 16:49)
       
    • Say (O Muhammad): Believe in it (the Quran) or do not believe. Verily! Those who were given knowledge before it, when it is recited to them, fall down on their faces in humble prostration. (Quran 17:107)
       
    • … When the Verses of the Most Beneficent (Allah) were recited unto them, they fell down prostrating and weeping.” (Quran 19:58)
       
    • See you not that to Allah prostrates whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth, and the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, all living creatures, and many of mankind? (Quran 22:18)
       
    • Oh you who believe! Bow down and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord and do good that you may be successful. (Quran 22:77) *This verse is disputed as a verse of sajdah by some scholars. There are unconfirmed reports that early Muslims did make sujood at this verse, but others cite a lack of evidence. So some scholars count it while others do not.
       
    • And when it is said to them: ‘Prostrate to the Most Beneficent (Allah)!’ They say, ‘And what is the Most Beneficent? Shall we fall down in prostration to that which you (O Muhammad) command us?’ And it increases in them only aversion.”(Quran 25:60)
       
    • Satan has barred them from Allah’s way, so that they do not worship (prostrate before) Allah, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what you conceal and what you reveal. (Quran 27:25)
       
    • Only those believe in Our signs, who, when they are reminded of them fall down prostrate, and glorify the Praises of their Lord, and they are not proud. (Quran 32:15)
       
    • … And Dawood (Prophet David) guessed that We had tried him and he sought forgiveness of his Lord, and he fell down prostrate and turned (to Allah) in repentance. (Quran 38:24)
       
    • And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Do not prostrate to the sun or to the moon, but prostrate to Him Who created them, if you (really) worship Him.” (Quran 41:37)
       
    • So fall down in prostration to Allah, and worship Him (Alone). (Quran 53:62)
       
    • And when the Quran is recited to them, they do not fall prostrate. (Quran84:21) 
       
    • … Fall prostrate and draw near to Allah!  (Quaran 96:19)
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    Huda. "Aryats (Verses) from the Quran on Prostrate Prayer." ThoughtCo, Oct. 9, 2017, thoughtco.com/ayats-of-sujood-in-the-quran-2004548. Huda. (2017, October 9). Aryats (Verses) from the Quran on Prostrate Prayer. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/ayats-of-sujood-in-the-quran-2004548 Huda. "Aryats (Verses) from the Quran on Prostrate Prayer." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/ayats-of-sujood-in-the-quran-2004548 (accessed January 16, 2018).