Assalamualaikum, I want to ask SS Datuk Mufti. My question is regarding sujud (prostration in prayer). Is it necessary for my nose to touch the place of prostration when I am prostrating?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
The meaning of sujud (prostration in syarak) is the contact of one’s forehead on the place of prostration when one is praying.
Prostration is one of the requisites of prayer. Without prostration, then it is not considered as prayer. The same goes if the conditions of prostration are unfulfilled, then it is not considered as prostration. The sanctioning of prostration is stated in the Quran, hadith and the consensus of scholars.
Allah SWT states:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ارْكَعُوا وَاسْجُدُوا
“O you who have believed, bow and prostrate,”
Surah al-Hajj (77)
In a hadith of al-Bukhari; a man entered the mosque and started praying while Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) was sitting somewhere in the mosque. Then (after finishing the prayer) the man came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and greeted him. The Prophet (ﷺ) said to him, "Go back and pray, for you have not prayed. The man went back, and having prayed, he came and greeted the Prophet. The Prophet (ﷺ) after returning his greetings said, "Go back and pray, for you did not pray." On the third time the man said, "(O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)!) teach me (how to pray)." In parts of the hadith the Prophet said:
ثُمَّ اسْجُدْ حَتَّى تَطْمَئِنَّ سَاجِدًا ثُمَّ ارْفَعْ حَتَّى تَسْتَوِيَ وَتَطْمَئِنَّ جَالِسًا، ثُمَّ اسْجُدْ حَتَّى تَطْمَئِنَّ سَاجِدًا
“…and then prostrate till you feel at rest in prostration, and then sit up till you feel at rest while sitting; and then prostrate again till you feel at rest in prostration…”
Sahih al-Bukhari (6667)
This is also the consensus of scholars, salaf and khalaf where none contradicts it.
Conditions of Prostration
Among the valid conditions of prostration is touching the place of prostration with one’s exposed forehead and performing the prostration with the seven body parts of prostration which are; forehead, both palms, both knees and toes on both feet. This is in accordance with the hadith of the Prophet PBUH:
أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَسْجُدَ عَلَى سَبْعَةِ أَعْظُمٍ عَلَى الْجَبْهَةِ وَأَشَارَ بِيَدِهِ عَلَى أَنْفِهِ، وَالْيَدَيْنِ، وَالرُّكْبَتَيْنِ، وَأَطْرَافِ الْقَدَمَيْنِ
“I have been commanded to prostrate myself on seven bones:" forehead," and then pointed with his hand towards his nose, hands, feet, and the extremities of the feet.”
Sahih al-Bukhari (812) and Sahih Muslim (490)
However, it is not obligatory to expose all the body parts of prostration except the forehead.
Imam al-Nawawi stated in his commentary: “Indeed, the body parts for prostration are seven and one should prostrate oneself with the seven body parts together with forehead and nose and all of it. It is obligatory to expose the forehead on the floor and sunnah to place some parts of the nose. If his nose does not touch the floor, then his prostration is valid but if his forehead does not touch the floor then his prostration is invalid. This is the opinion of madhhab al-Syafi’e, Malik and most scholars.” He further adds, “Majority of scholars state that according to the literal text of the hadith it is said that the body parts of prostration is seven, but if nose and forehead are counted then it becomes eight. Hence, nose is just a sunnah body part for prostration.” (See Syarh al-Nawawi ‘ala Sahih Muslim, 4/208)
According to a hadith from Abu Humaid RA, he said:
أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَ إِذَا سَجَدَ أَمْكَنَ أَنْفَهُ وَجَبْهَتَهُ مِنَ الأَرْضِ، وَنَحَّى يَدَيْهِ عَنْ جَنْبَيْهِ، وَوَضَعَ كَفَّيْهِ حَذْوَ مَنْكِبَيْهِ.
"When the Prophet would prostrate, he placed his nose and his forehead on the ground, and he held his forearms away from his sides, and he placed his hands parallel to his shoulders."
Sunan al-Tirmidzi (270)
Imam al-Tirmidzi narrated the hadith stating: “In the same chapter, it is also narrated by Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma, Wail bin Hujr RA, Abu Sa’id RA. The hadith from Abu Humaid is hasan sahih. Scholars state, the nose and forehead of a person who is prostrating must touch the floor. But if he prostrates without his nose touching the floor, then his prostration is still valid. While some scholars state that it is invalid unless he prostrates with both his nose and forehead touching the floor.” (See Sunan al-Tirmidzi,2/59)
Syeikh al-Mubarakfuri said: “Majority of scholars state that it is obligatory for a prostration to include the forehead but not the nose.” (See Tuhfah al-Ahwadzi,2/125)
There is also a hadith that state the Prophet PBUH include the nose in prostration, one of which is a hadith from Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma, he said:
أُمِرَ النَّبِيُّ صلّى الله عليه وسلم أَنْ يَسْجُدَ عَلَى سَبْعَةِ أَعْضَاءٍ، وَلاَ يَكُفَّ شَعَرًا وَلاَ ثَوْبًا: الجَبْهَةِ، وَاليَدَيْنِ، وَالرُّكْبَتَيْنِ، وَالرِّجْلَيْنِ
“The Prophet (ﷺ) was ordered (by Allah) to prostrate on seven parts and not to tuck up the clothes or hair (while praying). Those parts are: the forehead (along with the tip of nose), both hands, both knees, and (toes of) both feet.”
Sahih al-Bukhari (809)
In the above hadith, it is stated that nose is included in prostration. There is also another hadith from Jabir RA, where he said:
رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَسْجُدُ بِأَعْلَى جَبْهَتِهِ عَلَى قِصَاصِ الشَّعْ
“I saw the Prophet PBUH prostrated on the topmost of his forehead on the ends of his hair.”
Narrated by al-Darqutni (1320)
Syeikh ‘Ubaidillah bin Muhammad Abd al-Salam al-Mubarakfuri wrote a narration from Tamam in his fawaid and others: “When the Prophet PBUH prostrated on his upper forehead, then his nose will not touch the floor.” (See Mir’ah al-Mafatih Syarh Misykah al-Masabih, 3/205)
Hence, we conclude, most scholars state that the obligatory body parts of prostration are; forehead, while the nose is sunnah, without denying the opinion of scholars that state both are obligatory parts of prostration. However, according to the evidences that we presented, we are inclined towards the opinion that state the obligatory part is forehead and it is sunnah for the nose to touch the floor when one is prostrating. This is also the primary opinion in madhhab al-Syafie.
As a conclusion, according to the above evidences and discussion, we would like to emphasize that the ruling that the prayer of anyone who prostrates where his forehead touches the floor but his nose does not is valid. However, it is better for him to include his nose for it is sunnah where he will receive the rewards of it while practising the sunnah of the Prophet PBUH, for there are several narrations that state that the Prophet PBUH placed both his nose and forehead on the floor in his prostration. Lastly, may Allah SWT give us the correct understanding in religion so that we can practise His religion in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet PBUH and His commandments. Amin.