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Question:

Assalamualaikum SS Dato’ Seri Mufti. I watched a video by a preacher that state that it is permissible to recite verse 44 of surah Ghafir during prostration in prayer. As far as I know, it is impermissible for us to recite the Quran during prostration. Hope for SS Mufti’s explanation and opinion.

 

Answer:

Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the 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.

Regarding the issue of reciting the Quran during prostration, there are several evidences that restricts this action. This is in accordance with a hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma, where the Prophet PBUH said:

إِنِّي نُهِيتُ أَنْ أَقْرَأَ الْقُرْآنَ رَاكِعًا أَوْ سَاجِدًا فَأَمَّا الرُّكُوعُ فَعَظِّمُوا فِيهِ الرَّبَّ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَأَمَّا السُّجُودُ فَاجْتَهِدُوا فِي الدُّعَاءِ

“And see that I have been forbidden to recite the Qur'an in the state of bowing and prostration. So far as Ruk'u is concerned, extol in it the Great and Glorious Lord, and while prostrating yourselves be earnest in supplication,”

Sahih Muslim (439)

The above hadith explained the restriction of the Prophet PBUH which specifies only supplication is permissible for prostration. While the recitation of al-Quran is only permissible when one is in the state of qiyam (standing) in prayer.

Imam al-Nawawi explained the situations when it is makruh (undesirable) to recite the Quran:

فَتُكرَهُ القِرَاءَةُ فِي حَالَةِ الرُّكُوعِ والسُّجُودِ والتَّشَهُّدِ وغَيرِهَا مِن أحْوَالِ الصَّلَاة سِوى القِيَام

“It is makruh (undesirable) to recite (the Quran) in rukuk (bowing), sujud (prostaration), tasyahhud and in other situations in prayer except when one is in qiyam (standing).” Refer Al-Tibyan fi Adab Hamalat Al-Quran, Al-Nawawi (pg. 117)

The scholars discuss the wisdoms of the restriction of reciting al-Quran during prostration. Among the opinions is as stated by Syeikh Syas al-Haq al-‘Azhim where he cited the words of Ibn al-Malik:

لأَنَّ أَفْضَل أَرْكَان الصَّلاة الْقِيَام وَأَفْضَل الأَذْكَار الْقُرْآن , فَجَعَلَ الأَفْضَلَ لِلأَفْضَلِ وَنَهَى عَنْ جَعْلِه فِي غَيْرِه لِئَلَّا يُوهِم اِسْتِوَائِهِ مَعَ بَقِيَّةِ الأَذْكَار

“The reason is, the prioritized requisite of prayer is al-qiyam (standing straight) and the prioritized zikr is the recitation of the Quran. Thus, it is made as so that the prioritized (al-Qiyam) is for the prioritized (recitation of the Quran). And the Prophet PBUH restricts its recitation in other movements of prayer (other than qiyam) so that it does not cause wahm (doubt) that the recitation of the Quran is the same as other recitations of zikr.” Refer Aun Al-Ma’bud, Al-‘Azhim Abaadi (3/91)

However, if the recitation of the verses of the Quran is recited as a supplication and not for the intention of reciting the Quran, then it is permissible. The reason is, this situation is similar to the prohibition from reciting the Quran in major impure state (janabah or menstruation). Imam al-Nawawi said:

وأما الجنب والحائض فإنه يحرم عليهما قراءة القرآن سواء كان آية أو أقل منها

“A person who is in a state of janabah or menstruating women are prohibited from reciting the Quran, whether it is just a verse or less than that.”

However, there is an exception on the prohibition of reciting the Quran in the state of janabah if it is recited with the intention of zikr (remembrance of Allah). Imam al-Nawawi cited the words of Imam al-Haramain Abd al-Malik al-Juwaini who said:

فَإذَا قَالَ الجُنُبُ بسم الله والحمد لله فَإنْ قَصَدَ القُرآنَ عَصَى وَإنْ قَصَدَ الذِّكْرَ أوْ لَمْ يَقصدْ شيئًا لَمْ يَأثَم

When a person in the state of janabah recites ‘Bismillah’ and ‘Alhamdulillah’, if he meant it as recitation (of it as the recitation of the Quran), then it is considered as a sin. If he recites it with the intention of zikr or without any intention, then it is not considered as a sin. Refer Al-Tibyan, Al-Nawawi (pg. 74).

Thus, we could relate the act of a person reciting the Quran during prostration using the verses of the Quran as a supplication is permissible, if he recites it with the intention of supplicating. This is the same as reciting supplication taken from the Quran:

رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّار

"Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire."

Surah al-Baqarah (201)

The same is permissible for the recitation of the verses of the Quran which the Prophet PBUH described as supplication, such as the words of the Prophet Jonah AS which is recorded in the Quran:

لَّا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ

"There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers."

Surah al-Anbiya’ (87)

Referring to the above evidence, the verse is clearly described by the Prophet PBUH as a supplication according to a hadith narrated by Sa’d bin Abi Waqqash RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:

دَعْوَةُ ذِي النُّونِ إِذْ دَعَا وَهُوَ فِي بَطْنِ الْحُوتِ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنْتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ ‏.‏ فَإِنَّهُ لَمْ يَدْعُ بِهَا رَجُلٌ مُسْلِمٌ فِي شَيْءٍ قَطُّ إِلاَّ اسْتَجَابَ اللَّهُ لَهُ

“The supplication of Dhun-Nun (Prophet Yunus) when he supplicated, while in the belly of the whale was: ‘There is none worthy of worship except You, Glory to You, Indeed, I have been of the transgressors. (Lā ilāha illā anta subḥānaka innī kuntu minaẓ-ẓālimīn)’ So indeed, no Muslim man supplicates with it for anything, ever, except Allah responds to him.”

Sunan al-Tirmizi (3505)

Moreover, we would like to state that it is permissible to recite the statement of Allah SWT as the following during prostration with the intention of supplication:

وَأُفَوِّضُ أَمْرِي إِلَى اللَّهِ

“And I entrust my affair to Allah.”

Surah Ghafir (44)

This is the words uttered by a Mukmin who is the follower of the Prophet Moses AS. Although such statements and also the statement of the Prophet Jonah AS before are not preceded by the elements of طلب (request), however, it is still permissible to be recited for the attribute of a supplication does not include that it must has the elements of request. The reason is, the word supplication in the Quran have several meanings:

  • A call, as stated in surah Ali Imran verse 61.
  • This is according to the statement of Allah SWT in surah Faathir verse 18.
  • The word supplication also means worship as stated in surah al-Kahfi verse 14.
  • Asking for help. As stated in the statement of Allah SWT in surah al-Baqarah verse 23.
  • Comparison or analogy, as meant in the word supplication in verse 5 surah al-Ahzab.
  • Supplication also holds the meaning of invitation or encouragement towards something. This is the meaning from verse 5 surah Nuh.

Furthermore, Imam al-Mawardi in his commentary, Al-Nukat wal-‘Uyun (5/158) state in his commentary of the above verse: The meaning of the statement is of three forms:

  • I entrust my affairs to Allah
  • I bear witness to Allah on your self
  • I place my trust and hope to Allah

Thus, if entrusting oneself completely to Allah such as tawakkal (placing all your trust and hope) to Allah, then it is the same with the attribute of supplication when exiting one’s house narrated by Anas bin Malik RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:

 إِذَا خَرَجَ الرَّجُلُ مِنْ بَيْتِهِ فَقَالَ بِسْمِ اللَّهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ عَلَى اللَّهِ لاَ حَوْلَ وَلاَ قُوَّةَ إِلاَّ بِاللَّهِ

“When a man goes out of his house and says: "In the name of Allah, I trust in Allah; there is no might and no power but in Allah," 

Sunan Abu Daud (5095)

We would also like to add that it is permissible to recite the following verse during prostration with the same arguments presented for verse 44 surah Ghafir, which is the statement of Allah SWT:

حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ

 "Sufficient for us is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs."

Surah Ali Imran (173)

The reason is, the verse is attributed as a supplication recited by the Prophet Abraham AS when he was thrown into the fire. This is mentioned in a hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma, where he said:

قَالَهَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ حِينَ أُلْقِيَ فِي النَّارِ

“(The verse) was said by Abraham when he was thrown into the fire,”

Sahih al-Bukhari (86)

Conclusion

To conclude, we would like to state that the ruling of reciting the verses of the Quran during prostration in prayer with the intention of the recitation as the recitation of the Quran is makruh (undesirable). This is according to the above arguments and evidences presented. Furthermore, we would like state that the Quran is the noble kalamullah, thus, among the manners of it is we should not recite it in our lowest position in prayer which is when we are prostrating.

While there is encouragement to strive in supplicating in prostration, recitation of the Quran with the intention other than supplication denies the encouragement of this commandment. However, if a person supplicates by reciting verses of the Quran as his effort to supplicate while prostrating where the verses of the Quran has the attributes of a supplication and with the intention of supplication, then it is permissible according to syarak.

Lastly, we pray to Allah SWT so that we are given the correct understanding in practising religion. Amin.