Importance of Sajdah

Importance of Sajdah


Tonight we are commemorating the Martyrdom of our 4th Holy Imam, Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (as). Since one of the most popular titles of this great Imam (as) was that of ‘Sayyid al-Sajideen’ meaning ‘the leader of those who perform Sajdah’, I thought that we should talk something about Sajdah and its importance.


“O you who have faith! (Perform Rukoo’ and Sajdah) Bow down and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord and do good, so that you may be felicitous”. (22:77)

This is one of those verses in which, we, the faithful and the believers, have been commanded to perform Sajdah before Allah (SWT).


The question is: WHAT IS SAJDAH??

Today, if you ask any Muslim child this question, he will tell you that: Sajdah is prostration we perform in Salaat in a manner that seven parts of ones body touches the ground: the forehead, the two palms, the two knees and the two toes. The answer is correct! But, what is the in-depth meaning of Sajdah?


Sajdah is an action that exhibits the highest degree of humility of a creature before his Creator. When a person performs Sajdah he is basically acknowledging the fact that he is completely inferior to Allah (SWT).

{A person asked Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (as) to explain the meaning of the Sajdahs in Salaat.

Imam (as) said:

When a person performs the first Sajdah, he is actually telling Allah (SWT): MINHAA KHALAQTANEE (You have created me from it i.e. dust).

Then he raises his head from Sajdah, he is telling: MINHAA AKHRAJTANEE (You have removed me from it i.e. dust).

Then again he goes into the second Sajdah implying: WA ILAIHAA TA’EEDUNEE (You will return me into it i.e. dust).

And finally when he raises his head up again, he is saying: WA MINHAA TUKHRIJUNEE TAARATAN UKHRAA (And You will remove me from it i.e. dust again for the second time)} (Bihar al-Anwaar)

Throughout the actions of performing Sajdahs the concentration is only on one fact that our creation, return and coming back to life is related to dust. We are nothing but inferior in front of Allah (SWT)!

And we acknowledge this through the kind of Dhikr that we recite in Sajdahs.


(Glory and all praise be to my Lord who is the Most high)


Sajdah is the physical action, which gets the soul of a servant closer to Allah (SWT). In other words, it is through Sajdah that one attains the closest proximity of Allah (SWT). This is what Allah (SWT) Himself has said.

“Perform the Sajdah and get closer (to Me)”. (96:19)

In Tafseer of this verse, it is reported from Imam ‘Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha (as) that:

“The closest one can get to Allah (SWT) is when he is in Sajdah; this is because Allah (SWT) Himself has said, ‘Perform Sajdah and get closer (to Me)’.(Bihar al-Anwaar)

[Sa’eed bin Yasaar asked Imam Ja’ffar al-Sadiq (as), “Should I pray (for myself) when I am in Rukoo’ or in Sajdah?” Imam (as) replied: “Pray when you are in Sajdah, for verily a servant is closer to Allah when he is in Sajdah. Pray for your world and for your Hereafter”. ] (Bihar al-Anwaar)


Regarding Sajdah, there are two very interesting things mentioned in the traditions.

One is that:

Whenever we perform Sajdah, we must strive to extend it as much as possible. Why? Because Sajdah reminds our enemy Iblees about his disobedience to Allah (SWT) and the reason for his banishment from Paradise.

Imam Ja’ffar al-Sadiq (as) has said, “Verily when a servant prolongs his prostrations in a manner that no one sees him, Shaytan says: ‘Woe unto me! They are obedient and I disobeyed. They prostrated and I refused’.”

(Bihar al-Anwaar)

{A group of people came to the Holy Prophet (saww) and said,

“O Messenger of Allah! Take a guarantee from your Lord that we shall enter Paradise”. The Holy Prophet (saww) said to them, “With a condition that you will co-operate with me in prolonging your Sajdahs”.} (Bihar al-Anwaar)

And the other thing is that:

The mark of prostration will always be on the foreheads of true believers. This has also been mentioned in the Holy Quran:

“Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are severe against the infidels but compassionate among themselves. You will see them bowing and prostrating, seeking His grace and pleasure.

Their mark is on their faces (foreheads) from the effect of prostrations”.


Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (as) has said,

“Verily I abhor a person whose forehead is clean and there is no mark of prostrations on it”. (Bihar al-Anwaar)


One of his titles was that of ‘Sayyidus-Sajideen’ meaning ‘the leader of those who prostrate’. In fact, it is reported that he (as) prostrated so much that he was called ‘Dhut-Thafanaat’. Thafanaat in Arabic means ‘lumps’.

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) has said, “My father used to get lumps on the places on which he prostrated. He used to cut them atleast twice in a year. Every time he had to cut five such lumps hence he became known as Dhut-Thafanaat (One with lumps)”. (Bihar al-Anwaar)

It is also reported from the same Imam (as) that:

“Whenever my father ‘Ali ibnul-Husayn (as):

-Remembered any bounty of Allah, he (as) prostrated.

-Read any verse of Quran with Sajdah, he (as) prostrated.

-Feared anything or anyone, he (as) prostrated.

-He completed his obligatory prayer, he (as) prostrated.

-He made peace between two people, he (as) prostrated.

The marks of prostrations were all evident on his parts of body used for Sajdah, thus he became known as As-Sajjad”.

(Bihar al-Anwaar)

It is also reported that:

[Once our Imam (as) went to the desert. One of his slaves followed him and saw that the Imam (as) was prostrating on a coarse stone and reciting:


By the time the Imam (as) raised his head from Sajdah, the slave had counted that our Imam (as) had recited all these for 1000 times.] (Bihar al-Anwaar)


Mulla Mujahidali Sheriff


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