Is Sujud al-Tilaawah Obligatory

In the name of Allah,


According to the vast majority of scholars, prostrations are merely recommended for both the one reciting and the person hearing the “verses of prostration.” According to Hanafi, the prostration for the verse of prostration is mandatory and must be made up if missed. It is encouraged to do soon, and it is rather disliked to postpone without justification.


The classical Hanafi book Al Hidaya states:


A prostration is obligatory (wajib)’ on these occasions for the reciter and the listener whether or not he intends to listen to the recitation of the Qur’an.’[i]


It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that when, the son of Adam recites the Ayat of Sajdah (prostration) and then falls down in prostration, the Satan goes into seclusion and weeps and says: Alas, and in the narration of Abu Kuraib the words are: Woe unto me, the son of Adam was commanded to prostrate, and he prostrated and Paradise was entitled to him and I was commanded to prostrate, but I refused and am doomed to Hell. {Muslim 81a]


Hanafi School scholars view the hadith portion that states, “ the son of Adam was commanded to prostrate,” as evidence that sujud al-Tilawah (Prostration of recitation) is necessary. Imam An Nawawi responds:


‘There are three answers to this claim. The usage of the term “command” is by Satan, and as such it gives no proof’. The second point is that the order is one of advice, not obligation. The third point is that it refers to participating in the prostration rather than making it mandatory for everyone.’[ii]


Narrated Rabi`a:

`Umar bin Al-Khattab recited Surat-an-Nahl on a Friday on the pulpit and when he reached the verse of Sajda he got down from the pulpit and prostrated and the people also prostrated. The next Friday `Umar bin Al-Khattab recited the same Sura and when he reached the verse of Sajda he said, “O people! When we recite the verses of Sajda (during the sermon) whoever prostrates does the right thing, yet it is no sin for the one who does not prostrate.” And `Umar did not prostrate (that day). Added Ibn `Umar “Allah has not made the prostration of recitation compulsory but if we wish we can do it.” [Bukhari 1077]

This is indisputable evidence since the Ameer-ul-Mumineen specifically said in public that prostration or recitation is not obligatory. Additionally, none of the other knowledgeable companions who were there objected to this.


Click to read – When the Pagans Prostrated hearing the Quran along with Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)

Allah knows best.

Peace and blessings be upon the last and final prophet.



[i] Al-Hidayah THE GUIDANCE, Burhan Al Din Al Farghani Al Marghinani, Vol 1 page 198

[ii] Sahih Muslim (Volume 2): With the Full Commentary by Imam Nawawi (Al-Minhaj bi Sharh Sahih Muslim), Translated by Adil Salahi, page 104

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