Sajdat al-Shukr (Prostration of thankfulness)
Shukr (gratitude) basically is confession of the blessings with tongue, approving it with heart, and standing in obedience to the Bestower with limbs.
You believe with tongue that the blessing is from Allaah and you utter that with your tongue. Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat ad-Duha (93:11):
وأما بنعمة ربك فحدث
And proclaim the Grace of your Lord
You thank Allaah by your limbs by acting upon His obedience. Therefore, some scholars explained Shukr (gratitude) that it is obedience to the Bestower.
Allaah’s blessings and favors are innumerable, as Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat Ibraheem (14:34):
وإن تعدوا نعمت الله لا تحصوها
And if you count the blessings of Allaah, never will you be able to count them.
An example for some of these blessings is breathing which is repeated sixty times in a minute. If this breath is held back man would perish. It is a great blessing which we will never be able to count it. Similarly the health and the well-being, the blessings of hearing and sight, food and drinks and even the urination and defacation, are all great blessings; but they are continuous and on going blessings. If one is asked to prostrate for ongoing blessings, he would spend his whole life prostrating out of gratitude.
However, there are new, obvious blessings come such as being blessed with a child, or being made easy for one the marriage, or attaining money, or the return of an absent loved one, or victory over an enemy, and something a like; in such case it is Mustahabb (recommendable) to prostrate to Allaah out of gratitude. [Sharh Riyadhus-saliheen by Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen]
The ruling of prostration of gratitude
Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (Rahimahullaah) said in al-Sharh al-Mumti’ ‘ala Zaad al-Mustaqni’ (4/105): The words “when a new blessing comes” refer to new blessings as a distinct to ongoing blessings. If we were to tell a man that it is mustahabb to prostrate for ongoing blessings, he would always be prostrating, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):“and if you count the Blessings of Allaah, never will you be able to count them” [Ibraaheem 14:34].
Ongoing blessings are ones an individual generally experiences constantly and are not newly or unexpectedly received. The ability to hear, see and speak properly, and physical good health, are all blessings.
Breathing is another of these blessings, and so on. The Sunnah does not say that we should prostrate for such blessings. But if we assume that a person was faced with difficulty in breathing, then Allaah granted him relief from that, and he prostrated in gratitude to Allaah, then he has done the right thing, because being able to breathe properly after having difficulty with it is a new blessing.
Another example is if a person passes an exam when he was scared that he would not pass. This is a new blessing for which he should prostrate.
Another example is if a person hears that the Muslims have attained a victory in any place. This is a new blessing for which he should prostrate to Allaah in gratitude.
Another example is if a person is blessed with a child. This is a new blessing for which he should prostrate. And you can draw more analogies.
The words “and when adversity is warded off” refer to adversities for which the causes exist but one is spared.
An example of that is a man who has a car accident when he is travelling, and the car turns over but he walks away unharmed. In this case he should do the prostration of gratitude, because the cause of this adversity was present, which is the car rolling over, but he was spared.
Another example is a person in whose house a fire begins, but Allaah makes it easy to extinguish it. This is warding off of adversity so he should prostrate to Allaah in gratitude.
Another example is a man who falls in a well and emerges safe and sound. This is warding off of adversity so he should prostrate to Allaah in gratitude.
What is meant by that is the warding off of an adversity the cause of which was present but he was spared it. As for those which are ongoing, they are innumerable, and if we were to tell a man that it is mustahabb to prostrate for ongoing blessings, he would always be prostrating.
Evidences for the prostration of gratitude:
The evidence (daleel) for this is to be found in the Ahaadeeth and Aathaar (reports). Among the Ahaadeeth is the Hadeeth of Abu Bakrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said that when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) heard any news that made him glad, he would fall down prostrating to Allaah, may He be exalted. (Reported by the five except an-Nisaa’i; at-Tirmidhi said, it is hasan ghareeb. Authenticated by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jamie’ no. 4751).
The reports include the following:
Abu Bakr (Radia Allaahu ‘anhu) prostrated when he heard the news that Musaylimah had been killed. [Reported by Sa’eed ibn Mansoor in his Sunan].
‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (Radia Allaahu ‘anhu) prostrated when he found Dhu’l-Thadiyah among the Khawaarij. This is because the Prophet (Salla Allaahu alayhi wa Sallam), had informed previously that Dhul-Thadiyyah will be with those who are on the wrong side (falsehood) and whoever fights him will be on the truth. Therefore, Ali (Radia Allaahu ‘anhu) prostrated as gratitude to Allaah. [Reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad]
Ka’b ibn Maalik prostrated at the time of the Prophet (Salla Allaahu alayhi wa Sallam), when he was given the glad tidings that Allaah had accepted his repentance. [The story is mentioned in al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
[Al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah Li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wa’l-Iftaa’, 7/266]
The description, rulings and conditions of Sujood ash-Shukr
There is no specific du’aa’ narrated in the ahaadeeth for sujood al-shukr, hence the scholars said that what is to be said in sujood al-shukr is the same tasbeeh and du’aa’ as are said when prostrating in prayer.
Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said in the book “Sharh Riyaadh-us-Saliheen”: If one is giving the news of having a son, this is a new blessing; he would prostrate as he prostrates in the Salaat and say: Subhaana Rabbiy al-A’laa (Glory be to my Lord Most High) three times, Subhaanaka Allaahumma Rabbana wa bi Hamdika, Allaahumma ighfirlee (How perfect You are O Allaah, our Lord, and praised. O Allaah! Forgive me). Then he gives thanks to Allaah for the particular blessing that happened, saying: I thank You O my Lord for this blessing, and he should praise Allaah for that. Similarly, when an affliction is warded off, such as to be saved from a car accident. e.g. one’s car is turned over and he came out unharmed. So he prostrate to Allaah in gratitude and so forth. There are many adversities, in case an adversity is warded off from you, then you prostrate to Allaah as gratitude for repelling it saying, e.g.: Subhaana Rabbiy al-A’laa (Glory be to my Lord Most High) three times, Subhaanaka Allaahumma Rabbana wa bi Hamdika, Allaahumma ighfirlee (How perfect You are O Allaah, our Lord, and praised. O Allaah! Forgive me). All thanks to You O Allaah for saving me from this adversity (and he mentions it). This is Sujood ash-Shukr (prostration of gratitude). End Quote
Does it require Wudu?
Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said in Sharh Riyadh-us-Saliheen: The scholars differed regarding the Wudu being a condition required by Sujood ash-Shukr. The correct point of view is that it is not a required condition. This is because the matter could happen to the person out of a sudden while he is not prepared, and if he needs to go to perform Wudu, this may prolong the period between the cause and its requirement (i.e. the Sujood). So if the person is not pure let him prostrate in that state. [End Quote]. This is also the opinion of scholars in Ifta committee. [Fatwa no. 263/7]
Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said Sharh al-Mumtie’: Sujood ash-Shukr is like Sujood at-Tilaawah (prostration required when reciting certain verses of Qur’aan). The correct point of view regarding its description is that one says the Takbeer when he goes for prostration, and does not say Takbeer when he raises from it nor makes Tasleem, although saying Takbeer when prostration is also not affirmed by the action of the Prophet (Salla Allaahu ‘alyhi wa sallam), because this is not Salaat it is just prostration.”
In conclusion: Sujood ash-Shukr does not require fulfillment of conditions like the Salaat: purity, covering the Awrah, wearing the Hijab (in case of women), nor facing the Qiblah.
This is the opinion of most of the Salaf, some of the Maalikis such as Ibn Jareer at-Tabari, Ibn Hazm, Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn al-Qayyim, ash-Shawkaani,and as-Sana’ani.Most of the contemporary scholars preponderated this view such as Shaikh Ibn Baaz, Ibn Uthaimeen, Ibn Jibreen (Rahimahumullaah), and others.
Also there is no Tasleem after performing the Sujood. Shaikh ul-Islam (Rahimahullaah) said: It is not quoted that the Prophet (Salla Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) or his companions said the Tasleem after the prostration.” [Majmoo al-Fatawa]
It is not permissible to offer Sujood ash-Shukr during the Salaat because it will invalidate it, if one does so deliberately.
The ruling of delaying it
It is also permissible to make up the Sujood of gratitude if one could not do it in its time. However, if one is given the good news and did not prostrate, and he did not have an excuse in not prostrating, then it is not prescribed legally in making it up later, because he was not excused in delaying the prostration. [Haashiyat Qalyoobi 209/1] [Sujood ash-Shukr and its rulings by Shaikh Ibn Jibreen]
1- Sharh Kitaab Riyadh-us-Saliheen by Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen
2- Ash-Sharh al-Mumtie’ ala Zaad al-Mustaqna’ by Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen
3- Islam QA