SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- what are the viewpoints of Shi’a and Sunni jurists about things on which, it is permissible to perform Sajda?
Answer: all of Muslims have consensus on this matter that performing twice Sajda in each Rak’ah is obligatory. There isn’t any dissension on this matter that to whom they are prostrating. For we prostrate (or perform Sajda) for God, and so do earth, heaven and all of entities. (1)
The dissention is on the things we perform Sajda and prostrate on. Shi’a Imamia believe in prostration on the earth or things grow from there which are not edible neither wearable like mat and so on. There is dissension over this matter between Shi’a and other schools of law.
Here we mention some of jurists’ verdicts:
Sheikh Tusi (2) has said: “this is only permissible to prostrate on earth or the things grow from there, and they should not be edible neither wearable like cotton”. And in this regard he disagrees with Sunni jurists, for they believe it is permissible to prostrate on cotton, hair, wool and… . Sheikh Tusi has also said “prostrating on a thing that is wore by one, is not permissible like on an edge of Turban (a headdress consisting of a long scarf wrapped around the head), edge of gown and sleeve of dress. Shaafi’I has said the same and this is also narrated from Imam Ali –s.a-, Ibne ‘Umar, ‘Obaadah ibne Saamet, Maalek and Ahmad Ibne Hanbal.
Abu Hanifah and his companions believe that “one can prostrate on a part of cloth that he is wearing. And also he can prostrate on a thing that is not separable from himself, for instance prostrating on one’s hand, though it is considered as Makruh (not recommended)”. This is also narrated from Hasan Basri. (3)
‘Allaameh Helli (4) has said about Sajda that “all of religious scholars believe that prostrating on the things that do not come forth from the earth, like wool or skin, is not permissible. Otherwise, most of Sunni scholars believe it is permissible”. (5)
In this regard Shi’a follows Ahlul-Bayt imams (in Thaqalayn hadith, they are considered as a part which is not separable from the Holy Quran). In short, we refer to what have been narrated from our imams:
Sadduq has narrated himself from Heshaam Ibne Hakam that he asked Imam Saadeq –pbuh- “on what things it is permissible to prostrate (or perform Sajda), and on what things it is not?”, “it is only permissible to prostrate on earth or things grow from it, but not on wearable or edible things” Imam answered. He asked “what is the reason?” And imam answered “since Sajda is the gesture of modesty before The Exalted God. So it is not appropriate to prostrate on what is edible and wearable, for the materialistic people are the servants of their food and cloth. One who prostrate, worships God in his prostration, so it is not appropriate to put his forehead on a thing that materialistic people are its servants”. (6)
Imam Saadeq –pbuh- said “performing prayer and prostrating on what is food and cloth of a person is not permissible, unless it has come from earth and it is not used for food and it shouldn’t be weaved or stringed. But after weaving or stringing, it is not permissible to prostrate on, unless necessarily.
So Shi’a shouldn’t be criticized for prostrating on earth or what comes forth from there, which is not edible nor wearable, and also for following their imams. In addition, Sunni’s narratives in this regard confirm Shi’a belief. (8)
1. Al-Rad (The Thunder) Sura: 15; Fussilat (Explained In Detail) Sura: 37
2. He is one of the chiefs of Shi’a in five century and he has many compilations (385-460 lunar year), he is also one of the pupils of Sheykh Mofid (336-413 lunar year ) and Seyed Mortezaa (355-436 lunar year) (2)
3. Al-khelaaf: volume1, page 357-358, issue 112, 113 Kitaab Al-salaat
4. Hasan Ibne Yusof Ibne Motahhar Helli (648-726 lunar year), who was a Shia leader in seven and eight century
5. Tazkerah: volume2, page 434, issue 100
6. Wasaael Al-shia: volume3, chapter 1 (of Maa Yasjedo ‘Alayh chapters) hadith:1. There are also other narratives, in which it is said that the object of Sajda is modesty, and that is only achieved by prostration.
7. Wasaael Al-shia: volume3, chapter 1 (of Maa Yasjedo ‘Alayh chapters) hadith 11
8. The aspect of Shi’a’s creed, page 421