Incapability to Prostrate (sajda) due to Injuries in the Head

Incapability to Prostrate (sajda) due to Injuries in the Head


I am a trainee solicitor and my firm is dealing with a matter in which an individual suffered injury in a road accident which he alleges prevent him from attending a mosque on the basis that he is unable to touch his forehead to the ground.

I would be very grateful if you could let me know whether there is any dispensation for disabled Muslims with regard to praying, which would remove the requirement to touch their foreheads to the ground, or any other rules that would enable them to participate in prayers. This information would be of great assistance, particularly if you could get back to me as soon as possible.


In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Prostration (sajda) is considered to be one of the integrals (rukn) of prayer (salat), in that Salat is invalid without it. One of the conditions for the validity of this prostration (sajda) is that some portion of the forehead must be placed on firm ground. If any portion of the forehead fails to touch the ground, the prostration (sajda) will be invalid. (See: The major reference books of Fiqh).

However, Islam is a religion of Mercy and does not command anything that is beyond the capability of an individual or that which causes him harm or pain.

Allah Most High says:

“On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear.” (al-Baqarah, 286)

In view of the above verse and other texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah, the Jurists (fuqaha) mention the various dispensations with regards to the prayer of a sick person. We find a separate chapter in almost all of the books on Islamic Jurisprudence (fiqh) under the title ‘The prayer of a sick person’ (salat al-maridh).

The Fuqaha mention that if a person is incapable of prostrating in prayer at all (with his nose or forehead), then there is a dispensation in that he may carry out the prostration with head movements. This can be carried out by offering the prayer standing up or sitting down, although it is preferable to sit and make the movements for Ruku and Sajda. (Bada’i al-Sana’i, 1/105)

However, if an individual is capable of placing his nose on to the ground, then he must carry out the prostration with his nose and will be excused from touching the forehead onto the ground.

The great Hanafi Jurist, Imam Tahtawi (may Allah have mercy on him) states:

“If one is capable of prostrating only with his nose, then it will be necessary to prostrate, for it is mentioned in al-Siraj (name of a book) that, if one has a wound on his forehead in a way that he/she is unable to place it on the ground, then it will be necessary to prostrate by placing the nose onto the ground. It will be impermissible to carry out the prostration by head movements, for that will entail leaving out the prostration despite having the capability to carry it out.” (Tahtawi ala Maraqi al-Falah, 431)

Therefore, in summary, if the person in question is able to place even a small portion of his forehead onto the ground, then he must do that. If that is not possible, then he must prostrate by placing the nose onto the ground. If that is also difficult, then there is a dispensation in that he may perform his Salat sitting down and offering the Ruku and Sajda with head movements. This shows that there is no prevention from him attending the Masjid (Mosque) for prayers.

And Allah Knows Best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

Question #: 6106
Published: 25/03/2004

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