Surah Sajdah, also known as Alif Lām Mīm Sajdah and Alif Lām Mīm Tanzīl is the 32nd surah of the Quran that Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad in the city of Mecca. The reason it is called Sajdah is that the 15th verse of this surah provokes a compulsory sajdah when recited and heard. In this article on Islam4u, the following topics will be discussed:
Facts About Surah Sajdah
Benefits of Reciting Surah Sajdah
- The reward of keeping vigil on the Night of Qadr: The Noble Prophet has said that whoever recites surah Sajdah, it is as though he has kept vigil on the Night of Qadr.1
- Receiving one’s book of deeds in one’s right hand: Abu Abdullah Ja‘far ibn Muhammad has said, “Whoever recites surah Sajdah on the eves of Friday, Allah will give his book of deeds in his right hand. He will not be brought to account and He will make him one of the companions of the Noble Prophet and his household.”2
- Being immune to fever and joint pain: The Noble Prophet has said, “Whoever writes surah Sajdah and keeps it with himself, he will become immune to fever, headache, and joint pain.3
- Ousting a tyrant from power: In the book Miṣbāḥ, it is written that if you write surah Sajdah and place it in the house of a ruler or governor who is unjust, he will be ousted in the same year.
The Gist of Surah Sajdah
Surah Sajdah talks about various important Quranic themes and subjects such as resurrection (ma‘ād: مَعاد), creation of the heavens and the earth in six days, and the creation of the man from clay. Surah Sajdah warns the deniers of the Day of Judgment (Qiyamah) that they shall be punished severely. It also gives the good news of unimaginable reward for those who believe in Allah, the Prophet, and the Day of Judgment.
Famous Verses of Surah Sajdah
One of the famous verses of surah Sajdah is obviously the verse of sajdah in this surah, which is verse 15:
إِنَّمَا يُؤْمِنُ بِآيَاتِنَا الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِّرُوا بِهَا خَرُّوا سُجَّدًا وَسَبَّحُوا بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ وَهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ ۩ ﴿١٥﴾
Indeed, only those who believe in Our signs are those who when Our signs are mentioned to them prostrate and glorify their Lord and they do not show arrogance.4
If this verse is recited, it is obligatory for those who hear it and the reciter of the verse to do sajdah.
Verses 16 of Surah Sajdah
Verses 16 and 18 of surah Sajdah are two of the most famous verses of this surah. Verse 16 talks about those who keep vigil and perform the night prayer (ṣalāt al-layl: صَلاةُ الَّيل). Abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Ali has said that this verse has been revealed in the honor of Ali ibn Abi Talib and his followers who sleep until one-third of the night has passed, and then wake up while fearing Allah and at the same time being extremely hopeful of obeying Allah. The verse reads:
تَتَجَافَىٰ جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ ﴿١٦﴾
[Those who] leave their bed [very late at night] to pray fearfully and hopefully to their Lord, and they spend out of that which We have given to them [for the sake of God].5
Verse 18 of Surah Sajdah
أَفَمَن كَانَ مُؤْمِنًا كَمَن كَانَ فَاسِقًا ۚ لَّا يَسْتَوُونَ ﴿١٨﴾
Is a believer like a transgressor? No they are not equal.6
The occasion of revelation of this verse according to most exegetes is when Walid ibn Mughirah taunted Ali ibn Abi Talib and said, “My tongue is wider than your tongue and my teeth are sharper.” He meant to say that he is more capable than and superior to Ali. Ali answered him saying, “This is not the case.” Consequently, Allah revealed verse 18 of surah Sajdah to the Prophet.
Verse 19 and 20 of Surah Sajdah
أَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ جَنَّاتُ الْمَأْوَىٰ نُزُلًا بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ ﴿١٩﴾
As for those who have faith and do righteous deeds, for them will be the gardens of the Abode—a hospitality for what they used to do.7
In verse 19 of surah Sajdah, Allah promises the reward of paradise for those who believe in Him and do good deeds. As a result, all people should know that if they have faith in Allah and do good deeds, their actions will not come to naught. In fact, they shall be rewarded with gardens of paradise and its blessings. They shall reside in it forever. On the other hand, verse 20 talks about those who transgressed. They will go to hell:
وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فَسَقُوا فَمَأْوَاهُمُ النَّارُ ۖ كُلَّمَا أَرَادُوا أَن يَخْرُجُوا مِنْهَا أُعِيدُوا فِيهَا وَقِيلَ لَهُمْ ذُوقُوا عَذَابَ النَّارِ الَّذِي كُنتُم بِهِ تُكَذِّبُونَ ﴿٢٠﴾
As for those who have transgressed, their refuge will be the Fire. Whenever they seek to leave it, they will be turned back into it and told: ‘Taste the punishment of the Fire which you used to deny.’8
Unlike the believers, these people used to deny the existence of hell and thought that they would never be punished for their deeds in this world.
Resurrection in the Torah
Verse 23 of surah Sajdah reads:
وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ فَلَا تَكُن فِي مِرْيَةٍ مِّن لِّقَائِهِ ۖ وَجَعَلْنَاهُ هُدًى لِّبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ ﴿٢٣﴾
Certainly We gave Moses the Book, [declaring], ‘Do not be in doubt about the encounter with Him,’ and We made it a [source of] guidance for the Children of Israel.9
This verse makes two points. First, the book that Allah revealed to Moses stated that people should not have any doubts regarding the encounter with Allah, meaning resurrection. Second, the Torah was a source of guidance for the Children of Israel. However, they distorted and altered it later on.
Verse 24 of Surah Sajdah
وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُوا ۖ وَكَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ ﴿٢٤﴾
When they had been patient and had conviction in Our signs, We appointed amongst them imams to guide [the people] by Our command.10
This verse talks about the honors that Allah bestowed on Bani Israel. Why did Allah appoint imams among them to guide them? It had two reasons. First, they had faith and conviction in Allah’s signs, and second, they were patient.
Verses 28-30 of Surah Sajdah
وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَىٰ هَـٰذَا الْفَتْحُ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ ﴿٢٨﴾ قُلْ يَوْمَ الْفَتْحِ لَا يَنفَعُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِيمَانُهُمْ وَلَا هُمْ يُنظَرُونَ ﴿٢٩﴾ فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ وَانتَظِرْ إِنَّهُم مُّنتَظِرُونَ ﴿٣٠﴾
And they say, “If you are truthful, [disclose to us] when will this victory come?” Say, “[on] the Day of Victory the belief of the disbelievers will not be helpful to them, and they will not be given a respite.” So leave them and wait [for that Day], they, too, wait.11
Allah quotes the disbelievers in verse 28 as saying, “When will the victory [of the believers] come?” They actually mean the Day of Judgment when having belief on that day will not be of any use for the disbelievers who disbelieved in their life in the world. On that day, believers will be victorious as they will enter paradise and will be safe from the punishment of the Fire. The last verse of surah Sajdah, verse 30 says, “[O Muhammad] leave them and wait, for they too will be waiting [for that day to come].” This verse shows that the Day of Resurrection will definitely happen and that it is only a matter of time.
Surah Sajdah is a surah that has countless benefits and teaches us many lessons. In surah Sajdah, Allah talks about various matters including the Resurrection, punishment of disbelievers, creation of man from clay, the rewarding of the believers, and other issues. Surah Sajdah is named Sajdah because verse 15 of this surah provokes a compulsory sajdah when recited and heard. Verses 16 and 18 are two of the most famous verses of this surah. Verse 16 states that those who believe in Allah’s signs leave their beds to supplicate their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend out of what Allah has provided them. By reciting this surah and acting upon its commands, we will be among those whom Allah rewards them with paradise, God willing.
- Majma‘ al-Bayān, vol. 8, p. 97.
- Thawāb al-A‘māl, p. 110
- Tafseer al-Burhān, vol. 4, p. 385.
- Quran 32:15 (Foroutan).
- Quran 32:16 (Foroutan).
- Quran 32:18 (Foroutan).
- Majma‘ al-Bayān, vol. 8, p. 519.
- Quran 32:19 (Qara’i).
- Quran 32:20 (Qara’i).
- Quran 32:23 (Qara’i).