There are no words. Sometimes, there are just no words. And that’s when we lower ourselves, to the most vulnerable position – the prostration – and we thank the Almighty with all our heart.

Maybe you opened the mail and found that your application for Hajj, college, or a new job has been approved; or maybe your clients were so happy that they not only renewed, but doubled their contract with your business.

Maybe you nodded off while driving and slammed against a tree but walked away with just a scratch; or maybe you just received news that your wife is out of surgery and the operation was successful. Maybe it rained after months of a drought and the reservoirs were low.

Simply put, Sujood As-Shukr, or the Prostration of Gratitude, is one single prostration performed when we receive good news, or when something bad is averted.

Abu Bakrah (may Allah be pleased with him), said that when the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) heard any news that made him glad, he would fall down prostrating to Allah, 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).

So how is Sujood Ash-Shukr done? Basically, you just prostrate. Pretty much anytime, anywhere. It is not the same as solah (ritual prayer), so you do not need to be in the state of purification, facing the qiblah or covering the awrah; it is recommended, but not mandatory. And there is no takbeer, tasleem/salaam or sutrah either. The sunnah is to prostrate as soon as you hear or experience the blessing. There is no specified dzikr or supplication narrated in hadith, however, scholars recommend we recite the same dzikr as during the prostration in prayer (Subhaana Rabbiy al-A’laa, Glory be to my Lord Most High).

Sheikh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him) states: “It comprises of one prostration, and none of the preconditions needed for prayer are stipulated for it. So it is like sujood At-Tilaawah, they both have the same ruling. Neither of them have a precondition such as being in a state of purification, facing the qiblah, making the takbeer, making the tasleem, and so on. Rather, if he is surprised by some blessing, he prostrates immediately the way he is and praises Allah with whatever (words) he can for that blessing that He gave him, out of thanks to Him. Likewise if he recites a verse of prostration from the Book of Allah (‘azza wa jal), he prostrates immediately, whether he has wudhu’ (ablution) or not, whether he is facing the qiblah or not, without making takbeer al-ihraam and without making any tashahhud or salaam.”

وَآتَاكُمْ مِنْ كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَإِنْ تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا ۗ إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ

“… And if you count the blessings of Allaah, never will you be able to count them.” (Ibrahim, 14:34)

Just to be clear, we know that there are a gazillion blessings which we receive each day from the Almighty – like our family, our wealth, breathing easily, being spoilt for choice with food and drink, a working thumb (I just recovered from 2 months of wearing a thumb splint due to a torn ligament – never thanked God so much for my thumb before!), our hearing and sight. If we were to prostrate in gratitude for everyday ongoing blessings, we would spend our whole life literally on all fours.For those blessings, we continue to thank the Almighty through our daily actions and prayers – serving Him and those around us. The Messenger did not specify the Prostration of Gratitude to be done daily after solah or in any fixed routine. It is reserved for these “special” occasions of new, sudden blessings.

For example, the companion Ka’b ibn Maalik prostrated when he was given the glad tidings that Allah had accepted his repentance after his boycott. [The detailed story is mentioned in Bukhari and Muslim].

If you have kids, this would be a great way to teach them about gratitude. In addition to thanking mom and dad for something, teach them to thank the ultimate Giver of all things – do a Sujood As-Shukr together with them after their first time cycling around the garden without the training wheels on, or when they receive a gift they love.

Let’s get creative and find ways to incorporate more Sujud Ash-Shukr into our lives.

وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ وَلَئِنْ كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ

“And when your Lord made it known: if you are grateful, I will certainly increase (give more) to you. And if you are ungrateful, indeed my punishment is severe.” (Ibrahim, 14:7)

If you want to share the examples of times you have done Sujood Ash-Shukr, or have any suggestions, feel free to comment below.