What does a mark on the forehead from Sajdah mean? Many people say it means the person is pious. Is this true?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

It is not permitted to claim anything to be a sign of piety without clear evidence from Quran and Hadith. People who say a mark on the forehead from Sajdah means something must provide clear and authentic evidence or refrain from saying it.

مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ تَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا سِيمَاهُمْ فِي وُجُوهِهِمْ مِنْ أَثَرِ السُّجُودِ ذَلِكَ مَثَلُهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. And those with him are firm with the disbelievers and compassionate with one another. You see them bowing and prostrating, seeking bounty from Allah and (His) pleasure. Their distinctive feature is on their faces from the effect of prostration. This is their description in the Torah. (Surah al-Fath, 29).

Islam is not like other religions. It does not allow anyone to simply say what he wants to about the Deen. Since many other religions allow people to speak without evidence, they have corrupted their religious teaching. This is how the Jews and Christians strayed from the path of the great Prophets of Allah (Most High).

The Sahabah were very strict on this. They would not allow people to make religious claims without clear evidence. Unfortunately, in our time, there are too many people who are willing to speak without evidence. They do not understand how corrupting this can be. What is worse, is very often these are so called ‘learned people’ or scholars. Any genuine scholar knows that matters of the unseen require specific evidence.
Some people use the verse above to try to justify their opinion, that having a mark on the forehead from Sajdah is a sign of piety. This is better than those who repeat this without any reference to evidence or authority.

However, people using this Holy verse as evidence will be required to use the method of Ahl al-Sunnah to verify their opinion. They should provide Nusoos (texts) from classical scholars to support what they are saying, or at the very least their interpretation of the verse cannot contradict the Imams of Ahl a-Sunnah.

وقوله جل جلاله: سِيماهُمْ فِي وُجُوهِهِمْ مِنْ أَثَرِ السُّجُودِ قَالَ عَلِيُّ بْنُ أَبِي طَلْحَةَ عَنِ ابْنِ عباس رضي الله عنهما: سِيماهُمْ فِي وُجُوهِهِمْ يَعْنِي السَّمْتَ الْحَسَنَ. وَقَالَ مُجَاهِدٌ وَغَيْرُ وَاحِدٍ: يَعْنِي الْخُشُوعَ وَالتَّوَاضُعَ. وَقَالَ ابْنُ أَبِي حَاتِمٍ: حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي، حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ الطَّنَافِسِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا حُسَيْنٌ الْجُعْفِيُّ عَنْ زَائِدَةَ عَنْ مَنْصُورٍ عَنْ مُجَاهِدٍ سِيماهُمْ فِي وُجُوهِهِمْ مِنْ أَثَرِ السُّجُودِ قَالَ: الْخُشُوعُ. قُلْتُ: مَا كُنْتُ أَرَاهُ إِلَّا هَذَا الْأَثَرَ فِي الْوَجْهِ، فَقَالَ: رُبَّمَا كَانَ بَيْنَ عَيْنَيْ مَنْ هُوَ أَقْسَى قَلْبًا مِنْ فِرْعَوْنَ. وَقَالَ السُّدِّيُّ: الصَّلَاةُ تُحَسِّنُ وُجُوهَهُمْ. (تفسير القرآن العظيم).

His (Mighty and Majestic) saying: Their distinctive feature is on their faces from the effect of prostration. Ali Ibn Abi Talhah narrated from (Sayidina) Ibn Abbas, May Allah Most High be pleased with them both, ‘Their distinctive feature is on their faces,’ means beautiful appearance. Mujahid and others said, ‘It refers to awe and humility.’ Ibn Abi Hatim said, my father informed us that Ali bin Muhammad al-Tanafisi said, we were informed by Husayn al-Ju’fi, from Zaidah, from Mansoor, from Mujahid who said, ‘Their distinctive feature is on their faces from the effect of prostration,’ means awe. I (Mansoor) said, ‘I used to consider this to refer to the mark on the face.’ So he said, ‘That may be present between the eyes of someone more hard hearted than Fir’own (pharaoh).’ Al-Sudi said, ‘prayer beautifies their faces.’ (Imam Ibn Katheer, Tafseer al-Quran al-Adheem).

In the Nass above we find Imam Ibn Katheer not only narrating sound opinions regarding what the words, ‘Their distinctive feature is on their faces from the effect of prostration,’ means. Namely, it refers to beauty, awe, and humility. He also narrates an explicit negation of it referring to a physical mark on the face. This Tafseer has been repeated it numerous classical books of Tafseer (Quranic exegesis).

It is also important to note that the blessed Prophet ﷺ, who made the most Sujood with the greatest spiritual intensity does not seem to of had any such mark, or discoloration of his Mubarak (blessed) skin on the forehead.

Muslims must learn that our religion is distinct from all other religions. We do not give free reign to scholars or non-scholars to speak on behalf of Allah Most High without evidence. Other religious communities done this and thus corrupted their religions. From the time of the Sahabah the true scholars of this Ummah have warned against such behavior.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

-Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (10.05.2022)

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