Does lifting the foot from the ground while in prostration invalidate prayer? Is it necessary to keep the big toe of the right foot on the ground during prostration only or throughout the prayer?

Details of the Question
Does lifting the foot from the ground while in prostration invalidate prayer? Is it necessary to keep the big toe of the right foot on the ground during prostration only or throughout the prayer?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is fard to perform prostration (sajdah). Therefore, skipping prostration invalidates prayer.   

The best way of performing prostration is to put two hands, two knees, two feet, the forehead and the nose on the floor/ground as a whole. Even if only one toe of the foot touches the ground, the prostration becomes valid. 

If a person does not put any of his feet on the floor/ground, the prostration does not become valid. If one of the feet touches the ground along with the forehead long enough to say “subhanallah” and is lifted after that, the prayer is not invalidated since the prostration becomes valid.

When the forehead is on the ground during prostration, if the feet are off the ground, the prostration is not complete. It is not possible to say that this prayer is valid. The toes need to touch the ground long enough to say "subhana rabbiyal ala" at least once along with the forehead for the prostration to be valid.  

If both feet are off the ground during the whole prostration, the prayer becomes invalid. However, if one or both of the feet remain on the ground for a while, the prayer becomes valid. Accordingly, if one foot or both of the feet touch the ground even for a short time in prostration, the prayer is not invalidated. However, if neither foot touches the ground during prostration, the prayer is not valid.

It is stated that the prostration becomes valid if the feet are lifted after the glorification is uttered only once.

Another issue to be careful about prostration is the things worn on the head preventing the forehead from touching the ground/floor. Sometimes the things worn on the head like cap, beret and turban cover the forehead and prevent the forehead from touching the ground/floor. Thus, it forms a veil between the forehead and the ground. In that case, the forehead touches the ground only virtually not really, which causes karahah. 

Then, the covering on the head must not prevent the forehead from touching the ground/floor; the forehead itself must touch the ground. For, it is fard for the forehead to touch the ground and it is wajib for the nose to touch the ground.

It is necessary to mention the amount of tasbihat (glorification) in prostration here.

The imam should not utter tasbihat more than three times in ruku (bowing down) and in prostration (sajdah), causing the congregation difficulty. However, those performing a prayer alone can utter tasbihat three, five, seven times. 

In the hadith stating that the most valuable moment of the prayer is prostration, the Prophet reminds the following:

"The closest moment of a slave to his Lord is the moment of prostration. Then, say prayers a lot in prostration and keep your heart alert." (Abu Dawud, II/33; Muslim, Salat 215)

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