Why do we not bow down and prostrate in janazah prayer?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Janazah prayer is essentially like a dua; ruku’ and sajdah are not necessary in dua. That is, what is meant by janazah prayer is to pray for the dead person and to ask Allah to forgive him. Therefore, there is no ruku’ and sajdah in it. We do not read the Quran but pray for the dead person in janazah prayer. Thus, we worship for Allah’s sake but we also pray for the dead person.

There are various interpretations about the non-existence of ruku’ and sajdah in janazah prayer but janazah prayer is a place for dua, not qira’ah.

Janazah prayer is a prayer that is fard al-kifayah and that consists of dua and asking for forgiveness for the dead person from Allah.

To supplicate is the main part in janazah prayer. The Prophet (pbuh) said, 

"Pray sincerely for the dead person when you perform a janazah prayer." (Abu Dawud, Janaiz 56)

We see that it is necessary to pray sincerely for the dead person when janazah prayer is performed without making any discrimination. That is a sunnah that the Prophet (pbuh) did and advised us to do. However, there is a remarkable point here: to pray sincerely for the dead person whether he was a good or bad person. Sinners need more prayers than others. In fact, everybody, whether good or bad, needs prayer. That is the reason why everybody that dies is brought before the congregation.   

In fact, it is useful and necessary for both the person who prays and the dead person to act sincerely in the face of the death of a person, to pray heartily for the Muslim that has died.

It is possible to understand the phrase “akhlisu lahud-dua” as “allocate the prayer to the dead person only; pray for him only”, but there is no limitation like praying for the dead only. As a matter of fact, the Prophet (pbuh) read the following supplication in janazah prayer:

“O Allah! Forgive those of us who are living and those of us who are dead, those of us who are present and those of us who are absent, our young and our old, our male and our female. O Allah, to whomsoever of us Thou givest life grant him life as a believer, and whomsoever of us Thou takest in death take him in death as a follower of Islam. O Allah! Do not withhold from us the reward (of faith) and do not lead us astray after his death!” (Tirmidhi, Janaiz 38; Abu Dawud, Janaiz 56)

However, it is more appropriate to understand that hadith as follows: "Do not pray for the living people only in janazah prayer by forgetting the dead person. Pray for the dead person too.”


1.  Janazah prayer consists of takbirs and dua (supplication).

2.  Sincerity is essential in dua.

3.  It is necessary to pray for both the dead person and the living people in janazah prayer.

4.  It is necessary to pray sincerely for the dead person in janazah prayer whether he is a sinner or not.

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