Answer: The Sunnah (action following the teachings of the Prophet) for the person praying is to start Sujood with the invocations authentically reported from the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم): "Subhana Rabbiyal A`la (Glory be to my Lord, the Most High)" - repeating it ten times. This is the perfect number. Scholars maintain that the minimum number for perfection is three times, and it is sufficient to say it once.
This is supported by the evidence reported by the Five Compilers of Hadith (Imaams Ahmad, Abu Dawood, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa'ee, and Ibn Majah) except at-Tirmidhi on the authority of Hudhaifah (رضي الله عنه) in the hadeeth about his offering night Salaah (Prayer) with the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم), in which he said:
I offered Salah along with the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم). In his Ruku` (bowing), he would say, 'Subhana Rabbiyal `Azhim (Glory be to my Lord, the Most Great)' and in his Sujud, he would say, 'Subhana Rabbiyal A`la (Glory be to my Lord, the Most High).'
It was reported on the authority of `Uqbah ibn `Amir that he said:
When the Ayah (Qur'anic verse): Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High, was revealed, the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) said, 'Make it in your Sujood.'
The evidence that the perfect number is ten times is the Hadeeth reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawood, and an-Nasa'ee from Sa`id ibn Jubayr on the authority of Anas that he said:
Since the death of the Messenger of Allash (صلى الله علیه وسلم), I have never prayed behind anyone whose Salah is more similar to his than this young man's Salah - meaning `Umar ibn `Abdul-`Aziz. We estimated the number of the glorifications he said during his Ruku` to be ten, and during his Sujood also ten.
If, after this glorification, the worshipper says a Du`a' Ma'thur (supplication based on transmitted reports) or utterances of Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah) permissible in Sujood, this is good. This includes saying:
- "Subbuhun quddusun Rabbul-mala'ikati war-ruh (All Glorious, All Holy, Lord of the Angels and the Ruh (Gabriel)",
- "Subhanaka Allahumma wa bihamdika. Allahumma ighfir li (Glory be to You, O Allah, our Lord, and all praise be to You. O Allah, forgive me)",
- "Allahumma ighfir li dhanbi kullahu, diqqahu wa-jillahu, wa-awwalahu wa-akhirahu, wa-`alaniyatahu wa-sirrahu (O Allah, forgive me all my sins, slight and grave, first and last, open and secret)."
The worshipper may ask their Lord for whatever they need. Asking Allaah and worshipful servitude and obedience to Him is the essential meaning of Uluhiyyah (Allaah's Exclusive Right to be worshipped), whereas answering the supplicants is the essential meaning of Rububiyyah (Allaah's Lordship). Once a worshipper feels this, the light of Tawheed (belief in the Oneness of Allah) and Eemaan (faith) will expand in their heart, and they will resort to their Lord in all their worldly and religious affairs. Any person like this should expect great goodness and hope for the best.
Sujood is a position where Du`a' (supplication) is more likely to be answered, for the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) said:
"As for Sujud, strive in making Du`a' for you will be more deserving of being responded to."