By Tabassum M
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
The forehead is one of the most precious parts of our body. It is literally at the highest point, and hidden inside it is the most advanced and sophisticated part of our brain – the prefrontal cortex. It is this precious part of our body which we put on the ground during prostration.
In prostration, we also expose the most vulnerable point of attack – the back of the neck. Altogether it is the humblest position that a human being can go into. And a Muslim never goes into it ever, except in front of Allah.
We do it at least 34 times a day. But very often we don’t realize the significance of the special act that we’re doing. It becomes little more than a physical exercise. And yet it is this very act which intrigues and moves many non-Muslims. However, anyone watching a worshipper only sees the outer actions. The reality is that oftentimes our hearts don’t prostrate along with our bodies
In order to get out of this rut and to engage our hearts in prostration, let us look at some of the things which make prostration such a special act of worship.
1- It differentiates us from the Shaytan (Satan)
Shaytan was a devout worshipper of Allah so much so that he was raised to the ranks of the angels. So what was the crime for which Allah (swt) expelled him from His mercy? He refused to prostrate to Adam (as). Allah (swt) had ordered this prostration as a means of respect to Adam, and Shaytan’s refusal was actually refusal to bow down to Allah.
Prostration makes the difference between paradise and hell; belief and disbelief; Allah’s mercy and curse. The Prophet (sa) quotes Shaytan’s lament every time we do the prostration of recitation:
“When a son of Adam recites a verse of prostration and prostrates, Satan withdraws weeping, saying: Woe is me! The son of Adam was commanded to prostrate and he prostrated, and paradise will be his; I was commanded to prostrate and I refused, so I am doomed to hell.’” (Ibn Majah; graded sound by al-Albani)
The Prophet (sa) also said: “The fire will consume all of the son of Adam except the mark of prostration. Allah has forbidden the fire from consuming the mark of prostration.” (Ibn Majah; graded sound by al-Albani)
2- It is a manifestation of our unique, special relationship with Allah
We express, through our humbleness, that we are the slaves of Allah and that He is our only Master, the only One who deserves prostration. We go to the lowest possible position for the human form to adapt while declaring Allah to be the highest.
3- We’re closest to Allah in prostration
What can be a better achievement for a slave of Allah than to be closest to Him?
4- It raises our degree
The more we humble ourselves towards Allah, the more we acknowledge that He is the greatest, the Most Powerful, the One whose cloak is pride. And the more we acknowledge this, the greater will be our rank.
The Prophet (sa) said: “Whenever any worshipper performs a prostration to Allah, He will raise him or her a level and erase a sin from him or her for it.” (at-Tirmidhi; authenticated by al-Albani)
5- All the prophets of Allah loved prostration
So much so that when they heard the verses of Allah, it made them fall down in prostration. Allah mentions in the Qur’an:
“Those were the ones upon whom Allah bestowed favour from among the prophets of the descendants of Adam and of those We carried [in the ship] with Noah, and of the descendants of Abraham and Israel, and of those whom We guided and chose. When the verses of the Most Merciful were recited to them, they fell in prostration and weeping.” (19:58)
6- The traces of prostration appear on your face.
Allah mentions in the Qur’an:
“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration. That is their description in the Torah….” (48:29)
Although the apparent meaning of the verse denotes that the signs of prostration are physical marks on the face, Ibn Abbas (ra) said it “refers to graceful appearance,” while others said that “it means humbleness and reverence.” And “the righteous good deed brings light to the heart, brightness to the face, ampleness in provisions, and love in people’s hearts.” (Ibn Katheer)
Tabassum M is a freelance writer and a student of al-Salam Institute. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
© IIPH 2016