Prophet Muhammad, sallalahu alayhi wasalaam, was before the Ka’bah shortly after the first Muslim migration to Habasha, when he was reciting surah an-Najm. Muslims and non-believers alike listened in awe. As he came to the last verses –
An Najm 53: 57-62
The Day of Resurrection draws near, (57)
None besides Allâh can avert it, (or advance it, or delay it). (58)
Do you then wonder at this recitation (the Qur’ân)? (59)
And you laugh at it and weep not, (60)
Wasting your (precious) lifetime in pastime and amusements (61)
So fall you down in prostration to Allâh, and worship Him (Alone). (62)
He (sallallahu alaihi wasalam) gracefully fell in prostration. The Muslims surrounding him followed in suit. Remarkably, it is what happened next that was the most amazing: the non-believers around them fell in prostration. Subhan Allah. They were so moved by the beautiful words of the Quran that they fell into sajdah irresistibly.
Sajdah. The most humble of positions the creation can be in before their Rabb. As we fall into the lowest of positions, where our face (the most honoured part of us) is lower than our bottom feet, twice in each rakaah, we give praise to the Most High, Allah.
Ibn Al-Qayyim described the sujood as the secret of prayer, the greatest pillar, and the seal of the rukoo’. He said all the other actions we did before it were just preludes.
Rabi’a bin Ka’b (ra), a companion of the Prophet ﷺ said:
“I was with Allah’s Messenger ﷺ one night and I brought him water and what he required. He said to me: ‘Ask (anything you like).’ I said: ‘I ask your company in Paradise.’ He said: ‘Anything else besides it?’ I said: ‘That is all (that I require).’ He said: ‘Then help me to achieve this for you by devoting yourself often to prostration.’” (Muslim)
Meaning make lots of solah (and thus lots of prostrations to Allah)
We should step back and reflect: what do we feel when we go into sujood? Some of us simply do it because it is a part of prayer; others because it is where we can make du`a’ (supplication). But how many of us feel the humility of the soul, as we put our faces on the ground, in glorification of God?
Allah describes the mark prostration leaves on the believers in the Quran:
Al Fath 48: 29
Muhammad (SAW) is the Messenger of Allâh, And those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayer), seeking Bounty from Allâh and (His) Good Pleasure. The mark of them (i.e. of their Faith) is on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of prostration (during prayers).
Most people assume that the “mark” refers to the physical mark on one’s forehead that sometimes appears when one prostrates much. However, commenting on this verse, Mujahid stated that the “marks” refer to the marks of humility that come from khushoo’ (devotion), and this is just in the dunya (world). In the Hereafter, Al-Jalalayn described it as a light and radiance by which these people will be recognized.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam went to the (Baqi`) cemetery and said,
“May you be secured from punishment, O dwellers of abode of the believers! We, if Allah wills, will follow you. I wish we see my brothers.” The Companions said, “O Messenger of Allah! Are not we your brothers?” He said, “You are my Companions, but my brothers are those who have not come into the world yet.” They said; “O Messenger of Allah! How will you recognize those of your Ummah who are not born yet?” He said, “Say, if a man has white-footed horses with white foreheads among horses which are pure black, will he not recognize his own horses?” They said; “Certainly, O Messenger of Allah!” He said, “They (my followers) will come with bright faces and white limbs because of Wudu’; and I will arrive at the Haud (Al-Kauthar) ahead of them.” [Muslim]
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said:
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“When Allah intends mercy on whomever He wishes of the people of fire, He will command the angels to bring them forth whomever who used to worship Allah. And the angels will know them by the traces of the mark of sujood. Allah will forbid the Fire to consume the mark of sujood on the sons of Adam. So they will bring them forth and they will have been burned, then water that is called the water of life will be poured on them, and they will grow like seeds growing after a flood recedes.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Shaytan Hates Prostration
Prostration is also the most despised of positions to Iblis – it is the very position he refused to fall into at the command of Allah before Adam.
It was narrated by Abu Kuraib that the Prophet, sallalahu alayhi wasalaam, said
“when Satan sees the son of Adam in prostration, he says: ‘Woe unto me, the son of Adam was commanded to prostrate, and he prostrated and Paradise was entitled to him; and I was commanded to prostrate, but I refused and am doomed to Hell.'” [Muslim, Book 1, Number 144]
Prostration is also the greatest time to supplicate to Allah.
Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallalahu alayhi wasalaam, said: “The nearest a servant comes to his Lord is when he is prostrating himself, so make supplication (in this state).” [Muslim, Book 4, Number 979]
Also, Madan bin Talha reported:
“I met Thauban, the freed slave of Allah’s Messenger, sallalahu alayhi wasalaam, and asked him to tell me about an act for which, if I do it, Allah will admit me to Paradise, or I asked about the act which was loved most by Allah. He gave no reply. I again asked and he gave no reply. I asked him for the third time, and he said: I asked Allah’s Messenger, sallalahu alayhi wasalaam, about that and he said: ‘Make frequent prostrations before Allah, for you will not make one prostration without raising you a degree because of it, and removing a sin from you, because of it.'” [Muslim, Book 4, Number 989]
The following are some dua’as Rasulullah, sallalahu alayhi wasalaam, would make while prostrating. Let’s try to memorise them
O Allah, to You I prostrate myself and in You I believe. To You I have submitted. My face is prostrated to the One who created it, fashioned it and give it hearing and sight. Blessed is Allah, the Best of creators. (Muslim)
O Allah I seek protection in Your pleasure from Your anger, and I seek protection in Your forgiveness from Your punishment, I seek protection in You from You. I cannot count Your praises. You are as You praised Yourself. (Muslim)
O Allah forgive me all my sins, great and small, the first and the last, those that are apparent and those that are hidden. (Muslim)
And furthermore, let it be known that Allah’s creation all prostrate to Allah
“Whatever beings there are in the heavens and the earth do prostrate themselves to Allah (acknowledging subjection)- with good-will or in spite of themselves: so do their shadows in the morning and evenings.”
Ya Rabb make us among those who prostrate to You alone.