Sunday, 7 February 2016

As I touch my forehead to the ground....

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
I used to wonder why do we human prostrate i.e. 'sujud'? Is it as a form of respect or is it an act of worship? Why do we, as Muslims, prostrate in our solat? Is it because it's one of the rituals in solat or is there another reason for it?
I decided to look it up in the dictionary and what I found was....
To prostrate means
lay oneself flat on the ground face downward, especially in reverence or submission.
Worship on the other hand means
Show reverence and adoration for (a deity).
Hhmm....I was no where close to finding my answer.
A couple years ago, I suffered a bad knee injury that prevented me from standing for a long period of time or kneeling. My injury also prevented me from performing my solat in the normal way. When it came to prostration or 'sujud', I had to sit on a chair and bend down from the waist as opposed to kneeling on the floor. That, was also about the time when I was due to leave for my umra.
Imagine my apprehension! I felt that I wouldn't be able to perform my prayers perfectly when I'm at the holiest place on earth! That didn't sit too well with me. Then, the Wise Owl told me that when we prostrate, that is when we are closest to God Almighty. made me feel even worse!
Prophet saw said, “The closest that a servant is to his Lord is when he is in prostration.” (Muslim)
It was then that I understood that prostration or 'sujud' is actually a blessing granted by the Creator to His creations. It's a special kind of privilege that is accorded to us to enable us to be closest to Him. To have that blessing taken away from us is a catastrophe indeed.
Questions swirled in mind...has the blessing been taken away from me ? Did I do something wrong? Will my injury be permanent? Is God angry with me?
When God prescribed the five times daily prayers to us, He wanted us to be closest to Him, at least 34 times in a day. Now, if the King wants to see us 34 times in a day, every day, wouldn't we feel honoured ? Of course we would. In fact, we'd probably be over the moon. Then, shouldn't we be ecstatic and over the entire universe that God, the One who created us, wants us close to Him every single day ? 
Honestly, when I couldn't perform the 'sujud' properly, I felt as though the special privilege was yanked away from me. The realization that God is not letting me be closest to Him at that time was like a slap on the face. It was as if I was given a second class seat instead of the usual first class.
It's true when people say that, 'we don't appreciate what we have until it's gone'. Well...I really felt the loss. The emotion that I feel whenever my forehead touches the ground in humble prostration, is like calmness and peace blanketing my entire body and soul. Even my heart beats to a different rhythm. I am in a safe cocoon. In that precious moment, everything else fades in the background and the only thing that exist is Allah and me....
Thankfully, my injury healed right before I left for umra and I could perform my prayers properly and with ease. My injury was actually a lesson for me to learn.
So, the moral of the story, do as much 'sujud' as you possibly can, while you can. The privilege can be taken away from you in a blink of an eye and never be returned. Don't take it for granted.
Our beloved Prophet saw said,
“Prostrate much because there is no Muslim that prostrates to God except that God raises him one degree in Paradise by it and forgives for him a sin.” (Ahmad)

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