Spiritual Dimension

The Perfect Sujood

We continue with the greatest pillar of Salah, the Sujood [prostration]! Now don’t you wish you could have watched the Prophet himself as he did his Sujood [prostration]? This is the aim of today’s segment, to carry to you the description of the proper Sujood [prostration], just the way our Messener prostrated before Allah, in hope that we can perfect our own performance of this precious pillar. When you are ready to perform the prostration, make sure to call out “Allahu Akbar” on your way down for Sujood [prostration]….Not before, nor after, but during the descent. The stronger opinion is that the palms are to touch the ground first before the knees, to avoid resembling the descent of a beast [camel].

Next, the head makes a gentle contact with the ground till the forehead [and nose] is firm upon the ground. Ensure that there is no barrier [as that of a head covering] that might prevent direct contact of your forehead with the place of prostration. With palms firmly down, keep fingers close together. Point fingers, knees and toes towards the Qiblah. Palms can either be parallel with the head, or parallel with the shoulders.

Keep the elbows elevated off the ground. [For men] extend elbows as far away from your sides as possible. Keep abdomen away from the thighs. The Sujood [prostration] is done on a total of 7 body parts: The forehead [including the nose], the two palms, the two knees, and the two feet [toes]….All firm upon the ground till every bone and joint is fixed in place with peace and calm. The Prophet never recited Quran in this position, but instead, he made much dua. He said, “The closest a servant ever is to His Lord, is when he is prostrating so make in it much dua.” And what have we been taught to say, when we are down so low –

سُبْحَانَ رَبِّىَ الأَعْلَى
“How glorified and perfect My Lord is, The Most High!”

We can add,
سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَا وَبِحَمْدِكَ ، اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي
“How perfect You are O Allah, Our Lord, and I praise You. O Allah, forgive me.”

سُبُّوحٌ قُدُّوسٌ رَبُّ الْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالرُّوحِ
“Perfect and Holy [is He], Lord of the Angels and Ruh [i.e. Angel Jibrael].”

The Prophet taught us many supplications, each with a different meaning, each with a unique flavor. Each serves to renew our focus.

To make dua is to talk to Allah. When you love someone, you love to talk to him more. You love to stay engaged longer! Do you remember when Allah spoke to Prophet Musa in the valley of Tuwa [below Mount Sinai]?1 As Allah spoke to him, Musa listened and listened, so absorbed! Then, what did he do when Allah suddenly asked him, “And what is that in your right hand, O Musa?” Musa was feeling such a comfort and pleasure as he engaged with the words of his beloved Lord that a euphoria enveloped his answer… and with that… he set off in speech!… “It is my staff; I lean upon it; and I bring down leaves with it for my sheep..” He was so lost in the rapture of this special engagement… till he remembered the Grandeur before Him, and so…cut it short, “.. and in it I have other uses.”

So as you prostrate in nearness to Him, try to feel the pleasure Prophet Musa felt. Remember the love you hold for Him. Talk to Him, praise Him, ask Him, unload your burdens at His door, and reach out for the peace that only He can bring.

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّى أَعُوذُ بِرِضَاكَ مِنْ سَخَطِكَ ، وَبِمُعَافَاتِكَ مِنْ عُقُوبَتِكَ ، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْكَ ، لاَ أُحْصِي ثَنَاءً عَلَيْكَ أَنْتَ كَمَا أَثْنَيْتَ عَلَى نَفْسِكَ
“O Allah, I seek refuge within Your pleasure, from Your displeasure. And within Your pardon, from Your punishment. And I seek refuge in You, from You. I cannot enumerate Your praise. You are as You have praised Yourself.”

We have one Ruku [bowing] in each unit of Salah, but two prostrations, why? Because the Sujood [prostration] is the Salah’s greatest pillar, it is performed twice! Once is just not enough. The Prophet used to lengthen his prostrations, savoring in these precious moments with Allah. [This was an especially precious time for his young grandchildren as well! And he would not come up from his Sujood [prostration], till their riding fun was satisfied!]