Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Act of Prostration


The actual act of physical prostration is universally accepted as making oneself in humility whether among men or toward God. This is commonly done by lowering the chin towards touching the neck as the Japanese do, or taking the chin still lower until one reach the level where the hands can hold both the knees while still standing and this is the bowing action. It is quite common to the European during the Elizabethan era they bow by taking off their hats and lowering the chin to show their humility.

The other common act of prostration to the European or more toward the culture of the Christians is kneeling. The act of kneeling is still lowering the chin to show humility to the Crown or to the Church.

However in Islam the ultimate action which is the humblest position is lowering the chin until the forehead touch the ground and this is the prostration in submission and this action is normally done for God only. The prostration is defined in the Quran as ordained in the verse below based on the Arabic word “chin” is mentioned.

Say: “Whether you believe in it or not, those who were given the knowledge before it, when it is recited unto them fall down by lowering their chin (lil azqaani), prostrating.” (Surah 17:107)

So the action of lowering the chin towards touching the neck, or lowering it halfway towards the ground while still standing or the lowering it until the forehead touch the ground while kneeling are all actions of prostration.

The example of a Queen action during King Solomon reign since she was worshipping the sun as her God she may be in the position of prostrating on her forehead at which she was at her humblest posture in submission to her god.

I found her and her people prostrating themselves to the sun instead of God, and Satan has made alluring their deeds to them and has hindered them from the Way, so they are not guided. (Surah 27:24).

However that kind of prostration at our humblest should be for the humility due to God only. Prostration on the forehead is an act of total submission and only for God should we be subjected and none others to such a mortification.

And His signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate not to the sun and the moon, but prostrate yourselves to God, who created them, if it is He you worship. (Surah 41:37)

The example of total submission is set by Ishmael when he fell on his forehead willing to be sacrifice because of his patience and constancy to God.

So when they have both submitted their will, and he had laid him prostrate on the forehead (lil jabin). We call out to him: “O Abraham you have already fulfilled the vision!” thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial; and We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice. (Surah 37:103-107)

Thus the act of prostration to humble oneself to show humility is a universal culture and we have to respect how each culture or religious entity do their act of humility. We cannot force others to complied with our form of prostration, any act of lowering the chin is appropriate enough to show one own action of humility.


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