What is the wisdom behind the acts in the prayer?
The Meaning of the Acts in the Prayer: Each pillar and part of the prayer has separate wisdoms.
One of the names of Allah is al-Hakim (the All-Wise). That is, He definitely arranges and creates many wisdoms, interests and aims in every act of His. It is certain that there are thousands of wisdoms in His order and prohibition. There are many meanings in every act of the prayer, which is the most important worshipping.
We can list some of them as follows:
The prayer is the pillar of the religion. If we think that the Kaaba is the pillar of the universe, we will understand the wisdom behind turning to the direction of the Kaaba in the prayer.
To raise our hands while saying the takbir (Allahu akbar) means we throw the worldly things behind our back and stand for the prayer for Allah.
When we stand on our feet, we represent the worshipping of trees, mountains and the angels that always worship by standing.
When we bow down, we represent the worshipping of animals like the camel, the goat and the sheep, and the angels that always worship by bowing down.
When we prostrate, we represent the worshipping of reptiles, grass and the angels that always worship by prostrating.
When we sit, we present the worshipping of all creatures to Allah on our own behalf. In the end, when we salute the right and the left, we salute the whole universe.
Besides, when we pray, we make our body and each organ in it worship.
Standing and reading the Quran in the prayer are also meaningful. There is a wisdom behind bowing down after standing and prostrating after bowing down, being in the closest state to Allah...
Man, who is in a state of representing the general worshipping performed universally, presents the worshipping that continuously takes place in his own body together with the worshipping of the living realm and the realm that we regard as non-living to the All-Merciful Lord five times a day.
First, we stand, raise our hands and say Allahu akbar (Allah is the greatest). Thus, man throws everything except Allah behind his back and becomes subject to His order and will. Servitude and slavery are registered like that. Thus, the worshipping of all of the beings is represented.
2. BOWING DOWN (RUKU)
After praising Allah as He deserves, man feels so weak in the presence of that loftiness that he bows down to show it and lowers his head as a sign of respect and says ‘Subhana Rabbiyal-Azim (Glorious is my Lord, the Great). The believer represents the worshipping of all beings that bow down by doing so.
3. SUPPLICATION (DUA)
Then, he straightens up, and thanks and praises Allah because He guided him to the right path. For a moment, he contemplates, while standing, the loftiness and grandeur of Allah and the simplicity and meanness of his act, then, he becomes terrified and appalled.
4. PROSTRATION (SAJDAH)
He prostrates and puts his forehead down feeling the modesty and weakness fully and says,
‘Subhana Rabbiyal-Ala (Glorious is my Lord, the Highest).
5. SITTING AND SALUTATION
After repeating those acts in a series, he finds himself directly in the presence of Allah without any intermediaries and asks help from Him.
When two beings meet, a salutation takes place between them. In one part of the prayer (sitting), the person who prays repeats the same expressions of salutation that took place between Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) and Allah during Miraj (ascension):
"At-Tahiyyatu lillahi, was-salawatu wattayyibatu. As-Salamu alayka ayyuhan-Nabiyyu, wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. As-Salamu alayna wa ala ibadillahissalihin”
(All kinds of Greetings, prayers and goodness belong to Allah. Peace be on you, O Prophet and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be on us and on the righteous servants of Allah!)
The acts of the body in the prayer:
There are 4 acts in the prayer. The first one is qiyam, that is, standing. The second one is ruku (bowing down). The third one is the first sajdah (prostration) and the fourth one is the second prostration. (Fususulhikam, 2/476-477)
In qiyam in praying, the head denotes the Lord and the feet denote the people. Man, who combines them in qiyam, reads the Quran (qira’ah), which is fard, in this position. He fulfils two fards: qiyam and qira’ah.
As for ruku’, it means practicing the situation of animals in prayer. In this position, the feet of animals look at the center of the earth, and the direction of their bodies is horizontal. That is, the animal stands parallel to the gravity of the earth. While standing like that, the head of the animal looks neither at the space nor at the gravity of the earth. It is a situation between them. Why do we practice it though we are human beings? A question like, ‘What is the animal to us?” may arise. The answer is as follows: the human body, which is the summary of 18 thousand animals, has an animal spirit that lives the worldly life. That spirit, which is called the soul in terms of desires, cannot be upgraded to the human spirit unless it is cleaned. He should eat a little, sleep a little and have sexual intercourse a little in order to be away from the animal side, which is close to the world. Then, he will be in the situation of being cleaned. Salah (prayer), which is a comprehensive worshipping, has to practice the animal present in it.
The wisdom of sajdah; when a person prostrates, the head goes down to the level of the feet. Man practices the situation of the plants in prostration.
The second prostration is lifeless. It has no action in itself. That is, it has no action coming from inside. It acts as a result of external forces. The ores in the stones and the ground are included. The ore belongs to the thing that keeps it unless it is smelted since it exists in a dispersed state among non-living things. The element of each ore has a spirit in terms of its atoms.
The second prostration is like the first one because the plants and non-living things are together; they are not in action like animals. Every globe, star and similar body in the space is non-living. The prostration is as big as their amount.
To sum up, the prayer (salah) is a kind of worshipping that contains man, animals and all creatures. However, it is understood when it is fulfilled heartily and spiritually not in appearance.
- What is the wisdom behind the acts in the prayer?
- The Principles of Prayer
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- Where should one look while he is praying (in qiyam (standing), ruku’ (bowing down) and tashahhud (sitting))?