What is the wisdom behind the rukns (basic parts) in prayer?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The movements of the body in prayer:

There are four basic movements in prayer. The first one is qiyam. That is, standing on feet. The second one is ruku’. The third one is the first sajdah (prostration), and the fourth one is the second sajdah. (Fusus al-Hikam, II / 476-477)

Qiyam in prayer: the head represents God and the feet represent people. Man, who unites both of them in qiyam performs qiraah, which is fard, in that position. He performs two fards with qiyam and qiraah.  

As for ruku’, ruku means practicing the position of a walking animal in prayer. When animals are in this position, their feet face the center of the earth and the body is horizontal. That is, they stand parallel to the earth’s gravity. In this natural position of the animal, the head faces neither the sky nor the earth’s gravity. It is in a position between them. Why do we stand like that in prayer though we are human beings? The question ‘what relation do we have with animals?’ can come to the mind. The answer to that question is as follows:  

The human body, which is the summary of 18.000 animals, has an aspect that leads a worldly life with its animal spirit. This spirit, which is called the soul in terms of desires, cannot be elevated to human spirit unless it is purified. He should eat a little, sleep a little and have sexual intercourse a little in order to move away from animality, which is related to the world. If he does so, he will be purified. However, he has to practice the animality included in prayer.  

The wisdom behind sajdah: Sajdah means the head coming down to the level of the feet. In this position, man practices the position of plants. The second sajdah is lifeless. It does not have a movement coming from itself. It moves based on outer effects. The mines in the ground and stones are included in it. Unless mines are smelted, they are scattered among lifeless things; therefore, they have the address of the thing that includes them. Every element of mines has a spirit in terms of their particles.

The second sajdah is like the first sajdah so that plants and lifeless things will be together and plants will not wander like animals. Every globe, star and similar things seen in space are lifeless things. Sajdah becomes as big as the total of those things.

To sum up, prayer is a deed of worship that includes man, animals and all beings. However, it will be understood if it is performed heartily and by realizing its spiritual reality, not when it is performed in appearance. (Nusret Osmanoğlu, İbadet Hikmetleri)

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