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Prostration Required After Reading Certain Quranic Verses

Prostration Required After Reading Certain Quranic Verses

Published in Arabic in October 26, 2016

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

  We have received via an email message the following question, and we publish it here followed by our brief reply: (… Traditionally, we were told as children to prostrate ourselves on the ground upon reading or hearing certain Quranic verses that have an indication to do so in all of the printed copies of the Quran, and my question is as follows: are these verses require us to prostrate indeed upon reading them? Why should we do so upon reading these verses in particular and not any other verses? Do we have to prostrate, or this practice was  fabricated one? Thank you for your answer …). 

 

OUR REPLY:

 

Firstly: the act of prostration has many meanings in the Quran:

1- It was a way of greeting in ancient times, like in the story of Joseph in Egypt when his family came to him: "And he elevated his parents on the throne, and they fell prostrate before him. He said, "Father, this is the fulfillment of my vision of long ago. My Lord has made it come true. He has blessed me, when he released me from prison, and brought you out of the wilderness, after the devil had sown conflict between me and my brothers. My Lord is Most Kind towards whomever He wills. He is the All-knowing, the Most Wise."" (12:100).

2- It is a means to declare faith, like the case in the story of Moses when the magicians of Pharaoh believed in God when they saw the rod of Moses eating their rods and ropes: "And the magicians fell down prostrate. They said, "We have believed in the Lord of Aaron and Moses."" (20:70).  

3- It means absolute obedience of God's commands, like the case when God has ordered the angels to prostrate before Adam when he was just created: "And We said to the angels, "Bow down to Adam." They bowed down, except for Satan…" (2:34); and like the case when God has commanded the Israelites to enter a village while prostrating and asking for pardon and forgiveness: "And recall that We said, "Enter this village, and eat plentifully from it whatever you wish; but enter the gate while prostrating, and say, 'Pardon.' We will forgive your sins, and give increase to the virtuous."" (2:58).

4- Prostration is used to symbolize the two types of obedience; the voluntary one of human beings and Jinn who can obey or disobey and will be judged in the Day of Resurrection, and the involuntary one of angels and other creatures in the universe, from nucleus and atoms to planets and stars in a galaxy. Therefore, there are those who worship God on their own accord voluntarily (humans and Jinn), or choose disobedience, and there are creatures that obey involuntarily as per their innate nature. Both voluntary and involuntarily obedience are symbolized by the act of prostration in these two verse: "Have they not observed what God has created? Their shadows revolve from the right and the left, prostrating to God as they shrink away. To God prostrates everything in the heavens and everything on earth-every living creature, and the angels, and without being proud." (16:48-49); "To God prostrates everyone in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, as do their shadows, in the morning and in the evening." (13:15).   

5- Prostration is mentioned in the Quran to indicate acts of worship in general: "So prostrate to God and worship!" (53:62). Let us quote below some more examples that show this meaning.

5/1: Prostration means performing prayers: some Meccan people in the Qorayish tribe used to prevent Muhammad from performing prayers in the early years of his prophethood, and hence, we read this in the Chapter that may be the first to be revealed in the Quran: "Have you seen him who prevents a servant when he prays?" (96:11-12); "No, do not obey him; but prostrate and come near." (96:19). Hence, prostration here means performing prayers.

5/2: Prostration sometimes is mentioned along with bowing down as a metonymy indicating performing prayers: "Muhammad is the Messenger of God. Those with him are stern against the disbelievers, yet compassionate amongst themselves. You see them bowing, prostrating, seeking blessings from God and approval. Their marks are on their faces from the effects of prostration…" (48:29). The angles had said the following to Mary: ""O Mary, be devoted to your Lord, and prostrate and bow down with those who bow."" (3:43). God says the following about real faithful believers: "O you who believe! Bow down and prostrate, and worship your Lord, and do good deeds, so that you may succeed." (22:77); "Those who repent, those who worship, those who praise, those who journey, those who bow down, those who prostrate, those who advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and those who keep God's limits-give good news to the believers." (9:112).

5/3: Prostration also means performing long prayers at night combined with reading the Quran and remembrance of God. God says the following about the description of servants of the Dominant God: "And those who pass the night prostrating themselves to their Lord and staying up." (25:64). God says the following about the pious ones among People of the Book (i.e., Jews and Christians): "They are not alike. Among the People of the Book is a community that is upright; they recite God's revelations throughout the night, and they prostrate." (3:113). God says the following about the description of true believers: "Is he who worships devoutly during the watches of the night, prostrating and staying up, mindful of the Hereafter, and placing his hope in the mercy of his Lord? Say, "Are those who know and those who do not know equal?" Only those who possess reason will remember." (39:9). God has said the following to Muhammad: "And for part of the night, prostrate yourself to Him, and glorify Him long into the night." (78:26).

5/4: The Quranic term ''masjid'' is derived from the Arabic word for prostration: ''sojoud'. Since every place on earth is created by God and therefore is fit or all male and female children of Adam to prostrate and pray in it, and one is to prostrate to God and worship Him alone, wearing the best possible clothes: "O Children of Adam! Dress properly at every place of worship (i.e., masjid)…" (7:31); "Say, "My Lord commands justice, and to stand devoted at every place of worship. So call upon Him, and dedicate your faith to Him alone…" (7:29). This is what should be; but in reality, harm-causing mosques/masjids of hypocrites are being built, just as the one built by the Yathreb hypocrites in the 7th century A.D. during the lifetime of Muhammad: "Then there are those who establish a mosque to cause harm, and disbelief, and disunity among the believers, and as an outpost for those who fight God and His Messenger. They will swear: "Our intentions are nothing but good." But God bears witness that they are liars. Do not stand in it, ever. A mosque founded upon piety from the first day is worthier of your standing in it. In it are men who love to be purified. God loves those who purify themselves." (9:107-108). Qorayish used to worship idols and false gods in their mosques, and this happens now in mosques of the Muhammadans who worship names of dead historical figures/ saints: "The places of worship (i.e., masjids) are for God. So do not call, besides God, upon anyone else." (72:18). God has exposed the Qorayish tribesmen who claimed that they care for the Sacred Kaaba Mosque: "It is not for the polytheists to attend God's places of worship while professing their disbelief. These-their works are in vain, and in the Fire they will abide. The only people to attend God's places of worship are those who believe in God and the Last Day, and pray regularly, and practice regular charity, and fear none but God. These are most likely to be guided." (9:17-18). In fact, the polytheistic Qorayish tribesmen controlled the Sacred Kaaba Mosque and prevented early Muslims from entering it: "Who is more unjust than him who forbids the remembrance of God's name in places of worship, and contributes to their ruin? These ought not to enter them except in fear. For them is disgrace in this world, and for them is a terrible punishment in the Hereafter." (2:114). Sadly, such evil practices spread now in the countries of the Muhammadans; the vast majority of their mosques are harm-causing mosques of polytheism, hate speeches, terrorism, etc. as many of them turned into military centers and sources of persecution, terrorizing others, and inciting violence of all sorts.       

 

Secondly: let us tackle here the prostration required after reading certain Quranic verses:

1- God mentions in the Quran that previous prophets and believers of their time used to prostrate and weep in piety when they hear verses of God recited to them: "These are some of the prophets God has blessed, from the descendants of Adam, and from those We carried with Noah, and from the descendants of Abraham and Israel, and from those We guided and selected. Whenever the revelations of the Most Gracious are recited to them, they would fall down, prostrating and weeping." (19:58). Some of the People of the Book heard the Quran and prostrated while weeping to signify their being touched by it and that they believed in it: "Say, "Believe in it, or do not believe." Those who were given knowledge before it (i.e., People of the Book), when it is recited to them, they fall to their chins, prostrating." (17:107).

2- Hence, God says in the Quran that prostration is a sign showing one's belief in the Quranic message: "They believe in Our communications, those who, when reminded of them, fall down prostrate, and glorify their Lord with praise, and are not proud." (32:15). Therefore, refraining from prostration when reading these verses is a sign of rejecting the Quran: "What is the matter with them that they do not believe? And when the Quran is read to them, they do not prostrate? In fact, those who disbelieve are denying it." (84:20-22).

3- We tend to believe that readers of the Quran do not necessarily have to prostrate in every single time prostration is mentioned in a Quranic verse; yet, if one does prostrate, it is OK to do so, with sincerity and in the fear of God and deep faith, while thinking about the Awe and Majesty of God. But we are inclined to think that the intended meaning is to remember Quranic verses and to read them a lot while pondering them faithfully with one's heart and mind, seeking guidance.

4- Hence, the above point shows the difference between 1) those who believe in the Quran and read and contemplate it as the only source of Islam and only discourse in it, and 2) those who feign to believe in the Quran but their hearts and minds are busy pondering and believing the so-called hadiths: the devilish discourse of deviation and misguidance.  

5- Signs of using religion to make wealth (i.e., gaining ill-gotten money), religiosity, and religious hypocrisy of the Muhammadans include prostrating in plain sight before everyone when they read the Quran, while being keen on making others see them. This is utter hypocrisy, corruption, and religiosity. When Quranists recites Quranic verses to Sunnite Muhammadans that negate the Sunnite myths of Muhammad's assumed intercession on behalf of sinners in the Hereafter and that he allegedly predicted future and the unknown, refuting the existence of any divine discourse in Islam apart from the Quran, such Muhammadans would show their true colors: if they believe the Quran truly, they will reject all hadiths; if they in their hearts and minds disbelieve in the Quran, and stick to hadiths, they will dispute bitterly with Quranists over God's Quranic verses and their meanings, hoping to twist their meanings to fit and include their fabricated narratives and hadiths.       

 

Thirdly: refuting and arguing against Quranic verses:

Refuting and arguing about Quranic verses is sin and a sign of disbelief, as it is the exact opposite of prostrating when reading or hearing Quranic verses: "None argues against God's revelations except those who disbelieve. So do not be impressed by their activities in the land." (40:4). "Have you not observed those who dispute regarding God's revelations, how they have deviated? Those who call the Book a lie, and what We sent Our messengers with-they will surely know. When the yokes are around their necks, and they will be dragged by the chains. Into the boiling water, then in the Fire they will be consumed. Then it will be said to them, "Where are those you used to deify? Instead of God?" They will say, "They have abandoned us. In fact, we were praying to nothing before." Thus God sends the disbelievers astray. That is because you used to rejoice on earth in other than the truth, and because you used to behave with vanity. Enter the gates of Hell, to remain therein forever. What a terrible dwelling for the arrogant." (40:69:76). God says nothing but the Truth. 


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