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The spirit of ruku is that the slave utterly abases and humbles himself before his Lord in a way that his heart is cleansed and purged of reverence for anyone other than Allah, his own self as well as the rest of creation, for his heart should be replete with awe for Allah alone. As the awe of Allah overcomes his heart, awe of creation departs from it, and his humility actually increases. Thus, the ruku is really meant for the heart.
Then he praises his Lord, as he straightens his back and assumes an upright position. This praise is because Allah guided him, and blessed him with the ability to perform ruku in an expression of humility, which must be reserved for Allah alone. Then He restored him to his upright posture, standing at Allah’s service before Him, just as he stood during his recitation. Therefore, he has been told to glorify and extol Allah.
The interval between the ruku and sajdah has a special sweetness, which is experienced by the heart. It is a special rite of salat just like ruku and sajdah. And the Prophet (sallaallahu alayhi wa salam) used to prolong it just as he used to prolong ruku and sajdah, and abundantly glorify Allah therein. And during tahajjud, the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wasalam) would specially repeat over and over: “For my Lord is all praise, for my Lord is all praise, for my Lord is all praise.”
Then the slave reads takbeer and draws near and falls down in prostration. Each limb of his body participates in the devotion inherent in sajdah. Thus, he places his forhead on the ground before his Lord, rubbing his nose before Him, surrendering his heart, and presenting his body’s noblest feature i.e his face on the ground. Thus, he places his spiritual core along with his physical face in prostration before his Master, with humility of his limbs trembling before the Majesty of his Lord, surrendering to His Might, and turning back to Him as a destitute pauper. His heart performs sajdah in conformity with his body, so (both) the body and spirit bow towards Allah. And as he places his nose, his face, both his hands and both his knees and feet on the ground, he is as close as he can ever get to Allah.
And the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa salam) said:
“The nearest a slave can be to his Lord is while he is prostrating.”
When his heart prostrates in absolute surrender to his Lord, this sajdah is allowed to continue till the Day of Judgment. Some scholars were asked, ‘Does the heart perform sajdah?’ they replied, ‘Yes, by Allah. And this is a sajdah from which he does not raise his head until he meets Allah.’
This is to emphasize the utter adoration, surrender, yearning, and absorption of his heart in Allah wherever he may be, and his concentration upon Allah whether he is alone or in company.
To be continued…