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General Issues Pertaining to the Prayer
  The Benefit of the Worshipper's Standing Before His Lord
Source: From the Introduction to 'al-Khushoo fis-Salat' of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali
Article ID : IBD050006  [15768]  
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The Prayer is a sanctified and holy moment (mauqif) for the worshipper in the presence of his Lord and Deity in truth. He fulfils (by its performance) his covenants, obligations and statements of confession which are contained within and are required by the testimony that: "There is nothing which has the right to be worshipped except Allah and that Muhammed is His Messenger" and by whose attestation one becomes a muslim.

These covenants, obligations and resolutions: among them are those of belief, those of speech and those of action; and the explanation of that is as follows:

Firstly: The Takbeer: This is a compulsory acknowledgement for the worshipper, both in belief and speech, that Allah is the greatest, greater than everything in His Essence, Attributes and in the rights (owed to Him). Among His rights are the obeying of His commands and refraining from His prohibitions in regard to beliefs, acts of worship, characteristics and manners; in all moments and situations. This acknowledgement penetrates into the various postures of the worshipper during his prayer, from the qiyaam to the rukoo', to the sujood, the verbal confessions he makes and after that into the submissiveness in action; so there does not remain any moment of heedlessness or innattentiveness and there does not remain in his heart that which pushes out the (awareness of the responsibility of fulfilling) the rights of Allah upon His servant; whether it is persons, property, money, family or progeny and among His rights are (His) Magnification, Love (for Him greater than for all else), Fear (of His displeasure and punishment), Hope (in His Mercy) and Obedience.

Secondly: The Rukoo': This is an obligation in action. The worshipper bends his back and (bows) his head during it out of obedience, lowliness and humility to his Deity. So by this he fulfils his covenants of being constant in his obedience, carrying out the orders of his Deity, refraining from His prohibitions, ruling by His Sharee'ah in happiness, adversity and every other situation. The worshipper returns (to fulfil) these covenants and obligations every time he performs the rukoo' both in the obligatory prayers or the supererogatory. Whoever bends his back in the prayer in obedience to Allah and after that rebels from some of His commands or shows boldness towards some of His prohibitions due to the calling of his desire or whim, then he has contradicted his fulfilment of this obligation to the extent of the evil of his action.

Thirdly: The Tasbeeh: This is the statement which the worshipper makes during his rukoo' "How free from every imperfection is my Lord, the Mighty" (Subhaana-rabbiyal- adheem) and in his sujood "How free from every imperfection is my Lord, the Highest" (Subhaan-rabbiyal-a'laa). This is an obligation in speech by which the worshipper declares his Deity free from every defect and shortcoming in His attributes, actions and His rights (over the creation). Among His rights are the declaration of His mightiness in every situation, the placing of obedience to Him before obedience to ones soul or parents, leaders and others besides them. Whoever declares Allah to be free from all imperfections during his rukoo' and sujood and then shows boldness towards His disobedience when he departed from the prayer, he has reduced/diminished his glorification of his Deity to the extent of his disobedience to Him.

Fourthly: The Sujood: This is the extremity in, or the end result of humility; when the worshipper places his noble limbs upon the dust or the earth. The sujood is a covenant in action. It is an obligation due to the absolute obedience owed to the Deity in truth in all situations. There is no exception in this absolute obedience for moments of desire or moments of the whims of the soul (this absolute obedience incorporates all moments and situations). Whoever covers his face with dust (due to the performance of sujood) out of extreme humility, then departs from his prayer and returns to the obedience of the soul in disobedience to Allah, obedience to the creation in disobedience to Allah and the following of whims in disobedience to Allah, then he has been false to himself to the extent of his disobedience (or sin). But whoever does that, then he must repent hastily as the Messenger of Allah has said: "All the progeny of Aadam (constantly) errs and the best of those who constantly err are those who (constantly) repent"[1]

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