Friday, November 6, 2009

Getting Up for Worship

Al-Sajdah (The Prostration) Sura 32: Verse 15-17

"Only they believe in Our revelations who, whenever they are reminded of them, fall down prostrating themselves in adoration, and extol their Lord's limitless glory and praise; and who are never arrogant; who drag themselves out of their beds at night to pray to their Lord in fear and hope; and who are charitable with what We provide for them. No one can imagine what blissful delights have been kept in store for them as a reward for what they used to do."

This is a pleasant image of believing souls which are so gentle and sensitive. They are sincere in the devotion they address to God alone. No arrogance or pride creeps into their hearts. They receive God's revelation with interest and acceptance, eager to understand and act on them. When these believers are reminded of God's revelations, they "fall down prostrating themselves in adoration." They are keenly influenced by what they are told, glorify God and feel His majesty. Hence, their first reaction is to fall down prostrating themselves. This is the best expression of their feelings, putting their foreheads on the ground in adoration. With this physical gesture, they "extol their Lord's limitless glory and praise." They are never arrogant. Their response is genuine, expressing their true feelings in God's glory.

The surah then describes their physical attitude and inner feelings in a vivid expression that brings the movement and the feeling before our eyes. They stand up for night prayer, which is the obligatory Isha prayer and the Witr prayer that follows it, and they add voluntary night prayer and supplication. This is described here, however, as dragging themselves out of beds. Thus we see the beds and their attraction, inviting people to take rest and sleep. Yet those believers do not respond, and make every effort to resist such attraction, because they have something else that preoccupies them. They want to stand before their Lord, in adoration, with feelings of fear and hope present in their minds. They dread disobeying God and long for His help. They fear God's anger and punishment and hope for His mercy and acceptance. With such sensitivity and devoted, earnest prayer, they do their duty towards their community, in obedience to God: "And who are charitable with what We provide for them."

This splendid, glorious image is accompanied by another one showing the marvellous and special reward which reflects the special care, honour and generosity God bestows on them. God Himself welcomes these people, and He takes it upon Himself to prepare the reward He has in store for them. Furthermore, it is He who will give them a warm reception and and honourable position which will delight them. All this though is known to God alone, no one else has any idea of it. It remains with Him until it is shown to those who will be given it when they meet Him. What a splendid meeting with the Lord of the universe!

Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 13, pp. 467, 468

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