What The Prophet did in Sajdah
Abdul Malik Mujahid
"I happened to pray one night with
the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. The Prophet started reciting
al-Baqarah chapter of the Quran and I thought he would stop after 100
But when he went beyond it I thought
that he may want to recite the whole chapter in one Rakah.
When he finished al-Baqarah I thought
he would do Ruku but then he immediately started reciting al-Imran and
when he finished he started reciting an-Nisa.
The Prophet was reciting very slowly
with enough pauses and would do Tasbih (praising God) and Dua (supplication)
according to the subject being discussed in the relevant Ayah.
After that the Prophet did Ruku
(bowomg). In Ruku he stayed as long as he did when he was in Qiyam (standing
in prayer). After Ruku he stood up for almost same time and then he
performed Sajdah (prostration) and stayed there as long as he recited
Quran while doing Qiyam". (Hudaifa, may God be pleased with him, narrated
this hadith as in Sahih al Muslim, Nasai)
Of course, not all the Prayers of
the Prophet were this long. In public he would pray for a shorter period
of time and ask other imams to do the same. The Prophet use to make dua
in Sajdah not just tasbeeh as we do in obligatory prayers. He used to
cry in Sajdah. He would spend an extended amount of his time in Sajdah
whenever he was praying on his own. Many times, however, Muslims would
join him when they found him praying alone.
Aisha, may God be pleased with
her, mentions that: the Prophet one night stood up for Salah and he
stayed in it for so long that I thought the Prophet had passed away
or died. When I felt that way I stood up shook his toe and I felt the
movement then I laid down again and I heard the Prophet saying in Sajdah
"I seek refuge in Your pleasure from Your wrath, and in Your pardon
from Your punishment, and in You from You. I cannot enumerate Your praises
as You praise Yourself." (Transliteration: Audhu bi ridaka min
sakhatika, wa bi muafatika min uqubatika wa bika minka, la uhsiy thana'an
alayka, anta kama athnayta ala nafsika).
When he stood up from the Sajdah
he asked Aisha, "do you think God's Prophet has betrayed you?"
Aisha responded "No Preophet of God, because of the long Sajdah
I thought you had died." (hadith from Baihaqi but Dua wording from
Muwatta Imam Malik)
One of the Prophet's companion, Abdullah
ibn Zubayr, would pray with such concentration that when he was in Sajdah
the sparrows would come flying and sit on his back. In a separate narration,
Abdullah ibn Abbas, another companion, said if you want to see how the
Prophet of God used to pray, you should copy how Abdullah ibn Zubayr used
And consider these two Hadiths from
the Sahih Muslim:
Ma'dan b. Talha reported: I met
Thauban, the freed slave of God's Messenger, and asked him to tell me
about an act for which, if I do it, God will admit me to Paradise, or
I asked about the act which was loved most by God. He gave no reply.
I again asked and he gave no reply. I asked him for the third time,
and he said: I asked God's Messenger about that and he said: Make frequent
prostrations before God, for you will not make one prostration without
raising you a degree because of it, and removing a sin from you, because
of it. Ma'dan said that then he met Abu al-Darda' and when he asked
him, he received a reply similar to that given by Thauban.
In the second Hadith, Rabi'a b.
Ka'b said: I was with God's Messenger one night and I brought him water
and what he required. He said to me: Ask (anything you like). I said:
I ask your company in Paradise. He (the Prophet) said: Or anything else
besides it. I said: That is all (what I require). He said: Then help
me to achieve this for you by devoting yourself often to prostration.
Sajdah is truly a humbling experience.
We can beg for God's forgiveness and cry by thinking about our misdeeds,
as well as seek refuge in God from the Hellfire. We are in one of the
most submissive physical positions when in Sajdah. It is one of the best
occasions to ask God for forgiveness, guidance, and all that we want.
It is one of the best positions in which to talk to God. Seeking God's
pleasure and forgiveness need to be given top priority in these remaining
days and nights of Ramadan.
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