Prostration, in its outwardly form and in true manifestation is the most supreme state and spiritual position for a human being, i.e., the position of annihilation in Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), as it has been mentioned in the traditions:
"A human being in the state of prostration is nearer to Allah than in any other state."
Earlier, we have mentioned about the Holy Prophet's [s] recommendation for prolonged prostration for everybody. Prostration and especially prolonged prostration is the most important and most elegant state of servanthood, and it is because of this reason that in each prayer unit, it is performed twice, whilst other actions are performed only once. And it is from this consideration that about the prolonged prostration of Ahlul Bait [a] and their special Shi'ites a lot of things have been narrated, e.g., Imam al-Sajjad [a], sometimes has recited the following prayer in prostration for one thousand times.
"In reality there is no god but Allah."
Also about Imam Kadhim [a] and some of his companions it has been narrated that sometimes their prostration prolonged from the day-break till the noon prayer.
During my stay at Najaf-e-Ashraf for religious education there was a learned Sheikh who was the leader and shelter for pious and mystics. I asked him to tell me the most superior deed which he himself has tried and which is most effective and helpful for a gnostic's spiritual journey. He recommended for me two things:
Firstly: performing a prolonged prostration and reciting the following invocation during each day and night:
"There is no god save Thee Be Thou Glorified. Lo! I have been a wrong doer."
- Holy Qur'an (21:87).
And the aim and intention of this invocation should be that:
'O' Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted)! My soul is imprisoned in this worldly prison and has been bonded in the chains of passions and carnal desires; with my indecent behavior, I have chained and imprisoned my own self; and I never say this unjust statement, that you have done this to me, that you have entangled me into this prison and bondage. Never! Never! You are too Glorious and inviolable for such statements, and it is I who has inflicted upon me such calamity, I have oppressed myself with my own hands.'
That noble saint recommended this prostration to all of his friends, and they practised this recommendation by reciting the above-mentioned invocation in the prostration. Some of them recited one thousand times, some of them even recited a little more or less, and some of them three thousand times and discovered the constructive effects in their own lives. Here it should be understood that the conditions of Imam al-Sajjad [a] after the martyrdom of Imam Hussein [a] were such that he was mostly confined inside his home. Similarly Imam al-Kadhim [a] was imprisoned by the Abbaside Caliph Harun ar-Rashid, where he remained until his martyrdom. [Tr]
 Imam al-Kadhim [a]: The son of the sixth Imam, he was contemporary with such Abbaside caliphs as al-Mansur and Harun al-Rashid. He lived most of his life in Madina with severe restrictions placed upon him and finally died in a prison in Baghdad. After him, the Imams were often not able to live in their traditional home of Madina, but were forced to remain near the caliph in Baghdad or Samara. He is buried in Kadhimayn in Iraq [Tr].
 Najaf-e-Ashraf: is the tomb of Commander of the Faithful Imam 'Ali [a] in Iraq, which used to be main center of learning in the Shi'i world before the restrictions and pressures placed on the Shi'i scholars of Najaf by the Bathist regime of Baghdad. The Bathist persecution of Najaf reached a high point in May, 1969, when a number of scholars ('ulama) were arrested and tortured, and religious endowments were confiscated [Tr].