Concerning The Disciplines Of Bowing In Rukū‘

Know that the principal positions of the salāt are three. The other acts and deeds are preliminary and preparatory:

First: qiyām;
Second: rukū';
Third: sujūd.

The people of knowledge regard these three positions to be a hint at the three Unities [tawhīdāt]. We, in The Secret of the Salāt, referred to these stages in terms of the gnostic taste. Now, we explain them in other terms suitable to the common people.

So, we say that as the salāt is the believer's perfective mi'rāj, and the bringer of the pious people to Allah's proximity, it stands on two bases, the one is the preliminary to the other.

The first is abandoning self-conceit and selfishness, as it is the truth and the inside of taqwā (piety).
The second is seeking Allah and being in quest of the Haqq, as this is the truth of the mi'rāj and proximity. Hence, it is in the noble narratives that: “The salāt is the means of proximity for every pious person,”1 the same as the Qur'an is a light of guidance, but for the pious:

This is the Book; there is no doubt in it. It is a guide for the muttaqīn (the pious).”2
In short, in these three states: the states of qiyām, rukū', and sujūd, the said two states (bases) take shape gradually. So, in the state of qiyām, self-conceitedness is forsaken according to the state of Activity [fā'iliyyat], and regarding Allah to be the Absolute Factor and Eternal. In the state of rukū', self-conceitedness is forsaken according to the state of Attributes and Names, considering the state of Allah's Attributes and Names.

In the sujūd, the self-conceitedness is forsaken altogether, and it is entirely Allah seeking and being in quest of the Haqq. All the stages of the sāliks are of the affairs [shu'ūn] of these three states, as it is quite obvious to the people of insight, the gnostics and the sāliks.

When the sālik along these three states realizes that the secret of these acts is the three Unities, he will have to pay more attention to that state which is nicer and more delicate. Naturally, the danger of the state is greater and it is more slippery. Then, in the state of rukū', the sālik claims that in the house of existence [dār-i wujūd] there is no knowledge, power, life nor will except from Allah a claim so great and a state so delicate, which we are not (qualified) to put forth.

We should inwardly turn to the Holy Threshold of Allah, showing supplication, distress and humility, asking forgiveness for our faults and failures, and, with seeing eyes and witnessing conscience, admitting our shortcomings, that perhaps His Sacred Holiness may show kindness to, and care for, us, and may He, in the time of necessity, extend a hand of help to us.

Or, who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him, and removes the evil…?”3

  • 1. Furū' al-Kāfī, vol. 3, p. 265, “The Book of as-Salāt,” ch. on “The Merit of as-Salāt,” hadīth 6.
  • 2. Sūrah al-Baqarah 2:2.
  • 3. Sūrah an-Naml 27:62.