Contents And Meaning Of The Form, Mood And Invocation Of The Sujūd

It is stated in a narrative that when the āyah:

Therefore, glorify the Name of your Lord, the Great,”1

Was revealed, the Messenger of Allah (s) said: “Recite this in your rukū',” and when the āyah:

Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High”2

Was revealed, he said: “Recite this in your sujūd.”3

It is in the noble hadīth of al-Kāfī that “… the first and foremost name He assumed for Himself was al-'Aliyy (the High) al-'Azīm (the Great).4 It may be that “al-'Aliyy” was the first of the names of Essence, and “al-'Azīm” was the first of the names of Attributes.

Know that the sujūd, like the other positions of the salāt has its form, mood, recitation [dhikr] and secret. These matters, in relation to the Perfect Ones, are as have formerly been related in this thesis, but to go into the details is not suitable. For the middle class the form is showing humbleness and forsaking arrogance and self conceit.

Pressing the nose onto dust which is of the confirmed supererogations, or even neglecting it is contrary to precaution is a token of showing complete submission, humility and modesty. It also means being aware of one's origin and creation. And putting the tops of the exposed organs which are the places of sensation and of the appearance of mobility and power, being the very seven or eight organs on the dust of humility and helplessness, is a sign of complete surrender, of offering one's entire powers, and getting out of Adam's sin.

By strengthening the remembrance of these concepts in the heart, it becomes affected by them and it acquires a mood of running away from oneself and from self-conceit. This mood results in a mood of pleasure, which, in turn, results in a mood of complete privacy and there will be full love.
As regards the recitation [dhikr] during the sajdah, it is based on tasbīh, which is glorifying (purifying) Allah from description and observance of the command (amr), or it is purifying (glorifying) Him from multiplicity of names, or purifying (glorifying) Him from unification [tawhīd], which is ”taf'īl,” moving from multiplicity to unity, and it is not free from the blemish of multiplying [takthīr] and associating with Allah [tashrīk], as describing Him with the Essential highness and praising Him are also not free from the blemishes of these concepts.

Al-'Aliyy” is of the Names of Essence, and, according to the narrative of al-Kāfī, it is the first name adopted by Allah for Himself. That is, the first manifestation of the Essence is for Himself. When the sālik, in this state, becomes annihilated out of himself and forsakes the world and what is in it, he will have the honor of this Essential manifestation.

Know that as the rukū' is first and the sujūd is second, glorification and praising in them differ a great deal. Also rabb is different in those two states, because rabb as the people of knowledge say, is of the Names of Essence, Attributes and Acts in three aspects. Therefore, rabb in al-hamdu lillāhi rabbil-'ālamīn may be of the Names of Act in accordance with the state of standing, which is the state of the Unity of Acts.

In the rukū' it is of the Names of Attributes in accordance with the fact that the rukū' is the state of the Unity of Attributes. In the sujūd it is of the Names of Essence in accordance with the fact that sujūd is the state of the Unity of Essence. The “glorifying” and “praising” in each one of these states are related to that particular state.5

  • 1. Sūrah al-Wāqi'ah 26:74
  • 2. Sūrah al-A'lā 87:1.
  • 3. Majma' ul-Bayān, vol. 9, p. 224, commenting on āyah 74 of Sūrah al-Wāqi'ah.
  • 4. Usūl al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 153, “The Book of at-Tawhīd,” ch. on “The Originality of the Names (of Allah), hadīth 2.
  • 5. In the MS (manuscript), before starting ”,” the Imām has scribed nearly two pages under the title “A Gnostic Note,” then these were crossed out as to be deleted, and in the margin he wrote: “This note is not needed and it is to be completely effaced.” In the book's latest MS (manuscript) this part is omitted. But it appears in the former editions of this book. In this edition that passage is not printed.