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The prostration of everything in the universe to Allaah

Question: 27036

It says in Soorat al-Hajj 22:18 that the dawaab (moving living creatures, beasts, etc.) prostrate to Allaah. What is the nature of this prostration?

Praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah and his family.

Note that this universe and all the created beings in it is
in thrall to Allaah, whether by choice or by force. The believer worships
Allaah by choice and is rewarded for his worship. Even though the kaafir may
be alienated from his Lord and failing to worship Him, the atoms of his body
and everything in him is worshipping Him and glorifying Him, but because our
understanding and perception are limited, we are unaware of that tasbeeh
(glorification of Allaah) and unable to understand its nature. Allaah says
(interpretation of the meaning): 

“The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein,
glorify Him and there is not a thing but glorifies His Praise. But you
understand not their glorification. Truly, He is Ever Forbearing,

[al-Isra’ 17:44]

What this means is that
every created being is in a state of submission to Allaah and worships Him
in a manner appropriate to its situation. The sun, moon, stars, trees and
animals are all in a state of subjugation to Allaah and prostrate to Him,
and all of them worship Him in an appropriate manner. Allaah says
(interpretation of the meaning): 

“See you not that
whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth, and the sun, and the
moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and Ad-Dawaabb
[moving (living) creatures, beasts], and many of mankind prostrate
themselves to Allaah. But there are many (men) on whom the punishment is
justified. And whomsoever Allaah disgraces, none can honour him. Verily,
Allaah does what He wills”

[al-Hajj 22:18] 

“Have they not
observed things that Allaah has created: (how) their shadows incline to the
right and to the left, making prostration unto Allaah, and they are lowly?

And to Allaah
prostrate all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, of the
moving (living) creatures and the angels, and they are not proud [i.e. they
worship their Lord (Allaah) with humility]”

[al-Nahl 16:48-49]

Imaam Ibn Katheer said: Allaah is telling us of His Might,
Majesty and Pride, for everything submits to Him and all things and
creatures humble themselves before Him, inanimate objects and animals, and
those which are accountable among mankind and the jinn, and the angels.
Allaah tells us that everything that has a shadow that inclines towards the
right and towards the left – i.e., morning and evening – prostrates to
Allaah. Mujaahid said: When the sun passes its zenith everything prostrates
to Allaah. 

Allaah has confirmed that all beings prostrate to Him, and He
has explained how some of them prostrate, which is by the inclining of its
shadow towards the right and the left. It does not mean that everything
prostrates on seven parts of the body; that applies only to the Muslims. The
prostration of all other beings is in accordance with their nature. The fact
that this prostration is prostration in the real sense is indicated by the
apparent meaning of the text, because there is no valid reason for not
interpreting the text as it appears to be, so we must accept it. That is
also supported by the fact that the prostration of the sun, moon, stars,
trees and animals is mentioned in conjunction with the prostration of the
angels and humans, which indicates that this is prostration in a real sense
for all the entities mentioned. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah
have mercy on him) said:  

Prostration is a form of humility, so the prostration which
includes all creatures implies the utmost submission and humility. For every
created thing submits to His greatness and humbles itself before His might
and power. This does not mean that everything prostrates like human beings
do, on seven parts of the body, putting the forehead on the ground. This
kind of prostration is only for human beings. Some other nations bow but do
not prostrate, and that is their prostration. Allaah says (interpretation of
the meaning): 

‘and enter the gate in prostration (or bowing with
humility) and say: “Forgive us”’

[al-Baqarah 2:58]

It was said that this
means enter it bowing, and some of them prostrate on their sides like the
Jews. Sujood (prostration) is a generic term but because the way in which
Muslims prostrate is so well known, many people think that this is how
everything prostrates. 

Jaami’ al-Rasaa’il, 1/27 

And he said: 

It is known that
everything prostrates according to its nature, and the prostration of these
created entities does not mean that they put their foreheads on the ground. 

Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 21/284 

This prostration includes the submission and humbling of
these created entities to Allaah and their surrendering to His Lordship,
Might and Sovereignty. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said: 

“It is the prostration of
humility and submission, for everything submits to His Lordship, humbles
itself before His Might and is subject to His Sovereignty.” 

Madaarij al-Saalikeen, 1/107 

The prostration of these created entities is a prostration in
a real sense as befits each of these entities. So man prostrates in the
manner that suits him, in the manner that is well known, on seven parts of
the body. The sun prostrates in the manner that suits it, as mentioned in
the saheeh hadeeth of Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said:
“The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Abu
Dharr when the sun had set, ‘Do you know where it went?’ I said, ‘Allaah and
His Messenger know best.’ He said, ‘It has gone to prostrate beneath the
Throne, then it asks for permission to rise, but soon it will prostrate and
its prostration will not be accepted, and it will ask for permission to rise
and that will not be granted to it, and it will be said to it, “Go back from
whence you came,” and it will rise from the west. This is what Allaah says: 

“And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term
(appointed). That is the Decree of the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing”

[Yaa-Seen 36:38].’”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3199) 

So it prostrates in a real sense, as is suited to the sun,
but how does it prostrate to Allaah beneath the Throne? Allaah knows best
how this prostration happens. The apparent meaning of the hadeeth proves
that what this prostration means is not simply submission to the command of
Allaah and obedience to Him. Indeed, it is submission, humility and
surrender by prostrating in a real sense, but we do not understand how it
happens. Similarly it is said that the moon, the trees, the animals and all
other entities prostrate in a manner that suits them. What the believer
should do is not to let the fact that he does not know how some entities
prostrate prevent him from believing in this prostration, rather he must
believe in what Allaah has told him about other entities prostrating to Him.

 And Allaah knows best.


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