PRAYERS OF PROPHETS
Prayer is an act of worship. It is a direct connection between
man and God, between the creation and the Creator. There is a
saying (Hadith) of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) that when a man
(a person) prays, he whispers with Allah. There cannot be a more
beautiful and precise definition of prayer (Salaat).
Islam is complete submission to Allah – both physical and
spiritual. The physical part being your heart/mind and body; and
the spiritual part is done by your soul. So, it is the combination
and coordination of the two basic elements – body and soul.
Philosophers or physicians can divide these elements into
three or four (heart, mind, body and soul) but body is nothing
without a heart and a mind; similarly heart and mind are nothing
without a body. They can’t function or even survive separately.
Therefore, let’s stay with two elements – physical and spiritual.
An act of worship (prayer) demands total submission and
coordination of these two elements.
An Islamic prayer involves some visible physical actions. For
example, when we supplicate or make ‘Dua’, we are asking
Allah for something. Therefore, we raise our hands toward the
heavens because we believe that Allah maintains His throne (up)
in the heavens. But this raising of hands is not new. It existed
since the time of Adam. Humans started raising hands up toward
the heavens when Adam and Eve were sent down to earth to live.
Apart from ‘Dua’, the main act of prayer involves some physical
actions like standing respectfully upright like a servant (Qayam);
bending or bowing down (Rukoo); and bowing down in
Those are the principal actions of prayer. Again, these actions are
not new to Islamic prayer. They existed in the heavens and they
came down with Adam and Eve to the earth and spread through
their offspring. All prophets and their respective nations were
prescribed some physical actions as part of their prayer to the
Lord. All of them used to fall ‘on their faces’ on the ground. We
call it ‘Sajdah’ (bow down or fall in prostration).
Satan influenced and misguided the humans and they revolted
against prayers as they found it difficult to maintain. So, they
made some changes and came up with different or new and easy
religions. They all branched out of the main and the original
religion – Islam – which was prescribed by Allah.
On his website ‘search4truth.com, the author, Abu Aasiya, has
posted some very informative articles based on good research.
His findings confirm my belief that all prophets prayed to Allah
in a similar fashion, physically bending and bowing down in
prostration – ‘falling on their faces’. Here are some references
from the Bible supporting the Muslim prayers:
“I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of Egypt, from
the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other gods before
Me. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness
of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth
beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth. Thou shalt not
bow down thyself unto them nor serve them …”
The very fact that God is instructing His messenger and the
people not to ‘bow down’ to idols or to humans, means that
bowing is a valid form of worship.
Jesus Christ falls in prostration (Sajdah):
“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed,
saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me;
nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt”. (Matthew 26:39).
Jesus kneels down to pray:
“And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and
kneeled down, and prayed”. (Luke 22:41).
“And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence
of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands
toward heaven”. (I Kings 8:22).
“And David said to all the congregation, now bless the Lord our
God. And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their
fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the Lord,
and the king”. (I Chronicles 29:20).
Then went King David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said:
Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that thou hast
brought me hitherto?” (II Samuel 7:18).
David fasts and lies on the ground:
“David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted,
and went in, and lay all night upon the earth”. (II Samuel 12:16).
King Hezekiah turns his face to the wall:
“Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord,
saying, I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have
walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have
done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore”.
(II Kings 20:2-3).
Elijah sits on the ground with his head between his knees:
“So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the
top of (Mount) Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth,
and put his face between his knees”. (I Kings 18:42).
Steven knelt down to pray:
“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord
Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a
loud voice: Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he
had said this, he fell asleep”. (Acts 7:59-60).
Peter kneels down to pray:
“But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and
turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise”. (Acts 9:40).
Daniel kneeled upon his knees three times a day:
“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went
into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber
toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a
day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did
aforetime”. (Daniel 6:10).
Paul kneels down in prayer:
“And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed
with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck,
and kissed him”. (Acts 20:36-37).
Paul and others prayed on shore:
“And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and
went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives
and children, till we were out of the city; and we kneeled down
on the shore, and prayed”. (Acts 21:5)
God speaking to Isaiah (‘Every knee shall bow’):
“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I
am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word
is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return.
That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear”.
Paul confirms bowing of knees:
“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow
to me, and every tongue shall confess to God”. (Romans 14:11).
Abraham falls on his face (Genesis 17:1-4):
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord
appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty
God; walk before me and be thou perfect. And I will make
my covenant between me and three, and will multiply thee
exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with
him, saying, As for Me, behold, My covenant is with thee, and
thou shalt be a father of many nations”.
Bowing and kneeling (Psalm 95:6):
“O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the
Lord our Maker”.
This verse of Bible confirms the physical actions of ‘Rukoo’
and ‘Sajood’, the way Muslims pray to Allah.
Falling down before Lord (Deuteronomy 9:24-25):
“Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I
knew you. Thus I fell down before the Lord forty days and forty
nights, as I fell down the first; because the Lord had said He
would destroy you”.
Angels fell on their faces (Revelations 7:11-12):
“And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the
elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their
faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory,
and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and
might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
Joshua falls to earth on his face (Joshua 7:6-7):
“And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face
before the ark of the Lord until eventide, he and the elders of
Israel, and put dust upon their heads. And Joshua said, Alas, O
Lord God, wherefore hast Thou at all brought this people over
Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us?
Would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side
of the Jordan!”
Moses and Aaron fell upon their faces (Numbers 16:20-22):
“And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, saying, Separate
yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume
them in a moment. And they fell upon their faces, and said, O
God, the God of spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt
Thou be wroth with the all of the congregation?”
Moses and Aaron fall in prostration (Numbers 20:6):
“And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly
unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell
upon their faces; and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them”.
We saw Abraham, David, Elijah, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Jesus
and his disciples, and angels in the heavens – all bowing down
in worshipping Allah. And finally, here is Allah’s command to
all believers, including the followers of Prophet Muhammad
(s.a.w.), to bow down their heads in worship. That’s the proof
that the manner of worshipping One True God was the same in
every prophet’s time. The same manner of worship means the
same faith or religion. And that faith/religion is Islam.
‘And be steadfast in prayer;
practice regular charity; and
bow down your heads with those
who bow down (in worship).’