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Muslim Attitudes Towards Prostration (sujd): I. Arabs and Prostration at the Beginning of Islam and in the Qur'n Author(s): Roberto Tottoli Source: Studia Islamica, No. 88 (1998), pp. 5-34 Published by: Maisonneuve & Larose Stable URL: . Accessed: 09/08/2013 01:09
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Studia 1998 Islamica,

towardsprostration Muslimattitudes

at the beginning I. Arabsand prostration of Islam and in the Qur'in
a fundamental Prostration partof the ritualprayer (sujfid)(9) forms in traditions deal with it in and, many religious consequence, (salOt) collected in the badith works,is mainly great detail.Such material, a technical concernedwithgiving oftheact,so as to instruct description of it. the believerin the correct is performance Despite this,prostration in direct not onlymentioned relation to thisact in the saldt but throuliterature. References to the act of prostraghouteverygenreof Muslim tioncan be foundin poetry, theQur'an,Qur'inic commentaries, hadfth books and in all worksdevotedto religioussubjects. collections, history In this studya large amountof the early literature connectedto the

is partofa widerresearch in Muslim dedicatedto theprostration see also (1) Thisarticle traditions; R. Tottoli, "Muslim attitudes towardsprostration and meaningof prostra(sujiM) II. The prominence tion in Muslimliterature", Le Muscon,forthcoming; and controversies the Id., "Traditions concerning ZDMG 147 (1997), 371-393;and Id., "The thanksgiving prostrasujiid al-Qur'in in haditb literature", tion(sujfid al-shukr)in Muslim BSOAS,61 (1998). I started traditions", myresearchconcerning sujti at the Dipartimento the year 1993-94formyPhD studiesprogramme whileI was inJerusalem during I would like e Paesi Arabiof the Istituto Universitario di Studie Ricerche su Africa Orientale, Naples; to studythatyear at the the thankthe Lady Davis FelowshipTrustthatgrantedme a scholarship forhis many on sujfi, I am indebtedto Prof. Hebrew University. Concerning myresearch M.J.Kister I would also liketo thank the Concordanceof about thissubjectwhen I was inJerusalem. suggestions Prof. A. Arazi, in Jerusalem, and especiallythe director the ArabicPoetry at the Hebrew University and earlyIslamicpoetry where I was able to find theversesof pre-Islamic concerning suftd,and Prof. on a first draft of thisarticle. comments M. Leckerfortheir R. Contini and Prof.

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inan effort theattitude oftheArabs willbe discussed, to identify sujiud theearly ofIslam towards this actduring (2) period 1. Prostration amongJewsand Christians The originand meaningof sajada to God performed Theprostration believer the bytheMuslim during ritual was notan entirely newpractice invented prayer byMuhammad. A great notonlyfrom to the deal ofevidence, sources, literary points inancient fact that this actwaswidespread times theMiddle throughout to Egypt. from theBabylonian thesepeoplesprosEast, region Among tration was used bothas an actofreligious devotion and as a wayof in the ov thepowerful forinstance (3). Thisis evident greeting kings Old Testament, wherethesedifferent and uses oftheprosmeanings canbe found, andwhere theactis mentioned theHebrew tration using as which matches theArabic The known wordhishtahwdh, act sajada. not involve down on the but did necessarily falling ground kishtahbwah as a simple also included such gestures bow.Moreover it was used intheir theIsraelites rituals and as a wayofglorifying among religious someother it God.Atthesametime, Old Testament state that passages was also customary to falldownprostrate before idols,mainly among than theIsraelites that was also and,further, peoplesother prostration usedas a secular and ofshowing men, wayofgreeting among respect as a wayofpaying tokings, andas a sign ofsubmission tothe homage authority (4). Theuse ofprostration inthese various waysis alsowelldocumented inlater times. Instances ofsecular include theRoman of cult prostration as wellas themany theEmperor intheGospel. In fact examples many in theGospelrelate to prostration, is referred which to using passages term the theGreek same used to indicate theactintheLXX proskynesis,
and early Islamic poetryand historical (2) Firstly, pre-Islamic reportswill be examined and the contents of the Qur'5in willbe dealtwith, wherethe prostration is oftenmentioned and secondly, indicates theArabattitude at thetimeofMuhammad. Mostof thelaterreligious literature connectedto The prominenceand "Muslimattitudes towardsprostration (sujid 11II. sujfidis discussed in Tottoli, meaning". in Theological (= TDOT), ed. by G.J. (3) See H.D. Preuss, s.v. kwh Dictionary oftheOld Testament and H. Ringgren, Botterweck transl. by D.E. Green,IV, GrandRapids 1980,250-51,withthe sources in Theologisches zum Neuen Testament W6rterbuch quoted here.See H. Greeven,s.v. rrpooTKvviw, and G. Friedrich, ed. by G. Kittel (= TW2NT), 1957,759-761, VI, Stuttgart among concerning prostration theGreeks. of thesedifferent kindsof prostration discussion (4) See thecomprehensive by Preussin TDOT,IV, betweenthe meaningofproskynethe connection VI, 761-62.Concerning 251-256;and see in TW7NT see TWNTVI, 761. sis and the Romancutof the Emperor,

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of the Old Testament translation (5). Needless to say, the largebody of thisact,extending as itdoes from theearliest times evidenceconcerning oftheprostration until Christian to thewide diffusion age, points among Middle Eastern peoples in all its uses and forms,and, above all, demonstrates thatit was an establishedpracticeamong the religious of the regionbeforetheriseof Islam (6). communities The Muslimdutyto falldown prostrate is, from duringritual prayer of thisuninterrupted various pointsof view, a continuation tradition, and secularprostration were of great whichdeemed thatbothreligious with the questions Some studies have dealt already briefly significance. of theMuslim act of prostration, and the origin of theAraof the origin thederivabic sajada. Hirschfeld and Noldekewere thefirst to indicate tion of sajada froman identicalroot in Hebrew and Aramaic (7). Schwally,discussingthe same question some years later,maintained thatsajada was identified solelywiththe cultof God in Hebrew,Araand thattheArabicrootmusthave the same meaning. maic and Syriac, was notparticularly well knownnor concludedthatprostration Schwaly among the Arabs,and thatthe secularuse of the root widelydiffused (8). sajada was evidenced only in the mu'allaga of 'Amrb. Kulthfim stressed the Aramaicoriginof the termindicating Finally, Jeffery prostrationand relied principally upon the above-mentionedWestern sources(9). Otherstudieshave directly discussedthequestionofthe origin ofthe
(5) TWNTVI, 761-66. in relation to theArabattitude and relevant towardsprostration whichwillbe (6)It is worth noting some passages expressdisapprovalof the practice of dealt withhere,thateven in theOld Testament oneselfbeforemen.See forinstance in the book of Esther of (3 : 2, 5) wherethe refusal prostrating to prostrate to Amanis the starting Mordechai himself In morerecentliterature we pointof the story. find further evidenceabout thisnegative attitude towardssecularprostration, see forinstance Philo,in VI, 762-64,or in theGospel,as in theepisode ofthetemptation by thedevil,whereJesusstates TWNVT thatprostration is due to God only:Mt.4: 9 f.;Lk 4: 7 f.;concerning theproskynesis in the Gospel and in theNew Testament, see TWNTVI, 764-66.Hintsat theJewish and Christian attitudes towardsprosV sec. AD can be foundalso in relation tration after to iconoclasticpolemics,see P. Crone, "Islam, and Byzantine 2 (1980), 68-70and thebibliography iconoclasm", JSAI, Judeo-Christianity quoted there, n. 50; see also theconsiderations in particular La dtfesadelle icone. Tratby P. Pizzo in T. AbuQurrah, Milan 1995,25-41. tatosulla venerazionedelle immagini, des Koran,Leipzig 1886, 41; N61dekein ZDMG, 41 (7) H. Hirschfeld, Beitrdgezur Erkldrung arabischenHeidentums (1887), 719, in a reviewof Reste ofJ.Wellhausen. "Lexikalische (8) F. Schwally, ZDMG,52 (1898), 134,butthisversehad alreadybeen menStudien", tioned by Hirschfeld, discussion,in the same vein, by Beitrage,41. See also the comprehensive and A.I. Hebbo, Die Fremdw6rBaroda 1938,162-63; A.Jeffery, TheForeignVocabulary oftheQur'can, des Ibn Hischam,Heidelberg1970, 174. terin der arabischenProphetenbiographie also quotes Noldeke: Neue Beitragezur semitiThe ForeignVocabulary, 163.Jeffery (9) Jeffery, evidence about the rootand the 1910,36, concerning Strassburg Ethiopian schenSprachwissenschaft, nicht termforprostration: where Nildeke statedthatthe Ethiopian termof prostration, "giltfreilich The rootsgd is attested also in a Sabaic inscription, Blop Gott,sondernauch Menschengegen0ber". in Quaderni di StudiArabi,12 (1994), 218; and cf.A.F.L.Beessee the references givenby R. Contini loan wordsin Sabaic",in Arabia Felix,Wiesbaden 1994,43 no. 37. ton,"Foreign

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intheMuslim InWensinck's ritual thepracprostration prayer. opinion, ticeof sujfid of rukf'(bow), formed as wellas that an (prostration), essential of theChristian itwas from and,consequentely, part prayer, this source that Muhammad drewdirect in a (10). Mittwoch, inspiration brief on thetopic, discussion out some similarities with certain pointed ritual information can be found in ("). No additional Jewish practices more recent where theestablished arerepeated. The studies, arguments conclusion is thusreached that therootsajada, theact of alongwith oneself was taken from and and tradition, Jewish Christian prostration theonlycase wherethere of theact of prostration is evidence in its secular use in pre-Islamic literature is the often quotedverseof the b. Kulthfim of'Amr mu'allaqa (12). a direct discussion of theevidence from Before Muslim beginning literature some are remarks needed. regarding prostration, preliminary It is already from and Christian that the clear, traditions, Jewish early term was usedto describe a range ofactswith a variety of prostration with thedistinction and sacred between secular meanings. Along prosin theform there is also an important distinction oftheactcaltration, ofthetime led suj*d: most itinvolves theactoffalling downtouching theearth with butsometimes itis a simple theface, bow or a bending oftheback. The full of these various uses and meanings is also range intheArabic attested term andintheother terms from derived the sujd root actsintheroot sajada. In fact, distinguish separate lexicographers themainmeaning ofsuj'zdis 'falling on downprostrate sajada. While theearth', likethat ritual state performed during prayer, lexicographers insomeparticular that useswhich canbe found inpre-Islamic or poetry insomeQur'inic verses which willbe discussed later andinconnection with theform of suju*d can be also 'bow', mainly asjada, themeaning with a gesture to rukzi similar it be pointed outthat, ""'.Finally, must
and edited by W.H. Behn, Ber(10) A.J. Wensick, ofMedina,translated Muhammadand theJews ed. Mohammeden deJoden teMedina, Leiden 19081, in lin 1982 [1ist 75-76;and see also Wensinck, was one of the ritesof the Encyclopaediaof Islam, 1sted., Leiden 1913-39, s.v. Saklt,IV, 99: suffid and Christian service. Jewish Zur Entstehungsgeschichte des islamichenGebetsund Kultus,Berlin1913, 17. (11) E. Mittwoch, TheForeignVocabulary, (12) Jeffery, 163; his onlyevidenceforthe supposed ancientpenetration of theterm in Arabic is theverseof the nu'allaqa of 'Amr b. Kulthum; see also C.C. Torrey, TheJeuish FoundationofIslam,New York1967(1st ed. 1933),71. See, concerning thesame arguments, Hebbo, Die Fremdwurter, 174. of the rootsajada, Ibn Manztir, (13) See, forcompletedescriptions Lisn al-Arab,ed. Dnir al-ma'i Cairo 1306-7H., II, 371-72;Azhari,Tahdhibal-uhgha, Cairo n.d.,III, 1940-42; rif, Zabidi, Taj al-'arfis, and M. 'A. al-Najjir, Cairo n.d.,X, 569-72;Saghdini, ed. by 'A.H. al-Takmila wa-l-dhayl wa-I-sila, Hil'li Cairo 1981,II, 26; Cairo 1971,II, al-tanbihwa-l-id~i 'amnd waqa'afi l-siir.d 246-47,Ibn barri, Kitcab Jawhari, Taj al-lugha,n.p. 1282 H., I, 232-33;Khalil,Kitabal-'ayn,VI, Baghdid 1982,49; Faruzihibdi, Cairo n.d., I, 222-23;Ibn Fi7ris, Cairo 1952, II, 310-11;Zanjini, Tahdh7b alQmiis al-sibhih, Ibn Durayd,Kitiibjambaratall-lugha,Beirut1987, al-lugha,Cairo 1970,III, 133-34; MuJammaqiis al-mu.t, al-munir,Cairo I, 447; Zamakhshari, Kitdbal-misbaih As&is al-balagha, Cairo 1922,I, 423; Fayyumi, n.d.,I, 129.

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itis a gesture ofsubmission before God or whatever form takes, sujuyd, in themany of the root is evident idiomatic men,and this expressions

inancient (14). poetry sajadafound

beforethe timeof Mualmmad : 2. Arabsand prostration Evidencefrompoetryand Muslimhistoricall reports and and early Islamic Arabian from Someverses poetry pre-Islamic with wereacquainted theact that Arabs indicate Muslim traditions many was used by knewboththat this and that ofprostration, they practice and that itwas widely diffuand Christians as an actofdevotion, Jews of sed as a wayofgreeting figures authority. theverse oftheoften ofgreat is evidence Pre-islamic weight: poetry illusb. Kulthtim of'Amr (d. 570AD ca.),for instance, quotedmu'allaqa ofthesuperioanother was a confirmation before that trates prostration suban actofcomplete itand,atthesametime, oftheonereceiving rity thepoet it.Infact inthis oftheone performing on thepart misson verse, who willnotsuffer theTaghlib, 'Amr b. Kulthfim anyhumiliapraises reachesthe age of weaaning / the tion:"whenone of our children falldownprostrate" of theearth ("). Beingtheobjectof a powerful is ofthepower andprestige is thus a sign verse, and,inthis prostration status ofthetribe. a wayofasserting thehigh in pre-Islais mentioned case where Thisis nottheonly prostration the rootsajada of other versesthatmention A number mic poetry.
show thewide rangeof meanings assouses of therootsajada in earlypoetry (14) Some idiomatic sources the versesquoted in the lexicographical ciatedwiththe imageof prostration; see, in general, a sujfud concerning by a ship,Ibn Qutayba,Kitcb al-sbzhr wa-l-shu' quoted above, and in particular, thesujuTdof hillsor mountains, see theverses de Goeje, Leiden1904,146; concerning ard', ed. by M.J. Hamasae carmina,Bonn 1828,I, 294; AbtiI-Baqi', Kitib al-maniqib al-mazyadiyya in G.G. Freytag, al-asadiyya,Amman1984,I, 246; Tabari, fiakhbiral-mulhk Jimi' al-bayin' an ta 'wil tyal- Qurain, Cairo 1967, I, 248; Jawhari,Taj, I, 232; Cairo 1968,I, 300, 365; Qurtubi,al-Jtmil-ahkdtm al-Qurdmn, f tafsir I, 148, 263; Ibn Habid, Kitdbal-muhabbar,ed. by Tuisi, al-Tibydin al-Qurain,Najaf1957-65, I. Lichtenstiidter, Hyderabad1942,322. See also the expressionsdjidu al-maukhar,in Dabbi, Diwa-n Oxford1918-21, 407 [XL,991;and Tabari, ed. by C.J.Lyall, Jami , I, 635; cf.also Ibn al-mufaddalityit, Muqbil,Diwan, Damascus 1962,403. See also to use of sajada in the expressionusjud li-qirdiI-saw' Cairo in a versementioned Kitkb by Zabidi, Tfj,X, 293;Jilhiz, al-hayawin,ed. by 'Abd al-Salfim Hirfin, 1993, 207; and cf. VIb, ed. by K. Athamina, Jerusalem 1965-69,I, 355; Balidhuri,Ansdb al-ashraf, and P. de Courteille MasZdi,Murfj al-dhahab wa-ma 'ddin al-jawhar,ed. by B. de Meynard, verseis quoted by Mas' Cidi, C. Pellat,Beirut V, 254 1966-79, V, 200 no. 3414. Another interesting Muruj, himselfto it,i.e he eats and 'prostrates no. 3558: a man sees tempting food,and so he breaksfasting the food. Carmina antiquissimaarabum, ed. by FA. Arnold, Mo 'allakZit. Leipzig 1850, 144 [V, (15) Septem / takhirru 1041:idhd balagha I-fitoma sajidn lahu-jabdibiru land sabiyyun

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ofMuhammad mission (22).

similar Al-A' contains inone ('6)for sha(d. 5-9/625-30) instance, images. ofhispoems, describes theTamin and saysthat thebattle during they fall downprostate chins before theone with thecrown (i.e. upontheir in a versepraising theking) Hawdhab. Alilthepowerfull (7). Alson thenotion ofthesupremacy ofthemanwhoreceives a prostraHanafi, tionis evident : itis saidthat thecrowned Hawdha everybody meeting falls downprostrate before him A'shiagainmadeuse of a similar (18). whenpraising inhispoems : whenhe enters image Qaysb. Ma'dikarib a place, all the people who are present themselves and prostrate remove their in this and reverence headgear, way showing respect towards him (19). Poeticimagery or objectsmaking animals or receiving involving in thesameway,to thehighrank or supremacy of attest, prostration someone or something. Thisis thecase,for with instance, a-Musayyab b. 'Alas(b. 535AD ca.) who,praising thehigh ofa pearll found quality allltheother saiors themselves to it(20). bya diver, saysthat prostrated ina poemdedicated tothedescription ofthefrequent battes Moreover, andskirmishes between tribes andclans, thepoetess al-Khans'(b. 575 AD ca.) celebrates a victory with theimage ofthecamels oftheenemies intimidated and prostrated these (21). Therecan be few doubtsthat versesshow thatimagesof prostration, the highrankof indicating someone or something, werewellknown theArabs before the among

Atthesametime, someverses attest at thebeginning that Arabs of Islam andintheearly Islamic werealso acquainted thefact with period that was a devotional inuse among and,espeprostration practice Jews
des arabischenSchrifttums (16) See on himE Sezgin,Gescbichte (= GAS),II. Poesie, Leiden 1975, 130-32. (17) R. Geyer, vonAbu BasirMaimun ibn Qais al-'A" Gedicbte g London 1928,249 [no. 1601:wakharratTamimunli??adhqaniha li-dhi1-tijifii-ma' ma' ati. sujudfan aw (18) Man yalqa Hawdbata yasjud gbayra mutta'ibin/ idha ta ammama fawqa -tfdji wada' a in Geyer, 86 [13,471;see also in Zabidi, Taj,I, 499, II, 585,V, 439; Ibn Manzur, Lisai Gedichte, n,VI,4745; Dabbi, Diwainal-mufaddalyyyct, 709; Mubarrad, Leipzig al-Kdimi-adab, ed. by W. Wright, b. al-Tufayl, Leiden-London wor1882,411; Amir 1913,118; and, withdifferent Diwan, ed. byC. Lyall, Beirut ding,Tabarsi, 1992,I, 102;Abue-Baqfi,Kitdbal-manaqib, Majma' al bayanfi tafsir al-Qurin, similar versepraising Hawdha and goingback to A' shi, butnotincluI, 54, and see 1,55,withanother ded in his diwan. See also in a poem praising Abraha:Buhturi, al-hamasa, ed. by L. Cheikho, Kitiab Beirut1910,83. / sajadnd labu wa-rafa 'nd in Tabari, (19) Fa-lammiiatana bu'ayda 1-kard XIII, Jjami, l-'amard, foranother verseby Ash5i 69; Tabarsl,Majma,V, III, 423; Ibn Manzur, 342; Zabidi, IV, 3102; Lisean, Tj, 41 [V,631. Gedicbte, praising Qays, see Geyer, (20) In Ibn Manzir,Lisan,IV, 2432; Zabidi, Tij, III, 332; but cf. a differing versionin Geyer,???? W. Ahlwardt, TheDiwans ofthesix ancient 352 [IX,16).See also a similar Gedicbte, imagein Niibigha: Arabicpoets,London1870, 10; Zabidi, Taj,II, 10; Ibn Manzur, Lisan,I, 369. Beirut1888,82. (21) Khansf',Diwin, ed. by L. Cheikho, of God as a kingon theThronein F. Schutess, Uma(22) See also a similar imagein thedescription jfa ibn Abi-s-Salt, Leipzig1911,28 [25,291,58 [55,2].


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Christians. A verse ofHumayd b. Thawr (d. 60/680 ca.) (a), which cially, in lexicographical to explain themeais quotedvery often collections oftheprostration ofsajada,makes use oftheimage by performed ning at a bow,where the in a comparision itis said: "like Christians hinting before their (24). In a verse byal-HIutay'a priests" sujfdoftheChristians another is usedin a poetical to indicate (d. 69/668) image, comparision which theprostration resembles a movement by Christians performed
"... as iftheywere Christians who, when it is the timeof during prayer: themselves" verseit is also said that the prayer, (15). In another prostate

headsas a Christian womandoes whenshe twoshe-camels bendtheir term to The herself (26). (during a-asjad, according prayer) prostrates and Christians to their ofJews was an epithet referring lexicographers, in can also be found their (27). The term during worship prostrations b. Ya'fur in a verseby al-Aswad another (b. 535AD significant phrase thedardhim where thepoetmentions ca.), a poetofal-Hira, al-asjdd. as is explained werePersian Thesedirhems, coins, by lexicographers, theimage oftheking, minted with uponwhich peopleusedtoperform
a sujid or bow in reverence (8).

thefact that serious doubts can be raised abouttheauthentiDespite confirm in substance of most Muslim historical the traditions, they city attest that at thebeginning and thus Arabs, bythepoetry given picture with thesujitd werealready wellacquainted and knewthat of Islam, intheregions andamong this was diffused Arabia, surrounding practice sec. records a particular Christians andJews. (d. ca.) Abul-Baqd' VI/XII of of at the court the Christian kingdom episoderegarding prostration to for the reco: the of thanks God Mosul, bishop (usquf) giving al-HIlira ofal-Hira himself before theaaloftheking prostrated very al-Nu'man,
evidenc about prostratradition tar(29). Another containing important
(23) See on himSezgin,GAS,II, 247.

insteadof li-abbc~ 453 [44,32].Some sourceshave a variant withli-arbbibhim version, mufaddalijyyt, Azhari,Tahdhtb, X, 569;Jawhari, see, in general, tcj,I, 232-33; Ibn Firis,Mu'jam, III, 133; Ibn rihtm; II, 346-47;Ibn Barr, Kittbal-tanbl Manzir,Listn,III, 1941;Zabidi, Tfj,II, 371-72;Saghani,al-Takmila, h, II, 26. des Garwalb. Aus al-Hutej'a", "Der Diwain (25) I. Goldziher, ZDMG, 47 (1893), 173.

see Dabbi, Diwtdn (24) Fudula azimmatihb alasjadat / sujlida 1-naser4 li-ahbbrihim:

Fa-kilthbumr see Tabari, verseis of al-Himmini, Jdmim, I, 318; Tabarsi,Majma" I, 102; Qurtubi,al:-j Abi l-Akhzar 569. versionsin Ibn Manzir,Ltstn,VI, 4441; Zabidi, Thj,ITTII, mf,I, 369; see also thedifferent (27) See Saghini,al-Takmila,II, 246; Azhari,Taahdhib,X, 573. AnArabic-English see also in E.W.Lane, Lexicon, (28) Dabbi, Dftwin 452-53; al-mufaddallyydt, 1863-93,1307c; Ibn Manzuir, London-Edinburgh LsIn, IV, 1941; Zabidi, Thj,II, 372; Azhari,Tahdhbb, 233; Ibn Fiiris, X, 569; Saghini,al-Takmila,II, 246;Jawhari, Mu'jam, III, 134; Finrizibdi, alTj, I1,
(29) Abi l-Baqi', Kitabal-maniqib,1,269. See also Mas'idi, Murj, IV, 178-80nos. 2458-63:a king thatthe had aa tomb and laterfeltso guilty killedtwo affectionate while drunk, of al-Hira, courtiers a prostration. of themand orderedthateverybody passingit performed builtin memory


lam tuhannafi, the nasranatun / kam4saJadat kharrat wa-asjadara'suhb

Qanfi,I, 310.


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tionperformed is that theexpedition ofAbrabyChristians describing ha's troops Mecca.Among thetroops there weresomeMudari against Araabs toeata mealoftesticles whorefused andtoprostrate themseves before whilethe others, the cross, who were Christians, performed these is important acts(10). Thistradition inmany itshowsthat respects: Christians used to prostrate themselves thecrossand that before this was rejected since considered itagainst the practice bysomeArabs, they oftheir customs in thesources the people,as is explained describing episode. Other indicate that thecustom of the prostration was also reports common oftheNegusin Ethiopia. at thecourt Sometraditions descrithemission sent toEthiopia, toclaim backtheMuslims bing byMeccans who hadfound state that thetwofrom theQuraysh, 'Amr there, refuge b. al-'As and'Umdra b. al-Walid, thepresence entered oftheNegus into andprostrated themselves before him. On thecontrary theMuslim refuwhen notperform dit thesujadtotheNegus andsaidthat ordered, gees, intheir itwas notpossible to fall downprostrate before a man, religion evenifthat manwas a king that this was intented to story (31).Itis clear underline theimportance oftheMuslim prohibition against prostration before this with thecustoms and ideas diffused men,and to contrast unbelievers sucha Christians. IndeedMuslim literature abounds among with suchas those ofthis which tell of kind, reports Companions hxdiths whosaw prostrations before orgenerals inal-Hira or performed priests in Yemen a Christian native of Niniveh called (3), or thatdescribing
al munammaqfi akhbbrQuraysh, ed. by Kh. A. Firiq,Beirut1985,72; see (30) Ibn Habid,Kitedb also the discussionof thispassage by M. J.Kister, "Some reports Mecca from to concerning JFihiliyya and EarlyIslam,Variorum, (in StudiesinJ&Jiliyya London 1980,no. II),JESHO,15 (1972), 72. Islam", Beirut1991,I, 187 no. 4400; see also VI, (31) Ahmadb. Hanbal,Musnad,ed. by ', Beirut1989,VII, 494; Hay232 no. 17792;and Ibn Abi Shayba,al-Musannaffi l-abddithwa-l-dthdr, thami,Majma' al-zawdid wa-manba' al-fawiad, Beirut1967, VI, 24, 30, 32; Sujfti,al-Khaskis alBeirut kubr4, n.d.,1, 149, II, 18; lbn Kathir, 1966,III, 69-71,IV, al-Biddyawa-l-nihaya, Beirut-Riyadh wl 142; Bayhaqi,Daldil al-nubuwwa wa-ma'rifat al-Sbarr'a,Beirut1985,11,293, 298, 300; abh Ibn al-Jawzi, Alexandria Daldk 'I, I, 243, 245, and in particular n.d.,I, 166; Abfi Sifatal-safiva, sid4.b Nu'aym, and monksurgedMuslims to prostrate themselves beforetheking, buttheyrefused; 252,wherepriests see also in Hayrhami, b. al-As, see onlythe prostration perfomed Majma, VI, 31. Regarding by 'Amr also Ibn Hishim,al-Sira al-nabawiyya, ed. by M. al-Saqqi et al., Cairo 1955,II, 277. some versions of thediffused in whichtheProphet (32) See, forinstance, forbadethe proshadfth trations to men saying thatifitwere permissible, he would have prescribed thatwives prostrate themof thishadithitis said that selves beforetheir husbands.In a particular version Qays b. Sa'd asked the himself beforehim when he had came back fromal-Hira,where he had seen Prophetto prostrate (li-marzubIn); see Diirimi, Sunan, ed. by M.D. al-Baghdi, people actingthisway beforea governor Damascus 1991, I, 364 no. 1435; AbfiDiwfid, Sunan, Cairo 1998, II, 250 no. 2140; al-ikim alBeirut1990, II, 204 no. 2763; Bayhaqi, al-Sunan al-kubra al-Mustadrak'alt 1-sahibayn, Nisfibiti, Beirut1994,VII, 475-6 no. 14705.Nevertheless, show thatthe mention of al-Hira some othervariants is hereonlya pretext to pointout the difference betweenChristian customand Muslimprecept; see in Yemen or the versionattributed to Mu' fdh b. Jabal,where it is said thatthe same some Christians beforetheirbishops and generals:'Abd al-Razziq, al-Musannaf,ed. by Syriato falldown prostrate H.'zami, Ahmadb. Beirut Musnad,VII, 103 no. 19420: 19832, XI, 301 no. 20596:Syria; .Hanbal,


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himself totheProphet whoprostrated (33). A similar episodealso 'Adddis in an senta letter to the kingHeraclius occurred whentheProphet After theletter, himto becomea Muslim. to convince reading attempt hisnewfaith. Thegenerals anddeclared hisgenerals Heraclius gathered and Heraclius, to thisannouncement reactedangrily them, fearing felldown prostrate before and following thishis generals retracted, all this valueoftheindividual him. thehistorical episodes, '-3'Wathever inuse inChristian courts. to a practice no doubt material points 135, thasujiid and people indicate before Muslin historical kings reports in in Persia. This of authority was also a widespread practice emerges offalling down discussed aboveaboutthepractice someofthereports infact the inthekingdom ofal-Hira; these reports, alongwith prostrate of thePersian customs. beartheimprint cult, signsof theChristian '"' was greeted, traditions attest that also theSasanid other Moreover, king to some witha sujiid, his presence, or,according by thoseentering he was honoured that performed bya prostration byelephants, reports, whenhe passedduring thereview andsupremacy as a signofhisrank "' The samebehaviour the to thePersians after is attributed histroops.
Yemen orSyria, twopossibilities, tradition the the 229no.22046 Sunan, : Yemen VIII, ; IbnMfija, gives b. musnad Cairo ed. byM.F. 'Abdallhb n.d., ; IbnS5i1d,al-:uz'flbi I, 595no. 1853: Syria 'Abd al-Baiqi, am al-kabr, Cairo orSyria, AbiAutfa, 97 no.5 : Syria 96 no.4 : Yemen n.d., ; Tabarini, Riyadh al-Muj states hesaw ahlal-kitlb, i.e.Jews andChristians nos.5116-17 : Syria, andMu'iidh ; Hayn.d., V,208-9 andChristians. toa slightly different version. hesawJews : inSyria, thami, According IV,309-10 Majma, rabbis andChristians themselves to their themselves to their sawJews prostrating prostrating Mu'idh toMuhammad toperform a sujtdbefore heaskedpermission andthis waasthereason why bishops, Beirut him Mir&t b. al Jawzi, 194; Hay1985, ta'rikb : Sibt al-a'yvn, I, ed. byI. 'Abbfis, al-zamtnPfl Al Riizi, al-Din Beirut thami, al-kabir al-Tafsir al-ghayb), Majma', (MafiStbl IV,310 ; cf.also Fakhr inYemen : itis saidthat inthe the wasalsoperfor195.Regarding 1990, 11, prostration sujfid jtbiltyya hiscastle, when theYemenite : see IbnQudimaalmedbypeoplearound Du I-Kali', king appared Damascus Kitab ed. byG. Maqdisi, 131no.305,and 132no.309,about al-tauewbi7n, 1961, Maqdisi, Beirut hisrepentance inMuslim times 487. ; see alsoIsbhihi, 1991, al-Mustatraffl kullfann mustazraf oftheBookarea nation ofthe that recite God's And see alsoQur.3 : 113: "Some upstanding, People inthewatches themselves". ofthenight, prostrating signs ofthe andthestones totheProphet that took miracle oftheprostration trees see alsothe (33)And see Tottoli, "Muslim attitudes towards allthese a Christian ; about stronghold episodes, placeinSyria, nn.66-67. andFakhr See alsoHaythami, Majma' IV,309-10, prostration (sujid) II. Theprominence", wasa wayofgreeting al-Din al Rdizi, II, 149: inSyria (taklyya) prostration prophets. al-Tafsir, al-F. Ibrihim Cairo al-rusul ed. byM.A. (34)See Tabadr, II,650,[-ed. 1960-69, wa-l-mulfk, Ta'rTkh ; 'Abdal-Razziq, V,347no.9734; Suyii 1879-1901, de Goejeetal.,Leiden al-Musannaf M.J. I, 1566] inIbnKathir, 266.Cf. alsoa different 4 ; IbnKathir TV, ti, 1, al-Biddya, episode al-Bidiya, inGhazilf, Cairo1939, andtheprostration al-din, 150, bya Jew Ibyt' ulifm II,al-Khas.i'is, performed III,340.For see IbnAbil before a prostration II,409. 'All, Shayba, al-Musannaf bya priest sources themselves sources butalsobyChristian is not confirmed (35)This ; see byallMuslim only in ofthesecular in TWNV/ theliterature for instance ; andthedefense VI,762-66 prostration quoted A Treatise on theVeneration theiconoclastic : ThodoreAbif ofthe Qurrah, byAbiQurrah polemics Louvain ed. byS.H.Griffith, 52-3. 1997, Icons, Holy inwhich thebadith andn.33 about (36)See p. 12-13 Qaysb. Sa'dsaidhe hadseenpeoplefalling inal-Hira. before thegovernor downprostrate (al-marzubdn), andcf.Tabarf, 221[-1,10481, Ta rlkb, thefirst Ta'rlkb, II, 177 (37) See,about Taban', 11, episode, see Mastidi, 321no.652;and theprostration bythe elephants, [-1, 996]; performed regarding Munj I1, is quoted alsobyDamiri, before ofthe kings 753;theprostration elephants Ibshihi, al-Mustatraf, .Hayt


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A grandee ofPersia arrived in of Islam. advent (dihqan),forinstance, -Umar andwhenhe was inforto meet theCaliph b. al-Kattab, Medina him. he was notpresent he setoff to find Whenfinally medthat 'Umar him he fell on earth, but'Umar summoned reached downprostrate him, "I' thewords that was due to God only. hisheadwith to raise sujt2d describes theuse ofthesecular Further evidence prostration among fell Asa'senemies aid in India, When other they sought prospeoples. intothe presence of the king as theyentered trate upon the earth oftheprostrawhich attests to thediffusion Zerah. Another practice (39) to thebodies it was their custom relates to theChinese tion bury kings: in and used when had oftheir died, statues, they they golden parents, and evening. before there statues to perform ",I every morning sujiids and of Christians The recurrent among description prostrations makes the bias of this material and shows the courts foreign polemical This is evident facts bias of the related doubtful. particularly historicity in thosereports to discredit theforeign custom of e perfordesigned circuor kings. Thesereports wereprobably before priests ming sujiid its oftheMuslin and to stress theoriginality lated to underline precept, difof with the customs used and believers byforeigners incompatibility from these considerations, thismaterial also faiths. ferent (41 Apart in pre-Islamic i.e. that confirms thepicture prostration poetry, painted at thesametime, is no evidence to Arabs, there was wellknown but, them itwas diffused to thesameextent. and historithat Poetry among time of cal reports at the Arabs were indicate that, Muhammad, acquainthesuja-d, ita foreign which tedwith butthat considered they practice as a poetic or performed couldbe appreciated devicefor praise giving
alsoTabari, TaWkb, and regarding the Cairo1978, al-kubri4 II, 179. II, 72 [=I,8591, Cf. al-/ayatwan

by a kingofPersiasee Qazwini,'Ajaib al-makblhqat prostration wa-gharaib al-mawjidat, Cairo 1966, 86. It has already been said above (p. 12) that the darahimal-asj~d, dirhems minted withtheimageof were Persiancoins. the kingupon whichpeople used to prostrate themselves, (38) Ibn AbiShayba,al-Musannaf II, 408. The same happened to otherCompanions.It is forinstance said in the same source,lbn Abi Shayba's Musannaf(II, 409), thatPersiansused to addressa Salmanal-Farisi (d. 36/656),and he used to answerto sujfd also to the Companionof Persianorigin of Salmanwas his submission thisprostration to God. That the figure bendinghis head and asserting in Persiais evident of secularprostration of thiskindto indicate the diffusion used by Muslinreports The Prowhichdescribes a prostration beforeMuhammad. from tradition another by thesame Salmain One that to the Living to me, Salmdin, but prostrate yourself phetanswered:"Do notprostrate yourself Beirut neverdies";see Ibn Kathir, n.d.,II, 759, at Qur. 12: 100 and III, 516,at Qur. 25: 58. About Tafsir, and VI, 459 [II, 1224]: see also Tabari, TaW'kh, VI, 387, [II, 11311, performed by Persians, prostrations of afterkissingthe hand in Islamic times.Finally, about a prostration concerningthe prostration see Mas'idi, Murki, II, 399, no. 1402. Magiansto the holyfire, beforeimagesin India,see Maqdisi,al(39) Tabari,Ta 'ikh, I, 520 [- I, 6231;abouttheprostration Cairo n.d.],II, 91. ed. C. Huart, Paris1899-1919 [repr. Bad'wa-l-ta kbh, (40) Mas'udi, Murfi,I, 156-57nos. 316-18. "Do not assimilate of the same kind,M.J. La tashab(41) See, about traditions Kister, yourselves. SAI,12 (1989), 321-371. babh",.


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before whenabroad, to a certain extent was essenkings "" butwhich customs. alien to their tially pre-Islamic pagan of the prostration 3. The diffusion amongArabsat the timeof the Prophet a foreign Thefact considered is confirthat Arabs prostration practice of evidence its med by the scarcity regarding practice amongthem arevery few actual ofIslam. There traditions with before therise dealing for devotion. byArabs personal prostrations performed is that a prostration One suchexample byZayd performed regarding Meccanhanifs, and most famous one oftheearliest b. 'Amr b. Nufayl, time he started to receive revelaa short before who metMuhammad of tions. 3 According to the sources, Zayd abandonedthe idolatry tobe a monotheist, neither norChristian, andprofessed Jewish Quraysh the A noteable in which in thehanfilyya believer buta true report, 14,. the folthat ofhisfaith is fully nature described, says Zaydpronounced whilehe was leaning theKa'ba:"O Quraysh, words, against by lowing therelinotone ofyoufollows Himinwhosehandis thesoulofZayd, tosomeversions ofthis butI".Then, report, according gionofAbraham I would to be worshipped he said:"O God,ifI knewhowyouwished himself on know he then so worship prostrated you; butI don't how,; here All the ofhishands thepalms ('ald rdhatibi). particulars given "5
himself Muhammad's states that a tradition al-Muttalib (42) In fact prostrated grandfather'Abd him hishead;see lbnHabib, he invited toraise b. DhiYazanwhereas before the Yemenite king Sayf isgiven version alsoinIbn'Abd different 431; a slightly Rabbihi, al-farid, al-munammaq, al-'lqd Kitab Beirut Beirut 1986, al-Isbahini, 1983, Nu'aym Akbab I, 98 n. 50;Azmqi, Dal'tl al-nubutwwa, I, 292;Abf Beirut Makka minal-&tbr,; 19832, ed. Malhas, wa-majii'afiba I, 152.See alsoAb-1l-Faraj Cairo 77. 1929 Kit&b f., XVI, al-agbh&i, al-lsfahini, U. Rubin, An with andKa'ba. andhisrelation (43) See,concerning Muhammad, Zayd -Hanifijya meeofdinIbrabhm into the Arabian 13(1990), 99-102 ; on the pre-Islamic background ,JSAI, inquiry of an early see also M.J. Kister,'A bag of meat': a study theProphet and Zayd, between ting See alsoJ.WansinJdhbiliyya and Early 33 (1970),267-75. Islam, VI), BSOAS, ., (in Studies badith 6Salvation Oxford and Composition Content The Sectarian Milieu. 1978, History, ofIslamic brough, ofZayd wasonly a myth. the that 7, whoconsiders story this havebeenpublished (44) A lotofstudies bysomepeopleat concerning professed haniftyya in C. Gilliot, with all thereferences, oftheargument, thetimes ofMuhammad ; see thediscussion - Muhammad, Leiden ed. byS. Wild' de l'histoire le Coran etles- contraintes , in TheQuran as Text, Leiden Islamic on Early and Pagans.Studies Medina, See alsoM. Lecker, 6-17. Muslims, 1996, Jews ofAbiQays. thecaseofthehanifiyya he discusses where 156-64, 1995, Oxford The 1955, (45) See IbnHishfim, al-Sira, I, 225(transl. life ofMubammad, byA.Guillaume, of thesira of Ibn Ishaiq: recension in Yinusb. Bukayr's is also mentioned tradition 99-100) ; this Beirut ed. byS. Zakkir, b. Bukayr), b. Y mnus Muhammad (rtwwiyat al-siyar wa-l-maghdbiz Kitdib 171; Ibn inIbnHabib, 153; Ibn THabib, 116.See also al-muhabbar, al-munammaq, 1978, Kitdb Kitdib Ish.q, Beirut etal.,Calcutta ed. A.Sprenger 1856f., n.d., repr. al-Isabafl tamyiz III,31 ; Ibn al-sabidba, .Hajar,


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know thebest whodidn't areofgreat waytoaddress significance: Zayd, to address a sujudto Him.At oftheKa'ba,decided God inthevicinity therelitheQuraysh, one tofollow that time, Zaydwas theonly among a his looks like new of Abraham and (din Ibrtbim), practice gion suj*d Thiswas notan isolated initiated episodesince byhimin hisworship. the oftheKa'ba,said:"I follow to thecult while Zaydhimself, referring and I prostrate towards theKa'ba". ofAbraham Finally myself religion himself these and so he used to prostrate thereport endswith words: towards theKa'bainthe Jahiliyya 46' theArabs also comes evidence aboutprostration among Significant with thesalt al-duhba, thetraditions a particular from dealing prayer, actsconnected to thecultofthe which consisted ofdifferent originally discussed themain features ofthis Ka'ba.U. Rubin hasalready salatalin which relied a coldubd, study mainly upon hadith comprehensive that thesuju d was among the to this research lections7'.Itis relevant of various to this suchas thecircumambulation actsconnected prayer, theKa'baandthetouching oftheBlackStone. to a tradition According in theMusannaf and goingback to Ibn of 'Abdal-Razzaiq recorded this werethe first ones to (d. the pray Jurayj 150/767), saldtal-du'bd, Bedouins(al-a'rdb) : whenone ofthem sold a commodity he would andthen cometo themosque andsay 'Allab theprosakbar', perform that tration themention ofa mosquerefers to theMuslim 48).It is clear out by Rubin, thispractice periodbut,as has been already pointed dated backtothepre-Islamic anditwas widely diffused period particuin this theBedouins, who celebrated suclarly waywhenthey among inthemarkets ceededintheir business "49" The lackof further evidence from thesources and thescanty evidencerelating to theepisodesdescribed heresuggests that prostration was performed in anypraccases,was notincluded onlyin particular ticeofworship, and most was not importantly byQuraysh. performed In fact he had abandoned himself after thepaganreliZaydprostrated inthetradition ofthesal&t it gionofhispeopleandsimilarly, al-duha, is theBedouins whoprostrated themselves and notthesettled population ofMecca.Moreover, itis worth that there is nothing to indinoting
Kathir, II, 237-41; Ayni,Umdatal-q4ri,Cairo 1972,XIII, 366. The first al-Biddya, partof thispassage, is also in Bukhirl, 606 no. 3828, and it is translated without the particular of the prostration SabTh, TV, - Hanfiyyaand Ka' ba -, 100,withotherreferences at n. 75. by Rubin, (46) Bayhaqi, Dald'il al-nubuwwa, II, 144, quoted and translated by Rubin,- Hanifiyyaand see also Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat al-kubrJ, ed. by I. 'Abbis, Beirutn.d.,I, 162. Ka'ba ., 101-2, - Morning in earlyIslam., JSAI,10 (1987) 40-53. and eveningprayers (47) U. Rubin, (48) 'Abd al-Razzfq, III, 79-80no. 4872 ; cf.also Bayhaqi,Dali il,VI, 334 : sajadii alal-Musannaf, - Morning and eveningprayers is translated and discussedby Rubin, -, 43-44. dubh; thistradition (49) See 'Abd al-RazzSiq, al-Musannaf,III, 79 no. 4869 ; and Rubin,- Morningand evening prayers.,44.


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of prostration in theidolatrous catethediffusion of thepagan rituals In fact historical Arabs. whiledescribing thesituation in presources, do notmention casesofsujkdbeingperformed Islamic before Arabia,
idols s01.

4. Araboppositionto Muslimprostration discussed abovethere can be no doubt that Given theevidence the ofIslam, with its of ritual diffusion the during precept prostrating prayer, a significant towards represented changein theArabattitude prostraofthis tion. Itis notthepoint article to identify from where Muhammad for this whether from drew and Christian tradiritual, Jewish inspiration or from as more some of that seems kind tions, probable, practice in The here is that of all the use Arabs. among significant already point with Muslim rites itwas theritual that met the greatest prayer opposition5". The basisofthis as has already been demonstrated resistance, : was theopposition to theactoftheprostration itself byM.J.Kister, itan alienpractice but they also refused to Arabs notonlyconsidered in termsof their it humiliating it, since theyconsidered perform of honour concepts (52). in some Qur'anicpassages This attitude towards sujfidemerges references totheunwillingness oftheMeccansto which contain direct For when to a sujud themselves. instance, urged perform prostrate the answered bakc: "And before the Merciful pagans (al-Rahmdn), we prostrate ourselves to whatthoubidwhatis theAll-merciful? Shall
Ibn al-Kalbi, Cairo1993, where is no mention of there (50) See forinstance Kitdb al-asnam, italiento their secular Arabs, customs, prostration, though considering probably sujfd.Regarding andbefore with not avoid themselves when abroad the use. could foreign prostrating kings, complying n. 42. before b. DhiYazan; see above, makes senseof'Abdal-Muttalib's This prostration Sayf Muslim Ed.byS.M.Stern, (51) See Goldziher, London Studies, 1967-71, 1,39,41-2. Eng. - Somereports no. and Early (52) M.J. Islam, Kister, (,(in Studies concerning all-Ti'if inJbt7hiUyya 1 (1979)3-6. This towards as argued isalsothe reason XI), byKister, why, JSAI, opposition prostration, ofHunayn andtheProphet after thebattle askedthe in negotiations between (8/630), Thaqif Thaqif with concessions. The notto prostrate ritual other thepermission prayer, together during Prophet showvery of thenegotiations. Thesereports ofMuhammad led to thebreakdown clear-cut refusal ingeneral, tobow but theduty, the wasnot theprayer that thereason it, for during opposition clearly like onearth. for And this samereason theadversaries tofall down ofMuhammad, and, then, prostrate to pray likethenoblemen and Arabs ordered the and Tulayha, thefalse upright Musaylima prophets more tomake attracintended their wasprobably them toprostrate themselves forbade message ; this the Even theactofbowing, before see thearticle these tive. About sujtd, pp.4-6. byKister, questions Beirut ed. byM.'A. al-Q.'Ati, : see IbnAl-'Arabi, wasconsidered 1988, al-Quran, embarassing Ahkam so that so much askedtheProfor wasthehardest thepeopleofthe they 1,34; thing jbhiliyya, ?ruk times Arabs disliked alto pray See alsoGhazilli, upright. phet permission Iby, III,350: inancient inhin '.


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God "'. Theseseemtobe fanciful anditis far more interpretations, probablethat ofthesuj*ditself thenature thosepresent to ask, prompted with and irony, who thisGod was and whether surprise Muhammad believed that would themselves to Him",. Another really they prostrate verse hints sameunwillingness at this to perQur'anic (Qur.68: 42-43) form on thedayoftheResurrection whenthehypocrites prostration be summoned toprostrate butthey cannot "shall ; humbled themselves, shallbe their and abasement shall for had them, they eyes, overspread beensummoned to prostrate themselves whilethey werewhole". This that unbelievers refused to falldownprostrate passagebearsevidence on earth atthetime oftheProphet andthis is thereason will whythey be punished on thedayof Resurrection, evenifthey to falldown try
in extremis 56). prostrate

destus?"(53). Qur'aniccommentaries contain variousexplanations of this to Muqatil theArabspresent, (d. 150/767) passage. According including and did not prostrate themselvesbecause Jahl,were unbelievers Abfi understood as the nickname of the false prophet al-Rahman they and theydid not know thatal-Rahmanwas an ephitetof Musaylima,

wa-ma (53) Qur. 25:60: wa-idc qUila usjudf anasjuduli-ma lahum li-l-Rahmnz q4dfi I-Rahmlzn of Qur'anicversesthroughout thisarticleis takenfromA.J. The Arberry, ta'murun4.The translation Koran Interpreted, Oxford1964; in some cases thetranslation has been slightly modified. b. Sulaymfn, Cairo 1979-80, (54) Muqitil 239 ; Tabari, ed. by'A.M.Shihita, 111, Tafsir, XIX,28al-Nukat Beirut 29 ; Mdvwardi, Bei(Babr 1992,IV, 152-53 .mi', ; Samarqandi, Tafsir wa-al-'uyzn, al-'ulfm), rut1993, used to prostrate 11,464 ; Ibn Kathir, Tafs"r, III, 517,wherehe also statesthatthe mushrikrnt to falsedeities, themselves such as idols; Bayd&wi, al-ta ?il,Cairo 1968,11, Anwaral-tanzil wa-asrdr Lubibal-ta Cairo 149; Khtazin, on 1955, V,106; Baghair, wl li ma'dni l-tanzil, Ma'dimal tanzil, s Lubib al-ta Cairo al-Durr al-mathb 1955, V,106; margin ofKhdbzin f l-tafsir 'wil, al-manthbr min tafsIr Ibn 'Abb&s, Cairo 1951,227. r(sic, Beirut 1983,VI, 268 ; Fir[zibidi, Tanwdr al-miqbiis Suyid.,

is also supported inserted in thecomment of (55) Thisconsideration by a tradition by some tafs7is thisversewhereit is said that, while Muhammad and the first Muslimconverts, like Abui Bakr,'Umar and 'Uthmin, themselves when thisversewas revealed,unbelievers prostrated approachedthemonly to mockthem. This report is related as a comment on theend of Qur. 25: 60 "Anditincreasesthemin see Nisfiburi, aversion"; Ghartib al-Qur'in wa-ragbtib a-Furqin, Cairo 1967,XIX, 31 ; Abi Hiayyfin Beirut1986,VIII, 123 ; and Fakhral-Din al-Rizi,al-TafsTr, al-Tawhidi, XXIV,91-92, al-Bahr al-muhit, who statesproperly thatitdoes notmake sense thatthe refusal to fallprostrate was connectedto the mane al-Rahmndn. Butcf.Muqitil,Tafs7r, to prostrate themselves to III, 744, wheretheMeccans refuse God asserting to their that, instead, theyfalldown prostrate goddesses. the backs of the unbelie(56) Qur'iniccommentaries usuallyadd thaton the day of Resurrection verswill be upright and toughas iron; see Mujdihib b. Jabr, ed by M.'A.Abi 1-Nil, Cairo 1989, Tafsir, ed. by M.M.Muhammad, 669-70;'Abd al-Razzgiq, 11, 310; Tabati,jamz, XXIX,42Tafsfr, Riyadh1989, 43; Ibn Kathir, IV, 638; Samarqandi,Tafs~r, III, 395 ; Suyiti,al-Durr,VIII, 253-54; Firizfibdidi, Tafsir, Tanwir, 364;Nisibiiri, XXIX,26; Zamakhshari, wa-'uyan GharRib, al-Kashsh4f'an haqiaq al-tanzil al-ta'wil,Cairo 1972,IV, 147; Tabarsi,Majma' X, 429-30:also withan interesting al-aqcdwllfl wujfih tradition from Lubtab,VII, 137-40; Ka'b al-Ahb5r explaining why thispassage was revealed ; Khaizin, see also al-Habsan Cairo 1992, ed. by M.'Abd al-Rahim, Baghawi,Ma'lim, VII, 137-140; al-Basri, Tafsir, - some of whichare verylong,althoughnot quotingthis II, 361.VarioushadTths passage, Qur'finic containthe same detail:the back of the unbelievers will notbe able to bend on the day of Resurrection;see Ahmadb. Hanbal,Musnad, IV, 35 no. 11127;Bukhiri, VI, 381 no. 4919,VIII, 541 no. 782-83no. 7439; Muslim, 1,168-69no. 183; Dfirimi, Sunan, 11, 2700;juz'flbh majlis SaA./i min.fawdtid


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The Qur'in and hadithsgive further detailsabout the originand the of thisopposition towards The Qur'an indicates nature very prostration. that reason was for itsays in the sgra the when, instance, clearly pride, of the Battlements (Qur. 7: 206) thatthe creaturesclose to God, i.e.

"waxnottoo proud(l4 yastakbirfina) to serve chant Him;they angels, and to himthey themselves". Thisverseis by no His praise, prostrate means an isolated mention case,sincesomeother passages paganpride in connection therefusal to perform thesuj'fd with can ,17. Thusthere which from be fewdoubts theArabattitude emerges regarding Qur'Iin to fall theMuslim downprostrate Meccans disliked statements: precept ita humiliating deemed act.Itwas theritual becausethey during prayer to the butalso not their act that itself, hostility paganpride inspired only he was the and the while to harass Muslims mock their Prophet attempts and literature include himself. Qur'inic exegesis prostrating hadfth and was notlimited to simple where this somereports scoffs, hostility couldnotresist ofMuhammad's enemies wherethefiercest interfering himself him he was prostrating while ,18. to prostraattest that thestrongest other traditions Various objections noblemen found tionwereraised Qurashi Muhammad's bytheelders.
b. Sa'd, ed. by M. b. R. Ibn al-Tarhfini, 1987,47: see also thereferences Riyadh quoted at p. 49 al-Layth n. 1; al-Hikimal-Nisfibiiri, al-Mustadrak, IV, 626 no. 8736; al-Muttaqi al-Hindi,Kanz al-' Beirut1989,XIV,441 no. 39198; Daylami,al-Firdaus bi-ma'thfr sunan al-aquwli wa-1-afal, al-kbhitib, bi-tartib Beirut1986,V, 268 no. 8149; Ibn Balabin, al-ihsan, Saihb Ibn Hibbin, Beirut1987, IX, 235 no. 7333. See also al-Durr,VIII, 254-61:witha lot of traditions; ishiq b. Bishr,Mubtada' alMs Huntingdon 388, 66a; Ibn Kathir, Bodleian Library, dunyc~ wa-qisas al-anbty&, Suy.ti, Oxford, al-Nihaya Beirut min 1988, 263;Ibn Rajab wa-1-ta'rif al-Baghdfdi, al-Takhwlf fi I-fitaan wa-I-malibm, al-nro" Sharb Musnad Abi Hani Musnad, in 'Ali l-Qdri, bi-hbl daral-bawt;, Beirutn.d., 210-11;Abu Ms BaladiyyaB1249, 21b. Alexandria, (Ps-Wahb),Qisas al-anbiyd, .Hanifa, fa, Beirutn.d.,281; Hijri in the heavens,and everycreature crawitself (57) See Qur. 16: 49: "To God prostrates everything see also Qur. 32: 15. and theangels.Theyhave notwaxed proud (Oiyastakbtiruna)", lingon theearth, of the sujfldis thatit in a tradition is also attested This strict connection sayingthatone of the merits cleanses one of arrogance; see al-Muttaqi al-Hindi,Kanz, VII, 308 no. 19017: man sajada li-Allabh with felldown prostrate and thebelievers (58) See forinstance IV,640: The Prophet Muqitil,Tafsir, him did the same, while the pagans clapped theirhands over theirheads and whistled.See, about aroundtheKa'ba, Qur. 8: 35. A badithrecorded and clappingof handsby pagans in therites whistling attests thatone of Muhammad'sopponents of the in variousversionswithsome slightdifferences while the Prophetwas praying, in 'Uqba b. Abi Mu'ayt, brought groupof Abi Jahl,usuallyidentified at thescene laughed iton Muhammad's back. The pagans present of a she-camel and threw thefoetus 164 no. 520, See Bukhari, arrived. his head until at him, buthe did notlift , 81 no. 240,1, Faitima Sahibh, 95 no. 3962;MusIV,406-7no. 3185,IV,616-17no. 3854;Ahmadb. Hanbal,Musnad,II, 44 no. 3722,11, III, 1418-19no. 1794 (two versions); lim,Sabhib, Nasi' i, al-Sunan al-kubr4Beirut1991,1, 130 no. 296; Sifat, I, 34; Abi Majma, VI, 17-18;Ibn Balabin, al-Ibs&z,VIII, 189 no. 6536; Ibn al-Jawzi, Haythami, al493; Ibn Kathir, Nu'aym,Dalkil, 1, 267 no. 200; Suyiti,al-Khaslis, I, 205-6;Ibshihi,al-Mustatraf of III, 43; Damiri,Hay&t al-bayaw&t, I, 276-77;Bayhaqi,Dalkil, II, 278, III, 82; some versions Bidkya, see Ibn Abi Shayba, al-Musannaf VIII, 441; Abu of the sujfid, mention make no direct thistradition Sabib, III, 317 no. 2934. Some Ya'l, Musnad, ed by H.S. Asad,Beirut1989',IX, 211 no. 5312; Bukhiri, see Abiwhilehe was prostrating threw stonesat Muhammad otherbadithsstatethat himself; AbuJahl DalIil, I, 206,11,591; Bayhaqi,Dalkil, II, 190, 191. Nu'aym,

al-kibr. sajdafa-qadbari'amin


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that all thebelievers hadto prostrate themselves claim surprising. They someexception to be madefor theelders whowerethemost expected and theproudest. Thismaterial therefusal ofthe debilitated describing to themselves is connected to elders Qurashi prostrate sujudal-Qur'dn: didnotprostrate at therecitation ofthestira b. Khalaf himself Umayya he wasan unbeliever didtheold oftheStar andneither because shaykh, whentheSatanic wererevealed, verses because b. al-Mughira, al-Walid he was a shaykh and therefore was notable to do it 9"'.Some other outingeneral terms that was not traditions important point prostration or it to that was deemed for humiliating various appropriate shaykhs, reasons 60 the meritsof versesand traditions 5. Qur'Ainic emphasizing to men The before prostration. prohibition prostrate of thenegative Indirect evidence Arabattitude towards prostration traditions. can also be found insomeother verses and Muslim Qur'dinic inthose and traditions descriSuchis thecase firstly passages Qur'dnic thehigh valueand themerits oftheprostration bingand emphasizing toGodduring ritual those the and,secondly, prayer, reports underlining ofsecular Muslim prostration. prohibition Some Qur'dnic of ritual passagespointout the importance prayer thecentral inthis roleoftheprostration ritual andthe and,inparticular, itfive ofthebeliever toperform a day.Insomeverses times duty sajada is evenused as a synonym oftheprayer, butthis is notunusual since its and most constitutes central Besides '61. prostration important part someother verses bearfurther indication oftheprominence ofthe this, in thesky, that or by meansoftheir everything directly sujud,stating

thissubjectsee Tottoli, "Traditions and controversies". (59) Regarding in his Abraham said to a shaykh (60) See forinstance al-Durr, V,637,who relates Suy6ti, tafsirthat who was prostrating himself to an idol: "Anddo you, old one, prostrate to thissmall (idol)? yourself was deemed a prostration The smallone shouldprostrate himself to thebig one!".Finally, performing in the pagan Meccans'opinion notonlybecause it was an act denoting but submission, humiliating In factAbi Tlilib, when also because it was considereda possibe cause of personalembarrassment. bu I do not liketo answered:"I know thatyou are right, to join himforprayer, invited by theProphet "Some reports", 4. is higher thenthe restof me",see Kister, so thatmy hindquarter prostrate myself is also well attested tradition This kindof embarrassment quoted by Tha'labi,QLsas,99, in by another the Abraham is described:when he was prostrating God granted whichone of the privileges himself, parts. groundcould notsee his intimate is mentioned: the Qur'inic passages where prostration (61) See about all thesequestions, Qur. 2: 125,4: 102,9: 112, 15: 98, 22: 26, 22: 77, 25: 64, 26: 219, 39: 9, 48: 29, 50: 40, 53: 62, 76: 26, 96: 19.


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on theearth, as wellas everything shadows, performs sijads toGod '62' later and traditions proceedin thisdirection Many reports exegetical and emphasize that thebeliever from thegrace God whenhe acquires this act. traditions often mention Further, Muhammad's many performs to prostrate himself and his repeated readiness exhortation to people to perform notto be reluctant sujfads. ofthiskindattributed to theProphet A typical states report clearly that thenearest a believer comes to God is whenhe is prostrating himThisis indeed thebeliever thereason so many bleswhy acquires sef'63'. theperformance ofthis act:for sings through every perforprostration med by the believer, God raisesthe Muslim one degreehigher in
Paradise,ascribeshim a good actionand erases one of his sins '64'.It

ofthis must be pointed outthat thevalueof kind, reports emphasizing

of angels, about the prostration (62) See Qur. 7: 206, 13: 15, 16: 48-49,22: 18; 55; 6. The traditions sun and moon and othersare discussedin the first attitudes towardsprostra"Muslim partof Tottoli, of men and angels on the day of and meaning". See also, forthe prostration tionII. The prominence Resurrection, IV, 406: every'Addal-Razzq, al-Musannaf III, 565-66no. 8702; and see Ghazili, Ihbyi, is also mentioned in some otherQur'anicversesthat on earthprostrates to God. Prostration itself thing of the Qur'fin. These verses sujfidduringthe recitation specifically prescribethe dutyto perform containa generalprescription when listening to verses, urging people to falldown prostrate Qur'-inic and butthespecification of whichversesin particular is onlygivenin later requireprostration exegesis the questionof suifidal-Qur'Ze, see Qur. 17: 107, 19: 58, 32: 15, 84: 21. Regarding badith literature: and controversies". "Traditions Tottoli, Beirut (63) Ahmadb. Hanbal,Musnad,IIT,403 no. 9452; Ibn Sa'd, n.d.,II, 225; Muslim, Sabhi,I, 350 no. 482; al-Muttaqi al-Hindi,Kanz, VII, 292 no. 18935 VII, 306 no. 19007;Kulini,al-Kafi, al-7.abaq&t, Tehran1957-63, alIII, 324; Ibn Balabin, al-Ilsvit, al-Jmi'al-sagb7rfiatidi4t III, 195 no. 1925; Suyfiti, al-sunan albashir al-nadbir,Beirut1981,I, 201 no. 1348; Haythami, Majma, II, 127; Nasi i1, Kittib to be granted Najaf1964,192; see also GhazXili, byGod ifitis made Ibyii,1,312: a requestis mostlikely when prostrating. See also the badithdiscussedby Ibn Firik, Mushkilal- badith wa-bayiinubu, Bei-

kubr4i 773;'Amili, I, 242no.723;Ibshihi, al-saniyyafi al-qudsiyya, al-Mustatraf al-Jawuhbir l-ab&fith

in Ghazfili, in prostratreatment of the merits of prostration Ibya , 1, 155 f.,and, againstdissimulation is whatGod likesmost. tion,III, 280, 293-95,and IV, 321: prostration (64) 'Abd al-Razzq, al-Musannaf, I, 49 no. 149,III, 73 no. 4846,III, 347 no. 5917; Ibn Abi Shayba, I, 501-2;Bukhiiri, Sabib, I, 153 no. 477; Muslim, al-Musannaf, Sab I, I, 353 no. 488; Ahmadb. Hanbal, Musnad, V, 287 no. 15527,VIII, 70 no. 21366,VIII, 73 no. 21375,VIII, 104 no. 21508, VIII, 269 no. 22202,VIII, 282 no. 22257,VIII, 287 no. 22283,VIII, 322 no. 22433,VIII, 323 no. 22440,VIII, 330 no. Cairo 1968,II, 231 nos. 22474,VIII, 335 no. 22505;Tirmidhi, al-Jtmni al-sahbi,ed. by M.F.'Abd al-B1iqi, Kittbal-sunan al-kubr4I, 243 no. 725; Ibn BalabUn,al-Ibsini, 388-89;Nasti'i, III, 117 no. 1732; Ibn al19008, al-Hindi,Kanz, VII, 291 f.:nos. 18930,18940,cf.18969,19003-4, Jawzi, Sifat, I, 241; al-Muttaqi Ibn al-Ja'd, Mus1910-16;Daylaml, al-Firdaws, IV, 11 no. 6028; Ibn M4a, Sunan, 1,457 nos. 14222-24; Musnad,Cairo 1995,I, 405 no. 617, nad, Beirut 1990,28 no. 81; Abui Hanifa,Musnad, 125-126; Riuyini, 11,270 no. 1176; Bayhaqi, Dal&il al-nubuuwwa, VI, 235; Haythami, Majma, 11,248. And see Ibn himself Kathir, V, 335: to enterParadisethebelievermustprostrate manytimes.A tradition al-Bldidya, twelve of thiskindsays insteadthatGod ascribesa house in Paradiseon behalfof whom performs in the prayer; see Ibn AbiShayba, in addition to thoseprecribed in one day and one night, prostrations Sab~h, I, 503 no. 728; Abu II, 108-9;Ibn -Hanbal,Musnad, X, 234 no. 26831; Muslim, al-Musannaf, Beirut1992, II, 203 Ya'li, Musnad, XIII, 44 no. 7124; Ibn Khuzayma,Sabbh,ed. by M.M. al-A'zami, have raka insteadof saJda,see forinstanceal-Muttaqi of thistraditions no. 1187;mostoftheversions al-Hindi,Kanz, VII, 776-80;and see also all the references quoted in Abfi Ya'l, Musnad, XIII, 44 n. 2. the merits of prostration, see, forinstance,Muqitil,Tafsir, III, 822: Amongall the material praising

rut Seealsoa complete 353:idb~sajadaabadukumfa-innama 1985, yasJudu 'aluqadamal-Rabmint.


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thepractices oftheMuslim in badith collections and cut,arecommon do notonly relate to sujfid, butto almost Notwithstanevery practice. theprominence ofsujfGd is so cleary underlined dingthis, bytraditions a virtual that itbecome oftheMuslim faith. whiledefining Thus, symbol of thoseguilty thecondition of great (d. sins,Ibn Rajabal-Baghdd~di thefire maintains that ofHellwillnotbe ableto devour their 795/1393) because ofthesujfds itissaidthat they performed figures (65, Moreover, Muslims are the in God explained chosen these terms: no why people one attests thebelief in theunity of God (tawhid) times as as many and no one lowers hisneckto prostrate illdAlldb, them, saying ldildb himself as often inprostration was also considered as them 6'".Assiduity suchan important trait that somepeoplehadthenickname al-sajjd'67'. A peculiar oftraditions ofthis kind arethose with the group dealing mark on the forehead of the Muslim is who soliappearing particularly in performing citous and pre-eminence sujuds.Thissignof religious amont the Muslims is mentioned in the Qur'ian: "The deep devotion mark is on their thetrace of prostration faces, (Qur.48:29)". Qur'dnic of this verse exhibits the usual number oftraditions andex-plaexegesis is derinations ofevery this atharal-sujhd, which regarding particular which to theforeheads when ved from "the sticks ofthefaithful earth themselves" mention this mark, they Many always prostrate reports 1'C8'. to underline its greatreligious to one such significance. According on the of the will God order to totake the report, Judgement Day angels thebelievers and itwillbe possible to recognize them becauseof the on their sinceGod willnotpermit thefire of foreheads, atharal-sujuid,
when the believer dies the places on earthwhere he felldown prostrate cry;and Abu Nu'aym,H'ilyat is prostrate. 1987,VI, 29: Iblis criesmostwhen a Muslim wa-tabaq&i Regaral-awliydt al-asfiyi,Beirut cf. Ghazrili, ding kutbrat al-Hindi,Kanz, VII, 291 no. al-sufzid, Ilbyi,IV, 321; and see also al-Muttaqi from no. when the his believer su/ifd eve19009: 18934,VII, 307 Tabardini: himself, prostrates purifies to the limits of theseventh underhis forehead earth. rything of theprostrations (65) Ibn Rajabal-Baghdfidi, al-Takbwif230.And see also, about the importance on theday ofJudgement, on earth thetradition to Ka'b al-Ahbbir attributed in Abu Nu'aym, performed of thefre(66) See Ibn Kathir, II, 21, about theimportance al-Bidya, II, 79. See also Ghazili,Ihyit along withotherdevotionalpractices. quent prostration, Ibn al-Jawzi, (67) See, for instance, al-Tabstra,Beirut1970, I, 44, and Id., Sifat,I, 303: 'All b. b. 'Abbiis 'Abdalliih had thisnickname because he used to prostrate himself a thousand timesa day; see in fact also Abi DiiwiKd, I, 207. See also Kitibal-zubd,Cairo 1993,363 no. 451 and Ab6i Hilyat, Nu'aym, b. Zakariya, Mur4j al-dbabab, III, 110 no. 1623: Muhammadb. Talha; al-Mu'5iffi Mas'fidi, al-JallsalaI-Azdi. Beirut1993,II, 161:'Abdallhb. Wahb aI-Ri5sibi salib, al-kifiwa-l-antsal-nliib al-shbfl, is from (68) The quotation Ibn Wahb,Tafsir('Abd al-Qur&i, ed. by Allihb. Wahb,atl-Gmt.Tafsir of Muqitiland 'Abd al-Razzaq where it is M. Muranyi, Wiesbaden1993), 186 [22a];but cf. the tafsirs statedthatthisis the markof the prayer: II, 228. IV,78; 'Abd al-Razziq, Ta'fsir, simply Muqitil,Tafs7r, discussionin Tabad,Jim, XXVI,110-11; See also thecomprehensive Abkinn, Ibn al-'Arabi, IV, 141-42; to some interpretations, al-Nukat, V,323; see also Ghazli, IhyWl, I, 129,IV,331. Butaccording Miwardi, to insomnia or to the paleness forinstance, thisversedoes nothint at anything actual,but to humility, on the day of theJudgement: of the facesof the believers al-Durr,VII, 541-42;Samarquandi, Suyuiti, IV, 312-13. Tafdr, III, 259; Ibn Kathir,Tafsir,

V,374. Hilyat


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it(69.Moreover, on a manmiraculously to life, Helltoconsume restored on hisforehead indicated thesignofprostration that he was a believer is brief and there theabovediscussion is muchother mateThough rial inMuslim traditions aboutthemerits ofprostration, collected some conclusions cannevertheless be drawn. andtraverses Qur'inic general ditions ofprostration theprominence in Muslim devotion emphasizing served a clear function : to stress theimportance ofthis actintheritual tocounter theopposition towards this act. and,atthesametime, prayer In short, andtraditions theQur'dn attest to that the the fact undoubtedly toperform believers hadtobe urged This also prostration. explains why toGodoccurs so often inevery ofMuslim in literature prostration genre traditions a character's faithand devotion, and why underlining Muhammad and theprophets himare so often described as preceding as themselves: serve models to be followedby prostrating they
'. with this someother traditions are dedicated to the material, Along Muslim the prostration beforemen. The Muslim precept forbidding is vehemently to thesecular in hadiths, attested opposition prostration wheresomeutterances oftheProphet forbid before clearly prostration menas an actofsubmission or as a greeting to kings or thepowerful. attest theclear-cut of theProphet refusal to acceptthe Manyreports from hisfollowers as a wayofgreeting. prostration Muhammad rejected itand stated he couldnotand he did notwantto receive that prostration from other that itwas notatall necessary, sinceifGod men, saying had prescribed secular he wouldhaveordered to proswomen sujfid, totheir trate themselves husbands to one of the traditions According (72,.
(69) See Bukhiri, Sabih,1, 165 no. 182; AbyYala, Sabih,I, 243 no. 806, VII, 262 no. 6573; Muslim, al-Hindi, Kanz, XIV,438 no. 39197;Ibn al-'Arabi, Musnad,XI, 242 no. 6360; al-Muttaqi IV, 141; Ahk~m, Ibn Mija, Sunan, II, 1446-47no. 4326; Ahmadb. Hanbal,Musnad, III, 110 no. 7721, III, 148 no. 7932, 229; and Suyiti,al-Khasiis III, 635 no. 10906,and see also VIII, 173 no. 21799; Ibn Rajab,a-Takhudff al-kubri II, 227.. Man '4sha ba'da al-mawt,Beirut1987, 58; see also Ballidhurl, al(70) Ibn Abi 1-Dunydi, Ans#Eb and M.J.Kister, of the athar IVa,ed. by M. Schloessinger 1971,140; and themention Jerusalem asbrgf, in Ahmadb. Hanbal,Musnad, VII, 189 no. 19829.See also othertraditions about thisathar al-sujfid Ta Wkh al-zubd, Beirut1986,34 no. 88, 106 no. 341; Ibn 'Asikir, al-suj4 in Ahmadb. Hanbal, Kitdibn.d., XVII, 358; madinat Dimashq, fac. ed., Amman IV, 446; Ibn Kathir, II, Gha7zli,Ibyid, al-Biditya, 1-sunan wa-1-ta Beirut-Tunis 1985, 133;Qayrawaini, 176; Kit&b r kh, Jia-l-maghbzi iwa-l-adlb al-jmintfl withthis Beirut, 1996, 56 no. 178. But see againsta Khfirijite ed. Kh. al-Mansur, Abu Zur'a, Ta'rtkb, Talbis Ibis, Beirut1983, 106, 109. And cf. also a reportin Damiri, Hayai almark:Ibn al-Jawzf, willbe distinguished on theday of Resurrection said thatMuslims 1,439, wheretheProphet hayawitn, because of suf4d, see in factalso Ahmadb. Hanbal, since on theforehead theywillhave a whitemark Musnad,VI, 213 no. 17709. towardsprostration "Muslim attitudes (71) This topicis discussedin Tottoli, (sujtld)II. The prominence and meaning". (72) 'Abd al-Razzfiq, XI, 300-1,nos. 20594,20596; Ibn Abi Shayba,al-Musannaf II, al-Musaafnna 409: threedifferent Sunan, 1, 15-16no. 17, withalso thisstatement: versions; liiyanbagbi liD6rimi,

and a pious man throughout his life70o.



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the Compaof secular prostration, prohibition Muhammad's attesting a sujfid forpermission to perform niousexplicity askedMuhammad on various him"like before a king". Other recount that before reports addressed to himfrom occasions refused perMuhammad prostrations himin this intended to greet and to honour sonswho spontaneously actwhich tosecular andevery prostration, ways7*. Thefirm opposition in theMuslim forbidconfirmed it,is indirectly prescription suggested In factit is said that as waysof greeting. and hugging dingbowing a specific answered (d. 92/710 byAnasb. Mdilik Muhammad question to bow are notpermitted to and on that embrace this ca.) topic saying that then attest an acquaintance ofreports whenmeeting (7'1. A number as tobe addressed with whensomeCompanions prostration, happened
that sujuld occurredto Muhammad, theyrejectedthe gesturestating mustbe addressedto God only7. of on the contraposition The historicity to these traditions, focusing can of unbelievers and foreigners, theMuslim preceptand the customs when Muslim or emerged circulated be accepted.Theyprobably hardly contactand confrontation the conquest,came intoa direct Arabs,after and thebelievers of otherfaiths of foreigners withcommunities 176'. Nottrait of traditions most evident these the this, againstsecuwithstanding withthe old Arabhoslarprostration is their continuity unquestionable
250 no. 2140; Ahmadb1. Sunan, 11, Hanbal,MusshayanyasJudalt-shay, I, 364 no. 1435;Abi 1fliwuid, Sunan, nad, IV, 317-18no. 12614,VII, 103 no. 19420,VIII, 229 no. 22046,IX, 353 no. 24525; Ibn Maija, 111, 456,no. 1159;Ibn Si'id, al-Juz' 97 no. 5; Qurtubi, 1,525 no. 1853;Tirmidhi, 1,293; al-inmi, al-Jmn, Ibn FurAt Beirut1992,II, 388 no. 514; Daylami,al-Firdawvs, III, 344 no. 5038; Baghd-idi al-Kiifi, Tafsir, Najaf 1971, 296; Tabarini,al-Muyamal-kabir,V, 208-9 nos. (al-Shaykhal-Mufid), Kittb al-Mustadrak, 11,204 no. 2763; Bayhaqi,al-Sunan alVII, 152 no. 6590; al-Hiikim 5116-17, al-Ikhtis., al-NisfibsIri, Kubr4 VII, 475-6 nos. 14704-05;Id., Dalkil, VI, 19, 29; Haythami, Majma, IV, 309-11,IX, 4-5, 7, 9; al-Hindi,Kanz, XVI, 332 f. nos. 44773-75, Suyfti,al-Jtmi' al-saghir,II, 437 nos. 7481-82;al-Muttaqi Ibn Baladain, 44777,44794-5, VI, 183 no. 4150; AbuNu'aym, 44797-801; Daliil, II, 379-85nos. al-lhsitn, Ta w7iltahl al-sunna, Baghdad 1983, 276, 278, 281-82,284-87;Suyiti,al-Khasaiis, 11,57, 60; MWituridi, II, 59; n.d.,1, 44; see also Ghazill, Iblyd, 96; Diyfirbakdr, anfas nafis,Beirut Ta'rlkhal-khamTsfi abwval 1988,I, 299; Qurtubi, al-Musta/4 Beirut al-Q5~i 'lyid,al-Shifabi-ta'rifhuqfiq al-Ji&mi I, 293. The same when he likeof thissame hadith, were pronounced inotherversions words,occuring by Muhammad addressedto himby a Bedouin;see Ddarimi, wise refused a prostration Sunan, I, 364 no. 1436; and Ru Musnad, 1,78 no. 37; Abi Nu'aym, y5ini, Dalitil,390 no. 291. of the Prophetto accept the prostration (73) Haythami, by a Majma, IV, 311. Aboutthe refusal attisee above, p. 14 n. 34; and thereferences called 'Adds and by Salmd.n, Christian givenin "Muslim and meaning", nn. 66-67. tudes towardsprostration (suzjfd) II. The prominence (74) See Ahmadb. Hanbal,Musnad,IV,394 no. 13043;Tirmidhi, al-Jmi',V,75 no. 2728; Ibn Mija, Zi7 al-masirfi al-Hindi,Kanz, IX, 222 no. 25750; Ibn al-Jawzi, Sunan, II, 1220 no. 3702; ai-Muttaqi discussionin Qurtubi,alDamascus-Beirut 1965,IV, 290; see also the comprehensive 'ilm al-tafSir, thatArabs,in ancienttimes, IT!,350, asserts IX, 265-6.It mustbe pointedout thatGhazfli,Jbyd, .jimi, also dislikedbowing. in use have been alreadyquoted above when discussingthe prostration (75) These traditions when a grandceof Persiafelldown prostrate and in Persia.See in fact before amongChristians 'Umar, in Ibn of'Ali witha Christian reaction priest II, 408,or thesimilar him,in Ibn AbiShayba, al-Musannaf, II, 195. al-Tafsir, Abi Shayba,al-Musannaf II, 409; see also, regarding 'Al, Fakhral-Din al-R5izi, towards "Muslim of thisquestionin Tottoli, attitudes (76) See above, p. 16. See also thediscussion lastchapt. and meaning", prostration (sujfid)II. The prominence


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at thebeginning ofthisarticle. discussed Secular is in tility prostration fact viewed inthis material as a foreign custom which was aliento Islam tothesameextent Arabs considered ofprostration that alien every king to their tenets. Itis thus evident that these reflect reports deeprooted the and consenquently beliefs that with advent of were Islam early of the practice of prostrating onlyin the condemnation expressed before men.

6. Other verses Qur'inic concerning prostration.

The exegesisof Qur. 2: 34 and 12: 100 from theverses discussed is also mentioned in above,sujyid Apart from theqasas al-Qur'an, someother i.e. thenarraQur'inic, passages with and prophets. tives As a preliminary it remark, dealing patriarchs must be pointed outthat someoftheverses dealt with herehavebeen commented wherethere is eviliterature, upon widelyin exegetical denceoftheinterweaving oftheoldArab and the Muslim concepts preceptsregarding prostration. is Qur.3: 43,inwhich The first ofthese God ordered passages Mary to fall downprostrate: be obedient to thy and Lord, "Mary, prostrating inthis before case theprostration at a hints him"; bowing undoubtedly Another mentions in 27: 24-25, prayer. passage, Qur. prostration connection with sunworship thepeopleoftheQueenofSheba: among "I found herandherpeopleprostrating tothesun,apart God (...) so that notthemselves to God".Qur.41: 37 also dealswith the they prostrate same question, butwiththeaim of commanding theMuslims notto themselves to thesunor themoon:"Prostrate notyourselves prostrate to thesun and moon,but prostrate to God who created yourselves ifHim andlater traditions couldnot them, Qur'dinic youserve". exegesis butconfirm this prohibition 77. In connection with thebiography ofMosesthere is theepisode ofthe of themagicians who had been brought prostration together by the
to the sun and the moon, Mas'fdi,Muri-,I, 169 no. 344: Perthe prostration (77) See, regarding al-Amrbi-l-ma'riifwa-l-nahy an al-munkar, to thesun; and Ibn Taymiyya, sians prostrate themselves or performing or to the sin is idolatry: Cairo 1987,39: the worst i.e., invoking sujid to otherprophets the idols etc.Tha'labi,Qisas al-anbiydal-musammaariis al-majalis,Cairo 1954,314-15,specistars, to the sun when it risesand when it sets.In facta themselves fiesthatthe people of Sheba prostrate to the Prophetstatesthathe forbadepeople to pray duringsunriseor sunset, tradition attributed to thesun: see forinstance of thoseprostrating themselves because thiswas too muchlikethepractice Ahmadb. Hanbal,Musnad, VI, 52-3 no. 17011,VI, 54-55 nos. 17015-16, VIII, 292 no. 22308; and Tbn "Do Beirut 1985,118; and see also thereferences quoted by Kister, Qutayba, mukbtalifal-badith, Kittb notassimilate 322. yourselves",


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Pharaoh to challenge Moses. The story is mentioned in various pasweredefeated, becauseMoses'srodchanged into sages:themagicians a snacke and ateup their rodsand ropes, "andthesorcerers werecast themselves" down,prostrating 78,.The Qur'andoes not explainto whomthis was addressed, butexegetical literature prostration usually addsthat itwasa sujid to GodandnottoMoses. To smother every possibledoubton this a report states themagicians felldown that point, the example of Moses and Aaronwho, after the prostrate following hadprostrated themselves God "' to thank defeat, magicians' Prostration is then in connection mentioned thevicissitudes of with atthetime ofMoses, theIsraelites whenGod hadgiven them this order: this andeateasefully ofitwherever andenter "Enter youwill, township, inatthegate, andhasbeen ". Theentire episodeisunclear prostrating" in various and modern scholars waysbybothexegetes interpreted '"" this there be no doubt order falldown can the to regarding Despite indiwhenentering thegate:in this case the prostrate through Qur'i.n a of of cateswith before someone and rank, sign respect higher sajada thus notan actofphysically on theground, oneself butmerely throwing or alludedto by manQur'inic Two other described episodes, pasinrelation toprostration: thesujuid sages,arevery important performed and brothers before as a fulfilment of hispreby theparents Joseph, andtheprostration oftheangels before AdaminParadise. viousdream, inthecommentaries to explain them. Many pageshavebeenwritten Thefirst wichhe had dream, episodeconcerns Joseph's premonitory thestars, with thesunand whenhe was twelve old,andinwhich years themoon, fell downprostrate before him. In fact, in Qur.12: as stated
(78) Qur. 7: 120, 20: 70 and 26: 46. (79) See Majlisi,Bibir,XIII, 79; but cf.Mdiwardi, tasli al-Nukat, IT,246: annabum sajaddtli-M~&t
(82) ofbending the back andbowing

(80) Qur. 2: 58, see also Qur.4: 154 and 7: 161. thequestion, therequoted, read at theVII Col(81) Concerning see the papers,and the literature to Islam',Jerusalem 28 July- 1 August1996,by U. Rubin,"The Children of loquium 'From Jdihiliyya inJerusalem and and by H. Busse, "B1ibhitta Israeland the Islamichistoriography. Tihegateof Hitta", Surah2: 58". thissuftid was in reality a rukit, whereitis said that see theexegetical (82) In fact by explanations, Tafsir, 1,121; Mdiwardi, al-Nukat, Tabari,Jimi, I, 300; Samarqandi, I, 125; cf.also Muq-itil, I, 109; 7Tafsir, 149; and 'Abd al-Razziq, Tafsfr, 203; Mturidi,Ta'wil&t, Mujihid,Tafsfr, I, 47: dakbalf mutazabbifin themselves upon their hips); see also Tha'labi,Qisas, 250; Zabhi dragging (theyentered 'ali awrikibim di, II, 371; and see also thedifferent givenby Ibn Kathir, explanations al-Bidaya,1,324. A tradition Taf, to Abu said that theIsraelites theProphet statesthat attributed changedtheorderand dakhalti Hurayra themselves see Bukhfiri, buttocks): (entereddragging TV, upon their yazbaffina 'alciasttbibim and cf. 480 no. 3403; Muslim, Sabib, IV, 2312 no. 3015; Ahmadb. Hanbal,Musnad, III, 200 no. 8237, Sab.b, Cairo 1990,I, 170 and S. b. 'A. al-Jalimi, ed. byS. b. ''i III, 186 no. 8116; Nas5i, Tafsir, in the notes); al-Muttaqi V, (which otherreferences Kanz, II, 4 no. 2886; Tirmidhi, al-Hindi, al-Jfmi, 'Abd al-Razziiq. 205 no. 2956: from

manlabuwaa-4minan bibi.


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I saw elevenstars, and thesun and the toldJacob:"Father, 4, Joseph down before me". Thisdream I saw them was moon; falling prostrate the no diflater fulfilled when as describes with noteabe Joseph, Qur'in atthecourt ofthePhafrom theBible, a high ferences gained position whenthey visited himin Egypt, raoh:all hisfamily, themprostrated him. In fact, at theendofthestory, as is saidin Qur.12: selvesbefore hisfather andmother andallofthem down 100,"lifted uponthethrone; There is before no doubt that this is a him" prostrate significant (83). the powerful exampleof secularprostration: Josephis honoured and submission. In thiscase the Qur'in thisact of respect through in an embarrassing contrast with theMuslim stands precept forbidding theprostration before sincefather, mother andbrothers fell down men, before (lahu). (kharrut... prostrate Joseph sujjadan) the exegetes show a clear Faced withthisapparent contradiction, to minimise thevalueandthemeaning oftheactinthis case. tendency whileconceding that thiswas a realsecular Someexegetes, prostrawhenthis ittookplace at a time was a customary consider that tion, was abrogated takea diffewhich byIslam practice '"'. Someexegetes viewand,relying rent upon thesemantic rangeof sajada, pointout was nota complete that this and so was notlikethat prostration sujftd in theprayer. Thusbrothers and parents didnotperform a prostration with the their but a foreheads, touching ground merely simplebow a powerful sinceitwas a prostration of greeting or of before figure, andnota prostration ofworship this lastinter85".Indeed, thanksgiving
visitedhim,but his mother had alreadydied; (83) The Qur'inicversestatesthat Joseph'sparents thisstatement and say itwas hisfather and hisauntwho visited himwhileother some traditions correct tellthathis mother had risento life.See Muqditil, 177: itwas II, 351; Samarqandi,Tafsir, reports TafsIr, in qisas, alhis aunt,nothis mother; but cf.Tabari, treated , XIII, 67. The questionis extensively J&mi Le Qisas, al-anbyl di Tarafl, tesidi dottorato, Istituto see thesourcesin R. Tottoli, collections; anbiydl 7 Universitario Orientale, Napoli 1996,461 no. 323. (84) Tabari,Jami',XIII, 68; Tabari, Ta'rikb,I, 362 [- 1, 411]; Mdwardi, al-Nukat,III, 82; Azhari, Tabdblb,X, 571; ZabTdi,T-aj, II, 372; Suyiti, al-Durr,IV, 588; Tabarsi,Majma, V, 341; Ibn Kathir, Abkm, III, 77; AbuHayyinal-Tawhidi, al-Babr, IX, 265;Ibn al-'Arabi, II, 759; Qurtubi, Tafsir, al-J&ni, Beirutn.d., 106: the prostration before 1, 247; see also Ibn Iy5s,Bad'i' al-zubifr wa-waqa'' al-dubfr, in Egypt and thusJoseph orderedhissoldiers to falldown prostrate to his parents. was customary kings relates to underline See also Ibn Kathir, othersignificant traditions al-Bidaya,I, 196,who, forinstance, So it is said thatit was performed between how widespreadthisact was at the timeof the Israelites. where even performed betweenJacob'swife,his Esau and Jacob,and thatthesesecularprostrations sons and Esau himself. (85) See, in general,Muqitil,Tafsir, I, 328: fromQatfda; Tabari, II, 351; 'Abd al-Razziq, Tafsir, Ibn an ya~/uda II, 177: XIII,69;Samarqandi, Tafsir, tabiyyatubum al-wadi' l-l-sharif Jamni wa-kitnat II, 344; IX, 265; Suyiti,al-Durr, III, 77; Qurtabi, al-JInmI, IV, 588; Zamakhshari, al-'Ahkim, al-KashshiA, Ibn al-Dinal-Raizi, XIII,48; XVIII,169-70;NisibItriGharitib, al-Nukat, III, 82; Fakhr Mawardi, al-Tafsir, Beirut1990,230; Khizin,Lubij Bakral-R5Ii,Tafsfr, V, 342; AbfT Zid, IV, 290; Tabarsi, al-Jawzi, MaJma, 1-ta' rkb, Beirutn.d. Mir'~, 373; Ibn al-Athir, b,III, 317; Tha'labi, Q8sas,140; Sibtb. al-Jawzi, al-Kmilflf Ta rikh, ed. C.J. 1, 140; Azhari,Tabdhib,X, 570(an. repr. Leiden1867f.) Tornberg, I, 155; Diyvirbakri, II, 373; Majlisi, 1; Zabidi ra], Bibr, XII, 251, 336-38;Husayni,Qisas, al-anbiyl 'ala ra}yal-fmitmiyya, 1 633, 79a. Petermann Ms Staatsbibliothek Berlin,


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withwhat is explicitly statedin the Qur'in, i.e. that contrasts pretation and parentsfell down (kharrt) prostrate. brothers Notwithstanding and explain some otherexegeticalinterpretations this, go even further, toJoseph,but themselves thatlabu does notmean thattheyprostrated themselves on his behalf (li-ajlihi) to God and, thattheyprostrated to God to his parents and brothers themselves prostrated consequently, thissujuidbeforeJoseph to thankHimor to obey Him,and performed greethim'(86. These interpretations are indeednotenoughto explainaway a verse withMuslimprecepts. Whatsome exea clear contrast such containing was perforwas thatthe prostration disturbing getes foundparticularly who were consideredprophetsby some of med byJoseph'sbrothers, In fact thesources,as well as by his father. Jacobshould nothave prosand his of his because trated himself, highrankand, as Fakhralage Din al-RMzi (d. 606/1210)said, because the young should honour the to find severecenitis notsurprising old "8,.Giventheseconsiderations, forinstance, Some Shi'iteinterpretations, sures of Joseph'sbehaviour. his father from thishumiliating that stress Josephshouldhave prevented it is for reason of and that this Josephlost the prostration submission, gift of theprophecy forhis progeny"8 all pointsof view the most The lastepisode to be discussedis from the suj'd of prostration: significant among all the passages mentioning of Iblis to perform and the refusal the angels to Adam,at God's order, of the Qur'dn: it.The story is describedand repeatedin manychapters "Andwhen we said to the angels, 'Prostrate yourselvesto Adam'; so save Iblis; he refused, and waxed proud, themselves, theyprostrated "'. When Iblis refusedto and so he became one of the unbelievers" God drovehimaway and damnedhimtillthe day of himself, prostrate to be stressed herein relation to Iblis' refusal is What needs Judgement. as was the case withthe pagan Meccans,he refusedto prostrate that, he felt that he was of higher himself because ofpride(istakbara).In fact rank than Adam, and thiswas the reason why he refusedto follow theorigin and the to fall downprostrate God'sorder 91. Butwhatever
(86) Tabarsi, al-Qurilt, Tehrann.d.,III, 49; Kh izin, Majma, V, 343; Kashini,KitiMb al-safifitafsir Bakral-Rizi, 7izfsr, 231: Bayddiwi, Anwir,I, 508; Fakhral-Din al-R5zi, al-Taifrfr, LubAb, III, 317; AbiW 84. XVIII,169; Id., 'Ismatal-anbiyjl, and see al-Din al-Riizi, (87) Fakhr XVIII,169; wa-1-sbbbyafjibu al-Tafsir, 'alaybi ta'zimal-shaykh, 84. Id., 'Ismat al-anbyit, (88) Bibr; XII, 251, 336-38;Husayni, Qisas al-anbiyt;,79a. al-safi,III, 48; Majlisi, Kitiib Kashmni, 7: 11, 15: 29-31,17: 61, 18: 50, 20: 116, 38: 72-74. 2: 34 (the verseheretranslated), (89) Qur. due to pride thatwhilethe refusal (90) Qur.7: 12; see also 15: 33, 17: 61, 38: 76. Itmustbe stressed of the pagan Arabs,thereis a subis a commonelementbetween Iblis' behaviourand the attitude to God, while the pagans were summonedby Muhammadto falldown prostrate difference: stantial beforeAdam,a man. IblTs'was orderedto falldown prostrate


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details ofthis there canbe no doubt this is alsoa case ofsecuthat story, larprostration: to falldownprostrate to angelsand Iblisarerequested "" he high rank manand prophet. to attest ofthis Adam, a lotofspaceto thediscussion ofthequeshavededicated Exegetes in theQur'inic verses thisepisode.A clear tions concerning emerging in to mitigate theextent ofthis can be discerned tendency prostration inrelation to theprostration ofthe this described case as inthat already In fact, to notice ofJoseph. couldnotfail andbrothers parents exegetes in of the was contrast that theQur'inic description story embarrassing with theMuslim secular For this reaprescription forbidding prostration. God ordered theangelsand Iblisto prostrate son itis saidthat themhimas direction, in selvesnotto Adam, but'toward' him, merely using thesamewaytheKa'bais usedas direction (qibla) in theprayer. ,9,In other this was nota prostration ofworship ('ibdda) cases,itis saidthat and worship to Adam, butone ofobedience to God and,moreover, it was alsoa suji2d to honour Adam andto greet (takrima) him.'"93
this ofthem studies dealt with most stressed theChristian oftheQur'anic (91) Many story; origin A.Geiger, and Islam, Madras see already 77: "Thelegend bears 1898, Eng.Trans. Judaism report; in that in thebeginning as the marks ofChristian Adamis represented unmistakable development, ofadoration"; NeueBettrage see also M.Grtinbaum, zursemitischen God-man, Sagenkunde, worthy imQoran, Die biblischen Grtifenhainichen Hil1931(repr. Leiden 1893, 60;H. Speyer, Erzdblungen "DerStindenfall inderaltarabischen W. Hirschberg, desheim Poesie", 1988), 54-58; J. OrjenRocznik ofmanin theCoran", 9 (1933), 31 (1941), Themuslin World, 34;S.A.Haas,"The'creation talistyczny, LeCoran etla *rdvlation Atudes Paris 1958, 273;D. Masson, 1,206-208; juddo-chtrdtenne. compardes, Satanund Adam. Der Werdegang Le E. Beck,"Iblisund Mensch, einerkoranischen Erzihlung", ofAdam 210f.;butcf.S.M.Zwemer, "The Muslin 89 (1976), The World, worship byangels", Musdon, 27 (1937),115-127. (92) Maqdisi, al Bad, 11, wl&, 96;see alsoMas'idi, 88;Maturidi, 1,34no.41,1,36no.45; Murij, Ta't b. al-Jawzi, Tbn Anwr , 1,48;Sibt Aik&ni, 1,27;Baydlwi, 1,293; 194;Qurtubi, al-'Arabr, Mir&', al-Jmni', Tbn 1,118; 1,123; Abi, 1,247;Nisibiiri, Gbari'ib, Kathir, 1,261; Tafsir, Suyuti, al-Durrn al-Bahr, Hayymin, al-Dinal-R57zi, al-Nukat, Bibar, Mdiwardi, 1, 102; Majlisi, XI, 138. Al-Tiby&i, I, 150,Fakhr Tfisi, this andin particular dismiss andpoint out 11, 194-5, Tabarsi, interpretation al-Tafsfr, Majma' i, 103, ifitwere nothaverefused to prostrate himself. so Ibliswould toother that According interpretations, was notin this theforehead on theearth, buta simple theprostration case with likeduring prayer, 64: adding aboveandIbnal-Jawzi, that themost interbow;see thesources quoted probable Zaid1, itwasprostration likeintheprayer; isthat 1,43;Shitibi, Diyvirbakri, pretation Ta'rlkh, Kitib al-jumli MsBritish inSibt b. al-Jawzi, or.3008, fiakbb&ir Library 5b;see alsotheexplanation Mirit, al-zambt, inMituridi, Ta u7lgt, 99. 194;and,inparticular, it for to b. was obedience the See 42b-43a: (93) Mubtada, God;see explanations byIshliq Bishr, Ibn alsoKashTni, Kitab 1,57;Sibt 180, 193-4; Taf/sr, b. al-Jawzi, Mir&', al-Kifi, al-saf 1,115;IbnFurfit al-Nukat, 1,27;Qurtubi, al'Arabi, Tafsfr, 1,110; I, 101;Samarqandi, I, 293;Mfiwardi, AAkm, al-J&mn, al-Dinal-RziT, Fakhr al1, 260;Suyctit, 11, 195;Majlisi, XI, 139;Nisiibfri, al-Tafsir, Gharti'ib, BBi3r, al-Bad,II,88; Diyvrbakri, Durr, 1,123;Tabarsi, Majma,I, 103;Maqdisi, I, 44;AbuHayyan, Ta'rfkb, of Most Tawil&, 99-100. 29;Mdturdi, 1,118;see alsoTha'labi, Qisas, al-Babr, Tafsfr, I, 247;IbnKathir, as anoandmention was forbidden this secular outthat thesources here, byIslam, prostration point to the theprostration In Muslim-Christian Christians ther saythat polemics, Qur.12: 100. example, andthe see S.H. Griffith, ofworship, butofhonour, oftheangels to Adam, is likethat cross "Islam A Treatise, Summa 13(1990), Abii 52,and,about 250;see alsoAbii Qurrah, JSAI, TheologiaeArabica" ofvenerating tract onthe Christian AbuQurrah'Arabic "Theodore S.H.Griffith, images", practice Qurra, 105(1985), 65-67. IJAOS,


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state that itwas a secular and add Somereports explicity prostration thantheangels. The angelsare also that Adamwas of higher rank 94, downprostrate described as being to fall before bytheorder surprised sincethey to be creatures ofthehighest considered themselves Adam, '" Needless rank till creation. tosaymost ofthese traditions desAdam's in the terms cribethe angel'sopposition of the old Arabhostility there are other that towards However, reports prostration. adoptdiffeof theangelswho obeyedGod's rent themerit position, underlining theangelswerevery in order. Thusmany solicitous say that reports and Michael, or that thefirst Gabriel themselves, prostrating including theact,fulfilling God'sorder, was Isrlfil.'96' angelto perform theact and the Thesetwoopposing theone mitigating tendencies, oftheangels, to other theobedience appeared inadequate emphasizing thecontrast bettheexegetes, sincethere was no wayofgetting round iftheangels werepraiseworweentheQurin andtheMuslim precept: time for to were at the same since their obedience God, they guilty, thy to perform the sujaud the prohibition theirbehaviour contradicted in contradiction is evenmoreevident Thisunavoidable before men. ("9 in theseQur'inicpassagesaboutthe thesecondepisodementioned ofAdam andIblis' refusal. Iblisdidnotfeelatall inferior angel's worhip in the downprostrate as is stated to fall to Adam and refused because,
(94) Maqdisi, al-Bad, 11,89; Tabarsi,Majma' 1, 103: prophetsarc superiorto angels; T-si, alwitha long discussionof the questionof superal-Din al-Razi,al-Tafsir, 11,198f., Tiby?nl, I, 150 Fakhr betweenangels aphets;see also Nisaburi,Gbari'ib,1, 262; Sibt.b. al-Jawzi, iority Mir'at,179-80;MajGod IV, 794: al-masjfd akram 'ala Allhbmin al-sgfid. lisi, Bibr, XI, 140-1;and see Muqitil,Tafsir, he had breathed after some of His spirit intoAdam: see gave theorderto theangellsto fallprostrate 1,86. b, 1,91 [- 1,91];Abi al-Bid&ya, al-Babr,1, 247; Ibn Kathir, Tabari,Ta'rik b. Bishr,Mubtada,.Hayyin, Beirut 1991, 1, 51; Majlisi,Bihar, (95) 40a; see also 'Ayyshi, Tafsir, XI, 148. (96) Aboutthe prostration by all the angels,see Tabarsi,Majma, 1, 103; Abu iHayyfin al-Tawhidi, ofIsrfiilas the first to prostrate the mention himself beforeAdam,see Tbn al-Babr,I, 246. Regarding Beirut1992,I, 203; Id., al-Tabsira,1, 15; Sibtb. al-Muntazamflta'Wkh al-Jawzi al-mulftk waa-l-uman, 174, 194; Diyirbakri, I, 46, al-Durr, al-Jawzi, Ta'rlkhb, I, 44; Suyuti, I, 123; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidt4ya, Mir'~i, Wiesbaden 1982,70; Tbn Kanz al-durar wa-jrnni' 86; Ibn al-Dawdfiri, al-ghurar, I, ed. by B. Radtke, was Beirut1988,38: forone report the first Ta' rkb,II, 625. But cf.Taqiyyal-Din, al-Aw'itl, 'Asfikir, in fact was Ta'kb, 1,44: the first see Ibn lyfs,Badi~tI 39, and Diyiirbakri, Gabriel,foranother Isrfifil; Ms Leidenor see also Qisas al-anbiy (Anonymous), thesecond Michaeland thethird TIsifTl; Gabriel, see state thatnot all the angels were orderedto prostrate themselves, 14027, 7a. Some traditions 1,95 [- 1,92-31: Tha'labi,Qisas, 29, and Tabari,Ta'rWkb, onlythosewihtIblis; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya,I, in Kuffa, the angels fell down prostrate to some Shi'itetraditions 73: differing opinions.According in MJ. Kister, "Adam:a sec'Ayyishi, Tafsir, I, 53; Majlisi, XI, 149; and see also the references Bii#r, of some legendsin tafsirand IOS, 13 (1993), 142 n. 150; other Ladithliterature", study Shiite traditions of Muhammad thatwas Adam'sloins,see Kashiini, to the light statethattheangelsfelldown prostrate also in a tradition in whichitis said ofobedienceto God is evident I, 115.The importance Kitibal-safl, because they thatGod had createdotherpeoples beforetheangelsand thattheyhad been destroyed see Tabari,Ta'rkhb, did notfollowGod's orderto prostrate themselves, I, 87 [- I, 84]; Id.,ljnmi, 1,227;

, al-Durr, 1,124. Ta wil~i,97: in thiscase the sunna abrogatesthe Book. (97) Mituridi, Suy.iti


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Thou createdst of clay".*"'Many traditions tryto explain this refusal,

ithumiliating he deemed to bendbefore a being created from Qur'an, "I ambetter he (i.e.Adam); than thou createdst meoffire, andhim clay:

of superiority and,above all,thereasonforhis prideand his feeling towards Adam. The most in the material significant point regarding '99' is that thisquestion thesametwotendencies can also be discerned in this instance: one aiming ata full condemnation oftheactandtheother somehow to justify it. trying tothetraditions ofthedisothegravity Thus, according emphasizing ofGod'sorder, who had prosbedience Ibliswas cursed bytheangels Thedreadfulness oftherefusal isunderlined trated byall themselves."" literature aimsto use theepisodeto makea theotheexegetical which itis saidthat Ibliswas thefirst unbeliever and the logical point: (k0fir) from first to deviate God'swillbecausehe followed hisownreasoning to falldownprostrate damned and hated becauseofhisrefusal before itis becauseofthis that he considers Adam. Gabriel Iblis, saysthat along 1021 with thePharaoh, thebeings he hatesmost. in bursts Iblis himself tears whenseeing a manprostrating at therecitation and says, himself oftheQur'dn: "Theson ofAdam was commanded to prostrate himself I was commanded andhe didso andhe obtained Paradise. to prostrate do notlimit themselves that traditions to condemning these thedisobedienceofIblis,butspecifically notethat itwas hisrefusal to obeythe to prostrate himself which order gaveriseto hisevilcondition. other material looksmore However, favourably uponIblisbehaviour. Some exegetes couldnotavoid nothing whileguilty of disobethat,
(98) Qur. 7: 12; see also 15: 33, 38: 76. Sibtb. al-Jawzi, to prostrate himself beforeAdam (99) See forinstance Mir'it,188: Iblis refused to God themud from because he was theone who brought whichAdamwas created.According to a in Lata'ifal-anbiy', (Anonymous), ParisMs Bibl. 1926,4a, God had orderedhimto tradition perform onlyone singleact of prostration (sajda). ed. by1. Eisenberg, Leiden1922-23, to some traditions, 57. According (100) Kisfi',Qisasal-anbiya', of prostrating Iblis alreadymade clearthathe had no intention himself even beforeGod had finished Beirut1991,I, 70; Ishliqb. Bishr, Mubtada, 39a; Majlsi,Bibir,XI, Adam;see Qummi,Tafs7r, creating beforehe refused; and cf.P.J. Bada' ',39: God had alreadyknownof his refusal 106; see also Ibn Tyfs, (101) Tabari,Jami, VIII, 131; Samarqandi,Tafslr, I, 532-33;Suylti, al-Durr,III, 425; Ibn Kathir, XIV,26; Tabarsi,Majma; IV, 499; Qummi, 4afir,I, 70; II, 326; Fakhral-Din al-R1izi, Tafsir, al-Tafslr, in Kister, Kitabal-safi,11,183; see also the references 163 "Adam", Majlisi, Bihr,;XI, 132,141; Kashfni, of Iblis' unbelief collectedby Qurtubi,al-jimt I, the nature n. 259. See also theotherinterpretations 298. islamiche: alcune see R. Tottoli, withGabriel, (102) Aboutthistradition "I1Faraone nelle tradizioni alla questionedella sua conversione", noteinmargine Quaderni di StudiArabi,14 (1996), 23, and the references at n. 22. n. 53. in Tottoli, "Traditions and controversies", (103) See thereferences

In badithliterature some reports attest thatIbliswas (qiyds).(101) explicity

but I refused and I am doomed to Hell". myself,


It is worthnoting

Leiden and Redemption: Satan 33f. : Tragedy IblisinSufi 1983, Awn, Psychology,


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dience to God's order.Iblis had refusedto prostrate himself beforea man,in thiscase Adam,and thushad observedthe Muslimcustom.A thatIblis typicalexegeticalanalysisof thistypeassumes,forinstance, was notto blameforhis refusal since God's orderwas addressedto the angels,and Iblis, being one of the jinn,was not obliged to falldown inspiredby the Muslim precept prostrate 104. Some interpretations, an honourforIblis,who secularprostration, consider therefusal against mentions itwithpride, when he introduces himself withthe description to humiliate thathe was theone who refused himself a by performing when he is describeforeAdam"0s'. Nor,in othersituations, prostration to gain God's forgiveness, does Iblis bed as havingthe opportunity to his act. In fact, some reports cease to feela certain pridein relation withGod on his statethat, when he asked Noah or Moses to intercede God statedthat, to obtainHis forgiveness, Iblis would have to behalf, himself to Adam'smortal butIblis became proudand remains, prostrate that he refused to theact to Adamwhen he refused had perform saying was alive and he had no intention of doing it now thatAdam was dead ( 06). In a similar vein thereare also some conceptionswhich ennoble to fallprostrate, thatin so doing he was following Iblis' refusal stating the Muslimpreceptnot to addressthe sujf-d to men,but to perform it since his Muslim, onlyto God. Fromthispointof view Iblis is a perfect refusal from a firm faith whichprevents himfrom originates prostrating himself to a man.Iblis himself, when asked by Moses about the reason forhis refusal, answeredthathe had refused because he was a monotheist(o07
T' wilt,100;Tabari, ofIblis, in particular thecontroversial nature (104)See,regarding Miituridi, al:-Jmi, Z&I,1,65;Majlisi, Qurtubi, I, 226;Id.,Ta'rikh, I,87 [1 I,851; I, 294;Ibnal-Jawzi, &mi', BiHbar, Thecontroversial in statements XI,121;Tabarsi, go backtocontradictory passages Majma;I, 105-6. inQur. 2: 34Iblisisapparently theQur'fin: while oneofthe that heisoneof angels, Qur.18:50states thejinn. Someother ofAdam, than hatred rather thesufjid was thecause outthat reports point itself, ofIblis'disobedience. In fact inthesky himself before the creation Iblisusedtoprostrate everywhere ofAdam, when but toperform a suji/dbefore orfollowing overcame hewasodered him, him, jealousy another tobargain with Himmore in than Iblistried God,andoffered interpretation, worship anyone for from to Adam; see Majlisi, exchange prostration exemption I, 119;see also,abouthisfreBibair, Ta rikb, Kanz,1,244. 1,51;Ibnal-Dawiidfiri, quent prostrations, Diyvirbakri, (105)Tabari, 434. Tha'labi, Qisas, [- I, 810], II,34-5 Ta'Wikh, andIbn'Asikir, (106)Suyfiti, al-Durr, See, 363, 659-60, XVII, givethetwoversions. I, 125, Ta'rikh, ingeneral, MsBrit. London, I, 51;Siyaral-anbiyi', (Anonymous), Mus.Lib.1510, Diyirbakri, Ta'rikb, alIbnal-Jawzi, Talbis III,31;Ibn yfis, 281); 39;Ghazili, Iblis, Baddi'i50;Qisasal-anbiy& (Kitab MsStaatsbibliothek, 95.See also or;quart. 1171, 1581); Berlin, majlis 'al I.y14 ',Qisas, Kisf' a'ilmal-ta'rikh), of ofthis inZwemer, "Theworship inKister, other 165n. 272,anda version sources "Adam", legend 6b.Another traIblis met Muhammad where cf.alsoShitibi; und'Umar; Adam", 125, Kit&b al-jumini, metoprostrate before the "God! Order Ibliswill himself that dition states saying: prostrate Judgement, see IbnKathir, towhomever 312. 11, Tafsir, myself youwant": Kitab Paris Kittib ed. byL.Massignon, (107)Hallfij, 5b,6a; 1913, 45;Shitibi, al-jumimn, al-tawl&in, 104no.221, andcf. ed. byM.L. Swartz, Beirut Ibnal-Jawzi, Kitiib 1986, al-qussi& wa-l-mudhakkirin,


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andinparticular that that attest Thesetwoepisodes, Adam, regarding thecustom ofsecular was still deemeda sign intheQur'ain prostration itand a signof submission on the ofsuperiority ofthemanreceiving is very it.Thestory ofAdamand theangels oftheone performing part Adam theorder from God tohonour andIblisreceived theangels clear: in his this before downprostrate andthey fell him, attesting way supea different thanthat attitude theQur'inexhibits On thispoint riority. which issuein subsebecamea central secular forbidding prostration in 1hadfth collections. Thiscontrast is literature and,inparticular, quent where intheQur'dinic aboveall inevidence commentaries, many pages verses so clearly ofthese becausethey totheexplanation arededicated men. before with theMuslim contrasted against prostration prohibition 7. Conclusion and historical inthepre-Islamic theevidence From poetry preserved Arabs at the time of it that here is evident discussed Muhammad reports Arabs of with thevarious werewellacquainted types prostration. were and theChrisofthe itwas usedbothin thecults also awarethat Jews Arabia as a wayofgreeting and intheregions tians kings surrounding was also showsthat Butthematerial ofauthority. orfigures prostration ita humiliating considered theArabs, sincethey notpractised among when in full Thishostility custom. actand a foreign emerged strength thenewfaith and to follow hispeopleto accept calledfor theProphet The opposition ritual to falldownprostrate theprecept during prayer. who eviMuslim survived to prostration generations amongthe first The oftheold paganattitude. itdifficult to ridthemselves found dently the merits of and the traditions verses emphasizing prosQur'dinic many tooverhadtobe urged that believers demonstrate tration continuously downupontheearth. to fall ownreluctance cometheir livedon in a different attitude towards old The prostration pagan than to God. of all other in the Muslim i.e. form, prohibition prostration As has beenseen,all theold Arabconceptions regarding prostrations
de la mysconcernant indedits de textes in Recueil alsobyL.Massignon 106no.227[transl. I'bistoire

"Adam", tique en pays dIslam, Paris 1929,96]; Maqdisi, TablisIblis,Cairo 1991,66-67;and cf. Kister, beforeAdam and traditions to falldown prostrate 165. Regarding sfficonceptionsabout Iblis' refusal in part.130-34; and thesourcesquoted in Awn,Satan's Tragedy, 124f., of thiskind,see thediscussion Studiesin Islain part540-41;see also R.A.Nicholson, Das MeerderSeele,Leiden1955,536f., H. Ritter, de Husayn Ibn Mansar mic Mysticism, Cambridge1921, 120; and L. Massignon,La pa-ss5ion HalliOj, mentionedand rejectedby Qurtubi, Paris 1975, in part. II, 410-12.These conceptionsare briefly al:-Ant,I, 297-98.


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were redirected intothe violentoppositionagainstsecularprostration, does notseem to have emergedfully thegeneeven ifthisprecept until in factmentions The Qur'ian rationsafter secular prostraMuhammad. with the Muslimprecept. tion in some verses which contrast starkly it is that the Muslim of secularprostraMoreover, significant prohibition in tionis mentioned traditions the of the mainly underlining originality and contrasting itwithChristian Muslim customs. It is thusmost practice or diffused was circulated probable thatall thismaterial widely only after theearlyMuslim all thesedifferent conquests.Finally, conceptions and various trendsregarding are also reflectedin later prostration
literature 108)

Universitario (Istituto Orientale, Napoli)

Roberto TorTroLI

and meaning". (108) See, Tottoli, "Muslim attitudes towardsprostration (sujfid)II. The prominence


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