The Qur’an informs us repeatedly that everything in the heavens and the earth extol the perfection of Allah. A believer submits himself to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) by choice, but even the non-believer who is defiant cannot prevent the atoms of his body from being subjugated to the command of Allah.
سَبِّحُ لَهُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتُ ٱلسَّبۡعُ وَٱلۡأَرۡضُ وَمَن فِيہِنَّۚ وَإِن مِّن شَىۡءٍ إِلَّا يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمۡدِهِۦ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا تَفۡقَهُونَ تَسۡبِيحَهُمۡۗ إِنَّهُ ۥ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورً۬ا (٤٤)
“The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [Allah] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving.” [Qur’an; 17:44]
Everything that is created is in a state of submission and worship to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) in a manner that is in line with its situation.
أَلَمۡ تَرَ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَسۡجُدُ لَهُ ۥ مَن فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَن فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَٱلشَّمۡسُ وَٱلۡقَمَرُ وَٱلنُّجُومُ وَٱلۡجِبَالُ وَٱلشَّجَرُ وَٱلدَّوَآبُّ وَڪَثِيرٌ۬ مِّنَ ٱلنَّاسِۖ وَكَثِيرٌ حَقَّ عَلَيۡهِ ٱلۡعَذَابُۗ وَمَن يُہِنِ ٱللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ ۥ مِن مُّكۡرِمٍۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَفۡعَلُ مَا يَشَآءُ ۩ (١٨)
“Do you not see that to Allah prostrates whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth and the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, the moving creatures and many of the people? But upon many the punishment has been justified. And he whom Allah humiliates – for him there is no bestower of honor. Indeed, Allah does what He wills.” [Qur’an; 22:18]
The above ayah of the Qur’an is a point at which it is recommended for us to prostrate upon reading (Sajdah at-Tilawah; prostration of reading).
أَوَلَمۡ يَرَوۡاْ إِلَىٰ مَا خَلَقَ ٱللَّهُ مِن شَىۡءٍ۬ يَتَفَيَّؤُاْ ظِلَـٰلُهُ ۥ عَنِ ٱلۡيَمِينِ وَٱلشَّمَآٮِٕلِ سُجَّدً۬ا لِّلَّهِ وَهُمۡ دَٲخِرُونَ (٤٨) وَلِلَّهِ يَسۡجُدُ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ مِن دَآبَّةٍ۬ وَٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةُ وَهُمۡ لَا يَسۡتَكۡبِرُونَ (٤٩)
“Have they not considered what things Allah has created? Their shadows incline to the right and to the left, prostrating to Allah, while they are humble. And to Allah prostrates whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth of creatures, and the angels [as well], and they are not arrogant.” [Qur’an; 16:48-49]
ثُمَّ ٱسۡتَوَىٰٓ إِلَى ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَهِىَ دُخَانٌ۬ فَقَالَ لَهَا وَلِلۡأَرۡضِ ٱئۡتِيَا طَوۡعًا أَوۡ كَرۡهً۬ا قَالَتَآ أَتَيۡنَا طَآٮِٕعِينَ (١١)
“Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, “Come [into being], willingly or by compulsion.” They said, “We have come willingly.”” [Qur’an; 41:11]
Narrated Abu Dhar: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked me at sunset, “Do you know where the sun goes (at the time of sunset)?” I replied, “Allah and His Apostle know better.” He said, “It goes (i.e. travels) till it prostrates itself underneath the Throne and takes the permission to rise again, and it is permitted and then (a time will come when) it will be about to prostrate itself but its prostration will not be accepted, and it will ask permission to go on its course but it will not be permitted, but it will be ordered to return whence it has come and so it will rise in the West. And that is the interpretation of the Statement of Allah: “And the sun runs its fixed course for a term (decreed). That is The Decree of (Allah) The Exalted in Might, The All- Knowing.” [Quran; 36:38] [Bukhari]
Prostration is a form of humility and devotion. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) has confirmed that all beings prostrate to Him, and He has explained how some of them prostrate by the inclining of their shadow towards the right and the left. It does not mean that everything prostrates on seven parts of the body as we do, but in accordance with their nature. Allah knows best about the nature of their prostration.
أَلَمۡ تَرَ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ ۥ مَن فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَٱلطَّيۡرُ صَـٰٓفَّـٰتٍ۬ۖ كُلٌّ۬ قَدۡ عَلِمَ صَلَاتَهُ ۥ وَتَسۡبِيحَهُ ۥۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمُۢ بِمَا يَفۡعَلُونَ (٤١)
“Do you not see that Allah is exalted by whomever is within the heavens and the earth and [by] the birds with wings spread [in flight]? Each [of them] has known his [means of] prayer and exalting [Him], and Allah is Knowing of what they do.” [Qur’an; 24:41]
A Muslim is one who submits himself to the will of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He). By this definition, even trees, planets, animals, etc. are submitting themselves to the will of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) and fulfilling the purpose for which they were created, although perhaps science may not be able to explain how this submission happens. What science defines as properties of elements and materials–such as the properties of water, oil, or landforms are also a form of submission to the command of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).
Before a person embraces Islam, he may have a number of questions to explore regarding this way of life and the primary beliefs associated with it. Yet once he tastes faith, the obedience comes without question, for he is firmly convinced about his Lord and accepts His commands. There is complete submission even if one hasn’t reached the ability to comprehend the laws fully, for the person’s faith is rooted in firm conviction in the Lord of all the worlds. Likewise, his praise of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) also occurs through choice and conviction. Worship through rituals and praise are forms of honoring the Creator and showing gratitude.
“The truest poetic verse ever said by a poet, is: Indeed! Everything except Allah, is perishable.” [Sahih Bukhari]
A believer accepts that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) is the Creator and He is fully aware of everything concerning everything at every time. He (Glorified and Exalted be He) is not limited by time or space. He knows what we express openly as well as what we bury within the depths of our hearts.
قُلۡ إِن تُخۡفُواْ مَا فِى صُدُورِڪُمۡ أَوۡ تُبۡدُوهُ يَعۡلَمۡهُ ٱللَّهُۗ وَيَعۡلَمُ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ ڪُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ۬ (٢٩) يَوۡمَ تَجِدُ ڪُلُّ نَفۡسٍ۬ مَّا عَمِلَتۡ مِنۡ خَيۡرٍ۬ مُّحۡضَرً۬ا وَمَا عَمِلَتۡ مِن سُوٓءٍ۬ تَوَدُّ لَوۡ أَنَّ بَيۡنَهَا وَبَيۡنَهُ ۥۤ أَمَدَۢا بَعِيدً۬اۗ وَيُحَذِّرُڪُمُ ٱللَّهُ نَفۡسَهُ ۥۗ وَٱللَّهُ رَءُوفُۢ بِٱلۡعِبَادِ (٣٠)
Say, “Whether you conceal what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah knows it. And He knows that which is in the heavens and that which is on the earth. And Allah is over all things competent. The Day every soul will find what it has done of good present [before it] and what it has done of evil, it will wish that between itself and that [evil] was a great distance. And Allah warns you of Himself, and Allah is Kind to [His] servants.” [Qur’an; 3:29-30]
سَبَّحَ لِلَّهِ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ (١) لَهُ ۥ مُلۡكُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ يُحۡىِۦ وَيُمِيتُۖ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ (٢) هُوَ ٱلۡأَوَّلُ وَٱلۡأَخِرُ وَٱلظَّـٰهِرُ وَٱلۡبَاطِنُۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَىۡءٍ عَلِيمٌ (٣)
“Whatever is in the heavens and earth exalts Allah, and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. His is the dominion of the heavens and earth. He gives life and causes death, and He is over all things competent. He is the First and the Last, the Ascendant and the Intimate, and He is, of all things, Knowing.” [Qur’an; 57:1-3]
هُوَ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ لَكُم مَّا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ جَمِيعً۬ا ثُمَّ ٱسۡتَوَىٰٓ إِلَى ٱلسَّمَآءِ فَسَوَّٮٰهُنَّ سَبۡعَ سَمَـٰوَٲتٍ۬ۚ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَىۡءٍ عَلِيمٌ۬ (٢٩)
“It is He who created for you all of that which is on the earth. Then He directed Himself to the heaven, [His being above all creation], and made them seven heavens, and He is Knowing of all things.” [Quran; 2:29]
Every person has angels appointed to record everything that the person engages in, whether good or bad. These are the noble recording angels (Kiraman Katibeen).
وَإِنَّ عَلَيۡكُمۡ لَحَـٰفِظِينَ (١٠) كِرَامً۬ا كَـٰتِبِينَ (١١) يَعۡلَمُونَ مَا تَفۡعَلُونَ (١٢)
“And indeed, [appointed] over you are keepers, Noble and recording; They know whatever you do.” [Qur’an; 82:10-12]
Satan’s agenda involves influencing mankind away from being a grateful slave.
ثُمَّ لَأَتِيَنَّهُم مِّنۢ بَيۡنِ أَيۡدِيہِمۡ وَمِنۡ خَلۡفِهِمۡ وَعَنۡ أَيۡمَـٰنِہِمۡ وَعَن شَمَآٮِٕلِهِمۡۖ وَلَا تَجِدُ أَكۡثَرَهُمۡ شَـٰكِرِينَ (١٧)
“Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].” [Qur’an; 7:17]
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَتَّبِعُواْ خُطُوَٲتِ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنِۚ وَمَن يَتَّبِعۡ خُطُوَٲتِ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنِ فَإِنَّهُ ۥ يَأۡمُرُ بِٱلۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَٱلۡمُنكَرِۚ وَلَوۡلَا فَضۡلُ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡكُمۡ وَرَحۡمَتُهُ ۥ مَا زَكَىٰ مِنكُم مِّنۡ أَحَدٍ أَبَدً۬ا وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُزَكِّى مَن يَشَآءُۗ وَٱللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ۬ (٢١)
“O you who have believed, do not follow the footsteps of Satan. And whoever follows the footsteps of Satan – indeed, he enjoins immorality and wrongdoing. And if not for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy, not one of you would have been pure, ever, but Allah purifies whom He wills, and Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” [Qur’an; 24:21]
It is clear that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) is aware of everything, everywhere, all the time while His creation is constantly in submission and glorification of Him, and Satan is on a mission to divert mankind from this remembrance. Therefore it is essential to make an active effort to reflect and remember, in order to be successful in this life and in the life of the Hereafter.