"I happened to pray one night with the Prophet, peace
and blessings be upon him. The Prophet started reciting al-Baqarah chapter of the Quran and I thought he would stop after
But when he went beyond it I thought that he may want to recite the whole chapter in one Rakah.
he finished al-Baqarah I thought he would do Ruku but then he immediately started reciting al-Imran and when he finished he
started reciting an-Nisa.
The Prophet was reciting very slowly with enough pauses and would do Tasbih (praising God)
and Dua (supplication) according to the subject being discussed in the relevant Ayah.
After that the Prophet did Ruku
(bowomg). In Ruku he stayed as long as he did when he was in Qiyam (standing in prayer). After Ruku he stood up for almost
same time and then he performed Sajdah (prostration) and stayed there as long as he recited Quran while doing Qiyam". (Hudaifa,
may God be pleased with him, narrated this hadith as in Sahih al Muslim, Nasai)
Of course, not all the Prayers of
the Prophet were this long. In public he would pray for a shorter period of time and ask other imams to do the same. The Prophet
use to make dua in Sajdah not just tasbeeh as we do in obligatory prayers. He used to cry in Sajdah. He would spend an extended
amount of his time in Sajdah whenever he was praying on his own. Many times, however, Muslims would join him when they found
him praying alone.
Aisha, may God be pleased with her, mentions that: the Prophet one night stood up for Salah and
he stayed in it for so long that I thought the Prophet had passed away or died. When I felt that way I stood up shook his
toe and I felt the movement then I laid down again and I heard the Prophet saying in Sajdah "I seek refuge in Your pleasure
from Your wrath, and in Your pardon from Your punishment, and in You from You. I cannot enumerate Your praises as You praise
Yourself." (Transliteration: Audhu bi ridaka min sakhatika, wa bi muafatika min uqubatika wa bika minka, la uhsiy thana'an
alayka, anta kama athnayta ala nafsika).
When he stood up from the Sajdah he asked Aisha, "do you think God's Prophet
has betrayed you?" Aisha responded "No Preophet of God, because of the long Sajdah I thought you had died." (hadith from Baihaqi
but Dua wording from Muwatta Imam Malik)
One of the Prophet's companion, Abdullah ibn Zubayr, would pray with such
concentration that when he was in Sajdah the sparrows would come flying and sit on his back. In a separate narration, Abdullah
ibn Abbas, another companion, said if you want to see how the Prophet of God used to pray, you should copy how Abdullah ibn
Zubayr used to pray.
And consider these two Hadiths from the Sahih Muslim:
Ma'dan b. Talha reported: I met
Thauban, the freed slave of God's Messenger, and asked him to tell me about an act for which, if I do it, God will admit me
to Paradise, or I asked about the act which was loved most by God. He gave no reply. I again asked and he gave no reply. I
asked him for the third time, and he said: I asked God's Messenger about that and he said: Make frequent prostrations before
God, for you will not make one prostration without raising you a degree because of it, and removing a sin from you, because
of it. Ma'dan said that then he met Abu al-Darda' and when he asked him, he received a reply similar to that given by Thauban.
In the second Hadith, Rabi'a b. Ka'b said: I was with God's Messenger one night and I brought him water and what he
required. He said to me: Ask (anything you like). I said: I ask your company in Paradise. He (the Prophet) said: Or anything
else besides it. I said: That is all (what I require). He said: Then help me to achieve this for you by devoting yourself
often to prostration.
Sajdah is truly a humbling experience. We can beg for God's forgiveness and cry by thinking
about our misdeeds, as well as seek refuge in God from the Hellfire. We are in one of the most submissive physical positions
when in Sajdah. It is one of the best occasions to ask God for forgiveness, guidance, and all that we want. It is one of the
best positions in which to talk to God. Seeking God's pleasure and forgiveness need to be given top priority in these remaining
days and nights of Ramadan.