This Is Not Prayer: This Is Self-Reinvention

Our divinely-ordained, dispositional state and default setting is one of submission: it is no exaggeration to say that the whole of the universe, from the atoms to the stars, from the fruit-fly to the white whale is perpetually in prostration (sujud).

Humans are the only creatures who can choose to ignore this reality. It is for this reason that a daily act of ‘conscious reaffirmation’ has been ordained for us, which in Arabic is called ‘salah’ and which in English has mistakenly been translated as ‘prayer’. The five-times-a-day meeting between Creator and the ‘most noble of all creatures’ is designed to allow us to wash the dust of forgetfulness and negligence from our faces and hands, and to stand willingly in front of the One who created us in order to restate our identity and recall our goal. This five-times-a-day act of remembrance is to allow us to bring to mind the truths and realities of His Creatorship and our creatureliness. This five-times-a-day flight from the world of multiplicity and forgetfulness to the world of unity and at-oneness is our golden opportunity to relive the moment when He asked us, “Am I not your Lord?” and when we answered, “Yes, of course…”

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