Why these motions in Salat?

As Rumi said, we can’t simply do *nothing* – we have to do *something*. And if we didn’t do one thing like this, we’d do it like that. So when people ask, “What is the wisdom of the positions of the body in prayer? Why do we stand and bow and sit like so, and why do we put our hands here and not there…” the answer is simple: if we did not do it like this, we would do it in another way, and the question, ‘Why like this?’ would be the same. We have to do *something*. And we have to do it in *some way*. But there is an even better, more convincing answer. For whatever we see in this created realm, it has its equivalent, its parallel, in the world of the unseen. So when we raise our hands in prayer, or place them on our chest, or on the floor in prostration, don’t think that they are just meaningless movements, because they are not! It may seem to you that the hands are just moving this way and that, but if you could see into the hidden, invisible world, you would see that that those hands of yours which move this way and that in this world are actually engaged in building the palaces of your hereafter and digging the gardens of your paradise! So do not belittle the apparently trivial acts and rituals, because, if carried out with the right intention, their meaning is immense and their legacy is everlasting…

Dr. Colin Turner

Author of “Islam: the basics”

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