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Qur’an 32: The Prostration

The thirty-second chapter of the Qur’an, The Prostration, appears to refer to the Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian, dating from around 300 years before the Qur’an:

“O Lord and Master of my life, a spirit of idleness, despondency, ambition, and idle talking give me not.“

Prostration.

“But rather a spirit of chastity, humble-mindedness, patience, and love bestow upon me Thy servant.“

Prostration.

“Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my failings and not condemn my brother; for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.“

Prostration.

Then, twelve repetitions of:

“O God, cleanse me a sinner.”

Bow.

And then repeat the entire prayer all at once:

“O Lord and Master of my life, a spirit of idleness, despondency, ambition, and idle talking give me not. But rather a spirit of chastity, humble-mindedness, patience, and love bestow upon me Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my failings and not condemn my brother; for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.”

Prostration.

More broadly, the entire life of a believer should be a form of prayer. From “base” activities, to work, to prayer itself, our reaction to God’s gifts should be thanks and praise.

Readings

Entrance Antiphon:

And I will multiply your seed like the stars in the heavens and I will give to your seed all these lands, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed through your seed.
Genesis 26:4

A Reading, from the Book of Exodus:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
Exodus 20:8-11

A Psalm, from the Psalms:

LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.

Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

You turn man to destruction,
And say, “Return, O children of men.”

For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night.

You carry them away like a flood;
They are like a sleep.
In the morning they are like grass which grows up:

In the morning it flourishes and grows up;
In the evening it is cut down and withers.
Psalms 90:1-6

A reading, from the First Letter to the Corinthians:

But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-12

Alleluia, Alleluia

“You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates, which the LORD your God gives you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with just judgment.
Deuteronomy 16:18

Alleluia, Alleluia

A reading, from the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark:

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.”

And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.”

But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

They said to Him, “We are able.”

So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.”

And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.
Mark 10:35-43

Communion Antiphon:

Then the Angel of the LORD went out, and struck in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead.
Isaiah 37:36

A Qur’anic Homily

Let us pray, the Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian:

God was from before the Beginning…

It is God who created the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them in six days, then He settled on the Throne. You do not have besides Him any guardian or intercessor. Will you not then take admonition?

He desires the command from the heaven to the earth; then it ascends toward Him in a day whose span is a thousand years by your reckoning.

That is the Knower of the sensible and the Unseen, the All-mighty, the All-merciful., who perfected everything that He created and commenced man’s creation from clay.
Qur’an 32:4-7

And He will be until after the End…

They say, “When will this judgment be, if you are truthful?”

Say: “On the Day of Judgment their faith will not avail the faithless, nor will they be granted any respite.”

So turn away from them, and wait.

They are waiting too.
Qur’an 32:28-30

God was from before your beginning…

Then He made his progeny from an extract of a a base fluid. Then He propotioned him and breathed into him of His Spirit, and invested you with your hearing, sight, and hearts. Little do you think.

They say, “When we have been lost in the dust, shall we be indeed created anew? ” Indeed, they disbelieve in the counter with their Lord.
Qur’an 32:8-10

And He will be until after your end:

Say,”You will be taken away by the Angel of Death, who has been charged with you. Then you will be brought back to your Lord.”
Qur’an 32:11

Eyes have not seen, and ears have not heard, what He has planed for those who respond with love:

“Only those believe in Our signs who, when they are reminded of them, fall down in prostration and celebrate the praise of their Lord, and they are not arrogant. Their sides vacate their beds to supplicate their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend out of what We have provided for them. No one knows what delights have been kept hidden for them as a reward for what they used to do.
Qur’an 32:15-17

Eyes have not seen, and ears have not heard, what He has planed for those who don’t:

“Who is a greater wrongdoer than him who is reminded of his Lord’s signs, whereat he disregards them? We shall indeed take vengeance upon the guilty.”
Qur’an 32:22

There are two ways, two correct ways, of responding to signs from the Lord. One is to be thankful for them, such as with the rain:

Do they not see that We carry water to the parched earth and with it We bring forth crops from which they themselves and their cattle eat? Will they not then see?
Qur’an 32:27

The other is to participate in them, whether participating in prophecy or even political authority.

Certainly We gave Moses the Book, “Do not be in doubt about the encounter with Him,” and We made it a guidance for the Children of Israel.

When they had been patient and had conviction in Our signs, We appointed among them chiefs to guide by Our command.
Qur’an 32:23-24

God is the Beginning and End of all things, from the universe to the believer to even base seed. Participation in the Divine Will, reception to the Spirit of chastity, humble-mindedness, patience, and love, is our appropriate response to Him.

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