It was said to one of the Salaf: (our righteous predecessoros) “Does the heart prostrate?” And he said: “Yes, by Allah. It prostrates such that it doesn’t lift its head until it meets Allah.”
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “This points to the humbleness of the heart, its humility, repentance and closeness to Allah wherever it may be and it points to its constant regard (for Allah) in solitude and when with others.” (Asrar Al-Salat)The first sajdah of the heart is when it submits to its Lord and recognizes His Lordship, subsequently entering into a state of complete Islam and Istislam (submission and surrender). Thereafter the heart continues to prostrate and this causes the limbs to follow suit – bringing one to physically perform sujood day and night in prayers.
What is the case then of the one who has been commanded to bow, but their heart refuses to bow? They’ve been ordered with Sajdah (prostration), but their forehead never touches the ground in worship? Such is the case of those who abandon the prayer (Tarik Al-Salah). How can their limbs perform such a bold act of submission when their hearts have yet to reach the comanded state? How can they bow in prostration when their heart has yet to fulfil its own Sajdah?What then is left of their Islam and Istislam? – SG