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I know bowing to a human being is a sin, but what counts as bowing? All types, or just ones in Islam, like ruku and sujud?

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Bowing to other than Allah isn't a sin unless you believe they're divine or you want to worship them.

Ruko' has two meanings, bending over in a position of "bowing," or kneeling down on your knees without prostrating.

Sujod isn't considered as ruko' since it's a separate action in of itself. It's prostrating and touching the forehead onto the ground.

So the common usage when said ruko' is usually understood to be bowing and sujod would be touching our foreheads on the ground.

  • No it isn't. J ust look it up. I looked it up, bowing is a sin. Check up the hadith of a man who wanted to bow to the Prophet(S.A.W.), because he saw people bowing to civil officials or authorities. I don't think it said that he thought the Prophet(S.A.W.) was an angel or he wanted to worship him. – James Aug 6 '14 at 2:41
  • The hadith you're speaking of mentions Sujod and not Ruko. But it's authenticity is questionable bc one of the narrators named al-Qasim ash-Shaybani had a poor memory. – Sayyid Aug 6 '14 at 8:54
  • Really thanks, know any reliable sunnah websites? – James Aug 6 '14 at 9:53
  • Well, you can go to sunnah.com for now and read the hadiths on there. Perfectly translating from Arabic to English is difficult, hence you may find something mistranslated. Generally, majority of hadiths in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim are authentic. Then would be Sunan Abu Dawud. But spend more time on learning Quran first and then you can read al-Bukhari and Muslim and study them. Whatever hadiths you may find a strange you can ask about. If you want to learn about hadith science I can recommend some English books. – Sayyid Aug 7 '14 at 1:35
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Bowing doesn't necessarily have to be a physical act. For example, In 44:23 we see:

Have you seen he who has taken as his god his [own] desire, and Allah has sent him astray due to knowledge and has set a seal upon his hearing and his heart and put over his vision a veil? So who will guide him after Allah? Then will you not be reminded?

In this verse, Allah has stated that your own desires can be your god although we know that it is not possible to [physically] bow to it.

However, in 18:50 we see that angels, did physically bow to Adam under the command of Allah:

And [mention] when We said to the angels, "Prostrate to Adam," and they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was of the jinn and departed from the command of his Lord. Then will you take him and his descendants as allies other than Me while they are enemies to you? Wretched it is for the wrongdoers as an exchange.

This is not considered a sin because the intention of angels wasn't to bow to Adam himself but to Allah as he created Adam. This is clarified in a later verse:

[So mention] when your Lord said to the angels, "Indeed, I am going to create a human being from clay.So when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My [created] soul, then fall down to him in prostration."

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