And unto Allah (Alone) falls in prostration whoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and so do their shadows in the mornings and in the afternoons. 13:15



But, there are a lot of people who don't care to fall in prostration to Allah. Taking the worst case example of atheists. So, where am I going wrong?

Interested in Sunni explanation.

  • أي: جميع ما احتوت عليه السماوات والأرض كلها خاضعة لربها، تسجد له { طَوْعًا وَكَرْهًا } فالطوع لمن يأتي بالسجود والخضوع اختيارا كالمؤمنين، والكره لمن يستكبر عن عبادة ربه، وحاله وفطرته تكذبه في ذلك، source
    – Hakim
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 12:54
  • "Allah affirms His might and power, for He has full control over everything, and everything is subservient to Him. Therefore, everything, including the believers, prostrate to Allah willingly, while the disbelievers do so unwillingly,..." I did not understand it or I'am not satisfied with your link. Because the verse is talking in the present tense so I think it has to be applicable all the time. Commented May 28, 2015 at 15:49

3 Answers 3


According to the tafseer of Presidency of Religious Affairs of Turkey, there are 2 kind of prostration: one is in the salat, the other one is more like submitting.

As you know, anyone and anything in this universe has to submit the rules of physics determined by Allah willingly or unwillingly. This subject might be a stone or an atheist, doesn't matter. According to my source, this ayah is talking about the second type of prostration. The example of shadows is supporting that. As you know, the shadows' actions are determined by the rules of light and can't be changed by men.

Have they not considered what things Allah has created? Their shadows incline to the right and to the left, prostrating to Allah , while they are humble. (Surat An-Naĥl 16/48)

This ayah too uses the same example.

Source (Turkish)

  • "and so do their shadows in the mornings and in the afternoons" in 13:15 and also "Their shadows incline to the right and to the left, prostrating to Allah" in 16:48 is apparent and easily understood and it seems that the word "prostration" is literally applicable, but I am expecting it to be literally applicable in the rest of the verse 13:15 too. Commented May 29, 2015 at 5:54
  • I didn't understand your point. Prostration in both ayahs used with the meaning of bowing or submitting, more likely giving in. The shadows don't make a prostration act like in the salat, they are changing according to the rules of physics, which means they are prostrating to Allah's rules.
    – kalahari
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 15:50

5 years late to this answer but this could actually mean life, death and sleep.

"Willingly" = As the believers do 5 times a day in prayer in addition to the shadows.

"Unwillingly" = As do the unbelievers do during death or sleep. Eventually you will prostrate (in some form).

If one is to take the Quran purely on science and challenge its wordings one would almost always find an argument of some sort. Faith is required as this ultimately tests our ability to believe when there are things we do not understand as is stated in the Quran at 3:7 Hope this helps.


All particles, all body organs of the atheist are in submission to Allah's will. Allah himself has given the Athiest choice to accept or reject Allah and only for a short life in this world.

  • What do you mean "all body organs of the atheist are in submission to Allah's will"?
    – user921
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 4:04

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